5.11.2023

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Good morning. It's Thursday, May 11, and we're covering the end of a key border policy, charges against a sitting congressman, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Title 42 Ends

A pandemic-era border policy known as Title 42 is set to expire at midnight tonight, ending one of the federal government's primary tools in addressing a surge of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border over the past two years. Its ending was triggered by the expiration of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

 

Most migrants arrive at the border and claim asylum. Adjudicating the process may take years, during which migrants are typically allowed to remain in the US (see overview). Title 42, originally implemented as an effort to blunt the spread of the coronavirus, allowed the government to expel certain migrants—mostly single adults—without going through the asylum process. 

 

Migrant flows across the southwest border have reached record highs since 2021, nearing 2.4 million encounters in fiscal year 2022 (which covered October 2021-22, see data) and passing 250,000 in December alone (roughly one-quarter are reencounters with previously expelled individuals). About 45% of encounters in 2022 ended with Title 42 expulsion or about 1.1 million people. 

 

Anticipating an additional surge in migrants, the White House reinstated a Trump-era rule limiting asylum eligibility while ordering 1,500 active-duty troops to the border. 

 

Santos Charges Unsealed

Rep. George Santos (R, NY-03) pleaded not guilty yesterday to 13 charges in federal court, the result of a five-month investigation into reports the lawmaker fabricated parts of his resume and history. The indictment includes counts of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements to Congress. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

 

A month after flipping the Democratic-held seat in November, reports surfaced accusing the 34-year-old lawmaker of false claims regarding his educational history, his employment with top Wall Street firms, Jewish heritage, and more. Further scrutiny revealed issues with his campaign funds, the primary focus of yesterday's charges. He faces separate federal, state, and congressional investigations, as well as allegations of check fraud in Brazil. 

 

Santos, who is running for reelection in 2024, was released on a $500K bond with travel limits and is expected to continue to work in Congress through the trial. See a timeline of Santos' political journey here.

 

Inflation Growth Eases  

US inflation in April grew to less than 5% annually for the first time in two years, according to government data released yesterday. The consumer price index—a measure of inflation that tracks the change in prices of a basket of goods and services—rose 4.9% year-over-year last month. The figure is lower than analyst estimates and the 5% rate in March, marking the 10th consecutive month of decline in the year-over-year growth rate. 

 

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core CPI rose 0.4% month-over-month in April, the same as in March, and 5.5% year-over-year, down from 5.6% in March. The latest figures are in line with expectations. Increased costs for shelter, gasoline, and used vehicles contributed to the rise in the overall inflation rate, which was offset by decreases in fuel, new vehicles, and food at home. See data here.

 

The consumer price index has cooled since peaking at a 9% annual growth rate in June 2022 (see chart) but still holds above the Federal Reserve's 2% annual target. 

Correction: Yesterday, we mistakenly listed a "D" in referring to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. He is, in fact, a Republican representing California's 20th District. Thanks to readers for pointing out the typo.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Golden State Warriors stave off elimination, beat Lakers 121-106; LA leads series 3-2 (More) | See latest playoff bracket (More)

> Inter Milan tops AC Milan 2-0, Real Madrid and Manchester City draw 1-1 in first leg of UEFA Champions League semifinal (More) | 2023 NFL International Series to include three games in London and two in Frankfurt; full NFL schedule to be released today (More)

> "Beetlejuice 2" sets Sept. 2024 release date; Michael Keaton and Winona Ryder will return, with Jenna Ortega joining cast for the long-awaited sequel (More)

From our partners: Want over $1,300 in cash back? This credit card could make it happen in just the first year! The huge cash back potential is only one of the many reasons The Ascent's credit card experts have it in their wallets. Learn why it checks all their boxes and apply today.

 

Science & Technology

> Google holds annual developer conference while showcasing new products, highlights AI-powered search features expected in the coming months (More)

> Researchers release map of the human pangenome, adding about 119 million DNA bases to the existing human genome reference; new sequence contains DNA from 47 anonymous donors from around the world (More)

> Scientists demonstrate quantum entanglement between two superconducting qubits separated by about 90 feet; experiment is the first to show the effect at a distance large enough such that light can't travel between particles while measurements are taken (More) | Entanglement made simple (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 +0.5%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq +1.0%); tech stocks rise on inflation reading (More) | Disney shares fall in after-hours trading after streaming business Disney+ loses 4 million subscribers (More

> Icahn Enterprises—activist investor Carl Icahn’s investment company—shares fall 15% after disclosing it is being investigated by federal prosecutors (More)

> Australian lithium company Allkem and US-based Livent to merge in all-stock deal worth $10.6B; lithium is key component of electric vehicle batteries (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Tunisian authorities open investigation into a member of the North African country's national guard who shot and killed five people at the Ghriba synagogue, a popular pilgrimage destination; the gunman was shot and killed by police (More

> Missouri lawmakers approve bills banning gender-affirming care for youth and barring transgender women and girls from participating on female sports teams; Gov. Mike Parson (R) is expected to sign both bills (More

> Former President Donald Trump appears on CNN town hall forum in what is considered the first major television event of the 2024 presidential campaign (More) | See all 2024 presidential candidates so far (More)

 

In-Depth

> How the Los Chapitos Built a Fentanyl Empire

Reuters | Drazen Jorgic. Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán's four sons, known as Los Chapitos, have emerged as powerful drug lords in the Sinaloa Cartel, who US officials say is responsible for the opioid epidemic that's killing almost 200 Americans daily. (Read)

 

> The Skylab Race to San Francisco 

SFGATE | Andrew Chamings. The story of how—and why—a 17-year-old Australian beer hauler flew halfway around the world with space junk in his pocket and only a shirt on his back, all starting with a San Francisco newspaper rivalry. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

“Chonkosaurus” turtle spotted lurking in the Chicago River. (via Twitter)

 

Israel seizes over 1,000 pounds of smuggled Fruit Roll-Ups

 

Photographer captures the beauty of patterns in Spanish olive groves.

 

The economics behind super-aged whiskeys.

 

A look at the world’s most beautiful post offices.

 

… and America’s most endangered historic places.

 

Pat Sajak’s daughter temporarily takes over letter-turning duties.

 

Why there are over 500 Red Lion pubs in England.

 

Clickbait: Introducing the zillennial.

 

Historybook: Composer and songwriter Irving Berlin born (1888); Salvador Dalí born (1904); Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is founded (1927); Bob Marley dies (1981); Deep Blue becomes the first computer to defeat a world champion in chess (1997).

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