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Border Officials Dial Back Migrant Prosecutions

Border officials suspend handing over migrant families to prosecutors. NYT: “The nation’s top border security official said Monday that his agency has temporarily stopped handing over migrant adults who cross the Mexican border with children for prosecution, undercutting claims by other Trump administration officials that “zero tolerance” for illegal immigration is still in place. Kevin K. McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said his agency and the Justice Department should agree on a policy ‘where adults who bring their kids across the border — who violate our laws and risk their lives at the border — can be prosecuted without an extended separation from their children.’ Because Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not have enough detention space for the surge of families crossing the border, many families will be quickly released, with a promise to return for a court hearing. Mr. McAleenan said that the agency would continue to refer single adults for prosecution for illegally crossing the border, and that border agents would also separate children from adults if the child is in danger or if the adult has a criminal record.”

Senate Leaders Aim For Immigration Compromise

Senate negotiators aiming to craft border bill over July 4 recess. The Hill: “A bipartisan group of senators taking the lead on immigration negotiations said they will request a briefing from Trump administration officials on the border crisis and then try to come up with compromise language over the July 4 recess. Republican Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) met Monday evening with Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) to lay the groundwork for legislation. ‘We’d like to get a briefing that outlines the process [so] that everybody knows what it is and that’s correct, because my sense is no one knows,’ Feinstein said, referring to confusion on Capitol Hill about what the administration’s process is for handling families and other migrants who cross the border illegally. The administration has been criticized for a lack of transparency, with some lawmakers being denied entry to detention facilities where immigrant families are held.”

Battle For Congress In Seven States

Battle for control of U.S. Congress advances in seven states. Reuters: “A bitterly personal matchup in New York between a convicted felon seeking to reclaim his congressional seat from a former prosecutor is among dozens of key races in seven U.S. states on Tuesday, as voters pick candidates for November elections that will determine control of Congress. Voters in Colorado, Maryland, South Carolina, Utah, Oklahoma and Mississippi will also select competitors for the Nov. 6 elections, when Democrats will seek to wrest control of Congress from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party. Democrats need to flip 23 of 435 seats to gain control of the House of Representatives, which would stymie much of Trump’s agenda while opening up new avenues of investigation into his administration. They would have to net two seats to take the Senate, but face longer odds there, according to analysts.”

Supreme Court Votes For Gerrymandering

Supreme Court upholds political gerrymandering. NPR: “The Supreme Court again weighed in on gerrymandering Monday, this time ruling that Texas’ political map passes muster, except for one legislative district that was ruled unconstitutional. It’s a mess because it has pingponged back and forth between two separate three-judge federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court. The bottom line, though, is that even though the lower court ruled districts in and around Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio had been drawn to minimize minority voting power, the Supreme Court only agreed about one state legislative district. Indeed, Republican Governor Greg Abbott gleefully tweeted today, our legislative maps are legal; Democrats lost their redistricting and voter ID claims. If today’s ruling were just about Texas, it would be important but not huge. The 5 to 4 decision, however, could have major repercussions. Five years ago, the Supreme Court, by a similar 5 to 4 split, struck down a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Back then, Chief Justice John Roberts downplayed the effect of that decision, noting that there are many other provisions of the law that give minority voters the right to sue if their voting rights are minimized. But election expert Rick Hasen of UC Irvine says those promises ring hollow after today’s decision.”

WH Diverts Criticism Into Debate Over Civility

Sarah Huckabee Sanders adopts the mantle of grievance. Politico: “Amid the ongoing family separation crisis, the White House press secretary focused the national conversation on her ejection from a restaurant over the policy. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who often has the impossible job of speaking on behalf of an improvisational president, on Monday gave herself an easier gig: She presented herself as the spokeswoman for civility. In her first press briefing in a week — she had not fielded questions since President Donald Trump caved on his signature “zero tolerance” immigration stance and signed a hastily drafted executive order ending family separations at the border — Sanders first chose to address a personal experience from over the weekend, when she was asked to leave a restaurant, the Red Hen, in Lexington, Virginia, because of the staff’s disagreement with the policies she helps promote.”

Hill Gridlock Looms

Trump’s domestic gridlock. Axios: “For President Trump’s first term, the domestic agenda appears to be all but over. Congress has little chance of doing anything notable before the election, beyond confirming judges. Whichever party ekes out a House win in November, the margin will likely be narrow. When we game out 2019 scenarios with administration officials, a number of them assume Republicans will lose the House. So Washington is gridlocked until at least January 2021 — meaning that this is it for signature legislation in Trump’s first term. The idea of Trump shifting into bipartisan mode post-election seems unimaginable. He has chosen a strategy of hot partisan warfare that looks impossible to cool. If Democrats win the House, it’s two years of subpoenas and impeachment talk. The biggest domestic accomplishment, tax reform, is behind him. So Trump — frustrated with a hopelessly dysfunctional Congress and unable to understand why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) doesn’t get rid of the legislative filibuster — is turning away from Capitol Hill and towards unilateral actions and foreign affairs. He has grown obsessed with executive orders, constantly hounding staff for ways to fix things like the border crisis without Congress. But there are strict limits on what any president can do alone.”

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