Biden promised to send back Haitian migrants, but they’re being released into US on ‘very, very large scale’

Another day, another lie from the Biden administration.

After promising large-scale repatriation of Haitian migrants who poured into the United States in Del Rio, Texas, over the last several weeks, President Joe Biden’s administration is actually releasing the migrants into the U.S. on a “very, very large scale.”

What did Biden promise?

The Associated Press reported last week that Biden planned the “widescale expulsion” of the Haitian migrants encamped under the Del Rio International Bridge.

“Details are yet to be finalized but will likely involve five to eight flights a day, according to the official with direct knowledge of the plans who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. San Antonio, the nearest major city, may be among the departure cities,” the AP reported.

What is actually happening?

Instead of rapid, widescale repatriation as promised, the Biden administration is releasing the Haitian migrants into the U.S. Officials reportedly told the AP that migrants are being released on a “very, very large scale.”

The Biden administration has returned some migrants to Haiti, but not on the scale they promised. One official who spoke with the AP said single adults are most likely those being targeted for repatriation, suggesting that families and children will remain in the U.S.

For migrants who remain in the U.S., they are being sent to other Border Patrol processing centers and being released with notices to appear in immigration court.

More from the AP:

The Homeland Security Department has been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, and this week added flights to Tucson, Arizona, the official said. They are processed by the Border Patrol at those locations. …

U.S. authorities scrambled in recent days for buses to Tucson but resorted to flights when they couldn’t find enough transportation contractors, both officials said. Coast Guard planes took Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso.

The development directly contradicts what Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Monday.

“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned, your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life,” Mayorkas said from Del Rio.

What is Mexico doing?

Mexico is reportedly intercepting Haitian migrants and transporting them away from the U.S. border.

Meanwhile, Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard revealed this week that most of the Haitian migrants traveling north to the U.S. had already been granted refugee status in Brazil and Chile — but they wanted to come to the U.S. anyway.

“What they are asking for is to be allowed to pass freely through Mexico to the United States,” Ebrard said, the AP reported.

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Border Crisis: Haitian Migrants Being Released Into U.S. on a ‘Very, Very Large Scale’

Thousands of Haitian migrants who were camped under a bridge in Texas have reportedly been released into the U.S., despite the Biden administration’s assurances that they would be removed from the country.

A U.S. official reportedly told the Associated Press that the migrants are being released into the country on a “very, very large scale” with notices to appear at an immigration court within 60 days. That official put the number in the thousands.

The news comes days after the White House vowed to increase deportation efforts, saying it would send five to eight planes of migrants back to Haiti per day. The flights began on Sunday and more than 500 migrants have been removed, Reuters reported. Single adult males are the priority for expulsion, while many family units are being admitted.

On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled to Del Rio and warned people not to try to enter the U.S. illegally, saying they would be expelled.

“If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned, your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life,” he said at a news conference.

Border patrol agents have been overwhelmed by thousands of mostly Haitian migrants streaming across the border in Del Rio, Texas, and camping out on the American side of the Rio Grande under an international bridge. The number of migrants at the camp has exploded since Wednesday, when there were 4,000 migrants there. Since then, the number has topped 14,000 at times.

The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly been busing Haitians from Del Rio to El Paso, Laredo and Rio Grande Valley along the Texas border, as well as flying migrants to Tucson, Ariz., an official told the AP. Migrants aboard one such bus rebelled and managed to escape on Tuesday but were subsequently captured.

Border Patrol then works to process the migrants at those secondary locations.

The U.N. refugee chief said expelling the migrants back to Haiti could violate international law by sending refugees back to life-threatening situations.

Meanwhile, three U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers received non-life threatening injuries after “two separate disruptions” by Haitian migrants when they deplaned on the tarmac at Port-au-Prince, according to Fox News.

“On Tuesday, Sept. 21, some adult migrants caused two separate disruptions on the tarmac after deplaning in Port-au-Prince, Haiti,” a DHS spokesperson reportedly told the outlet. “Haitian crowd control officers responded to both incidents and resolved the situations. ICE fully respects the rights of all people to peacefully express their opinions, while continuing to perform its immigration enforcement mission consistent with our priorities, federal law and agency policy.”

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

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Biden’s Scramble to Control Del Rio Crisis Leaves Large Border Sections Unguarded

DHS plan calls for hundreds of agents to be reassigned to deal with influx from Haiti

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying food and other supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the International Bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico, on September 17, 2021 in Del Rio, Texas. / Getty Images

Joseph Simonson • September 20, 2021 6:10 pm

The Department of Homeland Security’s plan to send hundreds of Border Patrol agents to Del Rio, Texas, is leaving large swaths of the U.S.-Mexico border wide open, according to interviews with officials from both agencies.

In response to the surge of mostly Haitian nationals swarming the southern border, DHS committed to moving “400 [Customs and Border Protection] agents and officers” to the Del Rio sector in order to accelerate processing and deportations. DHS will not disclose where those extra agents are coming from, although one Border Patrol agent who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon said DHS requested 30 agents from his outpost in the southwest to be transferred to Del Rio. The plan threatens to exacerbate the existing border crisis in other parts of the country.

“We’re already so stretched thin,” the individual, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “This puts so much more strain on our normal border patrol work.”

A spokesman for CBP said he did not have an exact breakdown of where officers would be coming from and referred the Free Beacon to a public memo from DHS, which laid out its “new comprehensive strategy to address the increase in migrant encounters in the Del Rio Sector of South Texas.” The effort to address the 13,000 and growing migrants in Del Rio comes at the cost of leaving hundreds of miles along the U.S.-Mexico border unpatrolled, said one senior DHS official. Another official went on to say that the agency is already creating “processing facilities on the fly,” distracting staff from anti-cartel and other security operations.

The official went on to blame the Biden administration’s decision to exempt most migrant families from Title 42—a Centers for Disease Control power that allows the U.S. government to turn away migrants before they can apply for asylum. 

“Releasing families on notices to appear [before an immigration judge] is pretty much telling them to go back and kidnap someone, grab a bunch of kids, or lie about any random person with you being your family,” the official said. “It’s just extremely stupid.”

Bruno Lozano, the Democratic mayor of Del Rio, is pleading with the Biden administration to do more to curb the influx of migrants into his town. 

“This is something that really needs to be brought to light,” the mayor said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We need quick action from the administration. We need quick attention to this. We need a response in real-time.”

In his statement, Lozano emphasized the potential security and health threats caused by the thousands of migrants. A Sept. 10 report released by the DHS inspector general criticized the Biden administration for the lack of disease safety protocols, including the fact that only migrants who show symptoms of illness are tested for COVID-19. 

More than 1.5 million migrants have crossed the southern border in 2021. The month of July saw the most migrant encounters in more than two decades. August saw 208,887 encounters, a slight dip from the previous month but still a 317 percent increase from August 2020.

DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled to Del Rio on Monday and told migrants that the U.S. border, contrary to the beliefs of many attempting to cross into the country, is not open. 

“I want to make sure that it is known that this is not the way to come to the United States. That is false information,” Mayorkas said. “Irregular migration poses a serious security risk to the migrants themselves. Trying to enter the United States illegally is not worth the tragedy, the money, or the effort.”

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Large Minimum Wage Hikes Especially Disadvantage Younger, Less Educated Workers –

Younger, less-well-educated workers have been especially harmed by recent state-level minimum wage hikes, according to a study issued today by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper was written by economists Jeffrey Clemens of the University of California, San Diego, and Michael R. Strain of the American Enterprise Institute.

The supply-demand analysis at the heart of economics suggests that raising the price of labor would lead to lower demand for it, other things being equal. The past decade has provided particularly useful empirical data against which to test this notion.

“After the Great Recession [of the late 2000s], there was a pause in both state and federal efforts to increase minimum wages,” the authors note. “This pause created a baseline (or ‘pre-period’) for empirical purposes. It was followed by considerable divergence in states’ minimum wage policies. A number of states legislated and began to enact minimum wage changes that varied substantially in their magnitude. From January 2011 to January 2019, for example, Washington, D.C., California, and New York had increased their minimum wages by 61, 50, and 53 percent, respectively. Wage floors rose more moderately in an additional 24 states and were unchanged in the remainder.” The past decade thus gave researchers a chance to compare the employment effects of “moderate minimum wage changes and historically large minimum wage changes” across U.S. states.

They found that “over the short and medium run, relatively large increases in minimum wages have reduced employment rates among individuals with low levels of experience and education by just over 2.5 percentage points.” By contrast, smaller increases, or ones resulting from indexing inflation to wages, have effects that are “variable and centered on zero.”

The data also offers “evidence that the medium-run effects of large minimum wage changes are larger and more negative than their short-run effects,” so we will often need time to unfold before we see those bad employment effects blossom.

The changes the study analyzes were historically much larger than usual for state minimum wages, for both the small- and large-change states. Among their findings: By one data measure, “employment among individuals ages 16 to 25 with less than a completed high school education…expanded 4.0 percentage points less by 2019 in states that enacted large minimum wage changes than in states that enacted no minimum wage change.” By another measure, it was 3.2 percentage points less.

In a series of tweets on his research, co-author Clemens notes that “relative declines are…particularly pronounced for our samples of individuals ages 16 to 25 with less than a completed high school education, but also present across all individuals ages 16 to 21.”

While not claiming causation, the researchers did find that “the housing recovery following the Great Recession was quite strong in states that enacted relatively large minimum wage increases. Median house prices rose by roughly 49 percent in this group of states from the 2011–2013 base period through 2019….Across states that did not increase their minimum wage rates, house prices rose roughly 36 percent, and in states that enacted small minimum wage increases, median house prices rose by an average of roughly 31 percent.” Meanwhile, “per capita incomes grew roughly $7,600 more in states that enacted relatively large minimum wage changes than in states that enacted no minimum wage changes.”

But those macro outcomes in high-wage-hike states did not end up trickling down to low-skilled workers. Clemens believes, as per a tweet, that “growth in overall income, house prices, and high-skilled employment would have led you to predict larger employment gains for low-skilled individuals in the states that enacted large minimum wage increases. Instead, they experienced relative declines.”

When it comes to minimum wage hikes designed to not harm younger workers with less education, then, larger definitely seems substantially worse than smaller.

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Majority supports Biden’s vaccine mandate for large companies, 56/41 – HotAir

This is the fourth poll I’ve seen testing the popularity of the new mandate and three and a half have found majorities in favor. Morning Consult had approval of the policy at 58 percent while Axios-Ipsos put it at 60 percent. Quinnipiac found Americans slightly opposed at 48/51 when it asked a broad question about Biden’s “plan to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for millions of Americans in the public and private sectors.” But when it got more specific about the details, a majority swung around in favor at 53/46.

Why the conflicting results in Quinnipiac’s case? I think it had to do with the fact that Biden’s mandate isn’t a true mandate. It allows the unvaccinated to get tested regularly in lieu of getting their shots. Evidently that’s made a meaningful number of Americans more comfortable with his power grab.

Today Fox News finds a majority in favor of not just Biden’s mandate but a slew of other COVID restrictions. Scanning this list makes me wonder if Ron DeSantis’s anti-mandate policies in a purple state like Florida might be more of a liability for him than I thought:

It’s dumb but understandable that mask mandates are more popular than vaccine mandates. A mask won’t protect you from death (and may not protect you as well from infection) the way a vaccine will, but masks aren’t invasive the way needles are. And given that experts have spent 18 months selling the public on masking versus nine months selling them on vaccination, it’s no surprise that some people might view masks as the superior precaution.

Notably, Biden’s approval in handling COVID hasn’t changed over the span of a month despite having rolled out a controversial mandate in the interim. In August Fox had him at 54 percent support on the pandemic and now it has him at 55 percent. A clue as to why can be found in the last item listed in the numbers above: Americans grew a bit more enthusiastic about local vaccine mandates as Delta ran wild in the southern U.S. (The share who said they were very concerned about the pandemic rose five points between August and September, per Fox.) Likewise, as more people get vaccinated each day, the number who stand to be inconvenienced personally by vaccine mandates shrinks. That’s the core of Biden’s political calculation on this, that the large and growing vaccinated majority will tolerate him twisting the arms of the unvaccinated minority because the new rules are no burden to them.

Here’s the breakdown by demographics. Note the degree of Republican support:

With independents evenly split, the only reason Biden’s mandate has majority support is because Republicans don’t oppose it to the same degree that Democrats support it. In fact, Morning Consult and Axios-Ipsos also found a third of GOPers in favor of the policy. Righties are generally anti-mandate in all things, particularly when a Democrat is the one doing the mandating, but a large minority are willing to make an exception in this case in hopes of ending the pandemic sooner. They’re the difference for Biden right now.

Note the African-American numbers too. It’s been common this year when Republicans are criticized for low vaccination rates to hear the retort, “Blacks aren’t getting vaccinated either.” Which is true — their vaccination rate is lower than that of whites. But in polling, at least, Republicans and African-Americans are poles apart on support for things like masking and vaccine mandates:

There’s even a marked difference when the two groups are asked whether they believe the vaccine is safe and effective:

Blacks are two to one in favor, Republicans are barely above water.

It could be that the polling here is unreliable due to partisan dynamics or social desirability. Some Republicans who’ve had their shots might resist vouching for the vaccine in polls as Biden’s strategy to incentivize vaccination grows more heavy-handed. And some blacks who are skeptical of the vaccine may claim otherwise because they don’t want to be “judged” by the pollster or because they feel bound by party loyalty to support a Democratic president’s policy initiative.

But if the numbers are right, there *is* a meaningful difference between African-Americans’ and Republicans’ views of vaccination. Although maybe not forever: Fox notes that the share of Republicans who are very concerned about the pandemic jumped 14 points between last month and this month. A raging Delta wave in mostly red states this summer had an inevitable effect on righty opinion, it seems.

One more general point about the polling on Biden’s mandate. Fox’s survey was a survey of registered voters, not all adults. I’d guess that people who are unregistered to vote for whatever reason — poverty, disaffection from wider society, etc — are also much less likely to get vaccinated and therefore presumably opposed to mandates. By not including unregistered voters, Fox may be underestimating the share of the wider public that dislikes Biden’s policy. Although, from Biden’s perspective, so long as those people don’t register to vote and punish him at the ballot box, who cares?

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Los Angeles County Sets Vax Mandate for Some Social Venues, Large Events

franckreporter/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Starting next month, Los Angeles is joining a growing number of cities that are establishing “vaccinated-only” admissions to various social venues.

Under the new order, customers and workers at what health officials call “high-risk [of getting or transmitting COVID] settings,” such as indoor bars, nightclubs, wineries, breweries and lounges, will have to show proof of at least one jab by October 7 and full vaccination by November 4, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

According to the release, the Public Health will assist businesses in establishing a vaccination verification system and will provide “education and support to those establishments requesting assistance.” Presumably, this means the businesses will be allowed access to the county vaccination database, which will help them confirm the presented “vaccine passport” is legit. It is provided that while “not required,” vaccine verification at indoor portions of restaurants is recommended.

The order will also mandate that the participants and staff at outdoor “mega events” with more than 10,000 attendees will need to provide proof of vaccination or show that they’ve recently tested negative for COVID, starting Oct. 7. That requirement is already in place for indoor events of at least 1,000 people.

The department states that the move is “urgently needed” to reduce COVID transmission risk and increase vaccination coverage in the county.

Is the vaccination rate of L.A. Country low? Not at all. According to the official numbers, 82 percent of senior residents are fully vaccinated, and 91 received at least one dose. 67 percent of the county residents who are 12 and older are fully vaccinated, and 76 percent have been jabbed at least once. It certainly doesn’t look like Los Angeles Country is not already “protected” enough. That is, if we assume that vaccines indeed protect from the virus, which they actually don’t. Per the CDC, vaccinated people still get sick with COVID and transmit it to others since the viral load they may carry is “similar” to that of the unvaxxed, which makes L.A.’s upcoming order useless in terms of curbing transmission.

In addition to that, more than 1.4 million people in L.A. County have contracted COVID, meaning they have a natural immunity against the infection that is stronger and more durable than that of any vaccine. In terms of COVID transmission, it is much safer to be around those who recovered from COVID than around those who received a shot. Yet the L.A. Department of Health did not bother to include those with COVID antibodies to the “you-are-allowed-to-get-back-to-normal” list.

Race-wise, those who will be prohibited entry to the venues and events are 49 percent of the L.A. black residents, 40 percent of Hispanics, 30 percent of white people, and 20 percent of Asians.  

Despite the county seeing a drop in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, however loosely they may be counted, L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer fears that if the county does not ramp up its vaccination pace, then it would face “an endless cycle” of COVID surges as the fall and winter approach. Ferrer expressed confidence that businesses will comply with the order.

Ferrer added that the policy — which is nothing but an implementation of the “vaccine passports” — is a “reasonable way forward that enables us to break the cycle of bounce.” However, this is improbable since the coronavirus is set to become endemic, meaning it is here to stay. And, like all of the viruses do, it will always try to infect those with weakened immune systems. The sound advice to beat it, perhaps surprisingly, belongs to Dr. Anthony Fauci circa 2019, who recommended a healthy diet, exercise, no smoking, no or very moderate drinking, and good sleep. But suggesting such an approach in 2021 may get one’s name on the “conspiracy theorists” list and get purged from social media.

Sure enough, the county’s current mask mandate requiring everyone older than two, regardless of vaccination status, to wear face coverings in all indoor public settings will remain in place.

According to the Los Angeles Times report, the order will affect all areas of L.A. County except Long Beach and Pasadena, which are guided by their own public health departments.

However, the order will not be as expansive as public health orders in some other parts of California.

Per the outlet:

San Francisco and Berkeley require customers 12 and older in indoor restaurants, bars and gyms to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. Contra Costa County, the Bay Area’s third most populous, has ordered those customers to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test result. Palm Springs and neighboring Cathedral City have ordered patrons 12 and older to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test to enter indoor restaurants and bars.”

The once-Golden state and Los Angeles area have already mandated vaccines in some instances.

California currently requires that state workers, healthcare workers and public-school teachers and staff be vaccinated or get regularly tested for COVID. At least one local sheriff vowed not to impose the mandate on his department.

Last month, Los Angeles City Council approved requirements that city employees be vaccinated, which was met with a strong opposition from local law enforcement and firefighters.

Last week, the Los Angeles Unified public school district adopted rules requiring that all students 12 years or older be vaccinated.

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Wi Spa suspect still at large, with history of indecent exposure

The person charged with indecent exposure at the Wi Spa in Los Angeles — a case that led to violent clashes between protesters and transgender activists — is still at large, as sordid new details of their criminal record have emerged.

A judge in Los Angeles County Superior Court issued a second arrest warrant for Darren Agee Merager, 52, on Sept. 8 after Merager failed to appear at a hearing related to six felony charges of indecent exposure in connection with a previous case at a West Hollywood swimming pool. Merager, a registered sex offender in California for two prior convictions of indecent exposure, identifies as a woman, but law enforcement sources said that’s a ruse to get into women’s-only areas. In the Wi Spa case, Merager is accused of exposing an erect penis to four women and a minor girl.

In an interview with The Post, Merager said of the warrant, “I consider this a kidnapping! My anonymity is being ruined in a slanderous way.”

Merager’s latest legal woes began on June 24, when a video uploaded on Instagram by “Cubana Angel” went viral. The video showed an irate woman complaining to staff at Wi Spa in Los Angeles’ Koreatown about a person exposing themselves in the women’s section. The incident led to weeks of violent rioting involving Antifa and opposing protesters.

Merager is accused of exposing an erect penis to four women and a minor girl at the Wi Spa in Los Angeles.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Though declared a “hoax” by some media outlets, Merager was eventually charged as the suspect on Aug. 30. Sources tell The Post that Merager had been banned by Wi Spa back in 2019 due to customer complaints of an erection in the women’s section, but Merager wasn’t recognized by the front desk in June because they were wearing a mask. (Wi Spa did not respond for comment.)

“I don’t remember being banned,” Merager says, adding there was one complaint but maintains it was meritless and based on transphobia.

Five females, including “Cubana Angel” and a minor girl, came forth as victims to the Los Angeles Police Department. They allege Merager was partially erect. In Merager’s ongoing West Hollywood Park swimming pool case, multiple women and minor girls also accuse Merager of being erect in the changing room.

Merager, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs around 200 pounds, says the women are mistaking a large appendage for an erection.

“I don’t have a small penis but you can’t say that’s an erection,” Merager says. “What if you used the men’s room and someone said they don’t like the size or shape of your penis? That’s what they’re doing.”

This isn’t Merager’s first indecent exposure case. Merager was convicted in 2003 for looking through the window of an elderly woman’s home in Arcadia, Calif., while masturbating, illuminated by a flashlight. “I may have been somewhere I didn’t belong but I wasn’t doing it for [sexual] gratification and I wasn’t showing myself off,” Merager contests.

Merager says it was a mistake to plead guilty. When asked if they ever masturbated on the property, Merager said: “I don’t remember that night so I can’t comment. It was a long time ago.”

The Wi Spa in Koreatown district in Los Angeles.
Merager’s Wi Spa case led to violent clashes between protesters and transgender activists.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

Merager has also been implicated in sex crime investigations that did not result in charges. In June 2018 while on parole for a burglary conviction, Merager was identified as a suspect in an alleged indecent exposure incident at a gasoline station in Burbank, Calif. According to the police report, three customers reported to the cashier that a person with no underwear wearing a seethrough fishnet-style outfit was exposing themselves at a pump. The responding officer reviewed the surveillance video which allegedly showed the person standing by the pump for over an hour and lifting their leg onto a curb to expose themselves. Merager was identified as the suspect because of the vehicle’s license plate.

“[My parole officer] investigated me the next day and I was 100 percent cleared,” Merager says. No victims came forward to law enforcement and the case was closed.

Then on Dec. 26, 2018, police responded to the Palm Springs Swim Center after the coaches of a high school girls’ water polo team called police. According to the incident report, one of the coaches said he aggressively confronted Merager after the school girls alerted him that Merager had exposed their penis in the women’s changing room.

“Merager advised he was only showering and did not masturbate or touch himself inappropriately,” reads the police report. “He said that he would defend himself if he is threatened. He said he needs to swim to do his physical therapy.”

Merager also told the officer that she is transgender and that her doctor told her to use the facilities she feels comfortable in. Merager was not arrested or charged.

Merager says the confrontations and police reports are evidence of “systemic transphobia.”

“Even if I was the worst person in the world, you’re allowed to access the facility [of your gender],” Merager says, adding that she is legally female in California. The state’s civil rights law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. However, Merager says the law is insufficient because trans people could be criminalized on accusations of indecent exposure for being nude in changing areas or spas.

Merager accuses “Cubana Angel” and the other women of lying to police and being motivated by hate.

Merager wouldn’t say when it would be “safe” to report to law enforcement. The search for Merager culminated in a dramatic felony stop on a vehicle in Monterey Park, Los Angeles County last week. Multiple officers and a support helicopter was sent to respond, but the driver wasn’t Merager — it was a family member.

“They’re having a tough time tracking me down. That’s good. They’ll find me when I turn myself in,” Merager said.

Whenever that happens, Merager expects to be jailed in a women’s facility.

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Two dozen GOP attorneys general sign letter threatening legal action over Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for large employers

Two dozen state attorneys general have signed a letter opposing the Biden administration’s plan to require employers with 100 or more employees to have workers get vaccinated against COVID-19 or get tested weekly.

“We thus urge you to reconsider your unlawful and harmful plan and allow people to make their own decisions,” the 24 Republican officials wrote to their letter to the president. “If your Administration does not alter its course, the undersigned state Attorneys General will seek every available legal option to hold you accountable and uphold the rule of law.”

The attorneys general who signed the letter were from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

“The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is developing a rule that will require all employers with 100 or more employees to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require any workers who remain unvaccinated to produce a negative test result on at least a weekly basis before coming to work,” according to the White House. “OSHA will issue an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to implement this requirement.”

So far 63.5% of the U.S. population ages 12 and older has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 74.2% of that demographic has received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Your plan is disastrous and counterproductive,” the state officials said in their letter. “From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds—it will simply drive further skepticism. And at least some Americans will simply leave the job market instead of complying.”

The attorneys general said that the “edict is also illegal.”

Arizona has already lodged a legal challenge against federal vaccine mandates, pointing out that aliens who unlawfully enter the U.S. are not forced to get COVID-19 vaccinations.

“Although the precise contours of the federal vaccination mandates are not yet clear, the violation of the Equal Protection Clause is already evident and egregious,” the complaint states. “In a nutshell: unauthorized aliens will not be subject to any vaccination requirements even when released directly into the United States (where most will remain), while roughly a hundred million U.S. citizens will be subject to unprecedented vaccination requirements. This reflects an unmistakable—and unconstitutional—brand of favoritism in favor of unauthorized aliens. “

In addition to a vaccine mandate for large employers, the president has also moved to require vaccination for federal executive branch workers and employees of contractors that work with the federal government.

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking action to require COVID-19 vaccinations for workers in most health care settings that receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, including but not limited to hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies,” according to the White House.

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Taxes, economy loom large for Glenn Youngkin in Virginia governor’s race

Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin’s path to victory over former Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial race could come down to grocery bills, according to one of the more iconic figures of the state’s GOP politics.

Former Sen. George Allen said Mr. Youngkin’s vow to scrap the state’s grocery tax is emblematic of a broader economic message that helps him court suburban voters who are interested in cutting costs and putting the brakes on the leftward lurch of the Democratic-controlled state legislature.

“With this inflation, the gasoline prices are high, but what people are really noticing are food prices going up,” said Mr. Allen, a Republican who served as governor from 1994 to 1998. “Glenn is for removing the tax on groceries, which I think is one of the downright common sense issues.”

“It is literally a kitchen table issue,” he said

The economy and jobs are two of the top issues on the minds of registered Virginia voters, according to a Monmouth University poll last month that showed the issue sandwiched below concerns about the coronavirus and education, and above concerns about health care, and gun rights.

Mr. McAuliffe, a Democrat who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, held a 47% to 42% lead over Mr. Youngkin and was viewed as more trusted on most of the major issues. Virginia bars governors from serving consecutive terms.

But Mr. Youngkin, who served as the co-CEO of The Carlyle Group, a global private equity firm based in Washington, was more trusted on the economy and the preferred pick of independent voters.

“He’s probably going to need to elevate jobs and the economy as an issue that more voters care about,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth Institute of Polling. “McAuliffe has the edge on the pandemic because most Virginia voters support stricter guidelines such as school mask mandates, so doubling down on anti-mandate rhetoric may energize his base but is unlikely to sway any voters over to his side.”

For his part, Mr. McAuliffe and his team have been intent on making the race about former President Donald Trump and have highlighted Mr. Youngkin‘s opposition to mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Gov. Gavin Newsom relied on a similar message to energize liberal-learning California voters and beat back a recall election this week, allowing Democrats to breathe a sigh of relief in the deep blue state.

Mr. McAuliffe also is playing up the pro-business achievements he garnered as governor working with the then GOP-controlled legislature and attacking Mr. Youngkin‘s “failed record on Wall Street.”

“We can’t trust him to lead Virginia,” the narrator says in a new McAuliffe campaign TV ad released this week.

Mr. Youngkin and Mr. McAuliffe are set to square off Thursday on the debate stage for the first time.

It offers Mr. Youngkin a major platform to deliver his message straight to voters and make the case that one-party Democratic rule in Richmond has hurt public education, fueled rising crime and made Virginia less competitive economically.

“Virginians are supporting Glenn Youngkin because they know he is the best leader to cut the cost of living for Virginians, get Virginia through the pandemic, reinvigorate our economy, and build job opportunities,” said Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter. “Independents, Republicans, and Democrats across the Commonwealth are joining to support Glenn‘s candidacy because they want common-sense solutions and real results, not political games and stagnant growth from a 40-year career politician.”

Two months out from the election, Mr. Youngkin also could be getting a boost from President Biden, according to a GOP polling outfit.

A WPA Intelligence survey conducted for the Youngkin campaign showed that a backlash against Mr. Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan exit and the resurgent coronavirus was dragging down Mr. McAuliffe.

The survey showed Mr. Youngkin running neck-and-neck with Mr. McAuliffe in a head-to-head matchup, and it showed Republicans are more enthusiastic about the gubernatorial election than Democrats.

Mr. Youngkin led by 2 points over Mr. McAuliffe when progressive third-party candidate Princess Blanding, a racial justice activist, was added as a choice. She will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Stephen J. Farnsworth, University of Mary Washington professor of political science and director of the Center for Leadership and Media Studies, said Mr. Youngkin is seeking to strike a delicate balance between energizing the base of the Republican Party without turning off the suburban voters that helped Democrats dominate recent statewide elections, and disliked Mr. Trump.

“The most effective issue that Youngkin can focus on is tax cuts,” Mr. Farnsworth said. “It is something that unifies Republicans and it is something that is popular with voters — particularly in the suburbs where a lot of people are facing financial pressures because of expensive home mortgages, and the relief would be welcome.”

Mr. Youngkin has proposed doubling the standard income tax deduction for taxpayers, suspending a gas tax increase, and slicing taxes on veteran retirement. He also wants to require a vote for any proposed property tax increase.

“It is going to be hard for Youngkin to win the election without winning the argument over the economy,” Mr. Farnsworth said. “That is tough to do given Virginia’s rankings as a business-friendly state, but talking about the economy is far more effective than talking about abortion bans, or critical race theory.”

Mr. Allen said Mr. Youngkin also is smart to target voters’ concerns about education and public safety.

“That is an issue not just for law enforcement, but I think for a lot of these suburban moms that care about safe neighborhoods,” he said.

The Youngkin campaign is betting that the political landscape has moved in their direction since Mr. Biden scored a 10-point win over Mr. Trump in Virginia in 2020.

The WPA poll released this month found Mr. Biden’s approval rating is underwater at 43% approve, 50% disapprove. A month ago, the same survey found 53% approved of his performance, and 43% disapproved.

It also found Mr. Youngkin had pulled into a 48% to 48% dead heat with Mr. McAuliffe, with 4% of likely voters undecided.

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Young Republican enters Illinois governor race with large campaign war chest

A new Republican candidate for Illinois governor is entering the race with a nearly $11 million campaign fund.

Jesse Sullivan is from the central Illinois village of Petersburg. After high school, his campaign says he attended several universities, including Oxford. He then served as a civilian with the Department of Defense in Afghanistan. Among other achievements, he started a venture capital firm in California. His campaign is focused on ending crime, corruption and lowering taxes.

“I got to work with these incredible entrepreneurs around the world, creating the future of finance and technology, cryptocurrency, blockchain technology, the future of the internet,” Sullivan, 37, said to a crowd of supporters at Lincoln’s historic New Salem outside of Petersburg. “Chicago should be the crypto capital of the world.”

He said Illinois is losing population, is known for crime and corruption and high taxes. He said to reverse that, he’ll work for strong ethics reforms, strive for making state government more efficient and lowering taxes to attract businesses back to Illinois.

He told a crowd he’s guided by faith, service, and family.

“Family is the most sacred unit in our society,” Sullivan said. “And I really do think that if we could just elevate the role of fatherhood and motherhood again, then that would solve so many problems that we have in our society.”

The Republican is married with several young children and two foster children. He and his wife are expecting another child.

Sullivan didn’t mention COVID-19 during his speech. Afterward, he told members of the media he would not make unilateral decisions on the pandemic as incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker has.

“I’m someone who is a decentralized person who allows local leaders…why elect local school boards if you’re going to take away any authority to make decisions locally,” Sullivan said.

The political newcomer enters the race with nearly $11 million in campaign funds, dwarfing funds from other Republicans in the field.

At the most recent quarter ending June 30, state Sen. Darren Bailey, R-Xenia, had $490,700 on hand. Businessman Gary Rabine had $287,325 on hand. Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf had $116,280 on hand.

But, Sullivan’s $10.8 million is a fraction of the $32 million Pritzker, a billionaire, has on hand.

The Democratic Party of Illinois criticized Sullivan’s money being from six out-of-state donors.

“Jesse Sullivan’s largest contribution – $5 million – comes from a Californian named Chris Larsen who is currently being prosecuted by the Securities and Exchange Commission,” the DPI said in a statement.

Sullivan said those donations are from people he’s made relationships with and they trust his leadership.

“I’m someone who was able to bring resources in from out of state,” Sullivan said. “I’m going to help bring companies in. We’re going to create the jobs of the future here in Illinois.”

Sullivan faces the three other Republicans heading into the June 2022 primary.

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