WTF Just Happened Today: Day 90: “Seriousness and urgency.”

Today in one sentence: The White House abruptly reversed course on the number of refugees it will allow into the U.S.; the Biden administration ordered U.S. immigration enforcement agencies to stop using terms such as “alien,” “illegal alien,” and “assimilation” when referring to immigrants; the U.S. and China agreed to cooperate to fight climate change “with the seriousness and urgency that it demands”; and the Justice Department sued Roger Stone for nearly $2 million in unpaid federal income taxes and fees.

 The White House abruptly reversed course on the number of refugees it will allow into the U.S. On Friday, the administration said it would keep Trump’s historically low refugee admissions target at 15,000, walking back Biden’s pledge to lift the cap to 62,500 this year and push it to 125,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. Democratic leaders called the administration’s admissions target “unacceptable” and hours later the White House said it would increase the cap on refugee admissions for the rest of this fiscal year by May 15. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden would set the final cap and expects that it will be higher than Trump’s ceiling, but is “unlikely” to rise to the 62,500 that Biden had promised in February.

The Biden administration ordered U.S. immigration enforcement agencies to stop using terms such as “alien,” “illegal alien,” and “assimilation” when referring to immigrants. In memos sent to department heads at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, “alien” will become “noncitizen or migrant,” “illegal” will become “undocumented,” and “assimilation” will change to “integration,” among others. 

The Supreme Court declined to take up a case from Republicans challenging changes to election rules in Pennsylvania. The case, by a former Republican congressional candidate and four individual voters, challenged the secretary of state’s decision to allow three extra days for receiving mail ballots because of the statements from the U.S. Postal Service that delivery would likely be slow amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

 Trump won nine of the 10 states in the 2020 election where most residents said they would probably or definitely not get a Covid-19 vaccine. Further, in more than 500 counties, at least a quarter of adults are unwilling to get vaccinated. A majority of residents in these counties voted to re-elect Trump.

 The Justice Department sued Roger Stone for nearly $2 million in unpaid federal income taxes and fees. The lawsuit accused Stone and his wife, Nydia, of underpaying their income taxes by $1,590,361 from 2007 to 2011, and that Stone was short on his 2018 tax bill by $407,036. 

A federal judge revoked bail for two leaders of the Proud Boys, contending that they’re too dangerous to remain free while awaiting trial. “The defendants stand charged with seeking to steal one of the crown jewels of our country, in a sense, by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power,” Judge Timothy Kelly said. “It’s no exaggeration to say the rule of law and […] in the end, the existence of our constitutional republic is threatened by it.” Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs are charged with conspiring to stop the certification of the 2020 election, and with organizing dozens of Proud Boys to the Capitol.

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