10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2023

A federal judge blocks Biden's asylum restrictions, the Education Department investigates Harvard's legacy admissions, and more

A Harvard flag being waved at a football game
(Image credit: mark peterson / Corbis via Getty Images)

1. Judge blocks Biden asylum restrictions

A federal judge in California on Tuesday ruled that the Biden administration's new restrictions on asylum requests by people crossing the southern border violate U.S. law on providing shelter for people fleeing violence. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar said that since 1980 asylum law has allowed migrants reaching U.S. soil to apply for humanitarian protection even if they entered the country without proper documentation. Tigar suspended his ruling for two weeks to give the Biden administration time to ask a higher court to uphold the policy, which disqualifies most people from applying for asylum unless they get an appointment at an official entry port or applied for protection on the way to the border. The policy has been credited with sharply reducing migrant crossings.

CBS News The New York Times

2. Education Department investigates Harvard legacy admissions

The Education Department confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating Harvard's legacy admissions policies, which give advantages to relatives of alumni. The department's Office for Civil Rights launched the inquiry after several nonprofit groups filed a complaint, saying that every year "Harvard College grants special preference in its admissions process to hundreds of mostly white students – not because of anything they have accomplished, but rather solely because of who their relatives are." The nonprofits filed the complaint days after the Supreme Court in June banned affirmative action in college admissions. This policy "really serves predominantly white students ... this is really sending the wrong message," said Zaida Ismatul Oliva, executive director of the Chica Project.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

USA Today

3. McCarthy says Republicans might consider Biden impeachment inquiry

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Tuesday that Republican lawmakers might consider an impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden over unproven claims of financial misconduct — a priority of conservative allies of former President Donald Trump. McCarthy acknowledged that House investigations so far have not proven any wrongdoing by Biden, but he said an impeachment inquiry "allows Congress to get the information to be able to know the truth." McCarthy made the comments during question-and-answer sessions with reporters after a Monday night TV appearance in which he told Fox News' Sean Hannity that Republican lawmakers' investigations into the business dealings of the president's son, Hunter Biden, were "rising to the level of [an] impeachment inquiry."

Politico The Associated Press

4. Study: Crucial Atlantic current system could collapse in climate 'tipping' point

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) – the sensitive system of currents that carries warm water from the tropics into the North Atlantic and returns cold water south along the ocean floor – could collapse in the next few decades as climate change melts Arctic ice and disrupts the system, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The AMOC is considered one of the Earth's "tipping elements," and if it changes abruptly and irreversibly it could trigger major climate changes, including an ice age in Europe and more powerful hurricanes and sea-level rise on the U.S. East Coast. The study clashed with an assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that concluded the AMOC was unlikely to collapse this century.

USA Today The Washington Post

5. Former Marine who was freed in Russia prison swap injured in Ukraine

Former Marine Trevor Reed, who was released in a prisoner swap after being wrongfully detained by Russia, was injured fighting in Ukraine, a Biden administration official said Tuesday. Reed was hurt in a landmine explosion, ABC News reported. He "has been transported to Germany and he is receiving medical care," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a press briefing. Patel added that Reed "was not engaged in any activities on behalf of the U.S. government." Reed was arrested while in Moscow visiting his Russian girlfriend, who had recently graduated from law school. He was detained for nearly three years before being freed in a prisoner exchange between Washington and the Kremlin.

ABC News

6. Biden establishes Emmett Till national monument

President Biden on Tuesday signed a proclamation creating a national monument in honor of Emmett Till, a Black teen whose 1955 lynching fueled the civil-rights movement, and his mother, the activist Mamie Till-Mobley. "It's just barbaric, barbaric what happened," Biden said before the signing, which came on what would have been Till's 82nd birthday. The Chicago teen was tortured and murdered by white men weeks after his 14th birthday after he was accused of making a suggestive remark to a white woman. The monument will include three locations in Illinois and Mississippi: the Chicago church that held Till's funeral; the Mississippi courthouse where his killers were acquitted; and the site where his body was found.

The Wall Street Journal

7. DeSantis cuts staff, tweaks message as campaign sputters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' presidential campaign is cutting 38 jobs, more than a third of its payroll, as he tries to get his struggling bid for the White House back on track, Politico reported Tuesday. DeSantis is expanding earlier plans to trim staff to streamline his finances after raising $20 million in the second quarter but spending much of the money. DeSantis and his allies also are tweaking his message to make it more positive as he slips in the polls and risks losing his status as Donald Trump's closest rival, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Gov. DeSantis has a really good story to tell without trying to out-Trump Trump," said New Hampshire based GOP strategist Jim Merrill, who is not currently affiliated with a 2024 candidate.

Politico The Wall Street Journal

8. Gas prices make biggest daily jump in a year

National gas prices jumped 4 cents to $3.64 on Tuesday in the biggest one-day increase since June 2022, according to AAA data. Gas prices are higher than they were in the same period in 2021 but far below what they were in June 2022, when the national average rose above $5 per gallon for the first time. The decline in gas prices in the last year has helped reduce inflation from its peak of 9.1% last summer to 3%, on an annual basis, last month. Oil prices also have risen recently. U.S. benchmark West Texas crude oil was up to $79.64 per barrel on Tuesday, nearly $4 a barrel more expensive than a week earlier but still far below the price of $95.54 on July 25, 2022.

The Hill

9. Taliban force beauty salons to close in latest swipe at women's rights

The Taliban on Tuesday forced all beauty salons in Afghanistan to close under a policy announced earlier this month that the women-only spaces were forbidden under Shariah law. The Taliban government also said salons created economic hardship for grooms' families during wedding celebrations, according to The New York Times. Security forces patrolled the capital, Kabul, to enforce the ban, which triggered a rare protest earlier this month by salon owners and beauticians. Salons were one of the few remaining public places where women could gather outside the home in Afghanistan after a series of moves the Islamic fundamentalist group has taken to roll back women's rights since seizing power in August 2021.

The New York Times

10. Bronny James, son of Lakers star LeBron James, stable after cardiac arrest

Bronny James, son of the N.B.A. star LeBron James, suffered a cardiac arrest during basketball practice Monday at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where he will be a freshman this fall. The younger James, 18, was taken to a hospital where he was in stable condition, a spokesperson for the James family said in a statement. Bronny James, the eldest of the Los Angeles Lakers star's three children, was a four-star recruit and chose to play basketball at U.S.C. after also being heavily recruited by Oregon and Ohio State. Another player, center Vince Iwuchukwu, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest last year and was revived by U.S.C. trainers using an automated external defibrillator.

Los Angeles Times The New York Times

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.