WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is allowing nationwide enforcement of a new Trump administration rule that prevents most Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the United States.
The justices’ order late Wednesday temporarily undoes a lower court ruling that had blocked the new asylum policy in some states along the southern border. The policy is meant to deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there.
Most people crossing the southern border are Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty. They are largely ineligible under the new rule, as are asylum seekers from Africa, Asia and South America who arrive regularly at the southern border.
The shift reverses decades of U.S. policy. The administration has said that it wants to close the gap between an initial asylum screening that most people pass and a final decision on asylum that most people do not win.
“BIG United States Supreme Court WIN for the Border on Asylum!” President Donald Trump tweeted.
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the high-court’s order.
“Once again, the Executive Branch has issued a rule that seeks to upend longstanding practices regarding refugees who seek shelter from persecution,” Sotomayor wrote.
The legal challenge to the new policy has a brief but somewhat convoluted history. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco blocked the new policy from taking effect in late July. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed Tigar’s order so that it applied only in Arizona and California, states that are within the 9th Circuit.
That left the administration free to enforce the policy on asylum seekers arriving in New Mexico and Texas. Tigar issued a new order Monday that reimposed a nationwide hold on asylum policy. The 9th Circuit again narrowed his order Tuesday.
The high court action allows the Republican administration to impose the new policy everywhere while the court case against it continues.
It’s unclear how quickly the policy will be rolled out and how exactly it fits in with the other efforts by the administration to restrict border crossings and tighten asylum rules.
For example, thousands of people are waiting on lists at border crossings in Mexico to claim asylum in the U.S. And more than 30,000 people have been turned back to Mexico to wait out their asylum claims.
Asylum seekers must pass an initial screening called a “credible fear” interview, a hurdle that a vast majority clear. Under the new policy, they would fail the test unless they sought asylum in at least one country they traveled through and were denied. They would be placed in fast-track deportation proceedings and flown to their home countries at U.S. expense.
The American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who is representing immigrant advocacy groups in the case, Lee Gelernt, said: “This is just a temporary step, and we’re hopeful we’ll prevail at the end of the day. The lives of thousands of families are at stake.”
Justice Department spokesperson Alexei Woltornist said the agency was “pleased that the Supreme Court intervened in this case,” adding, “This action will assist the Administration in its objectives to bring order to the crisis at the southern border, close loopholes in our immigration system, and discourage frivolous claims.”
Touching down at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport at 7:20 a.m., Wednesday, the Beechcraft Bonanza airplane originating from Elizabethton, Tenn., went largely unnoticed by commuters along Scottsville Road and even by airport workers who were mostly curious about the plane that was on the runway for roughly 30 seconds before again going airborne.
But those few who saw the plane piloted by Dan Moore were witnesses to what is expected to be a record-setting flight and one that Moore hopes will ensure that some other early-morning Sept. 11 flights won’t be forgotten.
Moore, owner of Watauga Flight Service of Elizabethton, was attempting Wednesday to break the Guinness world record for most airfields visited in 24 hours by a fixed-wing aircraft.
He posted on Twitter late Wednesday that the final count was 91 landings by one pilot. “This will break the current record of 87 landings set by two pilots! Thanks, everyone, for your support!!!”
A few minutes ahead of schedule when he touched down in Bowling Green, Moore was taking aim at the record of 87 airfields set by British pilots Mike Roberts and Nicholas Rogers in 2017. Moore’s goal was to visit 110 airfields, matching the number of floors in New York’s World Trade Center when it was destroyed by terrorist-piloted planes Sept. 11, 2001.
“I feel strongly that we can’t forget what happened on that day,” Moore said Monday as he prepared for the flight. “When I started looking at making an attempt on this record, I thought I would like to have a tie-in to 9/11.”
Like many Americans, the 48-year-old Moore has vivid memories of the day when four passenger airliners were hijacked by al-Qaida terrorists, with two crashing into the World Trade Center, one crashing into the Pentagon in Washington and a fourth crashing in a Pennsylvania field after passengers thwarted the terrorists.
Moore, who has been flying for 32 years, remembers details of that day.
“I was getting ready to fly in the same type of airplane, a Beechcraft,” he said. “I had a contract to photograph some tobacco allotments. I wasn’t watching the news and didn’t know about the attacks until the guys at the airport told me that airspace was closed for the whole country.
“It’s not something you consider could ever happen. It changed aviation from that day forward.”
While many honor the memory of the nearly 3,000 people killed by the terrorists on the anniversary of the tragedy, Moore has taken his commemoration to another level. His flight plan calls for him to touch down at airports in seven states during a 19-hour day, stopping for fuel every three to four hours.
“It’s a very lofty goal,” he admits. “A lot of things are going to have to go my way to get to 110. I’ll need good weather and no delays.”
Like the Bowling Green stop, most of Moore’s touchdowns will last a minute or less, just long enough for him to record evidence that he was on the ground. He rounded up sponsors to help pay his expenses for the trip, but he said this record attempt isn’t a fundraiser but an awareness-raiser.
“It’s human nature that memories grow dimmer the further you get from an event,” he said. “But I recall the horror we all felt on 9/11. None of us in a million years thought something like that could happen.
“It’s something we should never forget.”
It was that time of year again for Kay White.
Her mind was on her late son, William Haynes, and his upcoming birthday just two days away when she pulled into the Lowe’s parking lot Sept. 5 to purchase a garbage disposal.
Later, with her routine errand complete, she got in her car and drove away. She didn’t drive far before she got that dizzying feeling – she’d forgotten her purse in the shopping cart.
Along with her debit and credit cards and house keys, her purse carried something priceless: her late son’s iPhone. It stored the text messages and photographs that acted as her last tangible way to connect with him.
White returned to the store’s parking lot to search for it, but it was already gone just a few minutes later. She checked with store employees to see if someone had turned it in, but was out of luck. Her next stop was the bank; her Social Security card and checkbook were also in the purse.
“I was a wreck,” White said, recounting her story to the Daily News. In between tears, a bank employee patiently walked her through anti-fraud measures.
“It was pretty devastating until I found out I could still get them,” she said, adding she’s hoping to recover them from cloud storage. “Unless they’re in the cloud, they’re gone.”
White filed a police report and a Bowling Green Police officer investigated the incident by asking an assistant manager to check surveillance footage, but he was unable to locate what the officer was looking for. According to the police report documenting the incident, the assistant manager said he would keep trying and contact the police if he found anything promising.
The Daily News placed a call to Lowe’s on Wednesday and left a message for the assistant manager in question, but it was not returned.
In an interview, BGPD spokesman Officer Ronnie Ward told the Daily News that the case has been referred to a detective.
“The detective has this case and they’re the ones that are working to try to find video footage,” he said, adding he’s not certain if Lowe’s will be able to provide it.
Typically, in these sorts of cases, police monitor stolen credit cards to see if anyone will use them.
“Right now, none of them have been used,” Ward said Wednesday.
Police are still searching for any information potential witnesses could offer.
When White checked with the employee gathering up shopping carts, he told her he’d seen people loading up their vehicle parked next to it. He thought nothing of it, assuming it belonged to them. The sky blue Michael Kors bag is worth about $100, according to the police report.
“We’re certainly willing to talk to anyone,” Ward said.
One week later, White continues to hold out hope of recovering the phone. She took to her Facebook account to issue an emotional plea, hoping it might reach the thief. The post had at least 58,000 shares by Wednesday, and the Daily News has published White’s message with her permission.
“If you happen to be the person who took my purse from the cart in Lowe’s parking lot this morning, I would be extremely grateful if you would simply keep the money in my wallet and return the purse and all that was in it, especially my phone,” White wrote in the post.
“You could drop it off at Lowes and the money could be your reward. My phone has text messages that are precious to me (conversations between my son and me – he was killed three years ago) – and there are many pictures of him that are not found anywhere else. The purse was a Christmas present from him and his girlfriend three years ago,” White wrote.
Before he was killed during a car-jacking in 2016, Haynes spent his life playing and teaching music. His love of instruments and marching band began when he brought home a baritone horn at the age of 12.
In life, Haynes taught music and drama at E. Rivers Elementary School in Atlanta.
He spent much of his early career directing high school bands in Kentucky and Georgia, according to his obituary.
As a freshman in the Bowling Green High School band, Haynes played in several European cities. During his time at Western Kentucky University, he ranked 14th in the International Tuba and Euphonium competition in Tucson, Ariz. Through his talent, he secured a full-ride scholarship to Florida State University, where he earned a master’s degree in music education.
After his death, White started a memorial fund at American Bank & Trust to purchase instruments for students at Warren East and Bowling Green high schools. It was used last year to buy a bass drum for students at Bowling Green Junior High School, for example.
White remembers her son for his wry sense of humor and ability to crack jokes to distract others from their troubles.
“He just tried to kind of lift you out of it,” she told the Daily News in an article published last year.
Haynes was a “techie,” White said, and she posted one of her favorite videos on her Facebook page. In the video, Haynes films his face and hands while conducting a band playing “America the Beautiful.”
“His hands are just so beautiful,” she said. “It’s like he’s pulling the music out.”
Since his death, photographs and text messages from her son have become precious artifacts to White. She’s holding out hope they’ll find her way back to her.
Just as summer seemed to be coming to an end, a heat wave brought near-record heat levels throughout the Southeast this week.
Communities across Kentucky have been facing above-normal temperatures, with some areas facing triple-digit heat.
On Tuesday, Warren County reached 98 degrees.
“Bowling Green was two degrees short of a (daily heat) record,” said Mike Crow, observation program leader at the National Weather Service Louisville Office.
The monthly climatological average in Bowling Green for September is a high of 82.1 degrees, a low of 58 degrees and an average temperature of 70.1 degrees.
The highest temperature ever recorded in September was 105 degrees on Sept. 7, 1925. The daily high temperature records for Sept 9-13 are 103, 100, 98, 98 and 100 degrees, respectively, according to Crow.
This week, the daily low temperatures have also been higher than average, with temperatures falling between 68 and 72 degrees. Warmer nights have been a trend across Kentucky in recent years, according to state climatologist Stuart Foster, who said in a previous interview that warming low temperatures are a “pretty clear pattern” statewide.
Warren County reached 95 degrees Wednesday and is expected to reach around 95 degrees Thursday and the low 90s through Monday.
It’s a good idea to stay hydrated, seek shade and be mindful of children and animals during these heat spells. The National Weather Service issued a special advisory for western Kentucky due to expected heat index values around 100 degrees through Thursday.
The worst of this heat blast should settle down by next week, according to Crow.
Overall, Kentucky’s summer might seem almost mild compared to the heat waves that broke records across the globe this year.
Starting in January, Australia faced dangerous heat, with some areas recording temperatures of 120 degrees during its summer season. In June, India endured record-breaking heat, followed by France, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and western Europe in July.
July was also the hottest month on record for Earth – and the 415th consecutive month with above-normal global temperatures, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The three-month outlook for September, October and November calls for above-normal temperatures through the continental U.S., and Kentucky has about a 40 percent chance of having above-normal temperatures, according to NOAA.