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April 5, 2014

As the number of illegal immigrants deported during the Obama administration nears two million, activists are stepping up their efforts to change President Barack Obama's immigration policy:

More than 40 protests in cities across the United States took place today, but on Friday night, one unique group gathered at a vigil in downtown Los Angeles. Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders in the city took a unified stance, noting that not so long ago, such an event would have focused primarily on the Latino community.

"Times have changed," Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, told the Los Angeles Times. "Some have framed the issue as a monolithic issue of a particular denomination. But that is a myth. The immigration issue transcends all creeds, all colors, all languages."

Activists must remember, though, that the immigration issue also transcends political parties. Even if protesters were to sway the Obama administration from its current policy, they would need cooperation from a Republican-controlled House. Considering a House committee blocked another Republican-backed proposal on Friday, immigration reform — at least this year — appears unlikely. Sarah Eberspacher

11:23 a.m. ET

Soccer is the beautiful game no matter what — but every four years, when it's imbued with the international pride and enthusiasm of the World Cup, it takes on extra emotion. Whiffing on a penalty kick can equal global failure, while a victory for the underdog is practically a religious experience.

But for the Panama national soccer team, well, they were just happy to make it to Russia this year. Before they took the field against Belgium on Monday for their first-ever World Cup match, the players stood for the customary playing of their national anthem. Several stood with tears in their eyes, while the crowd belted the words with a fervor. Watch the touching moment below, and relive the goal that brought Panama to Fisht Stadium in Sochi here. Kimberly Alters

11:11 a.m. ET
USAf/Getty Images

This spring, the Pentagon quietly upgraded U.S. Cyber Command, giving it authority to launch daily, offensive cyber attacks against foreign computer networks, The New York Times reported Sunday.

In the past, Cyber Command operated mostly in a defensive mode, neutralizing digital threats and only rarely making offensive strikes against targets like the Islamic State. Though those strikes have had "mixed" results and can land the U.S. in difficult situations with allies, the Times notes, Cyber Command will now be able to engage in preventive, "constant, disruptive 'short of war' activities" against terrorist networks and state actors alike.

The decision to expand Cyber Command's power was not "formally debated inside the White House before it was issued," the Times reports, citing multiple current and former administration officials, all unnamed. In fact, shortly after National Security Adviser John Bolton took office this year, he eliminated the role of White House cybercoordinator. Bonnie Kristian

10:52 a.m. ET

President Trump has repeatedly tried to pass off his administration's new "zero tolerance" policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border on Democrats, even as other administration officials have doubled down on the practice. Here are some of the contradictory excuses offered by the Trump team for a policy that is being increasingly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike. Jeva Lange

President Trump: "It is the Democrats' fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!"

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible."

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller: "It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law."

Legislative affairs chief Marc Short: "The policy is incredibly complicated and it is one we need to do a better job of communicating."

Former chief strategist Stephen Bannon: "We ran on a policy — very simply — stop mass illegal immigration and limit legal immigration, get our sovereignty back to help our workers, and so he went to a zero tolerance policy. It's a crime to come across illegally and children get separated. I mean, I hate to say it, that's the law and he's enforcing the law."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period."

10:51 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

A majority of Americans oppose the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their families after they enter the U.S. illegally or seek asylum at the border, a new poll conducted by Ipsos for The Daily Beast reveals.

The survey asked respondents whether they agree with this statement: "It is appropriate to separate undocumented immigrant parents from their children when they cross the border in order to discourage others from crossing the border illegally." About 1 in 4 — 27 percent — said they agreed, and 56 percent said the separations are not appropriate.

While Democrats were more likely than average to oppose the policy and independents nearly matched the national average, a plurality of Republicans (46 percent) agreed with the statement, compared to 32 percent who said they do not agree.

This poll was conducted online from June 14 to 15, surveying about 1,000 people. Ipsos calculates a credibility interval, which is similar to a margin of error, of 3.5 percent overall and 6.1 to 7.8 percent for party loyalty subsets. Bonnie Kristian

10:49 a.m. ET

President Trump on Monday claimed that migrant families are being separated at the border because immigrant parents are choosing to bring their children as a way to game the system and enter the U.S.

Declaring migrant parents "some of the worst criminals on earth" is quite a departure from Trump's usual argument in defense of the separation practice. Just minutes after blaming immigrants from "the most dangerous places in the world" for forcing the separations, Trump reverted back to his usual punching bag: Democrats.

While Trump has never explained exactly how Democrats are responsible for his administration's decision to start separating families to criminally prosecute undocumented immigrants — perhaps because they're not — he has repeated the claim several times. Many members of the GOP have denounced the policy and pointed out that Trump has the power to stop it, telling Trump that he could end the practice with a simple phone call.

Rather than do that, though, Trump has shifted responsibility onto all of Twitter, vaguely calling to "CHANGE THE LAWS!" Summer Meza

10:33 a.m. ET

Even ex-White House staffers are lobbying President Trump to end the separation of children and parents at the border.

Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci is the latest Trump affiliate to demand the president end the divisive immigration policy "today," calling the policy "atrocious" and "offensive to the average American" on CNN on Monday morning.

Scaramucci isn't blaming the policy on Trump. He just thinks the president can end it more quickly than Congress. It's just like the time the New York City government was struggling to complete a Central Park ice rink and Trump stepped in to get the job done, Scaramucci told CNN.

Scaramucci also suggested piling more blame on the president's advisers. The Department of Homeland Security, not Trump, envisioned the policy under former head John Kelly, Scaramucci said, so Trump should stop listening to those staffers. But ultimately, Trump is a TV star, so Scaramucci told CNN that he's confident the president will recognize how bad this situation looks and clean it up before it hurts Republicans in the midterm elections. "He doesn't need this type of visual or this type of imagery," he said, "aside from" the fact that the policy "is inhumane and it's cruel."

Watch the exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

10:29 a.m. ET
John Moore/Getty Images

As many as 30,000 migrant children could be separated from their families and held in detention centers by the end of the summer, an unnamed senior Trump administration official told The Washington Examiner for a report published Monday.

The source estimated that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been taking about 250 kids daily in recent days — a significantly higher tally than has been previously reported — and calculated that the total could reach 30,000 by August. As of Friday, the Examiner's source said, HHS already has 11,500 of these children detained.

The family separations are not required by law, as President Trump has claimed, and were instituted by his administration as an immigration deterrent. Some of the families affected have not crossed the border illegally but rather are following legal procedure to seek asylum. The Obama administration, which deported more people than any previous presidency, separated a few families after illegal border crossings, but more often it placed them, intact, in detention camps or released them to await their court dates. Bonnie Kristian

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