BIDEN TO PROPOSE EIGHT-YEAR PATH TO CITIZENSHIP ON FIRST DAY: President-elect Joe Biden plans to unveil immigration legislation on his first day in office that would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for the 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. If passed, it would amount to a major reversal from President Trump‘s restrictive immigration policies and mass deportations, but its prospects in a Congress that is narrowly divided in both the House and Senate would be uncertain.
RAPPER LIL WAYNE, EX-NYS ASSEMBLY SPEAKER REPORTEDLY ON TRUMP’S PARDONS/COMMUTATIONS LIST: President Trump is expected to issue a list of around 100 more pardons and commutations today (January 19th), and ABC News reported that rap star Lil Wayne and the former powerful speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, are on the list. Lil Wayne pled guilty last month to illegally possessing a loaded handgun while traveling to Florida on a private plane a year earlier. Silver was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to jail last summer. It had been reported Sunday that Trump is not likely to issue a pardon for himself, and yesterday’s report said he’s also unlikely to issue pre-emeptive pardons for his children and other close associates.
CORONAVIRUS DEATHS RISING IN 30 STATES, HAVE PASSED 399,000: Coronavirus deaths are rising in 30 states amid the ongoing winter surge, as the total number of deaths as of early this morning was just over 399,000, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data. As hospitals and health care workers are already under severe strain in many states, a new mutated variant from the U.K. is already spreading in the U.S. that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said is about 50 percent more contagious, and the CDC has warned it will likely become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March. While it’s not more deadly, the variant can cause more hospitalizations and deaths because it’s more contagious. Meanwhile, the vaccine effort is continuing to lag behind expectations, with only about 10.6 million people having received at least one dose, according to federal data, even though about 31.2 million doses have been distributed.
RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER NAVALNY ORDERED JAILED FOR 30 DAYS: A judge ordered Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny jailed for 30 days Monday (January 18th) after he’d returned to Russia the day before from Germany and was arrested as soon as he landed in Moscow. Navalny had been recovering in Germany for months after a near-fatal nerve agent poisoning that he charges the Russian government was behind. After the order for his jailing, Navalny’s allies called for protests this weekend across the country, and Navalny himself said in a video statement, “Don’t be afraid, take to the streets.” Russia’s prison service said Navalny had violated probation terms of a suspended sentence on a 2014 money-laundering conviction, which he says is contrived and politically motivated.