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Biden will increase the number of refugees in America by 800 percent

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Biden will increase the number of refugees in America by 800 percent

If the assumed future President-elect Joe Biden has his way America will take more refugees in his first year set the refugee cap than President Donald Trump has authorized for resettlement during his entire presidency.

Biden lobbied to say that he would encourage 125,000 refugees to enter the country in his first year in office.

On Thursday, he repeated the number at the event marking the 40th anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service, according to the Religion News Service.

According to Reuters, Trump had set the fiscal cap of 15,000 in 2021. The 2020 ceiling was set at 20,000 refugees. Trump raised the 2019 cap at 30,000 immigrants, according to The New York Times.

Biden’s figures are far better than the boundaries set by former President Barack Obama. In fiscal 2017, the last year of the Obama administration, according to the Pew Research Center, the refugee cap was 110,000. The 2016 threshold was set at 85 000.

“The United States has long been a source of hope for the downtrodden and poor, the pioneer in the resettlement of refugees in our humanitarian response,” Biden said in a pre-recorded recording, according to the Religion News Service.

“I pledge, as President, that I will reclaim that proud legacy for our country. The Biden-Harris administration will restore America’s historic position in helping displaced people and upholding refugee rights everywhere, raising our annual refugee resettlement target to 125,000.”

“The fact that he has decided to make this announcement with us tonight is a sign that President-elect Joe Biden is upholding his faith when it comes to American policy to defend and accept refugees,” said Jesuit Refugee Service Director of Advocacy and Activities Giulia McPherson in a statement.

“It is not only encouraging that the United States will once again accept refugees at a historically high pace, but it is also vital that we hear the President-elect talk in the language of social justice about the rights of refugees and our call as persons of faith and as Americans to follow them to freedom,” McPherson said.

Some shared concerns about the surplus of refugees that Biden is looking to resettle.


However, even if Biden assumes office and tries to enact his strategy, it does not happen immediately, according to NPR, Becca Heller, Executive Director of the International Refugee Assistance Network.

“The point is not to reach 125,000—the point is to signal both to the rest of the world and to the domestic community of our own government that this is a priority again,” she said.

“It’s less significant if we touch the exact number and more relevant if we say, ‘Refugee admission is very important. We’re going to target at this high number to invest in infrastructure to get as soon as we can,” she said.

But Trump’s cuts left organizations that rely on refugee resettlement for their cash flow to slash workers, which ensures that it would take years for the refugee pipeline to resume running at its former levels, even with an estimated 120,000 refugees at different stages of seeking entry to the country.

Will the refugee quota be increased?

“We are staring at a very significant upsurge, and over the past four years, the refugee relocation scheme has been slashed by 85 percent and completely destroyed,” says David5-007, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

There is also the reality of COVID-19, which has been cited as a reason why the U.S. has not met refugee numbers in recent months.

“For the first 100 days, the Biden government would have very little bandwidth to work with anything other than COVID. We’ve never had a problem like this before,” said Muzaffar Chishti of the Migration Policy Institute.

“We can’t expect a massive leap in immigration policies. If people expect this to happen tomorrow, they’ll be in for a major surprise,” he said.

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Miner’s Candle fire burning near Idaho Springs is 100% contained

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Miner’s Candle wildfire forces evacuations near Idaho Springs

The Miner’s Candle fire burning near Idaho Springs is 100% contained, fire officials said Tuesday.

The wildfire started Sunday as a structure fire and it forced residents of about two dozen homes to evacuate. The fire, which destroyed two homes, a cabin and a small number of outbuildings, burned about 15 acres, according to the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s Office.

Strong winds on Sunday and extremely dry weather fueled the fire. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

 

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This “bizarre” creature is a massive sunfish spotted near Laguna Beach

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This “bizarre” creature is a massive sunfish spotted near Laguna Beach

A pair of paddlers encountered a massive sunfish just a few hundred yards off Laguna Beach’s shoreline that could rival in size a Guinness World Record set in 1996.

Rich German and friend Matt Wheaton, both of Laguna Beach, set out on Thursday, Dec. 2, to enjoy the clear waters off the coast. They came across a massive mola mola, also known as sunfish, floating on the ocean’s surface.

“We were just paddling and all of a sudden we were like ‘Oh my god.’ That thing was massive,” said German, author of the book “Blue Laguna” and founder of the ocean conservation nonprofit Project O.  “Most of my encounters are with dolphins and whales, but you never know what you’re going to see.”

German, comparing to Wheaton’s 14-foot stand-up paddleboard, guessed the fish was close to 9 feet in length.

Once home, he found a Guinness World Record set in 1996 when a fisherman caught an 8-foot-11 mola mola that weighed 5,070 pounds off the coast of Japan. While that record was for the heaviest fish, which would be tough to compare with the sunfish the pair encountered off Laguna Beach, German said he thinks theirs could be longer in length and is hoping to consult with marine scientists to see if it could be measured based on the size of the board.

Julianne Steers, founding board member of the Beach Ecology Coalition, said the sunfish was larger than most seen here – she’s seen fish about 6- to 7-feet long. But whether it was a record-holder would be tough to tell.

“The only true way to know is if it was out and weighed and officially measured,” she said, noting that there’s some records up in Northern California of sunfish reaching 13-foot long. “But it does look much larger than what we typically see out here.”

She called the mola mola a “lumbering” fish that likes to lazily float on the ocean’s surface to bask in the sun, hence their nickname, eating jellyfish and salps.

The species looks like a mad scientist put them together with spare parts, Steers said. “It’s such an oddball kind of assembly of parts.”

The mola mola is also the largest fish in the world that has a skeleton structure, she said.

Scientists once thought the mola mola drifted with ocean currents, but they’ve been tracked in Southern California swimming 16 miles a day at a top speed of 2 mph, the Monterey Bay Aquarium says on its website.

“With its tank-like body, the mola was clearly not built for life in the fast lane. But it holds its own against faster and flashier fish and is able to live in almost all of the world’s oceans,” the aquarium says. “It’s known to spend time near the surface, but tagging shows that the mola is also a prolific diver and migrates long distances at depth.”

German said he has seen many mola molas through the years, but typically further offshore and about half the size of the one encountered just south of Main Beach.

“The first time I saw one, I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was a mutilated shark,” he said, noting the fish’s fin often stands up above the surface. “They are so bizarre looking. They just lay there.”

Even if it’s not an official record-setter, German is still soaking in the interesting encounter.

“I just know it was really big,” he said. “It was a unique and very cool thing to experience, and another example of why we need to protect the ocean and the amazing life that calls it home.”

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Pearl Harbor survivors gather on 80th anniversary of attack

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Pearl Harbor survivors gather on 80th anniversary of attack

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — A few dozen survivors of Pearl Harbor and other veterans gathered Tuesday at the site of the bombing 80 years ago to remember those killed in the attack by Japan that launched the U.S. into World War II.

The USS Chung-Hoon, a guided missile destroyer, passed in front of the pier with its sailors “manning the rails,” or lining the ship’s edge, to honor the World War II veterans present.

David Russell, a 101-year-old from Albany, Oregon, who survived the attack while on the USS Oklahoma, stood to salute to the destroyer on behalf of the veterans.

Herb Elfring, 99, said he was glad to return to Pearl Harbor considering he almost didn’t live through the aerial assault.

“It was just plain good to get back and be able to participate in the remembrance of the day,” Elfring told reporters over the weekend.

Elfring was in the Army, assigned to the 251st Coast Artillery, part of the California National Guard on Dec. 7, 1941. He recalled Japanese planes flying overhead and bullets strafing his Army base at Camp Malakole, a few miles down the coast from Pearl Harbor.

Elfring, who lives in Jackson, Michigan, said he has returned to Hawaii about 10 times to attend the annual memorial ceremony hosted by the Navy and the National Park Service.

About 30 survivors and about 100 other veterans of the war joined him this year. Veterans stayed home last year due to the coronavirus pandemic and watched a livestream of the event instead. Most attendees this year wore masks.

They observed a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the same minute the attack began decades ago.

Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro recounted in his keynote address how Petty Officer 1st Class Joe George tossed a line to the USS Arizona that six men trapped by fire in the battleship’s control tower used to cross to his ship, the USS Vestal. Five of the six survived. Among them was Donald Stratton of Red Cloud, Nebraska, who died last year. Del Toro said he recently met with Stratton’s family.

“We sometimes talk about our victory in World War II as though it was inevitable. Only a matter of time. But there was nothing inevitable about one sailor’s decision to toss that line,” Del Toro said.

He said it took millions of individual acts of valor and courage at home and overseas to get the nation through the war.

The bombing killed more than 2,300 U.S. troops. Nearly half — or 1,177 — were Marines and sailors serving on the USS Arizona.

David Dilks, 95, traveled to Hawaii from Hatfield, Pennsylvania, with his son-in-law. Dilks enlisted out of high school in 1944, going from playing basketball one day to serving in the Navy the next.

Dilks said his battleship, the USS Massachusetts, bombarded targets like Iwo Jima, Okinawa and the Philippines during the war.

He recalls one day in March 1945 when he and his shipmates were watching the movie “Stage Door Canteen” on the ship’s fantail when a loud noise interrupted the film. They then saw a Japanese kamikaze plane crash into the USS Randolph aircraft carrier next to them.

“We never had a movie up topside after that,” he said.

Sitting at Pearl Harbor on the 80th anniversary of the attack, he said he’s thinking in particular about those that died.

“All of the sailors and soldiers who fought here — you should be proud of them. But more proud of those who didn’t make it,” he said.

Several women who helped the war effort by working in factories have come to Hawaii to participate in the remembrance this year.

Mae Krier, who built B-17s and B-29s at a Boeing plant in Seattle, said it took the world a while to credit women for their work.

“And we fought together as far as I’m concerned. But it took so long to honor what us women did. And so of course, I’ve been fighting hard for that, to get our recognition,” said Krier, who is now 95. “But it was so nice they finally started to honor us.”

This year’s ceremony took place as a strong storm with extremely heavy rains hit Hawaii, flooding roads and downing power lines. The ceremony was conducted under a pier with a metal roof. Skies were overcast but it was not raining during the ceremony.

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