The Biden administration apprehended more than 170,000 immigrants at the southern border in March, the most in more than a year, as the government continues to let children and adults seeking refuge languish in prison-like conditions.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the next housing bubble may be rapidly inflating, as major investors are snapping up single-family homes and even entire subdivisions, competing with normal people and driving prices way above their actual value.
And lastly, The New York Times reports that Donald Trump had one final humiliation in store for his deluded followers: many of them who thought they made one-time donations were instead milked for recurring payments to the campaign.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Government documents obtained by the New York Times show that the Biden administration apprehended more than 170,000 migrants at the southwest border last month.
The surge in migration is fueled by a number of factors: the perception that Biden will be less barbaric than Trump, the changing weather, the state of conflicts and crises in Central America.
Of those, the first factor appears to be only half true. While the Biden administration has abandoned some of Trump’s overtly evil policies, the conditions that children and families are subjected to in CBP and ICE custody are still abhorrent.
The current surge, the Times reports, is causing several problems. The number of unaccompanied minors is still high, making the government fall behind on transferring children to more comfortable facilities.
The other issue, the Times reports, is that there’s also been a surge of complete family units. For most of the beginning of his term, Biden was still using Trump ruling to turn away families and single adults, leaving them in Mexico and admitting only children. But Mexico doesn’t want to play by those rules anymore. Out of necessity, that’s made the Biden administration do something immigration hawks hate: just releasing people to go meet their other relatives instead of detaining them.
Of course, the GOP is busy trying to weaponize this against Biden as much as possible -- but there’s no situation on the border that they wouldn’t try to exploit. What progressives need to stay focused on is making sure that the people who arrive here seeking a better life get treated like the human beings they are.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a distressing new trend: big investors are gobbling up U.S. real estate, inflating prices far beyond the average consumer’s means and puffing up a bubble in the housing market.
If that sounds familiar to anyone, well, buckle up.
The Journal reports that big investors including pension funds and private equity vultures are snatching up whole subdivisions of single-family homes, attempting to capitalize on surging prices to rent them at a profit or flip them for more.
What this means is actual human home-buyers are competing with the offering power of Wall Street, and for the most part they can’t keep up. Those who do manage to buy, of course, are running the same risk that homeowners ran in the mid-2000s, where they got locked into mortgages that were worth far more than their house’s actual value.
And we saw what happens when millions of Americans are in that position.
In Houston, for example, 24% of new home purchases were by investors, not actual families, according to data from one consulting firm. They’re specifically targeting the kind of middle-class homes that got hit hard in the last crisis -- ones that aren’t too expensive and in good school districts, for example.
The Journal reports that this speculative bubble still has more room to fill -- but when it bursts, we know it’s not the fat cats on Wall Street who will be left in the lurch.
The Times has one more big scoop for us this morning. This time, we’re talking Trump again. Sure, the monster has been out of the big house for a few months, but considering his continued influence in the GOP it’s important to remember what he’s capable of.
This time, it’s some rudimentary scamming of his own supporters. The Times reports that many supporters who donated to the Trump campaign through the third-party service it used to process contributions were tricked into recurring payments instead of one-time gifts.
It’s the oldest trick in a scammers book, almost. The Times reports that in September of last year, as the Democrats were outspending and hammering Trump on every front, the campaign and its donation company made recurring payments the default for any contribution that came in, forcing people to read through fine print and opt-out to make a one-time payment.
You can imagine how many people that nabbed. And to make things worse, the campaign also introduced a second prechecked option online, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution.
The Times investigation is expansive, and also shows that the Trump campaign was eventually forced to refund over 10 percent of the money it collected through these methods. But that’s certainly much less than it dishonestly took in -- and the only thing left to learn is whether the people in charge will face any actual consequences.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
Amazon’s thoroughly-humiliated PR department apologized to Rep. Mark Pocan on Friday for lying about their track record of forcing employees to pee in bottles while on the clock after a Motherboard investigation caught them out. But their apology was, of course, insincere, as it ended with a list of articles about other companies who also work employees so hard they can’t find bathrooms easily. Nice deflection there!
With more than one in 10 households reporting that they lack enough to eat, the Times reports that the Biden administration is accelerating a vast campaign of hunger relief that will temporarily increase food assistance by tens of billions of dollars, hopefully setting the stage for further permanent expansions of federal aid programs.
The Intercept reports that oil pipeline giant Energy Transfer recently subpoenaed members of the nonprofit news organization Unicorn Riot, which was instrumental in covering the Standing Rock movement, seeking a wide range of documents, including newsgathering materials that would identify sources. If that sounds like a troubling act of retribution against the free press, well, that’s because it is.
The Associated Press reports that the U.S. military has closed the notorious Camp 7 facility at guantanamo bay, which housed prisoners who were straight from CIA black sites. Those prisoners were moved to another part of the facility, which is still holding 40 people overall, so while Biden says he wants to close the whole facility, it’s not happening any time soon.
April 5, 2021 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Jack Crosbie
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn