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New Illinois law mandates paid leave ‘for any reason’

Illinois will become one of three states to require employers to offer paid time off for any reason after Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law on Monday that will take effect next year. Starting Jan. 1, Illinois employers must offer workers paid time off based on hours worked, with no need to explain the reason for their absence as long as they provide notice in accordance with reasonable employer standards. Just Maine and Nevada mandate earned paid time off and allot employees the freedom to decide how to use it, but Illinois’ law is further reaching, unencumbered by limits based on business size. Similarly structured regulations that require employers to offer paid sick leave exist in 14 states and Washington, D.C., but workers can only use that for health-related reasons. ILLINOIS LAW TO EXPAND PAID LEAVE FOR WORKERS IN THE STATE SET TO BE SIGNED BY GOV. JB PRITZKER Illinois employees will accrue one hour of paid leave for every 40 hours worked up to 40 hours total, although the employer may offer more. Employees can start using the time once they have worked for 90 days. Seasonal workers will be exempt, as will federal employees or college students who work non-full-time, temporary jobs for their university. Pritzker signed the bill Monday in downtown Chicago, saying: “Too many people can’t afford to miss even a day’s pay … together we continue to build a state that truly serves as a beacon for families, and businesses, and good paying jobs.” Proponents say paid leave is key to making sure workers, especially low-income workers who are more vulnerable, are able to take time off when needed without fear of reprisal from an employer. But critics say the law will overburden small businesses already struggling to survive the post-pandemic era amid the high inflation that has gripped the nation for nearly two years. National Federation of Independent Business Illinois state director Chris Davis said that business owners are best positioned to work with their employees one-on-one to meet their needs. The new law is “a one-size-fits-all solution to a more intricate problem,” he said. Bill sponsor Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, a Peoria Democrat, said the bill is the product of years of negotiations with businesses and labor groups. “Everyone deserves the ability to take time off,” she said in a statement. “Whether it’s to deal with the illness of a family member, or take a step back for your mental health, enshrining paid leave rights is a step forward for our state.” “This is about bringing dignity to all workers,” she said at the signing. Ordinances in Cook County and Chicago that already require employers to offer paid sick leave have been in place since July 2017, and workers in those locations will continue to be covered by existing laws rather than the new state law. Any new local laws enacted after the state law takes effect must provide benefits that are greater or equal to the state law. Molly Weston Williamson, paid leave expert at the Center for American Progress, said the law “creates a strong foundation for employers to build from while generating a healthier, more productive workforce.” But Williamson added that while Illinois’ law is a step in the right direction, U.S. paid leave laws remain “wildly out of line with all of our economic peers internationally.” ILLINOIS GOV. PRITZKER SIGNS SWEEPING ABORTION PROTECTIONS INTO LAW “In the United States, federal law does not guarantee anyone the right to even a single paid day off work. Not when you’re sick, not when you have a baby, not when your mom has a stroke. Not a single paid day,” she said. Joan Van, a server at an international hotel chain and single mother of three, currently has no paid time off. But the Belleville parent leader with Community Organizing and Family Issues said that knowing that she will have five days next year brings a smile to her face. “It’s going to help out a lot of people, a lot of mothers, a lot of single mothers at that,” she said.
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Biden washing machine rule would make Americans dirtier and stinkier — and raise prices: manufacturers

Last month, President Biden’s Department of Energy proposed new efficiency standards for washing machines that requires new appliances to use considerably less water, all in an effort to “confront the global climate crisis.”  Leading industry corporations have voice their opinion on the rule, claiming the mandates force manufacturers to reduce cleaning performance to ensure their machines comply. Each cycle will “take longer, the detergent will cost more, and in the end, the clothes will be less clean,” according to manufacturers like Whirlpool.  The proposed washing machine change is the latest example of the Biden administration pushing more consumer regulations to advance green initiatives. In February, the administration received heat for a leaked proposal which would have banned half of America’s gas stoves in addition to another proposal to heavily regulate refrigerators.  5 WAYS BIDEN IS STILL COMING FOR YOUR GAS STOVE “Like many efficiency standards, the government claims that although these standards will raise the cost of appliances, they are justified because they will reduce consumer spending on energy & water even more. Of course, if that were true, consumers would likely buy more efficient appliances anyway, given that studies show consumers consider energy and water costs,” American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow James Coleman told Fox News Digital. “If consumers do fully consider what they will pay on energy in their individual circumstances, then the standards would, on-net, harm consumers.” “This proposal builds on the more than 110 actions the Biden-Harris Administration took in 2022 to strengthen energy efficiency standards and save the average family at least $100 annually through lower energy bills,” the Department of Energy said in a press release. “Collectively these energy efficiency actions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons, save consumers $570 billion cumulatively over 30 years, and support President Biden’s ambitious clean energy agenda to combat the climate crisis.” BIDEN ADMIN’S REGULATIONS WOULD BAN 96% OF GAS STOVES, REPUBLICAN SENATOR WARNS The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers argued that the Energy Department’s washing machine regulations “would have a disproportionate, negative impact on low-income households” by eliminating cheaper appliances from the market. The Energy Department estimates that manufacturers will incur nearly $700 million in conversion costs to transition to the new machines. “The proposal also argues that it won’t reduce appliance performance, but skepticism is warranted because past regulations have often been found to reduce performance,” Coleman told Fox News Digital.
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House GOP campaign chair says dozens of Democratic seats are in play for 2024

EXCLUSIVE: The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chair Rep. Richard Hudson pledges to go “on offense” in next year’s elections to expand the GOP’s razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives. “We’re on offense. We’re not going to protect our majority. We’re going to grow our majority. I think this list is very realistic and I think we’ve got some real opportunities to pick up seats,” Hudson told Fox News in an exclusive interview on Monday. The list the six-term Republican from North Carolina referred to includes 37 target Democratic held seats that the House GOP re-election committee’s going to aim to flip from blue to red in 2024, in hopes of expanding their current extremely fragile four-seat majority. The list includes two open Democratic seats currently held by Reps. Katie Porter of California and Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, who are running for the Senate rather than re-election in the House next year. FIRST ON FOX: MCCARTHY LAUNCHES ‘PROTECT THE HOUSE 2024’ Republicans won back control of the chamber from the Democrats in November’s midterm elections, but an expected red wave never materialized and hopes for a larger majority in the House disappeared. Some of the districts the NRCC is targeting are races they heavily invested in during the 2022 cycle but were unsuccessful in flipping. But Hudson says “it’ll be a presidential cycle so it will be very different. I think the turnout models will be different.” HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ CAMPAIGN CHAIR TAKES AIM AT THE GOP MAJORITY He also praised his predecessor as NRCC chair – House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota – for “recruiting unique and diverse candidates who reflect their districts and so we’re going to continue to do that. I think recruitment’s going to be really important.” Hudson also pointed to fundraising, noting that “one of the big difference makers last election was the money gap that our candidates had compared to the Democratic incumbents in particular. We’re looking at ways we can fix that. We’ve got to get more candidate dollars to our candidates, make sure they’re better funded.” Hudson emphasized that one thing the NRCC won’t do is take sides in contested GOP House primaries. “We’ve got a long-standing policy at the NRCC to not get involved in open seat primaries by endorsing candidates. We won’t do that,” he said.  But, he added, “I think you may see us get involved earlier in terms of helping people build better campaigns. If we’ve got an open seat and there are a number of candidates that we think have a good chance of winning in the general election and reach out to us and want to work with us, then we’re going to work with them and make sure they build strong campaigns even in the primaries.” Top of the ticket races traditionally influence down ballot contests – and a major factor that will likely heavily impact the 2024 fight for the House majority will be the White House race – and the battle for the GOP presidential nomination. Asked how the burgeoning Republican presidential primary race – where fireworks are already flying – may impact his mission to expand the House majority, Hudson answered: “I don’t know. Obviously I hope we have a Republican nominee for president who can run away with it and has huge coattails.” “We’ve got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” he added. “And make sure we’re building strong campaigns and make sure that we’re doing a better job getting funds directly to our candidates, so they’re better positioned than the Democrats.” The NRCC’s target list was released three days after their counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released its own list of 29 vulnerable “front line” members. “House Republicans have shown voters their caucus is more concerned with political investigations, empowering extremists, and seeking power for themselves, than working to improve the lives of everyday families – and that will stand in clear contrast to the formidable Democratic Frontliners,” DCCC Chair Rep. Suzan DelBene of Washington state said in a statement Friday. “Democrats will have great offensive opportunities in 2024, and holding onto these seats is key to our path to reclaiming the majority.” The DCCC has not yet released its own target list of red seats it hopes to flip next year.
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AOC, top Democrats issue stinging rebuke of Biden over failed climate promises

Several top Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., heavily criticized President Joe Biden on Monday after his administration approved a massive oil drilling project in Alaska. The Democrats argued that the decision moving forward with the Willow Project — an oil drilling project forecasted to produce up to 614 million barrels of crude oil over its 30-year lifespan — contradicts Biden’s broader climate agenda. They also indicated that the only acceptable outcome would have been for the president to completely reject the project. “The Biden administration has committed to fighting climate change and advancing environmental justice—today’s decision to approve the Willow project fails to live up to those promises,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a joint statement with Reps. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., Jared Huffman, D-Calif., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “Their decision ignores … the irrefutable science that says we must stop building projects like this to slow the ever more devastating impacts of climate change.” “This administration clearly knows what the path to a cleaner and more just future looks like — we wish they hadn’t chosen to stray so far from that path with today’s Willow decision,” they continued. “The only acceptable Willow project is no Willow project.” MASSIVE OIL PROJECT SPARKED CIVIL WAR WITHIN BIDEN ADMINISTRATION, LAWMAKERS SAY On Sunday evening, ahead of the expected decision on Willow, the administration announced it would block off roughly 16 million acres of land and water in Alaska near where the project will be located from being developed for future oil and gas leasing. Ocasio-Cortez and the other Democrats added in their statement that “split decisions in the face of the climate crisis are not good enough.” Overall, the federal analysis of the environmental impact of Willow estimated that it would produce as much as 278 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of the carbon footprint of 2 million cars. And environmental groups have blasted the project for years as a “carbon bomb.” DARK MONEY ECO GROUP APPEARS TO BE ASTROTURFING OPPOSITION TO MAJOR OIL PROJECT “It’s disappointing to see Secretary [Deb] Haaland and President [Joe] Biden approve the ‘Willow Project’ for ConocoPhillips,” Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., tweeted Monday. “The Western Arctic is one of the last great wild landscapes on the planet and as public land it belongs to every American. Industrial development in this unspoiled landscape will not age well.” “This is a step backwards,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., added in a separate tweet. “The best way to lower energy prices is to shift to renewables — cheaper in the long run and not subject to Big Oil’s price gouging whims.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., noted Monday that, during the presidential campaign and shortly after taking office, Biden pledged to end all new drilling on federal lands. Willow represents the largest drilling project on federal lands currently proposed. “This disastrous decision to approve the Willow Project in Alaska, one of the largest oil development projects in decades, will have devastating consequences on our planet, frontline communities, and wildlife,” Tlaib said. And Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., blasted the decision, saying it was “wrong on every level.” “It destroys our climate goals and undermines international climate ambition,” the Oregon lawmaker tweeted. “We can’t ask other nations to curb dirty energy production if we’re greenlighting fossil projects.” Like the Democrats, several leading environmental groups criticized Biden over the decision to approve Willow. As of Friday, two Change.org petitions urging Biden to “say no” to the Willow Project had received more than 4 million signatures. And the hashtag #StopWillow went viral on social media, garnering more than 650 million impressions across platforms. “If Biden wants to protect the Arctic, he needs to protect all of it,” Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “The president has left us in the cold and missed a major opportunity to live up to his climate commitments. This project is on weak legal ground, and we’re gearing up for action.” “This is a crushing step backward at a time when we need this administration to make every leasing and permitting decision through the lens of a comprehensive plan to make public lands part of the climate solution,” Karlin Itchoak, the Alaska senior regional director for The Wilderness Society, added.
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Virginia’s largest school district pulls AP Government test question amid outrage

Fairfax County is Virginia’s largest school district, and one of the biggest in the country. A recent test question in an advanced placement (AP) government course asked students a multiple-choice question to choose an “accurate comparison of liberals versus conservatives.” Some concerned parents say regardless of your politics, you should be furious with the nature of the question. The choices represented a bunch of stereotypical identities — based on race, gender, sexuality and age. The options written under the liberal column were: “Young, white males”; “Middle-aged, urban lesbian”; “College-educated black male professional”; and “White, upper-middle class suburban male.” Under the conservative column, the choices were: “East Coast, Ivy League educated scientists”; “Southern male migrant laborer”; “Catholic, midwestern middle-aged male”; and “West Coast, Hispanic teacher.” DESPITE YOUNGKIN WINNING ON EDUCATION REFORM, VA TEACHERS UNION FINDS WAY TO BYPASS CRT BAN Rory Cooper, a Fairfax County father with a background in politics, sharply criticized the school district. “Telling a student that certain people belong in a political philosophy because of who they are, what their gender is, what their race is, that’s not following political trends. That’s telling somebody that they should believe one certain set of beliefs because of their identity,” Cooper told Fox News in an interview. “Right now, it’s it really feels like it’s more about practicing ideology rather than practicing academia.”  In a statement to Fox News, a district spokesperson said, “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) accepts that an AP Government test question, designed to assess 12th graders’ understanding of American political ideology, did not meet the division’s high expectations. The question, which formed part of an assessment for 12th graders enrolled in the FCPS Online Campus, will be removed from future tests and a review of all AP Government Online Campus test questions will be carried out.” YOUNGKIN PICKS OPPONENTS OF ‘RADICAL’ CRT AND OUTSIDERS FOR TOP EDUCATION POSITIONS The College Board, the national organization creating and overseeing advanced placement programs, denounced the question — quote: “We did not and would not create a question like that for AP students. Neither the content nor the format of this question is appropriate for an AP Exam.”  This is the latest embarrassment for one of the nation’s largest school districts. DIVERSITY DIRECTOR SAYS SHE WAS FIRED FROM CALIFORNIA COLLEGE FOR QUESTIONING ANTIRACISM ‘ORTHODOXY’ Fairfax County Public Schools are under investigation by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares after some of its high schools did not tell students they had received National Merit recognition to avoid upsetting others who had not, an issue the district also vowed to probe. Miyares also has been investigating the prestigious Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria about whether changes to the school’s admissions policy violated state law. He noted that changes to the school’s admissions policy with an eye toward diversity may have broken Virginia law when they resulted in a decline in the number of Asian students admitted to the school. 
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House Republicans meeting Monday evening to plot response to Biden’s handling of SVB collapse

EXCLUSIVE: House Republicans will hold a call with members Monday evening to discuss the Biden administration’s response to the Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) collapse and formulate a response, Capitol Hill sources told Fox News Digital. The briefing call is being convened by Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House GOP leadership at 8 p.m. EST, according to an invitation viewed by Fox News Digital. The purpose is to “hear from [House Financial Services] Chair McHenry and other Members of the Financial Services Committee about the Administration’s response to the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank,” according to the notice received by House GOP offices this afternoon. SILICON VALLEY BANK COLLAPSE: KEVIN MCCARTHY SAYS LARGER BANK ACQUIREMENT MAY BE ‘BEST OPTION’ TO COOL MARKETS Two additional sources familiar with the matter confirmed the expected briefing. Fox News Digital reached out to McCarthy and McHenry’s offices for comment but did not immediately hear back. The Republican House Speaker told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on Sunday morning, “I have talked with the administration, from Jay Powell and Janet Yellen. They do have the tools to handle the current situation. They do know the seriousness of this.” That was before federal regulators announced that they were stepping in to ensure all of SVB’s depositors would get their money back, despite Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) dictating that cash in the bank is only insured up to $250,000. ‘SHARK TANK’S’ KEVIN O’LEARY BLAMES SILICON VALLEY BANK COLLAPSE ON ‘POOR MANAGEMENT’ Biden officials said in a statement that “no losses associated with the resolution of Silicon Valley Bank will be borne by the taxpayer,” and that the money would come from fees already collected by banks. Still, President Biden’s critics accused him of making a political decision to bail out Silicon Valley investors. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., for example tweeted, “If First Bank of Midland Texas Oil and Gas failed, you can be sure Biden would not be helping bail them out. This bailout is 100% about protecting the donor base of the Democrats and ensuring if you invest in DEI and ESG you’ll be just fine!” FORMER CEO OF UBS ISSUES HARSH WARNING ON SVB COLLAPSE: THIS WILL CONSUMERS ‘A LOT OF ANXIETY’ Officials held a bipartisan, bicameral video call on Sunday evening to update members of Congress after SVB was shut down by regulators following a rush of investors withdrawing funds. It was a major first step toward explaining to lawmakers what happened in the largest U.S. bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis. Senate Republicans received a follow-up briefing on Monday afternoon after several claimed they were not invited to Sunday’s initial meeting.
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Texas lawmakers react to the El Paso migrant rush: ‘Full-blown invasion at our southern border’

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle weighed in on the migrant rush in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday, with one asking in “what world” does a rush like it “not catch” the eye of the president. Sunday saw a group of at least 1,000 mainly Venezuelan illegal migrants rush the Paso Del Norte bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, and Mexico in an attempt to enter the United States. Crowd control measures were used when the group of mainly Venezuelan migrants continued to press forward, though according to sources at the border, the efforts were thwarted. BORDER CRISIS: OVER 1,000 MIGRANTS RUSH BRIDGE LINKING MEXICO TO US IN EL PASO, TEXAS Texas lawmakers shared their thoughts on the surge, with Republican Rep. August Pfluger blasting President Biden for not viewing the rush as a national security threat in a statement to Fox News Digital. “In what world do 1,000 foreign nationals rushing the sovereign border not catch the eye of the President of the United States as a national security threat?” Pfluger said. “Republicans are pleading with Biden and Mayorkas to work with us to secure the border,” he continued, referencing the Homeland Security secretary. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital that Sunday’s “surge at the border is the direct result of President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’s irresponsible governance.” “This administration publicly promotes lax border enforcement policies that leave America vulnerable while constricting the number of migrants allowed from countries like Venezuela,” Sessions said. “Their clashing narratives put our brave border patrol officers in danger and perpetuate our nation’s border crisis.” “Biden and Mayorkas must change their tune to restore our rule of law at the southern border,” he continued. “How can anyone watch those videos without thinking there’s a full-blown invasion at our southern border?” Texas GOP Rep. Troy Nehls told Fox News Digital. “In the 20-second video Bill Melugin posted, I didn’t see many families storming the border. I saw military-aged males trying to cross into the United States illegally,” Nehls continued. “With a complete disregard for our laws, what makes anyone think they’ll follow the law once they’re here in America?” the former sheriff asked. El Paso Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, tweeted that she has been in contact with U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) leadership amid the chaos. “As the reports of the chaotic events at our ports unfolded, I have remained in contact with local [CBP] leadership,” Escobar tweeted. “Those of us who live and work on the border understand how broken our immigration system is,” she continued. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told “Fox and Friends” on Monday that the rush “is exactly [what] President Biden’s open border policies are inviting.” “The attorney general, Merrick Garland, acknowledged this as part of a plan of the cartels – transnational organization – to get richer who was funneling because they overwhelmed the border and Border Patrol and here comes the drug that took 108,000 American lives alone,” Cornyn said. “This is part of the plan and President Biden is not prepared. Unfortunately, he insists on not working with Congress to solve that problem,” Cornyn continued. “I’m ready and able to work with him but it seems like he wants to go at it alone. So far, it’s not working.” Cornyn also said he thinks “part of the president’s policies are attracting more of the illegal immigration and the perception that there are no consequences associated coming here outside of legal immigration channels.” HOUSE DEMS PROPOSE BILL TO GRANT AMNESTY TO MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican, called video footage of the rush “stunning” and warned that future rushes will keep happening if the border is not secured. “Mad rushes like this will continue to happen so long as illegal aliens think the American president doesn’t give a damn about law and order,” Cruz wrote. Videos show migrants of all ages pressing toward the fenced border, with some putting their hands in the air to encourage others to continue moving forward. Another video shows the moment the migrants pushed onto the bridge and began running for freedom, with a sign above the read, “Feliz Viaje,” or, happy travels. In a third video, migrants were seen gathering on a smaller bridge, while others were observed lining up along the riverbank. Customs and Border Protection increased manpower in the area on the U.S. side, while the Mexican military attempted to contain the incident on the southern side of the bridge. Republicans have blamed the increase in encounters on the Biden administration after it rolled back Trump-era policies like the Remain-in-Mexico policy, ended wall construction and narrowed interior ICE enforcement. The Biden administration has pushed back on those accusations and has accused Republicans of failing to vote for more border funding and not supporting a sweeping immigration reform proposal introduced on day one of the administration. In his State of the Union address, President Biden again appealed for Republicans to pass parts of the bill, but lawmakers have balked at the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which Democrats have indicated is a must. Last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador threatened to launch an “information campaign” in the U.S. against Republicans, telling Mexicans and Hispanics not to vote for them unless U.S. lawmakers change their treatment of Mexico – an apparent threat of election interference by the head of state in response to U.S. calls for action against cartels smuggling fentanyl across the border. The Mexican leader was responding to calls for action from Republican lawmakers, including military action, to crack down on the continuing smuggling of fentanyl into the U.S.  Fox News Digital’s Greg Wehner, Bill Melugin, and Adam Shaw contributed reporting.
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Biden meets with prime ministers of UK, Australia as China threat intensifies

President Biden is meeting with the prime ministers of the United Kingdom and Australia on Monday regarding the vital partnership between the three nations as the growing threat from China looms. Biden traveled to San Diego, California, ahead of the meeting and welcomed Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to address tensions surrounding China’s growing influence and concerning actions on the world stage. AUSTRALIA WILL PURCHASE NUCLEAR-POWERED ATTACK SUBMARINES FROM THE US TO MODERNIZE ITS FLEET The partnership between the three nations, officially called the Australia-United Kingdom-United States (AUKUS) partnership, tightened further this week with the announcement from the Biden administration that it had identified the “optimal pathway” to provide Australia with conventionally-armed nuclear submarines by the 2030s with the best of U.S. and British technologies. “It’s a multi-phased approach that will deliver Australia that capability far more quickly than even we thought possible, when we originally and initially launched this partnership,” a senior administration official said. Phase one of the plan, according to officials, is already underway. Submarines from the United States and the United Kingdom will visit ports in Australia, and this year, Australian sailors will begin embedding themselves in U.S. and U.K. submarine forces and nuclear power schools. Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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Texas Rep. Tony Gonzales says migrants who rushed El Paso border were told it was ‘day of the migrants’

FIRST ON FOX: Texas Republican Rep. Tony Gonzales says the migrant rush in El Paso, Texas, appears to be the result of illegal migrants being told it was “Día de Los Migrants” – Day of the Migrants. Gonzales spoke with Fox News Digital in a Monday phone interview after Sunday’s border rush that saw at least 1,000 mostly Venezuelan migrants charge at the border in an attempt to enter the United States. The Texas Republican, who represents a large swath of the U.S.-Mexico border in Congress, said he was told on Sunday by border officials that the migrants who rushed the border were told that the U.S. was celebrating the “Day of the Migrants” and that they would be welcomed into the country at the port of entry. BORDER CRISIS: OVER 1,000 MIGRANTS RUSH BRIDGE LINKING MEXICO TO US IN EL PASO, TEXAS “They were told, and I’m trying to figure out by who, all indications point that it was cartel essentially feeding this information to the migrants, saying that yesterday was ‘Day of the Migrants’ and they were going to be allowed in the United States via the port of entry,” Gonzales told Fox News Digital. “And they just essentially overran the port, at least on the Mexican side,” Gonzales continued. “And this is where a little bit of disinformation just gets spun and it becomes a dangerous situation for everybody.” Gonzales saidpreventing further disinformation that would lead to future rushes needed to come from the top and that President Biden needs to “show action” with the border, adding that one “can’t just say words” when addressing the crisis. The Texas Republican also said he believes “it’s time to take the gloves off and label cartels as terrorist organizations.” “One thing that DHS needs to do is: folks that do not qualify for asylum need to get sent on a plane and not get flown to D.C. or to New York or Chicago. They didn’t get flown back to their country of origin,” Gonzales said. “In this case, many of the migrants were from Venezuela, is what I’m being told. And you need to work with those host countries, and folks that do not qualify for asylum, send them back. If the president were to do those two things, this crisis will be on the road to recovery. If not, you’re just going to see people be more and more emboldened.” HOUSE DEMS PROPOSE BILL TO GRANT AMNESTY TO MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS Gonzales also said he believes Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s threat of an “information campaign” against Republicans last week puts the U.S. and Mexico “on bad footing.” “And it’s not good for neighbors to be on bad footing,” Gonzales said. “I look forward to visiting with the president, AMLO, later this week in Mexico City, and I’ll have a direct conversation on how we get both countries working together.” “We need the United States to lead Mexico’s help in one, curbing the fentanyl that’s coming over and killing our kids, also curbing the human smuggling that is happening,” the Texas Republican continued. “And, above all, Americans can’t be killed in broad daylight,” the congressman continued. “And I look forward to having that discussion with the president.” Obrador on Thursday threatened to launch an “information campaign” in the U.S. against Republicans, telling Mexicans and Hispanics not to vote for them unless U.S. lawmakers change their treatment of Mexico – an apparent threat of election interference by the head of state in response to U.S. calls for action against cartels smuggling fentanyl across the border. Sunday saw a group of at least 1,000 mainly Venezuelan illegal migrants rush the Paso Del Norte bridge connecting El Paso, Texas, and Mexico in an attempt to enter the United States. Crowd control measures were used when the group of mainly Venezuelan migrants continued to press forward, though according to sources at the border, the efforts were thwarted. Videos show migrants of all ages pressing toward the fenced border, with some putting their hands in the air to encourage others to continue moving forward. Another video shows the moment the migrants pushed onto the bridge and began running for freedom, with a sign above that read, “Feliz Viaje,” or, happy travels. In a third video, migrants were seen gathering on a smaller bridge, while others were observed lining up along the riverbank. Customs and Border Protection increased manpower in the area on the U.S. side, while the Mexican military attempted to contain the incident on the southern side of the bridge. Republicans have blamed the Biden administration on the increase in encounters after rolling back Trump-era policies like the Remain-in-Mexico policy, ending wall construction and narrowing interior ICE enforcement as reasons for the crisis. The Biden administration has pushed back on those accusations and have accused Republicans of failing to vote for more border funding and not supporting a sweeping immigration reform proposal introduced on day one of the administration. In his State of the Union address, President Biden again appealed for Republicans to pass parts of the bill, but lawmakers have balked at the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which Democrats have indicated is a must. Fox News Digital’s Greg Wehner, Bill Melugin, and Adam Shaw contributed reporting.
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Illinois regulatory body seeks legislative assistance in concealed carry controversy

The regulatory body at the center of a stir over a law allowing retired county and state correctional officers virtually unrestricted permission to carry concealed weapons is seeking legislation to cover its concerns after failing to garner guidance from the state’s top lawyer. The Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board sought an opinion from the attorney general on its authority to expand permission for concealed carry to former sheriff’s correctional officers and state prison guards as prescribed by a law that took effect Jan. 1. But Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s office declined in part because it expects lawsuits over the board’s unwillingness to administer the expanded program. “I want to make sure that people are safe,” training board chairman Sean Smoot said. “I want to make sure correctional officers are safe, and their families are safe. I want to make sure the public is safe.” SECOND AMENDMENT GROUPS WARN OF ILLINOIS GUN CONTROL BILL HEADING TO GOVERNOR’S DESK Sen. Bill Cunningham, the Chicago Democrat who sponsored the legislation last spring, has said he’s willing to work on a follow-up measure to cover what the training board sees as shortcomings, but only if it implements the current law so that retirees waiting for permits can apply. Although he was unfamiliar with the specifics, Gov. J.B. Pritzker also said this month that “any law on the books should be complied with.” The 2004 Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act granted retired law enforcement officers the right to carry concealed weapons anywhere in the country. About 10,000 retirees are eligible in Illinois but for two decades it excluded correctional officers who patrol state prisons and county jails, along with some county sheriff’s deputies who served as court bailiffs. There are discrepancies between state and federal codes in terms of definitions of “peace officers,” whether the 10-year law enforcement career requirements include the deputies and prison officers and whether jail guards, unarmed in cell blocks, go through the same firearms training as their patrol colleagues, among other technical issues. “Some of them might need to get more training than they’ve had to be able to carry a concealed weapon, under the circumstance that they’re going to intervene in a situation when they’re off duty, or they’re retired,” Smoot said. ILLINOIS’ SAFE-T ACT ENDING CASH BAIL WILL ALSO FURTHER ‘HANDCUFF’ POLICE WITH NEW PROVISIONS: EXPERTS But even if lawmakers adopt legislation bridging gaps to the training board’s comfort level, Smoot said the board would need emergency powers to make rules governing the changes, something that is typically the purview of the bicameral, bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules. The standard approach through the committee can take months. Cunningham, who also expects legal action against the board, has been miffed at the board for apparently not acting soon enough and expressing concerns during debate on the bill last spring. But during its March meeting, training board chief counsel John Keigher produced a timeline showing how the board reacted when it learned about the legislation on April 7, 2022. That was the day Cunningham added the gun-carry proposal to a House measure. The Senate approved it that day and on April 8, the House concurred with the new language. Keigher’s timeline showed each contact the board made, starting April 7, with the offices of the governor, the speaker of the House, various legislators and Cunningham through mid-December, after the fall legislative session and just weeks before the law was to take effect. Messages were never returned and conversations with staff members of leaders in the Capitol ended without any progress on the problem, Keigher maintained.
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