Lack of Operational Control at Northern Border Poses National Security Threats

US Border Patrol

The northern border largely has been unmanned and understaffed for decades as federal reports issue conflicting conclusions about how much, or how little, operational control exists.

Some officials have suggested the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has just 1% operational control over the northern border after a 2019 General Accounting Office audit of U.S. Customs and Border northern border operations. But a December 2022 DHS report claimed, “The Border Patrol is better staffed today than at any time in its 87-year history,” noting no surveillance of extensive parts of the northern border existed prior to 9/11.

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Poll: Three in Four Fear Artificial Intelligence Abuse in Presidential Election

Election results on a mobile phone screen

More than 3 in 4 Americans fear abuses of artificial intelligence will affect the 2024 presidential election, and many are not confident they can detect faked photos, videos or audio.

AI & Politics ’24, led by Lee Rainie and Jason Husser at Elon University, found 78 percent believe it is likely artificial intelligence will be abused to impact the outcome between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. There are 39 percent who believe artificial intelligence will hurt the election process, and just 5 percent believe it will help.

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Report: Equity Rich Mortgaged Homes See Third Straight Quarterly Decline

Home

The number of mortgaged homes that are equity rich have declined for three consecutive quarters, and the portion of mortgaged homes considered “seriously underwater” increased, according to a new report by ATTOM, a leading curator of land, property and real estate data.

ATTOM’s first-quarter 2024 U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report found that 45.8% of mortgaged residential properties in the United States “were considered equity-rich in the first quarter, meaning that the combined estimated amount of loan balances secured by those properties was no more than half of their estimated market values.”

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Washington State County Approves Unincorporated Minimum Wage Hike, Ties National High

Cashier working

The King County Council has approved an ordinance that will increase the minimum wage in unincorporated parts of King County.

The legislation increases minimum wage to a high of $20.29, which ties the cities of Tukwila and Renton for the highest minimum wage in the nation.

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China’s Growing Threat to U.S. National Security in the Crosshairs of Congress

Illegal Immigrants

While the Chinese Communist Party’s possibly imminent invasion of Taiwan could spark a war in the region, experts and lawmakers in Congress on Thursday expressed that the Taiwan issue is just one part of a broader Chinese strategy countering the U.S.

U.S.House lawmakers raised the alarm about the Chinese communist government’s threat to the U.S. via cyber security and the border crisis at two separate hearings Thursday.

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South Carolina Lawmakers Pass Series of Small Business Bills

Small Business Open

South Carolina lawmakers passed several small business-focused bills before skipping town last week but didn’t pass a high-profile measure business groups hoped they would.

Palmetto State legislators passed H. 4832, the “Paid Family Leave Insurance Act,” to create private insurance covering paid family leave and H. 3992 to allow employers to establish a payment plan for paying delinquent unemployment insurance taxes and allow them to potentially pay at a reduced rate.

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CDC Estimates Decline in U.S. Overdose Deaths in 2023, Totals Remain ‘Staggering’

Woman with pills

Provisional estimates show drug overdose deaths declined about 3.1% nationwide, but multiple states reported increases of more than 20%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s provisional estimated overdose deaths in 2023 declined about 3.1% to 107,543. That’s down from 111,029 in 2022. Two out of every three deaths involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a cheap and potent opioid smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.

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Trump Holds Lead over Biden Heading Toward November

Donald Trump and Joe Biden in front of the White House (composite image)

With less than half a year until the 2024 presidential election, former President Donald Trump holds a sizable lead over incumbent President Joe Biden in several swing states.

While the overall national polling varies and shows a tighter race, Trump holds significant leads in several swing states.

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McMaster: South Carolina ‘Must Have Judicial Reform’

Henry McMaster

A legislative conference committee will soon hash out differences in a measure to reform South Carolina’s Judicial Merit Selection Commission.

Last week, the South Carolina House passed S. 1046, a bill reforming the JMSC, following the state Senate’s passage.

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New York Court Strikes Down Order Banning Transgender Athletes

A judge has struck down a New York county’s ban on transgender athletes from participating in female sports, saying the county executive exceeded his authority by issuing the directive.

The ruling by state Supreme Court Judge Francis Ricigliano overturns an executive order signed by Nassau County Chief Executive Bruce Blakeman in February that requires any sports team seeking to use a county facility to provide information on “the biological sex at birth of the team members/participants.”

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