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GOP reps to launch Northern Border Security Caucus, as officials tackle surge in migrant encounters

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/gop-reps-launch-northern-border-security-caucus-officials-tackle-surge-migrant-encounters

FIRST ON FOX: Republican lawmakers in the House are launching a Northern Border Security Caucus to come up with solutions as the often overlooked border is seeing its own surge in illegal migrant encounters — with at least one sector calling for help from their colleagues.

Twenty-eight lawmakers, led by Reps. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., and Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., who will serve as co-chairs, are launching the caucus next week to draw attention to the growing problems the border is facing and to create solutions to combat both drug and human smuggling across the border.

There has been a sharp increase in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encounters of migrants at the northern border, jumping from 32,376 in FY 2020 to 109,535 in FY 2022. There have also been more recent increases in drug seizures, all while staffing levels have remained roughly static for years. The border, which is 5,525 miles, only has 115 ports of entry. 

Some sectors have seen historic highs, with Border Patrol’s Swanton Sector seeing an 846% increase compared to the same period in FY 2022. FY23’s total apprehensions and encounters have already surpassed FY22 and FY21 combined.  This week Fox News reported that Border Patrol is appealing for volunteers to deal with the surge, which is attributed to “Mexican migrants with no legal documents.”

BORDER PATROL CALLS FOR AGENTS TO VOLUNTEER AT NORTHERN BORDER AMID 846% SURGE IN ONE SECTOR

The Canada/U.S. border is seeing a surge in migrants coming across.

The Canada/U.S. border is seeing a surge in migrants coming across. (CBP)

The caucus will launch with 28 members, with Republicans lawmakers from across the country including Reps. Elise Stefanik, R-NY., Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., Nicole Malliotakis, R-NY, and Tony Gonzales, R-Texas.

The lawmakers are warning that while the main focus of attention is on the crisis at the southern border, where numbers are significantly higher, cartels are growing their operations in the north and CBP has suffered with staffing issues. The ongoing pressure is something that Republicans have pinned at least in part on the Biden administration’s policies, which they have also blamed for the migrant crisis ongoing at the southern border.

“The numbers don’t lie: the Biden administration’s open-border policies have allowed for a surge in human and drug trafficking across the U.S.-Canadian border, the longest international border in the entire world,” Kelly said in a statement. 

Over the last two years, every state has become a border state. I’ve spoken with Border Patrol officials in my home state of Pennsylvania who tell me they are pulling double duty – they are digitally processing migrants who are apprehended at the Southern border while now also trying to defend the Northern border,” he said. “Migrants and smugglers are seeking alternative routes into the United States, and the Northern border is increasingly their first stop.”

Kelly said the goal of the caucus is to provide “Our goal is to provide commonsense, practical solutions that will increase security across all of America’s borders.”

VERMONT BORDER APPREHENSIONS IN LAST THREE MONTHS MORE THAN PAST TWO YEARS COMBINED 

“The first thing bad guys do is go where the good guys aren’t,” Zinke said. “Right now, all our good guys are dealing Biden’s crisis on the South West border leaving the north unprotected and vulnerable to criminals, cartels and terrorists. “By establishing the caucus, we will provide critical oversight and expose the truth to the American people about the nationwide crisis this administration has willingly caused.”

The lawmakers also acknowledge that the challenges the northern border has been facing have been there in some form for many years. A 2017 DHS threat analysis report found that the large volume of travel, as well as stretches of barren terrain between the ports, provided the potential for individuals who pose a national security risk to enter the U.S.

A 2019 Government Accountability Office identified staffing and resource challenges, as well as the need for measures to assess security between ports of entry.

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Meanwhile, CBP has recently sounded the alarm about not only the challenges agents are facing, but also the risks to migrants who are crossing in often freezing temperatures.

 “As we progress deeper into winter and continue to address the ongoing pace of illicit cross-border traffic, the level of concern for the lives and welfare of our Border Patrol Agents and those we are encountering – particularly vulnerable populations – continues to climb,” CBP said.

Fox News’ Bill Melugin contributed to this report.
 

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/gop-reps-launch-northern-border-security-caucus-officials-tackle-surge-migrant-encounters

Politics

Lawmaker says his state may need to ‘divorce’ from USDA over this ingredient in school lunches

A state lawmaker is aiming to “divorce” Iowa from federal regulations to ban margarine and vegetable public school meals over health concerns.

“Seed oils and margarine are wreaking havoc on the health of our children,” Iowa state Rep. Jeff Shipley told Fox News. “Fake industrial fats like margarine are connected to a myriad of mental and physical illness.”

An Iowa bill could ban margarine across the state, claiming the butter alternative can cause illness.

An Iowa bill could ban margarine across the state, claiming the butter alternative can cause illness. (iStock)

Shipley’s legislation, House File 341, passed a subcommittee on Feb. 23. Some margarine, which is made up of vegetable oils and water, has been associated with higher cholesterol levels, according to Harvard Health. It also contains trans fat, which has been associated with increased depression, the National Library of Medicine reported in 2016.

MEDITERRANEAN, MIND DIETS SHOWN TO REDUCE SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S IN THE BRAIN, STUDY FINDS

“Animal fats, or higher quality saturated fats like olive or avocado oil are, essential nutrients for children’s health and developments,” Shipley said.

Both margarine and butter can have associated health risks.

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Jay Cowin, a registered nutritionist, previously told Fox News that seed oil was “full of polyunsaturated fatty acids like Omega-6, which can cause inflammation and liver damage. But compared to margarine, butter contains more saturated fats, which have been associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

And some experts found increased sugar and fat intake contributed to increased rates of depression and anxiety

An Iowa bill's sponsor says USDA guidelines are leaving children nutritionally starved.

An Iowa bill’s sponsor says USDA guidelines are leaving children nutritionally starved. (Fox News)

50 BIZARRE LAWS THAT HAVE EXISTED OR STILL EXIST IN AMERICA

Shipley told Fox News that his bill’s text conflicts with guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which provides funding for public school meals. The nutritional guidelines outlines limited sugar and sodium intake and specific low-fat alternatives for some foods. 

Shipley said the guidelines restricted “fat and protein, thus leaving children nutritionally starved and unhealthy.” 

“Our commitment to the school meal programs comes from a common goal we all share – keeping kids healthy and helping them reach their full potential,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a recent press release on updated school meal guidelines. “Research shows school meals are the healthiest meals in a day for most kids, proving that they are an important tool for giving kids access to the nutrition they need for a bright future.”

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“Since it’s become clear that the USDA guidelines are not supportive of children’s health, ultimately we will need to divorce the state of Iowa from these guidelines,” Shipley said, though he recognized his legislation could jeopardize USDA funding for Iowa school meals.

House File 341 is awaiting a full committee vote. 

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Politics

WI Assembly set to vote on bill that would make it a felony to encourage, engage in violence during a riot

Anyone who encourages a riot or engages in violence during a riot would face felony charges under a bill Wisconsin’s Assembly is poised to take up Wednesday.

The Republican-backed measure would make urging, promoting or organizing a riot a felony punishable by up to three years and six months in prison. Engaging in violence during a riot would a felony with up to six years in prison.

The bill defines a riot as a disturbance involving violence that’s part of a gathering of at least three people. The act of violence must have a clear and present danger of property damage or personal injury.

WISCONSIN GOV. EVERS MOVES AGAINST STATE ABORTION BAN AHEAD OF SUPREME COURT ELECTION

Assembly approval would send the bill to the Senate. However, its prospects look dim. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a similar bill last year that would have made attending a riot a misdemeanor with up to nine months’ jail, and participating in a riot that causes property damage or injuries would have been a felony with up to three years and six months in prison.

The Wisconsin Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would make it a felony to encourage a riot or engage in violence during a riot.

The Wisconsin Assembly is set to vote on a bill that would make it a felony to encourage a riot or engage in violence during a riot.

Evers said in his veto message that it’s already a crime to refuse police orders to withdraw from an unlawful assembly, and that the bill could infringe on free speech rights.

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Republicans introduced the bill after protesters burned swaths of downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin, and damaged statues during demonstrations against police brutality in 2020.

 

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Trump supporters outnumbered in New York as few take up Trump’s call to ‘PROTEST’

Former President Donald Trump’s supporters are far outnumbered in New York City ahead of his potential arrest Wednesday, despite the Republican’s call for his voters to “PROTEST, PROTEST, PROTEST.”

Demonstrators cheering on the potential indictment against Trump gathered outside the offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, drowning out the handful of protesters there supporting the former president, according to Politico. The grand jury is set to meet again Wednesday.

“I wish more people had shown up,” Trump supporter Philippe Lejeune told the outlet.

Law enforcement sources say an indictment against Trump was unlikely to come down on Tuesday, however, saying it wouldn’t come until Wednesday at the earliest. If Trump is truly indicted it may galvanize more of his supporters to protest.

Few Americans are taking up former President Donald Trump's call to

Few Americans are taking up former President Donald Trump’s call to “PROTEST” ahead of his potential arrest this week. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The NYPD prepared for potential widespread protests on Tuesday, but they never arrived.

The NYPD prepared for potential widespread protests on Tuesday, but they never arrived. (Leonardo Munoz)

Out of an abundance of caution, the NYPD ordered all 36,000 of its officers to be in uniform and on standby in anticipation of Trump’s potential arrest Tuesday. U.S. Capitol Police also erected barricades and called for more manpower ahead of the potential indictment, but few protesters showed up and Trump remains unmolested.

MCCARTHY DISCOURAGES PROTESTS AMID LOOMING TRUMP INDICTMENT: ‘WE WANT CALMNESS’

The USCP clarified on Monday that it is not aware of any specific threat against the Capitol, but is making preparations out of an abundance of caution.

Several law enforcement groups were scheduled to meet at noon on Monday at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan to discuss the logistics of a potential indictment against Trump. The NYPD hosted the meeting, and attendees included Michael Magliano, chief of the Department of Public Safety, which oversees New York court officers, the head of the Secret Service’s New York office, and a representative from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Trump would be the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges if Bragg’s office levels them. The potential indictment is expected to allege campaign finance infractions relating to records keeping, what some call a slim pretext for such a high-profile case.

U.S. Capitol Police prepared for potential protests surrounding Trump's arrest.

U.S. Capitol Police prepared for potential protests surrounding Trump’s arrest. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Some Democrats fear that the potential charges are not up to the task and could backfire, making it harder for allegations to stick relating to the other two investigations into Trump.

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Bragg’s investigation is just one of three Trump is facing, and the charges stemming from it may be the easiest ones for Trump to defeat. A failed prosecution of the former president – whose opponents have long dreamed of locking him up – could only serve to bolster his common refrain that he is the victim of a “witch hunt.”

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