Immigration activists have had it with President Joe Biden's increasing willingness to play the role of deporter in chief. Dozens of them stormed out of a virtual meeting with White House officials in protest of the administration's revival of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), reports Politico.
MPP, known informally as "Remain in Mexico," was a program started under President Donald Trump. It required asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while waiting for U.S. immigration court hearings.
The program proved controversial. Critics claimed it violates immigrants' rights under domestic and international law to claim asylum on U.S. soil, and that it required 70,000 migrants to wait for their court hearings in tent cities in dangerous Mexican border towns. The Biden administration ended the program in June. But a federal judge, in response to a lawsuit brought by Missouri and Texas, ordered that it be reinstated.
The administration's compliance with the court order proved the last straw for some immigration activists.
"I cannot stand one more meeting of them pretending," Ariana Saludares, a 40-year-old advocate from the New Mexico–based organization Colores United and attendee of the Saturday meeting with White House officials, told Politico. "They give us accolades on the outside, but on the inside, we're having to take out the metaphoric knives from our back."
These activists also expressed frustration with Biden's continuation of another of Trump's border policies. That measure, called Title 42, allows border patrol officials to expel migrants on the grounds that they pose a public health threat due to COVID-19.
That policy resulted in more than 1 million people being expelled from the U.S. as of July 2021. The Biden administration has recently used this public health justification to deport thousands of Haitian migrants from the U.S.-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas.
Biden had promised on the campaign trail that he would take a softer, more humane approach to immigration. His continuation of many of the past administration's draconian border policies has left activists feeling betrayed.
"It's almost like we were bamboozled into thinking that this was going to be the best option," said Saludares. "It is as if you know that your family is now turning against you and telling you that it's okay. It's not."
At least the Biden administration fired some horses, right?
Maine is cracking down on obscene license plates. The state is in the middle of making new rules that would prohibit the words fuck, shit, and other obscenities unfit for print from appearing on vanity plates.
The state is currently pausing applications for these vulgar plates and will eventually recall those that have already been issued, reports the Associated Press.
"Rule-making will delay the process of active removal of plates from the road but will help us balance the free speech rights of citizens and the public interest of removing inappropriate license plates," said Secretary of State Shenna Bellows.
California's own restrictions on supposedly offensive vanity plates were struck down on First Amendment grounds late last year. Maine's new rules could potentially run into the same problem.
Nashville's government betrays its reputation as a party city by attempting to shut down the hottest tub on wheels. Earlier this month, the Nashville government filed a lawsuit against the Music City Party Tub and its owner, Guy Williams, for operating a public swimming pool without the requisite permits, reports The Tennessean.
Williams has been operating his mobile hot tub—a heated pool on a trailer that's pulled by a truck around city streets—through a shifting series of corporate entities since April 2019. The city's lawsuit contends that he lacks a necessary public pool permit from the health department and that the party tub itself requires multiple design updates to be street legal.
It's asking that a judge temporarily shut down the party tub. A preliminary injunction hearing was scheduled for last week, but thus far there hasn't been any reporting on its outcome.
Should the party tub be shut down, it would be a real loss for both unfettered free enterprise in all its gaudy glory, and for any number of bachelorettes looking for one last ride before settling down.
• Apple's latest iPhone privacy features have obstructed its tech rivals' ads from reaching users, tripling the company's market share:
Chart of the Day:@Apple's advertising business has more than tripled its market share in the six months after it introduced privacy changes to iPhones that obstructed rivals, including @Facebook and @Google, from targeting ads at consumers.
*A Thread* pic.twitter.com/vhFFXOzHGa
— Patrick McGee (@PatrickMcGee_) October 17, 2021
• The San Francisco Chronicle has a long profile on Monica Gandhi, a San Francisco doctor who has generated controversy for advocating a slightly more liberal, harm reduction–oriented approach to the pandemic.
• China hawks are foaming at the mouth after the country conducted a hypersonic missile test in low orbit.
• Biden has maintained limits on people sending remittances to Cuba despite promises to lift those sanctions.
• New York City is looking to turn a massive public graveyard into a public park. Fun!
• Democrats in Congress are considering passing a carbon tax after Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) rejected their clean energy plan for addressing climate change.
• Colombian officials are sterilizing hippos smuggled into the country by drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The animals are reportedly an invasive species.
• Is it a witch hunt? The New Zealand city of Christchurch has fired its municipal wizard of 23 years after he made a joke about beating women.
• Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has died at age 84 of complications from COVID-19, his family said on Facebook.
Rent Free is a weekly newsletter from Christian Britschgi on urbanism and the fight for less regulation, more housing, more property rights, and more freedom in America's cities.