Record Border Stops, Minnesota Fraud, and Counting Earth's AntsEverything you need to know for today in five minutes.
Good morning. It's Wednesday, Sept. 21, and we're covering a record number of migrant arrivals at the US border, the largest pandemic aid fraud scheme, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More than 2 million people were stopped at the US-Mexico border during the past 11 months, with a record 2.3 million border encounters projected for the 2022 fiscal year, according to new figures from Customs and Border Protection. It marks the first time the figure has eclipsed the 2 million mark in a single fiscal year and represents an increase from the 1.7 million encounters for fiscal year 2021.
The total is driven by a surge in migration from Central and South America, with the number of immigrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela up 175% from last year. In August, roughly one in five migrants had already been apprehended within the previous 12 months. See data here.
In related news, a group of migrants transported to Martha's Vineyard by Florida officials filed a class-action suit against Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and the state's transportation secretary, claiming they boarded flights from Texas under false pretenses.
Fiona Moves North
Three people died and thousands were stranded as Hurricane Fiona strengthened into a Category 3 storm, making it the first major hurricane of the Atlantic season. After sweeping across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic Monday, the storm moved north toward the islands of Turks and Caicos, whose population is close to 40,000. It is not expected to hit the US mainland.
Fiona is the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since Maria in 2017 when over 3,000 people died, and the power grid was disrupted for close to a year. Power had been restored as of yesterday morning to hundreds of thousands in Puerto Rico, but close to a million residents remained without clean water due to issues at filtration plants. Experts believe Fiona will strengthen into a Category 4 by Friday before hitting Bermuda.
See photos of the damage here, and track the storm's path here.
Minnesota Fraud Scheme
Nearly 50 people in Minnesota have been charged with laundering an estimated $250M in pandemic relief aid, which was intended to provide meals to children from lower-income families. The case is the largest fraud scheme to take advantage of federal pandemic programs, the US Justice Department said yesterday.
Prosecutors claim 47 individuals tied to Minnesota-based nonprofit Feeding Our Future falsely reported serving tens of thousands of meals to children across 250 sites and sought reimbursement for the cost of those meals from the Department of Agriculture's Federal Child Nutrition Program. The individuals then allegedly laundered the funds through shell companies to buy luxury cars, property, jewelry, and other personal items. They have been charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery (see details).
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Business & Markets
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Historybook: Science fiction author HG Wells born (1866); "The Hobbit" is published (1937); Bill Murray born (1950); Senate confirms Sandra Day O’Connor as first female Supreme Court justice (1981); Track and field legend Florence Griffith Joyner dies (1998).
"I believe in the impossible because no one else does."
- Florence Griffith Joyner
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