News and Brief for the Week of Mar. 15th
Child border crossings surge as DHS chief defends policies
By BEN FOX and ELLIOT SPAGAT
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. authorities encountered nearly double the number of children traveling alone across the Mexican border on Monday than on an average day last month, an official said Tuesday, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas conceded the surge was a challenge.
The Border Patrol came across 561 unaccompanied children at the border on Monday, including 280 in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the official said, offering a snapshot of how quickly events at the border have changed during the first two months of Joe Biden’s presidency. By comparison, it encountered a daily average of 332 unaccompanied children in February, which itself was a 60% jump from January. The peak was 370 during a Trump-era surge in May 2019.
Voter outreach led to big drop in rejected mail ballots
By CHRISTINA A. CASSIDY
ATLANTA (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented surge in mailed ballots last year, raising concerns that a flood of first-time absentee voters would lead to another record: more ballots tossed out for missing deadlines, signatures or other reasons.
Those fears never materialized. An analysis by The Associated Press found that the rate of rejected ballots was actually lower in November than during last year’s primaries in several politically pivotal states despite an increase in the number of absentee ballots cast.
Battle over Floyd’s 2019 arrest highlights key trial issue
By STEVE KARNOWSKI and AMY FORLITI
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A lawyer for the former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee against George Floyd’s neck wants to bring up Floyd’s history of drug use and a previous arrest in an effort to show jurors that Floyd was partly to blame for his own death.
A prosecutor says it’s irrelevant and that Derek Chauvin’s lawyer is trying to smear Floyd to excuse his client’s actions. Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter.