Biden falls on steps of Air Force One
US reporters have asked the White House whether Joe Biden’s administration will admit press to holding facilities for unaccompanied minors who crossed the US-Mexico border, as lawmakers report densely packed conditions and federal law enforcement weighs plans to send migrant families to the nation’s northern border for processing.
Administration officials say the are working to repair an immigration system “dismantled” under former president Donald Trump, whose administration expelled thousands of people seeking asylum into Mexico while their cases lapsed in the US. Mr Biden also has revoked a “zero tolerance” policy of family separation.
The administration is reportedly weighing a six-month contract to house 1,200 families in hotels in Texas and Arizona.
Mr Biden is at Camp David this weekend following a visit with Vice President Kamala Harris to Atlanta, Georgia in the wake of the killing of eight people, including six Asian American women.
“We have to change our hearts,” he said in an address to the nation. “Hate can have no safe harbor in America.”
They also met with officials at the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, as the administration continues a promotion tour across the US following the passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and vaccination efforts.
Meanwhile Donald Trump’s son posted a mock video of the former president hitting golf balls at Mr Biden after he tripped while boarding Air Force One on his way to Atlanta.
The White House principal deputy press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, later said Mr Biden was “doing 100 per cent fine”.
Biden administration to house 1,200 migrant families in border-area hotels
The Biden administration is preparing a six-month contract to house roughly 1,200 families in hotels in Texas and Arizona, Department of Homeland Security officials told Axios.
Alex Woodward20 March 2021 18:30
Attacked Atlanta spas had been targeted by prostitution stings
Two Atlanta area massage businesses where a gunman waged a deadly assault this week had been repeatedly targeted in police prostitution investigations over the years, raising questions about the mayor’s earlier comments that the spas operated legally.
Police records show officers went to the businesses repeatedly in the past 10 years, which appears to contradict Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ statement that officers in her city had not been to the businesses beyond a minor potential theft and that they were not “on the radar” of police. Bottoms added that she did not want to blame the victims.
Robert Aaron Long, 21, is charged with killing four women at the Atlanta spas and four other people inside a massage business about 30 miles (50 kilometers) away in Cherokee County. Long, who is white, told investigators the attacks were not racially motivated and claimed to have a sex addiction, which caused him to lash out at what he saw as sources of temptation.
Police in both Atlanta and Cherokee County said they were investigating if the killings could be considered hate crimes. Seven of the victims were women — six of Asian descent — and the gunman targeted the massage businesses despite a strip club and lingerie stores nearby.
Chiara Giordano20 March 2021 18:00
Biden admin under fire for restricting journalists’ access to border facilities
The Biden administration has come under fire for restricting the access of reporters to facilities at the border as a surge of migrants cross into the United States.
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas travelled to the border on Friday with a group of senators from both parties. The Biden administration blocked journalists from joining the trip, something reporters usually can do when members of the cabinet make trips of this kind with lawmakers.
Gustaf Kilander explains:
Chiara Giordano20 March 2021 17:40
Newsom set for recall election as signatures top 2 million
The California gubernatorial recall election is likely to go ahead after organisers behind the effort to boot governor Gavin Newsom out of office indicated that they have managed to collect over two million signatures, well over the threshold of 1.5 million to qualify for a recall.
Gustaf Kilander reports from Washington:
Chiara Giordano20 March 2021 17:36
United States-China talks sink to war of words
The first face-to-face talks between Chinese and US officials since Joe Biden took office descended into a war of words on Friday, intensifying troubled relations between the two nations.
Both sides traded sharp barbs in an unusually public way at the Alaska meeting, with the US accusing the Chinese delegation of “grandstanding” and Beijing firing back, saying there was a “strong smell of gunpowder and drama” that was entirely the fault of the Americans.
Emily Goddard has more details:
Chiara Giordano20 March 2021 17:16
Republican charged with hiring ‘ghost candidate’ with same name as Democrat to eke out victory
Frank Artiles, a Republican former state lawmaker in Florida, has been charged with paying an associate to mount a fake candidacy to run…