Tuesday | October 19th, 2021

It’s Tuesday, October 19th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) Biden Reinstates Trump-Era Border Policy

The Topline: In a major reversal, the Biden administration announced Thursday they would be reviving the Remain in Mexico policy, an immigration order enacted under President Trump and heavily criticized by Democrats, including Joe Biden himself. 

Nick Ut/Contributor/Getty Images

“Remain In Mexico” Policy

The policy went into effect in December of 2018 as part of an effort from President Donald Trump to deter illegal immigrants from crossing the southern border. It allows border agents to send asylum seekers back to Mexico while they wait for their claims to be decided in court. 

Opponents say it puts asylum seekers at increased risk and they’re often unable to access humanitarian aid while waiting in Mexico. They also claim it’s unfair to asylum seekers from a Due Process standpoint. 

Supporters say it could prevent asylum seekers from skipping their court dates after being released into the country. They also argue it serves as a deterrent for those contemplating entering the country illegally.

The Numbers: Newly leaked Border Patrol documents revealed that at least 160,000 illegal immigrants have been released into the U.S. since March – often with “little to no supervision.” 

Why Is It Back?

The policy had been in place for two years, but was rescinded by President Biden almost immediately after he took office. 

In August, a federal judge in Texas ruled the administration didn’t have the authority to reverse the policy. 

The Biden administration tried an appeal to the Supreme Court after the ruling in Texas, but they declined to hear the case, so for now, it’s going back into effect. 

The policy is set to begin again starting in mid-November, but it might take some negotiating to get Mexico to agree to take in asylum seekers. 

Li Chun/China News Service/Contributor via Getty Images

2) China Tests Hypersonic Missile

The Topline: According to a new report, the Chinese military tested a new form of missile technology which could allow them to threaten the U.S. mainland.

Quote Of The Day: “If we stick to our current complacent course–or place our hopes in bankrupt buzzwords like ‘integrated deterrence’–we will lose the New Cold War with Communist China within the decade.”

– Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI)

The Report

Over the weekend, the Financial Times reported that China tested a hypersonic missile in August — with nuclear capabilities — which circled the globe before approaching its target.

According to five unnamed sources, the Chinese military launched a rocket that carried a hypersonic glide vehicle, which flew through low-orbit space before the missile made impact, missing its target by around 25 miles. 

According to the report, this level of sophistication took U.S. intelligence by surprise, with one of their sources reportedly saying, “We have no idea how they did this.”

Taiwan Point: It’s not likely China would use this technology to strike Taiwan, but it’s adding to the growing concern over Chinese military aggression in the region and worldwide. 

China Responds

Chinese officials denied the Financial Times report.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said the test involved a spacecraft, not a missile, and called it a “routine” experiment to explore reusable spacecraft tech. He said they want to develop a “convenient and cheap way for humans to use space peacefully.”

Bryan R. Smith/BRYAN R. SMITH/Contributor/AFP via Getty Images

3) Cities ‘Refund’ The Police

The Topline: Cities nationwide are starting to see funds come back to their police departments after a wide scale effort by activists and Black Lives Matter protesters last year to defund law enforcement. 

The Cities

In its 2021-2022 budget, Austin, Texas, restored funds to the Police Department budget. The city also provided money for at least two cadet classes, but said the department could train another if they discover funds in the budget.

The move came partially in response to a bill that became law in Texas earlier this year, which punished certain cities that cut police department funding. 

The NYPD also got a budget increase of $200 million, and the LAPD got an increase of 3%.

Burlington, Vermont recently approved bonuses for police officers. New officers would get a $15,000 bonus and current officers will get $10,000. 

The Oakland City Council also just voted to add another police academy to the budget after previously approving fewer academies.

Over the summer, Dallas saw a shift in messaging when Mayor Eric Johnson said the city needs more police officers.

Crime Point: 2020 experienced the largest spike in homicide rates in over a hundred years.

Public Sentiment

A group of polls from last year showed Americans were against the “defund the police” movement or “defunding police departments” by an average of 58% to 31%.

A poll from March of this year found that fewer than 1 in 5 Americans supported the “defund the police” movement. 

Paul Morigi/Contributor/Getty Images for Capital Concerts via Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Colin Powell

Colin Powell, the nation’s first black secretary of state, passed away Monday morning at the age of 84. Powell served under three Republican presidents and was secretary of state under President George W. Bush. In a statement Monday, Powell’s family said that he died “due to complications from Covid 19,” despite being “fully vaccinated.”

Vaccine Mandates

Nearly 40% of California state workers remain unvaccinated despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s (D-CA) July order to workers to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing. The vaccination rate among state workers is lower than the rate among the state’s general population, which is 72%.

California Walkouts

On Monday, faculty and students at schools across California staged walkouts to protest school vaccine mandates set to go into effect this week. Some participants stressed the importance of being able to choose for themselves or their children whether or not they get the shot. 

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