July 12, 2019

Border Patrol agents are fully aware that caring for migrant children isn't in their job description.

But some of them have reportedly gotten sick of the added burden of feeding, processing, and transporting migrants — so much so that they've emblazoned those duties on a commemorative coin "mocking" the fact that they're performing them instead of patrolling the border, ProPublica reports. The coin is unofficial, yet features the Border Patrol logo, and has been "circulating among Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border," ProPublica continues.

One side of the coin, which ProPublica obtained, features an image that resembles the migrant caravans that arrived at the border last year. The people carry a Honduran flag, and all appear to be men, though the real caravan included women and children. The edge of the coin reads "keep the caravan coming." On the other side, agents are shown bottle-feeding an infant and fingerprinting what appears to be a teenage boy, with the words "feeding," "processing," "hospital," and "transport" written around the edge.

So-called "challenge coins" like these aren't uncommon, and they're usually unofficial like this one, ProPublica reports. It's not clear where this coin comes from, but it was distributed as early as April and has been discussed or spotted by agents in both Texas and California. They were also promoted in the secret Facebook group where agents reportedly mocked migrant deaths and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

CBP officials said they hadn't heard about the coin until ProPublica contacted them about it. One unnamed official said CBP "has a firm policy on the use and production of challenge coins bearing CBP identifiers," but suggested the coin would be fine if it didn't include the logo. Read more, and find a picture of the coin, at ProPublica. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:01 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands took to the streets across Puerto Rico to protest Governor Ricardo Rosselló's decision not to resign his post, despite announcing that he would not seek re-election and would step down as the leader of his party.

There are estimates that the already-massive protests could reach up to 1 million participants, which is a little less than one-third of the territory's total population. For some perspective on the sheer size of the demonstrations — which have shut down a major highway and caused vacation cruises to cancel port stops — check out the crowds from above.

The marchers have been calling for Rosselló's resignation for days, after a private chat with some of his aides was leaked, revealing profanity-laced homophobic and misogynistic messages. Several of Rosselló's former administration officials are also currently embroiled in a corruption scandal, which has not helped his standing.

The protests have received support from baseball players, singers, and presidential candidates, but not everyone is satisfied with the amount of traction the demonstrations have gained beyond Puerto Rico's shores. Tim O'Donnell

2:21 p.m.

President Trump on Monday suggested he could win the war in Afghanistan in a "week" but that doing so would involve killing millions of people.

"If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I would win that war in a week," Trump said. "I just don't want to kill 10 million people."

Trump went on to again say that "if I wanted to win that war, Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the Earth" and that "it would be over literally in 10 days," but "I don't want to go that route."

These comments came as Trump sat in the Oval Office with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and he said that the United States is working with Pakistan and other countries to "extricate ourselves" from Afghanistan because "we've been there for 19 years" and "we don't want to stay as policemen." Trump also teased some unspecified "very good answers" on Afghanistan in the future. Brendan Morrow

2:01 p.m.

A new Trump administration rule will make thousands more immigrants subject to immediate deportation every year.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued an expansion of "expedited removal" proceedings to immigrants anywhere in the U.S., it announced in a Monday notice. That means immigrants who've arrived in the U.S. within the past two years can be deported without a court hearing, expanding a policy that currently only covers areas within 100 miles of the border and migrants who've been here for less than two weeks.

As it stands, America's immigration court system is facing case backlogs that have some migrants waiting years for hearings. This rule change would help mitigate those numbers, but advocates argue it would also strip migrants of their due process rights. An estimate in the notice suggests it could put an additional 20,000 people into expedited proceedings each year. It could even force migrants who've been in the U.S. longer onto the expedited path, seeing as it's up to them to prove to authorities how long they've been in the U.S.

The American Civil Liberties Union quickly tweeted to say it would be suing to challenge this new rule.

The rule change is set to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. Find the notice in its entirety here. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:50 p.m.

R. Kelly's crisis manager, Darrell Johnson, argued for the R&B singer's innocence on Monday while also admitting that he would not allow his own daughter to be alone with him.

Johnson appeared on CBS This Morning on Monday after Kelly earlier this month was arrested on federal sex crimes charges, including child porn and enticement of a minor. CBS' Gayle King in the interview asked Johnson whether he would leave his 20-year-old daughter alone with Kelly, who has denied the allegations.

"Absolutely not," Johnson quickly answered before King had even finished the question. "I wouldn't leave my daughter with anybody that's accused of pedophilia. Period."

King expressed surprise that Johnson was defending Kelly despite not even being okay with allowing his daughter to be around him, to which Johnson insisted that this is "absolutely" not a contradiction, reiterating that he would not leave her with "anyone ... that's accused of being a pedophile," which Kelly is.

This comment was in spite of the fact that minutes earlier, Johnson had defended Kelly by saying he is a "normal person" and that he personally hasn't "seen anything that has caused me to be suspicious." Kelly, who was also indicted earlier this year on sexual abuse charges, is currently in jail and will appear in court on August 2. Brendan Morrow

1:22 p.m.

So far in 2019, California's climate change-induced wildfires have burned far fewer acres than they did in the same period last year, but the state's officials are still on edge. The constant threat of flames has continued to drive up expenses, as well, reports The New York Times.

For example, Pacific Gas & Electric is requesting that regulators approve an additional charge to customers of $2 billion over the next three years to help pay for wildfire safety improvements. Customers will also be paying more than $10 billion in taxes on electricity bills, the Times writes, and some counties are spending hundreds of thousands to install generators in government buildings. But the rising costs are increasingly accepted as a necessary evil.

"It's a lot of money for us, but I really feel we don't have a choice," Dennis Darling, who owns a supermarket in the town of Clearlake, told the Times.

Darling, who is paying $100,000 to install a generator in the supermarket he owns, is among the residents taking matters into their own hands should the power grids continue to fail amid wildfires. There's reportedly been a spike in interest in energy storage systems throughout the state. "We're seeing more and more of that over the last three or four years now, because of the threat of wildfires, the threat of an earthquake," said Rainier de Ocampo, vice president for marketing at Solar Optimum, a solar power and storage contractor.

Resident Susanne Polos said she recalls her power going out 10 times in the last year, prompting her family to invest in an energy storage system; they have an electric car, which they can't afford to not have charged in case of a fire emergency.

All told, the prospect of fires remains on the minds of everyone in the state despite the assurance from Pacific Gas & Electric's chief executive officer Bill Johnson that "we are safer than we were yesterday." Johnson himself acknowledged "this risk exists and can't be eliminated." Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

1:14 p.m.

That'll show 'em!

The Trump campaign has made enemies out of diningware, putting packs of Trump-branded plastic straws for sale last Friday under the tagline "liberal paper straws don't work." Despite the missed opportunity to write "liberal paper straws suck," the fundraising attempt appears to have paid off, Trump 2020 Campaign Manager Brad Parscale revealed Monday.

Parscale teased to the Friday release with Thursday tweet that was truly grasping at straws, saying that like paper goods, liberals "squeeze [the economy] until it doesn't work." President Trump on Friday meanwhile argued against banning straws by essentially arguing for banning other, bigger plastic goods.

Parscale's claim of "over $200,000 raised" would rely on the total price of all the straws going directly to the campaign, with no production costs taken out. If that total is actually correct, perhaps Trump should launch a whole plasticware line to help guarantee he's not disposed with the next election. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:32 a.m.

There's apparently some agreement in Washington, D.C.

The Democrat-led House and the GOP-run Senate and White House are getting close to finalizing a deal that would lift the debt ceiling for another two years, multiple sources reported Monday morning. The near deal likely won't include major spending cuts, people familiar with negotiations have said, spelling a likely defeat for deficit hawk and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney.

Deficit ceiling talks roll around every few years, with Congress and the White House constantly having to hammer out a budget deal that usually includes lifting the federal government's debt limits. This year's deal is set to include $1.3 trillion in spending across government agencies and a two-year extension on the government's ability to borrow, The Associated Press reports. If all works out as reported, the government will likely avoid a shutdown that could've happened this coming fall.

This deal means government spending will increase "by tens of billions of dollars in the next two years," The Washington Post reports — the exact opposite of spending cuts a White House budget request spelled out earlier this year. That's quite possibly because Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is heading the talks for the White House instead of debt-reducing hardliner Mulvaney. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is meanwhile negotiating for Democrats, and both sides want to see a deal reached before Congress breaks for recess this week until late August. If a deal isn't orchestrated by September, $126 billion in automatic spending cuts will start in January, likely hitting Mnuchin's own agency. Kathryn Krawczyk

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