Republican House Judiciary Members Witness Border Crisis: This Is ‘Biden’s Mess’; America Has Become ‘Sanctuary Nation’

McALLEN, Texas — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) led several Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee on a two-day visit to McAllen this week where they witnessed the ongoing border crisis, and all the members — as they recapped their visit — said the Biden administration was at fault for surging numbers of illegal migrants.

Border Patrol agents apprehended nearly 170,000 migrants crossing the southern border illegally in March, a 72 percent increase from February. As Breitbart News reported, in the first two full months of President Joe Biden’s time in office, February and March, apprehensions were at a combined total of nearly 210,000, while in the last four months of former President Donald Trump’s tenure, apprehensions were at a combined total of just over 280,000.

Jordan, the ranking Republican member on the Judiciary Committee, gathered from speaking with Border Patrol agents that the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, also known as Remain in Mexico — which Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suspended on his first day as president — is imperative to reinstate as a first step in controlling the migrant influx.

Jordan told Breitbart News on Wednesday near the conclusion of his visit, “This is … not just Jim Jordan talking, not just Republican members of the Judiciary Committee talking. This is the Border Patrol agents themselves, what they’re telling us. That’s what we’ve got to get done, and we have to talk about this and try to persuade our Democratic colleagues this is just good common sense. This is for the good of the country, and frankly, it’s for the good of these kids and these families who are making that treacherous trek up through Mexico to get here.”

The MPP program allowed border officials to return asylum-seeking migrants back to Mexico while they await the processing of their claims, which the Trump administration at the time of implementing the program, in January 2019, said would serve as a deterrent for illegal migration and help control an “unprecedented number” of “fraudulent asylum claims.”

Opponents of the MPP program argue sending asylum-seekers back to Mexico puts them in potentially unsanitary or dangerous conditions and creates nearly insurmountable barriers to being granted asylum if they do actually qualify for it.

However, as Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) detailed during a roundtable the delegation attended Wednesday, halting the MPP program has served as one cause — among several other Biden policies — of what has now become America’s “massive humanitarian crisis.”

“We know that it’s policy driven,” Biggs said. “We know that it’s this Biden administration’s policies that have done this. Why do we know that? Because we simply have to look at when those policies were in place. I’m talking MPP, the Remain in Mexico policy. I’m talking about the agreements with the Northern Triangle states, with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. I’m talking about the incentive factor. We all respond to incentives. How about $1,400 per illegal alien in the COVID relief package? How about a free education? How about, you’ll get transported wherever you need to go? And once you’re in, it’s almost impossible for you to be sent out, and that’s really what’s going on. And so, President Trump found a problem, and he solved it. President Biden saw a solution and now he’s dissolved that and created a massive humanitarian crisis.”

Biggs, at a press conference later on Wednesday, referred to comments Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador made: “That’s why the president of Mexico said this is Biden’s mess. It is Biden’s mess.”

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC), who also attended the trip, agreed asylum claims are a “predicate for people entering the country.” He told Breitbart News of the MPP program, “It was an innovative, strategic policy to eliminate the perverse incentive in asylum claims. They can assert their asylum right, but you don’t want as the price of that to have any unlimited numbers of people coming into the country.”

The House Judiciary Committee is the committee that has primary jurisdiction over immigration policy. Jordan said at the press conference the committee’s Democrat members were invited on the trip and declined the invitation. Breitbart News reached out to committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) to inquire about the reason for this and did not receive an immediate response.

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), the lead Republican on the committee’s subcommittee on immigration, said the Biden administration also shares blame for the swell of illegal migration because of his 100-day moratorium on most deportations. “My assessment is that Biden’s executive order on returning criminal illegals, deporting them after they’ve served their terms, now essentially makes the United States a sanctuary nation,” McClintock said during the roundtable.

Despite a federal judge blocking Biden’s moratorium in February, a Wall Street Journal analysis found Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s job priorities have still changed under the new administration’s policies as indicated by a drop of 50 percent in deportations in March compared with deportations in the months at the end of Trump’s tenure.

Biden’s DHS issued a memo on his first day in office justifying calling for the moratorium, saying DHS must “surge resources” to the southern border to “ensure safe, legal, and orderly processing, to rebuild fair and effective asylum procedures that respect human rights and due process … and to prioritize responding to threats to national security, public safety, and border security.”

The delegation’s consensus, however, was that Biden’s immigration policies and rhetoric about such policies have created a magnet for illegal migration and resulted in what has become growing and uncontrollable numbers of illegal migrants.

Two other members of the Judiciary Committee in attendance, Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) and Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT), railed against Biden for failing to acknowledge the issue. “Not dealing with this issue, not looking at the policies, I think it’s a complete lack of leadership and disregard,” Spartz told Breitbart News.

Owens surmised, “It’s either incompetence or it’s on purpose.”

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com.

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Texas mayor says the Southern Border ‘is ‘a mad house’ and ‘not under control’

A Texas mayor opened up on Tucker Carlson Tonight about the reality of the situation at the Southern Border

, equating it to the “wild, wild West.”

Uvalde, Texas Mayor Don McLaughin joined Carlson to discuss the border crisis. His town is around 100 miles from the border with Mexico, as reported by the Daily Caller.

“We all get so frustrated in our community when we hear them and we hear our leadership tell us, ‘Oh, the southern border is under control,’” he said.

T”he southern border is not under control. It’s a mad house,” the mayor said.

McLaughlin told Tucker about the crimes his state sees every day due to the surge of migrants at the border and tha lack of a response form the Biden administration.

“We have car chases on a daily basis. We have immigrants jumping off trains. We have them coming into our schools. It’s just non-stop,” McLaughlin said.

He told Tucker that Border Patrol is often too preoccupied with children to stop the adult males streaming in, who are the ones with criminal records.

There are illegal immigratns “running through people’s yards,” he said.

“This is something we’re having to deal with every day. And it’s getting worse and worse and worse.”

Read the full story here.

The interview comes as numbers were released showing the highest number of unaccompanied minors ever showed up at the border in the month of March.

Nearly 19,000 migrant children arrived at the border last month. Read the full story here.

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China and Russia Optimistic over Iran Talks as Biden Envoy Sulks on Sidelines

The governments of China and Russia, which appear to be taking the lead in talks between Iran and the remaining partners in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, expressed optimism after talks concluded on Friday for the week that progress had occurred.

The conversations over the agreement formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) began this week in Vienna, Austria. Representatives from China, Russia, and Iran — as well as the United Kingdom, France, and Germany — met to discuss, they claimed, a way to repair what remains of the agreement after years of violations by Tehran and President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from it in 2018. Notably absent from the invitation list was the United States, which had no formal representation in this week’s talks.

The administration of President Joe Biden claimed it would engage in “indirect” talks with Iran and sent its special envoy on the matter, Robert Malley, to Vienna. Iranian officials clarified Tuesday, however, that “no negotiations will take place between the representatives of Iran and the United States” and no talks of any kind, direct or otherwise, would take place this week.

Malley is staying in a separate hotel in Vienna from where the Iran deal talks are occurring and appears to have met only with officials not privy to the negotiations, including representatives of the Austrian government and the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA).

With no input from Washington, Iran has used the talks to vocally and repeatedly insist that it will not begin to discuss returning to compliance on the JCPOA with the United States unless the Biden administration immediately lifts all sanctions on Iran, not just those regarding the nuclear weapons issue. This would presumably include the accurate branding of Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism due to its international support of Hezbollah, a Shiite jihadist organization, and its involvement in deadly attacks on civilians such as the 1994 bombing of Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires.

A Russian representative to the IAEA branded this “progress” on Friday.

“The #JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) participants took stock of the work done by experts over the last three days and noted with satisfaction the initial progress made,” Mikhail Ulyanov wrote on Twitter. “The Commission will reconvene next week in order to maintain the positive momentum.”

“All parties have narrowed down their differences and we do see the momentum for gradually evolving consensus,” Wang Qun, China’s ambassador to the IAEA, agreed, according to Reuters.

Both nations have loudly condemned unilateral sanctions on any country and, in particular, opposed American sanctions on their ally Iran.

“The justified request of the injured party, rather than the offending party, should be confirmed and satisfied first. This is a basic right-or-wrong question,” Qun said Tuesday. “The U.S. should lift all sanctions against Tehran and on this basis, Iran can resume full compliance to the nuclear deal.”

Reuters reported American officials claim they are “being briefed” on the talks they were not invited to, without elaborating.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran, made clear he had no appetite for negotiation Thursday, the day before Moscow and Beijing declared the talks had yielded “progress.”

“Verification [of US sanctions removal] means [being capable of] selling oil in an official manner, with ease and under normal conditions, and its money be received by Iran,” Khamenei insisted, again making the case for the lifting of sanctions unrelated to the nuclear agreement. Khamenei also accused “the signatories of the nuclear agreement,” without discriminating among them, of having violated the deal and claimed “Tehran is in no hurry for Washington to come back to the nuclear agreement” in a video posted to Instagram.
“Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said other signatories to the deal have no right to set conditions for Tehran as long as they have not fulfilled their obligations, emphasizing that this is Iran’s definitive policy from which Tehran will not step back,” Iran’s PressTV reported.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry also took the opportunity Thursday to boast of its heightened uranium enrichment abilities.

“Our 20% enrichment is now moving even faster than the speed envisaged by the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the Iranian Parliament) in its law, and 20% enriched materials are being produced now,” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi claimed, stating that the enrichment, which violates the nuclear deal, would continue until the United States lifted all existing sanctions on Iran.

“Araqchi also denied indirect talks with Washington through the European parties to the JCPOA, saying the talks involve China and Russia in addition to the Europeans,” PressTV added.

State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in a contentious exchange Thursday that the Biden administration would not repeal sanctions unrelated to the nuclear deal, such as those related to human rights abuses against the Iranian people.

“We believe that Iran’s ballistic missile program, that Iran’s violation of the — Iran’s human rights abuses, that Iran’s support for malign proxies, Iran’s support for terrorism — we believe all of those things pose a profound challenge to us as well as to our regional partners,” Price said. That is why we will continue, including through sanctions, to push back on those issues.”

When a reporter replied, “Well, why couldn’t you have said this like yesterday or the day before?” Price insisted he “absolutely did” and again repeated that sanctions “will continue to be important tools” for confronting Tehran.

Price also insisted Malley was in discussions “right now with our European allies and our Russian and Chinese partners in this endeavor,” a claim for which no evidence exists and one that the allies and partners in question have not confirmed on the record.

Malley has been documenting his activities in Vienna on Twitter, which appear to be meetings with Austrian government leaders — who are not a party to the JCPOA — and the IAEA.

Russian and Chinese officials said on Friday that they expect talks to resume next week. Price noted Thursday that he expects Malley back in Washington this weekend.

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Exclusive: Jim Jordan Sees ‘Chaos’ at Texas Federal Facility Holding Migrant Children

McALLEN, Texas — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during a two-day visit to the U.S.-Mexico border described the main federal border facility in Donna, which is far exceeding its capacity, as “chaos,” providing his remarks to Breitbart News on Wednesday after a roundtable meeting with congressional colleagues and Texas officials.

Jordan this week led a delegation of several Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee, the committee that has primary jurisdiction over immigration policy, to McAllen to tour the southern border and visit multiple federal border facilities.

Judiciary Committee border visit, Donna, Texas, April 6, 2021

House Judiciary Committee members visit federal border facility in Donna, Texas, on April 6, 2021. (Courtesy Rep. Jim Jordan)

Jordan, who is ranking member on the committee, observed cramped conditions in one “pod” in the Donna facility, which primarily holds unaccompanied alien children (UACs), noting the pod was holding 15 times more UACs than was permitted under current coronavirus guidelines.

Media were not allowed to accompany the delegation on its facility tour, and aside from a “single event” with select outlets last week, are currently not allowed access to the facility at all, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official confirmed to congressional staff.

Jordan said, “We saw one pod that was supposed to have 33 kids in this confined space area, and they had 527. So, that to me is overwhelming. That’s chaos. That is what our good Border Patrol agents are having to deal with.”

The overflowing pod is the product of a surge in illegal migration that U.S. Border Patrol’s union president, Brandon Judd, said during the roundtable was “unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.” In March, CBP reported 170,000 apprehensions of migrants crossing the border illegally, up 72 percent from February. According to Judd, that is the most monthly apprehensions Border Patrol has seen in the last 15 years. More than 18,000 of the 170,000 were UACs.

Jordan, like many of his Republican colleagues, says the first response to controlling the growing issue is reinstating the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy in which border officials were able to send migrants seeking asylum back to Mexico to file their paperwork and await the processing of their claims.

Jordan assessed that President Joe Biden’s suspension of the policy was a key reason the numbers began to swell and that the Biden administration’s priorities for addressing the influx are unclear. “What I do know is the Remain in Mexico policy was working,” Jordan said. “Every border agent we talked to told us that is the reason they are seeing this surge, and according to the head of the Border Patrol council, Mr. Judd, he said this surge is unprecedented. He’s never seen anything like it.”

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security halted Remain in Mexico on his first day in office, citing a “commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.” The Associated Press reported the policy “exposed people to violence in Mexican border cities” and created more hurdles for completing the asylum-seeking process but that the Trump administration instituted the policy as a “critical” means of controlling peaking numbers of asylum-seekers in 2019.

When asked what stood out to Jordan the most during his trip, the Ohio Republican said it was the “overwhelming numbers” and added that although his “heart goes out to the kids, to the families,” the volume presents a “huge” concern for American education and hospital systems.

Ashley Oliver

“They said there are 16,000 kids, as we speak, who have moved from Custom and Borders to HHS, and they’re housing these kids, and these kids are going to be sent somewhere in the country to some relative — maybe a parent, maybe someone else — but they’re going to be moved in the country, and that turnover is every 24 days,” Jordan explained. “They told us that that 16,000 number turning over every 24 days, that number’s going to go to 60,000 turning over every 24 days. So you do the math. That’s hundreds of thousands of children just coming into the country over the next year, and you couple that with all the other immigrants we’re seeing coming into the country. It is two to three million people in one year’s time that they’re all coming in, and what does that mean for communities? What does that mean for our public education system? What does that mean for our hospital systems? That’s huge. So, that is a concern, and it can be prevented and it can be done in a legal fashion if we put back in place the policies that were working.”

Jordan said he believes the Biden administration’s second priority after reinstating Remain in Mexico should be to complete the border wall.

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com.

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McCarthy Requests FBI, CIA Briefing on Terror Suspects Crossing U.S. Border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is requesting a classified briefing from Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials on terror suspects crossing the United States-Mexico border illegally.

In a letter to FBI and CIA officials, McCarthy asked that the two agencies brief him, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Vice President Kamala Harris on “the ongoing national security risk posed by the border crisis.”

This week, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials revealed that two illegal aliens from Yemen were apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in January and March. Background checks showed that both were on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and the No-Fly List.

McCarthy writes in the letter:

I am writing to request a classified briefing regarding certain individuals apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol. Through conversations with the Border Patrol and media reports, I have learned of the apprehension of foreign nationals on the Terrorism Watch List who were attempting to illegally cross our southern border.

McCarthy continued:

Last month, I, along with 12 other members of Congress, traveled to El Paso, Texas, to see firsthand the humanitarian and security crisis that has emerged along our southern border this year. The agents of the U.S. Border Patrol provided us with an eye-opening tour and briefings regarding the current crisis in El Paso and the operational challenges they face each day. During the briefings, the agents conveyed to us that they have apprehended individuals from not only Mexico and Central America, but also countries including China, Iran, Yemen, and Turkey. They then conveyed that they had apprehended individuals who are on the Terrorism Watch List. These revelations were shocking and concerning, and for those reasons, I felt compelled to share them with the nation. [Emphasis added]

Compounding the risk, approximately 1,000 people each day are evading capture by the U.S. Border Patrol, according to recent reporting from the Washington Post. While I am grateful to the Border Patrol for doing all they can, I have great concern about the number of bad actors that have escaped arrest and are residing in the United States. We simply have no way of knowing if other terrorists have crossed the border undetected. [Emphasis added]

Read the full letter here:

McCarthy Letter to CIA, FBI by John Binder

After DHS sent the press release revealing that the two illegal aliens from Yemen had been apprehended at the border, the agency erased the page.

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) spokesperson told Breitbart News that the press release “contained certain disclosure and policy information” that “required CBP to remove it from our website.”

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to downplay the national security threat of illegal immigration at the southern border.

“First let me convey that these sets of incidents are very uncommon,” Psaki said when asked about the two illegal aliens from Yemen who were apprehended. “… while this is rare, this is a reflection of [Border Patrol] doing their job.”

Those on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List and No-Fly List seeking to cross illegally into the U.S. are not isolated incidents, as reports over the years have confirmed.

From October 2020 to the beginning of March, for example, congressional aides have said there have been at least four separate Border Patrol encounters with illegal aliens on the FBI’s Terrorism Watch List.

Likewise, in 2016, Breitbart News reported exclusively on a series of leaked documents from the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center revealing that from July 2015 to July 2016, the FBI documented more than 7,700 encounters with illegal aliens who appeared on the Terrorism Watch List. Subsequent reports show encounters numbering in the thousands annually.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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6 arrested after 4 swim around border wall: Border Patrol

Source: U.S. Border Patrol

Six people were arrested in Imperial Beach, California on Sunday after four of them—all undocumented—were caught swimming around the southern border wall, according to KYMA Yuma and other outlets.

U.S. Border Patrol said agents were patrolling the foggy coastline Sunday morning, according to the local news station, when they spotted four men walking along the beach while donning ripped wetsuits without equipment.

When they approached the men, they took off. The agents apprehended a 17-year-old, but the remaining three hopped into a GMC Acadia SUV.

Agents pulled the SUV over as they tried to escape the area and found the trio in wetsuits, plus a driver and passenger.

All five adults and the 17-year-old were taken to the Border Patrol station for processing. The driver and the passenger are charged with human smuggling and the vehicle was seized by Border Patrol.

“As a constant reminder to the public, if you see something out of the ordinary near the coast, don’t hesitate to call authorities,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said, per a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol press release. “Attempting to swim around the border wall is very dangerous, especially in the thick fog that was present that morning, yet callous smugglers continue to guide people on this dangerous course.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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Sara Carter: There’s a ‘big concern’ that some of the immigrants crossing the border are terrorists

Hannity

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) removed a press release from their website outlining the arrest of two Yemeni illegal immigrants that attempted to cross the border who were on the FBI’s terror watch list. CBP said the press release was not properly reviewed and contained certain policy information related to national security that required them to take it down.

Federal officials announced the arrests of the two Yemeni men near the Calexico Port of Entry in California on Monday. Both men were on the government’s “no-fly” list.

Sara Carter joined “Hannity” Tuesday to discuss the real reason why CBP deleted the press release.

Sources told Carter that the Biden administration and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wanted the press release removed because they didn’t want the public to be alarmed of threats of terrorism at the border.

“The sources that I spoke to in DHS as well as intelligence said that people in the Biden administration and particularly officials in the Department of Homeland Security wanted that press release down because they didn’t want the public to be alarmed at the very real threat that the border poses,” she said.

Carter said Customs and Border Protection told her that 1,000 illegal immigrants enter the border everyday without encountering border patrol officers and there’s a “big concern” that some of these immigrants entering the U.S. could be terrorists.

“Those are got-aways, those are people that they cannot identify, people that they have not traced, people that disappear into our country without any identity whatsoever,” Carter explained. “There’s a big concern among intelligence officials that some of those people could be terrorists.”

In response to the two Yemeni men from the FBI watch list that were apprehended at the border, White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki dismissed the risk of terrorism and said such incidents are “very uncommon.”

“First, let me convey that these types of incidents are very uncommon,” Psaki said at a Tuesday press conference. “Encounters of known and suspected terrorists are very uncommon. They do underscore the importance of the critical work that is done on a daily basis to vet those at the border.”

“DHS works, not just at the border … but also with international partners to share intelligence and other information including to prevent individuals on certain watchlists from entering the United States,” she said.

“So while this is rare. This is a reflection of them doing their jobs,” Psaki said.

Host Sean Hannity slammed Psaki for her Tuesday statement.

“If we didn’t have open borders there would be no terrorists crossing the border,” Hannity said.

“Jen, one terrorist is all that it takes.”

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Pope Francis Again Snubs Uighurs in Easter Message

ROME — Pope Francis proclaimed his yearly Easter blessing Sunday where the plight of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang China was conspicuously missing.

In his solemn Urbi et Orbi blessing, the pontiff offers a virtual tour of problem areas around the globe to point out conflicts and injustices but as he has done on past occasions, he carefully omitted any reference to those suffering human rights abuses under China’s Communist regime.

In this year’s litany of areas plagued by conflicts, violence, and disasters, the pope recalled the people of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, the Sahel, Nigeria, Tigray and the Cabo Delgado region, eastern Ukraine and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as Jerusalem and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Pope Francis celebrates the Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. (REMO CASILLI/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In the case of Yemen, Francis denounced the “deafening and scandalous silence” that has accompanied its situation, while himself contributing to the deafening and scandalous silence concerning the fate of the Uighurs.

The pope also gave a shout-out to “the young people of Myanmar committed to supporting democracy,” a courtesy he has never extended to the young pro-democracy demonstrators of Hong Kong who for two years have protested against their Chinese overlords.

Noteworthy by its absence was any mention of the atrocities committed against more than a million Uighurs who are held in concentration camps in the autonomous Xinjiang territory of northwest China, where they have been subjected to genetic testing, hard labor, organ harvesting, torture, and forced abortions.

Vatican watchers have attributed the pope’s ongoing silence regarding China’s egregious human rights violations to his heartfelt desire to establish diplomatic relations with the Asian giant and to visit the country someday.

The Vatican signed a secret accord with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in September 2018 regarding the naming of Chinese bishops, a move that elicited an flood of criticism at the time and has only been aggravated by ongoing CCP aggressions against Christians after the deal was signed.

The accord was renewed last fall despite appeals from governments and human rights groups that begged the Vatican to reconsider its appeasement policy toward the Chinese.

China is notoriously hypersensitive and vindictive when it comes to public criticism and the pope is apparently unwilling to risk upsetting them or jeopardizing the precarious Vatican-CCP deal by coming to the defense of the victims of Chinese atrocities.

Last summer, the Sunday Times published a scathing article by Dominic Lawson criticizing the Vatican for its silence on China. “As more and more nations have expressed their concern about the growing evidence of concentration camps and even genocide in the Chinese province of Xinjiang, there has been silence from the one entity that has the whole of suffering humanity at the core of its mission. I refer to the Holy See.”

Similarly, in July 2020, Foreign Affairs published an article noting how prominent Jews were willing to call out China’s atrocities toward Uighur Muslims in contrast to the silence of the Catholic Church.

The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, drew comparisons between the plight of the Uighurs in China today and the Holocaust, Benedict Rogers noted in his article, while the Vatican has refused to use its moral influence to call out the abuses.

Nobody could see the evidence and fail to note “the similarities between what is alleged to be happening in the People’s Republic of China today and what happened in Nazi Germany 75 years ago: People being forcibly loaded on to trains; beards of religious men being trimmed; women being sterilised; and the grim spectre of concentration camps,” Ms. van der Zyl declared.

Pope Francis leaves after celebrating Easter Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in The Vatican. (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“But one voice has been strangely absent — that of Pope Francis, ordinarily a powerful advocate for the oppressed,” Rogers wrote. “His silence speaks to the dangers of the deal made with China by the Vatican — and demands that others in the church speak out.”

“It is Francis’s silence that shocks me most,” Rogers wrote. “Almost every Sunday, as he prays the Angelus, he rightly references some injustice somewhere in the world. He has spoken often in the past not only of the persecution of Christians around the world but of the plight of the Rohingyas in Myanmar; the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and Nigeria; and religious freedom for all.”

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NBC: Capitol car ramming suspect identified

The suspect in the Capitol car-ramming attack that occurred Friday has been identified as Noah Green, according to NBC News. One Capitol Police Officer was killed shortly after the attack and another remains injured in the hospital.

Green, 25, who is a resident of Indiana, was shot dead by police during the attack.

Law enforcement officials told NBC that Green was a follower of the Nation of Islam. Moreover, his since-deleted Facebook page reportedly featured posts lauding Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has touted conspiracies including many antisemitic conspiracies.

Follow Jennie Taer on Twitter @JennieSTaer

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Microsoft wins Army contract to develop, provide augmented-reality headsets

Microsoft, it was announced Wednesday, has won a contract with the U.S. Army to develop and provide over 120,000 devices augmented-reality headsets, which the Army says will allow soldiers to fight, rehearse, and train using a single platform.

An Army press release on Wednesday suggested that the headsets would provide night-vision, thermal vision, and other sensors “integrated into a unified Heads Up Display.”

“The system also leverages augmented reality and machine learning to enable a life-like mixed reality training environment so the CCF [Close Combat Force] can rehearse before engaging any adversaries,” the press release read.

In a statement to CNBC, a Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the deal could be worth up to $21.88 billion over 10 years.

This Microsoft-Army deal comes after a $480 million contract Microsoft was awarded in 2018 to provide the Army prototypes of Integrated Visual Augmented System (IVAS)—production versions of which the technology company will provide in accordance with the new deal.

“The IVAS headset, based on HoloLens and augmented by Microsoft Azure cloud services, delivers a platform that will keep soldiers safer and make them more effective,” Alex Kipman, a technical fellow at Microsoft and the person who introduced the HoloLens in 2015, penned in a Wednesday blog post. “The program delivers enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.”

That 2018 deal, however, was not without its controversy. In response to Microsoft receiving that contract, several dozen of its employees signed a letter in protest, condemning the company for providing its technology for “warfare and oppression.”

“We are a global coalition of Microsoft workers and we refuse to create technology for warfare and oppression,” their letter stated. “We are alarmed that Microsoft is working to provide weapons technology to the U.S. military, helping one country’s government ‘increase lethality’ using tools we built.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.

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