Joel Rose

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While the U.S. air lift out of Kabul has ended efforts to resettle tens of thousands of Afghans in the U.S., well, that's only just begun. And already they're facing some very big obstacles. NPR's Joel Rose reports.

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President Biden will sign a series of executive actions today. They take aim at his predecessor Donald Trump's harshest immigration policies, like the one that separated children from their families at the border. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez is following this story. Good morning, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

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Immigrant advocates, eager to break with four years of Trump administration policies, are raising concerns about President-elect Joe Biden's plan to move cautiously to avoid making matters worse.

While still publicly supporting the Biden transition team, they're imploring the incoming administration to move with urgency.

"This is a matter of life and death," said Guerline Jozef, the executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, because tens of thousands of migrants still face dangerous conditions in Mexican border towns.

One former detainee says she was already in a hospital gown this past July, waiting to be wheeled into surgery, when she began to suspect something was very wrong. Jaromy Floriano Navarro thought she was getting an operation to remove a cyst on her ovary — until the driver who brought her to the hospital said otherwise.

"She was just like, 'You know you're having a hysterectomy, right?' " Floriano tells NPR in an interview. "And I was in shock, because I knew what that meant."

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President Trump's last public event — a fundraiser at his golf club in New Jersey — has touched off a major contact tracing effort as well as a messy political fight.

State leaders, including New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, accuse the president of behaving "recklessly" by headlining Thursday's event. The Democratic governor said Monday that the Trump campaign may have violated state rules limiting indoor gatherings during the pandemic.

At the height of summer, temperatures climb to nearly 100 degrees most days in Pharr, a small city in South Texas. Nonetheless, nurse practitioner Oralia Martinez and her staff have set up a temporary exam room outside her small clinic.

This is their way of preserving masks and other personal protective equipment as they treat COVID-19 patients in the Rio Grande Valley, where infections are spiking. While Martinez and her colleagues sweat in full gear outside, the staffers and other patients inside the clinic aren't exposed and don't need as much PPE.

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Facing a rapid increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says New York state is ready for the Army Corps of Engineers to start building temporary hospitals in the state immediately.

Cuomo said he had toured and formally approved four sites in the state, including the Javits Center in Manhattan and others in Westchester County and Long Island.

"Time matters, minutes count," Cuomo said at a press conference in Albany on Sunday. "From my perspective, construction can start tomorrow."

U.S. authorities face growing calls to shutter all of the nation's immigration courts, and to release detained immigrants who do not pose a threat to public safety after an ICE detention center worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported for the first time this week that one of its workers has the virus that causes COVID-19. ICE also says there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus among its more than 37,000 detainees nationwide.

Updated at 9:57 p.m. ET

President Trump plans to seal off the U.S-Mexico border to migrants under a law intended to protect the country from communicable disease — a move that comes as the U.S. immigration system grinds to a halt in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.

At a press conference Wednesday, Trump said the southern border would not close completely. But the move would allow the administration to quickly deport asylum-seekers and other migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally without due process.

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Top Senate Democrats warn that the Trump administration is deliberately undermining the independence of immigration courts.

In a bluntly worded letter to the Justice Department, which oversees the immigration courts, the senators accuse the administration of waging an "ongoing campaign to erode the independence of immigration courts," including changing court rules to allow more political influence over decisions and promoting partisan judges to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

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It was almost dark when Shalom LeBaron reached the spot where her daughter, Rhonita Miller LeBaron, and four grandchildren were killed. LeBaron found the remains of her 10-year-old granddaughter in the back seat of a car that had been riddled with bullets and set on fire earlier that morning.

"Facedown, crunched up in fetal position because she was so afraid," LeBaron said through tears in an interview with NPR. "That's how her bones were found."

For almost three decades, Jared Taylor has been publishing his ideas about race at the American Renaissance magazine and now at a website called AmRen, which is considered a mouthpiece for white supremacist ideology.

"The races are not identical and equivalent," says Taylor, who calls himself a "race realist" and rejects the white supremacist label. "There are patterns of difference. But this is now something that's considered a huge, hateful taboo in the United States."

Updated 6 p.m. ET

Immigrant advocates asked a federal appeals court on Tuesday to block the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), a key part of President Trump's immigration policy. The policy forces asylum seekers to wait for their immigration court hearings in Mexico.

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The children of some U.S. military members and government workers overseas will have a harder time getting citizenship under a Trump administration policy announced Wednesday.

The changes will affect a relatively small number of people. But the announcement touched off widespread confusion and outrage — with immigrant and veterans' advocates questioning why the administration would change the rules for people who are serving their country.

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