The White House is considering dropping the refugee limit for the next year below 50,000, a quota that hasn't been seen since at least 1980, The New York Times reports. In a meeting Tuesday, Homeland Security officials reportedly suggested a limit of 40,000.
"When you get down to some of the numbers that are being talked about, you get down to a program of really nugatory levels," said David Miliband, the president of the International Rescue Committee. "It's not an exaggeration to say the very existence of refugee resettlement as a core aspect of the American story, and America's role as a global leader in this area, is at stake."
In addition to a ban on travel from seven majority-Muslim countries, Trump dropped the cap on refugees to 50,000 days after taking office. He will soon need to announce a new cap, as required by the Refugee Act of 1980. But since the Refugee Act was passed, the average quota for refugees has been 94,000. In 1986, it hit its lowest recent level under former President Ronald Reagan, who set a cap of 67,000.
There are a number of major refugee crises unfolding around the world: An estimated 5 million people have fled from Syria and recently close to 400,000 Rohingya people have left Myanmar due to what appears to be an unfolding genocide. But supporters of lower refugee admittance numbers argue that the most useful way to help displaced people isn't through resettlement in America.
"One senior administration official involved in the internal debate over refugees described the move to curtail admissions as part of a broader rethinking of how the United States deals with migrants, based on the idea that it is more effective and affordable to help displaced people outside the nation’s borders than within them, given the backlog of asylum seekers and other immigrants already in the country hoping to stay," The New York Times writes.
"Refugee resettlement is just a way of making ourselves feel better," argued the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian. Jeva Lange
A U.S. Navy transporter carrying 11 people crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Japan on Wednesday. Search and rescue is underway for survivors, the Japan-based Seventh Fleet said in a statement. As of Wednesday morning, eight people had been found and were in "good condition," The Washington Post reports. The crash happened while the plane was traveling to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier, and the cause remains unclear.
This is the latest in a series of recent accidents for the Seventh Fleet, which is conducting exercises in response to rising tensions with North Korea. In June, seven sailors died when the USS Fitzgerald hit a container ship off the coast of Japan. And in August, 10 people were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore. Both incidents were considered avoidable and blamed on crew negligence, prompting new training exercises and examinations of how crew deal with stress and exhaustion. The Seventh Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, was removed from duty in August. Jessica Hullinger
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.
Friendships can form anywhere — including in front of the dairy section at the grocery store.
After his wife died, Dan Peterson, 83, of Augusta, Georgia, couldn't shake his grief. He tended to his garden, where his wife once grew roses, and was "just waiting it out to see how long I was going to live," he told NPR. One day last year, during a quick trip to the grocery store, he met a 4-year-old named Norah Wood, who could sense he was down. "I thought he needed a friend because he was sad," she said. Norah ran up to Peterson and said, "Hi, old person. Today's my birfday.'"
Her excitement was contagious. "When you have a little girl bouncing up and down and being so happy to be alive, you sort of change," Peterson said. Norah, her mom Tara, and Peterson began chatting, and Norah asked to take a photo with Peterson before they went their separate ways. She posted the picture on Facebook, and learned from a mutual friend that it was the first time Peterson smiled since his wife's death. Tara arranged a visit with Peterson, and after a fun afternoon, on their way out the door, Norah stopped to smell one of Peterson's red roses. "It was precious to me, the only thing I had to give back, so I got it and gave it to her," he told NPR. "That sort of sealed our friendship, I think." Catherine Garcia
LeVar Burton is not LaVar Ball, okay Twitter?
Their names are incredibly similar, but only one is the beloved host of Reading Rainbow (LeVar Burton) while the other is the outspoken father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and UCLA guard LiAngelo Ball (LaVar Ball). LaVar "My Son is Better than Steph Curry" Ball was on CNN Monday night, and during an interesting interview with Chris Cuomo, defended LiAngelo, who was arrested with two teammates last week in China for shoplifting. He also commented on his feud with President Trump, which started when LaVar "Shoplifting Is Cool When My Son Does It" Ball downplayed Trump's role in getting the players home from China, causing Trump to tweet, "I should have left them in jail!"
Unfortunately for LeVar "I Starred in Roots" Burton, a bunch of Twitter users thought he was LaVar "I'm Trolling All of You" Ball, and they started sending him angry messages — one man told LeVar "I Taught You How to Read" Burton that he is a "has been actor with a thief for a son and Trump is the president of the United States. Get the picture?" For the record, LeVar "I Should Probably Consider Changing My Name" Burton's Twitter handle is @levarburton, while LaVar "All Publicity Is Good Publicity" Ball can be reached at @lavarbigballer. Catherine Garcia
After several years in foster care, Anthony Berry never thought he'd be adopted at age 16 — and he definitely didn't think his new mom would be his former English teacher.
Anthony met Bennie Berry last November, and she thought he was kidding when he asked her to adopt him in January. "Then later I found out that it was really an option to adopt him, so we pushed forward," she told ABC News. Anthony entered the foster system at age nine, and had decided he didn't want to be adopted, but that changed when he met Bennie. "Life is like a box of chocolates," he joked. "You never know what you might get."
Last week in Beaumont, Texas, the adoption was made official, and both members of the Berry family are excited to see what the future brings. "I have a son," Bennie said. "I'm more than elated. I have a son for the rest of my life." Catherine Garcia
Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday that she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, Team USA's doctor.
Douglas, 21, said she didn't tell anyone about the abuse because "for years we were conditioned to stay silent, and honestly, some things were extremely painful. I wholeheartedly support my teammates for coming forward with what happened to them."
Her former teammates Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney have both said they were abused by Nassar, 54, who served as the national team doctor for more than 20 years. He is accused of molesting several girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University, and will plead guilty to multiple charges of assault, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press Tuesday. Catherine Garcia
The Partridge Family star and former teen heartthrob David Cassidy died from organ failure Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was 67.
Cassidy's family confirmed his death to People magazine, saying he "died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long." He was hospitalized last week with liver and kidney failure, and had been in the intensive care unit.
Cassidy hit it big starring in The Partridge Family, alongside his stepmother, Shirley Jones. A singer, he toured the world in his early 20s, but decided to quit and focus on songwriting and recording. Cassidy publicly shared his struggles with alcohol, and in February announced he had dementia. He is survived by Jones; son Beau Cassidy; daughter Katie Cassidy; brothers Shaun, Patrick, and Ryan Cassidy; and several nieces and nephews. Catherine Garcia
President Trump is spending Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, his gilded private club in Palm Beach, Florida, and the members who pay $15,000 a year in dues have to start following special rules that go into effect when Trump's on the premises.
A notice was sent out Monday reminding members that they'll have to go through Secret Service checkpoints, which will likely take 10 to 20 minutes, Politico reports. "Pocket knives, laser pointers, pepper spray, and any other items deemed to be a safety hazard are not permitted on property," the memo said. "Any items surrendered will not be returned." Members are also only allowed to bring two guests at a time to the club, and all of the rules are enough to keep some people away. "We plan not to be there when he's there," one longtime member told Politico. "When he's there, it's a mess."
Trump has dubbed Mar-a-Lago the "Winter White House," and Chief of Staff John Kelly is reportedly trying to figure out a way to keep Trump from hobnobbing with the members in the club's main dining room, but friend and Mar-a-Lago member Chris Ruddy said he doubts he'll be able to keep him away. "The president thrives on the interactions he has with guests, friends, and members, and I'd be surprised if that didn't continue in some way," he told Politico. Catherine Garcia