Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Emily Dai
Wednesday, October 13, 2021, 12:36 PM

Lawfare’s daily roundup of national security news and opinion.

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Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced Tuesday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will stop carrying out large-scale arrests of undocumented immigrants at workplaces, reports the Washington Post. Mayorkas’s memo stated that “mass worksite operations” deters workers from reporting substandard wages or other exploitative labor practices. According to Mayorkas, increasing worker protections and imposing harsher penalties for companies and employers will reduce the demand for illegal labor. Immigration agencies have 60 days to devise new policies that protect undocumented workers who report their employers from deportation.

Representatives from more than 30 countries will join the United States for a virtual meeting Wednesday to address ransomware attacks, according to NBC News. A study by the cybersecurity firm Emsisoft found that ransomware, where hackers lock victims’ computers and extort payments from them, cost victims around $74 billion in total damages last year. Notably, Russia was not invited to the summit.

Protests in Rome turned violent over the weekend as thousands demonstrated against Italy’s new vaccine mandate, says CBS News. Anyone entering workplaces in Italy must be vaccinated, recovered from coronavirus in the last six months or provide a negative test from the past 48 hours, using the country’s “Green Pass” to prove their status. While the Green Pass has been required since August for leisure activities, some workers may now face suspension without pay if they violate the newest restriction. Some of the protesters have been identified as members of the neo-fascist political party Forza Nuova. 

U.N. human rights spokesperson Marta Hurtado highlighted the “unnecessary and disproportionate” force Libyan security forces used on migrants and asylum seekers, resulting in deaths and injuries, according to Reuters. Libya serves as a major transit checkpoint for migrants hoping to reach Europe. Raids on informal migrant settlements have resulted in “a rise in detentions in appalling conditions, as well as expulsions of individuals to countries in sub-Saharan Africa without due process,” said Hurtado.

The United States will reopen its land and ferry borders to fully vaccinated, nonessential travelers from Canada and Mexico next month, ending travel restrictions that were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports Politico. Mayorkas said in a statement that easing restrictions will benefit the economy. While more than 80 percent of Canadians are fully vaccinated, less than 40 percent of Mexicans are fully vaccinated.

The U.S. State Department on Tuesday appointed veteran diplomat Elizabeth Jones to lead Afghanistan relocation and resettlement efforts, according to CNN. Jones is replacing Amb. John Bass as the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts.


ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which David Priess sat down with Martijn Rasser to discuss recent CIA organizational changes and technology initiatives.

Peter Neal explained how a little-reported prohibition on the IRS from designating sovereign citizen nonfilers as “illegal tax protesters” could be obscuring a tool for identifying domestic extremists.

Quinta Jurecic, Bryce Klehm, Natalie K. Orpett and Alan Z. Rozenshtein wrote about a recent Senate report describing Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, and what it reveals about the fragility of democracy. 

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Emily Dai is a junior at New York University studying Politics and Economics. She is an intern at Lawfare.

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