Local News 3/22/21

DHS HEAD SAYS BORDER CLOSED, BIDEN SAYS WILL VISIT ‘AT SOME POINT’: Amid the ongoing surge of people trying to cross the border with Mexico into the U.S., Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared on several morning shows Sunday (March 21st) to talk about the issue. He said on NBC’s Meet the Press, “The border is closed,” a point he repeated on more than one show, and said on ABC’s This Week that the message to migrants is, “Do not come.” The U.S. is, however, letting unaccompanied children in, which is overwhelming facilities to hold them, and Mayorkas said new facilities are being built, but declined on CNN’s State of the Union to say when they’ll be up and running. Mayorkas placed some of the blame on the Trump administration, saying on This Week, “[T]he entire system under United States law that has been in place throughout administrations of both parties was dismantled in its entirety by the Trump administration. So we are rebuilding the system as we address the needs of vulnerable children who arrive at our borders.” Meanwhile, President Biden told reporters later in the day that he’d visit the border, quote, “at some point,” and said the administration was working to reestablish a program that let refugees apply for asylum from their home countries.

MIAMI BEACH, OVERWHELMED BY SPRING BREAK REVELERS, EXTENDS CURFEW: Miami Beach leaders voted yesterday (March 21st) to extend an emergency curfew as the city and its police force have been overwhelmed by spring revelers, with incidents that have been disruptive and violent. The 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew in the entertainment district began Saturday for 72 hours, but will now remain in effect through the end of the month, and could possibly be extended to mid-April. Miami Beach officials said the city has made over 1,000 arrests since February, and there have been growing crowd control issues, with Police Chief Richard Clements saying they’ve seized what he called an “alarming” number of guns. Mayor Dan Gelber also said that he doesn’t believe the people coming are the usual college spring breakers, saying, Florida’s loose Covid rules have encouraged people from other states to come.

REPORT: IRAN THREATENS FORT MCNAIR, ARMY’S VICE CHIEF OF STAFF: Iran has made threats against Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., and the Army’s vice chief of staff, General Joseph M. Martin, the Associated Press reported yesterday (March 21st), citing two senior U.S. intelligence officials. The sources said communications intercepted in January captured Iran’s Revolutionary Guard discussing carrying out, quote, “USS Cole-style attacks” on the Army base, referring to the 2000 attack in Yemen in which a small boat pulled up next to the U.S. Navy destroyer in the port of Aden and exploded, killing 17 U.S. sailors. The intercepted communications also contained threats to kill Martin and plans to infiltrate and surveil the Army post, which is his official residence. The threats are part of the reason the Army has been pushing for more security around Fort McNair, according to AP, which city leaders have been fighting against.

CONGRESSMAN REED APOLOGIZES AFTER MISCONDUCT CLAIM, SAYS WILL RETIRE AFTER TERM: Rep. Tom Reed apologized yesterday (March 21st) to a female lobbyist named Nicolette Davis after The Washington Post reported days earlier that he allegedly rubbed her back and unhooked her bra without her consent at a bar in 2017. The New York Republican also announced he won’t run for reelection next year. The 49-year-old said in a statement that the incident involving Davis took place, quote, “at a time in my life in which I was struggling.” He said he went into treatment that year and realized he was, quote, “powerless over alcohol.” Reed also apologized to his wife and children. Reed had been calling for the resignation of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him, and in February said he was seriously considering running against Cuomo if the governor ran for a fourth term next year. But Reed said yesterday he won’t run for any office next year.