Wednesday | October 20, 2021

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It’s Wednesday, October 20th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast:

1) ‘Secret’ Migrant Flights Land In New York

The Topline: As the ongoing crisis at the southern border continues, a bombshell report released this week alleges that the Biden administration is quietly flying thousands of underage migrants across the country for resettlement. 

Quote Of The Day: “What’s been happening there in Westchester has been happening all over the country. And, I think it’s an issue that there ought to be more transparency on.”

– Miranda Divine, NY Post reporter who broke the story

David Peinado/NurPhoto/Contributor via Getty Images

Secret Flights

According to a New York Post report, thousands of migrants, including minors, are being secretly flown across the country, often in the middle of the night. 

At one small airport in New York, there were reportedly 21 flights of migrants offloaded from Texas, including two flights from Houston that landed at 2:13 am and 4:29 am. 

Context: This week, leaked border patrol documents showed over 160,000 illegal immigrants had been released into the country, reportedly with little oversight. 

Is This Normal?

While it is standard procedure to resettle certain migrants in areas where they have established family connections, or in towns with processing centers, the secretive nature of these flights and the record number of unaccompanied minors flooding the border is abnormal.

The most recent government data showed that in July and August alone, there were 37,805 unaccompanied minors detained at the southern border. 

Over the past year, over 130,000 unaccompanied minors have been caught trying to cross the border illegally. Many children are handed over to human smugglers who often abandon them in dangerous conditions. 

Biden Administration

Critics of President Joe Biden say his immigration policies have incentivized parents to send their kids to the U.S. alone, because they know they’ll be allowed into the country if they don’t have a parent with them. 

When President Trump was in office, unaccompanied minors were often denied entry to the country, and there were on average, 48,000 unaccompanied minors detained each year – a number that has already tripled this year.

Abbie Parr/Contributor/Getty Images

2) Seattle Police Officers Face Termination Over Mandate

The Topline: As Seattle faces a shortage of law enforcement, police officers who declined to get vaccinated against COVID-19 are now facing termination after a vaccine mandate for city employees went into effect on Monday. 

Quote Of The Day: “We’ve had many conversations ever since the CHAZ/CHOP, we’ve lost close to 350 cops because we’re literally politically betrayed by our elected officials.”

Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild

The Mandate

As of Sunday, the Seattle police chief said 6% of the force had not submitted vaccination paperwork, which amounts to around 70 officers. 

The city has hemorrhaged police officers since last year and is also dealing with rising crime.

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced the vaccine mandate together in August, saying Washington state workers and city workers in Seattle must get vaccinated in order to remain employed. 

Officers can apply for religious and medical exemptions, but it’s unclear how many have been granted. Natural immunity is not being taken into consideration. 

Reactions

Mike Solan, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild, which represents all Seattle police officers, argued that officers should have the option to wear face masks or get tested regularly for COVID-19 without having their current assignments stripped. 

Solan accused the mayor of being unreasonable for not providing other options. He noted crime is surging in Seattle and said the community’s demanding more police officers to answer the 911 calls. 

Fallout

Earlier this month, the department told all officers, including detectives and non-patrol officers, to be prepared to respond to 911 calls in case hundreds of officers are fired for failing to comply with the mandate. 

Seattle business owners told local news outlets that they are worried about break-ins and declining tourism, and some worry 911 response times could be longer if the force is severely understaffed. 

Chris Gardner/Stringer/Getty Images

3) Washington State Football Coach Fired Over Vaccine Refusal

The Topline: Washington State University head football coach Nick Rolovich was fired Monday after refusing to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate and filing for a religious exemption.

Coach Rolovich

In July, Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich announced he would not receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which forced him to remotely attend the Pac-12 media days. The university had a vaccine mandate in place, but there were policies and procedures for those who were not vaccinated.

The Fallout

Rolovich asked for a religious exemption, but the state appears to have turned it down.

On Monday evening, the university announced that Rolovich and four assistant coaches were fired for refusing to be vaccinated. Washington State athletic director Pat Chun confirmed Rolovich’s firing was for cause, meaning he will not be paid for the remainder of his contract which runs through 2025. 

Sean Rayford/Stringer/Getty Images

Other Stories We’re Tracking

Kidnapping

The gang that kidnapped 17 Christian missionaries in Haiti on Saturday, including 5 children, is now demanding a ransom of $1 million for each person they are holding. 

“The president has been briefed and is receiving regular updates on what the State Department and the FBI are doing to bring these individuals home safely.”

– White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday.  

Ahmaud Arbery

Jury selection for the Ahmaud Arbery case has begun, and is reportedly off to a slow and painstaking start. Court officials have stated the process could take more than two weeks. The trial is expected to begin in November. 

Qualified Immunity

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of police in two separate cases, voting to uphold qualified immunity, which protects officers from many civil lawsuits. No justices publicly dissented from the decisions, indicating the Supreme Court has little appetite for overturning precedent on this matter.  

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