U.S. officers at the ports of entry are arresting undocumented immigrants as they try to leave the U.S. They're then prosecuted and sent to prison, only to be removed from the U.S. anyway. Why bother? That's a question people on all sides of the immigration debate are asking.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. President Obama has arrived in Japan on a weeklong trip that will also include stops in South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. Along with trade talk, President Obama will be trying to reassure leaders that the U.S. will not abandon them. That's important because China is becoming more assertive in disputes with its neighbors.
NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports on the Obama administration's efforts.
The Justice Department wants to grant an early release to thousands of nonviolent drug offenders in crowded federal prisons and they've unveiled a plan to do it. Inmates will receive notice starting next week that they may be eligible to apply. That has government lawyers gearing up for a huge amount of work. Here's NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson.
CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole says there's no time to waste.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
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And I'm Melissa Block.
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires equal access to stores, offices and public places all over the country. It's a federal law. But more than 40 percent of all ADA lawsuits are filed in California, because in California the law has some extra teeth. People who sue there can get cash damages from a business that is not ADA compliant.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 1:12 pm
Washington is just starting to rebuild.
Much of the central Illinois town was wiped away by a half-mile-wide tornado in November. In all, 1,108 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable — a huge share of the housing stock in a city of 15,000.
"Early on, people were asking me how long it was going to take to rebuild the city, and I said we'll do it in a year," says Mayor Gary Manier. "That was wishful thinking."
At preschools in Tulsa, Okla., teachers are well-educated and well-paid, and classrooms are focused on play, but are still challenging. One nonprofit in Tulsa, the Community Action Project, has flipped the script on preschool. The idea behind its Career Advance program is simple: To help kids, the group believes, you often have to help their parents.
About a dozen archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C., are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that was a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold, and the group is trying to recover artifacts before a developer builds condos and shops there.
"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist. Time is running out: DePratter and his team have a permit to excavate until April 30.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that police can stop and search a driver based solely on an anonymous 911 tip.
The 5-4 decision split the court's two most conservative justices, with Justice Clarence Thomas writing for the majority and Justice Antonin Scalia penning the dissent.
In August 2008, an anonymous 911 caller in California phoned in a report that a pickup truck had run her off the road. The caller gave the location of the incident, plus the make and model of the truck and the license plate number.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:11 pm
On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.
ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 5:31 pm
Ten years after the friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan that killed U.S. Army Ranger and former NFL star Pat Tillman, one of the soldiers who mistakenly pulled the trigger says he's still haunted by demons from the night of April 22, 2004.
Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 7:08 am
When a patient who has had a stroke enters the emergency room, it's a race against the clock.
Those who receive the clotbusting drug tPA within 60 minutes of experiencing stroke symptoms have the best chance of avoiding brain damage or death, but studies show that only 30 percent of patients eligible for treatment with the drug get it within this "golden hour."
A key government panel Tuesday voted unanimously against approval of a powerful opioid prescription painkiller intended to provide faster relief with fewer side effects.
At the conclusion of a hearing, the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted 14-0 against recommending that the agency approve Moxduo, the first drug to combine morphine and oxycodone into one capsule.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a Michigan ban on affirmative action in higher education. The 6-to-2 decision is likely to set the stage for further battles over affirmative action in the political arena, as well as the courts.
In 2006, Michigan voters, by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent, passed a referendum to amend the state Constitution and ban any consideration of race in college and university admissions. A federal appeals court invalidated the ban, citing earlier Supreme Court decisions that prevented restructuring government to disadvantage minorities.
For decades the National Guard has fought hard against the stereotype that it was the place to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War, or that it's a place to get college money rather than combat duty.
Guard leaders thought that after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq they had finally earned some respect. So it was a body blow when the Army's top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, unveiled his plan on Capitol Hill to take all of the National Guard's Apache helicopters and move them to the regular Army.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Now we'd like to turn to a story about how views of crime and justice are changing when it comes to the nation's drug laws. In the 1980s and '90s during the crack epidemic, many low-level offenders received harsh sentences that kept thousands of people incarcerated sometimes for decades. But the Obama administration has been re-examining the wisdom of those sentences and is pushing to open up the clemency process for nonviolent drug offenders.
The federal government spends almost $8 billion on preschool programs across the country, mostly on low income 4-year-olds. States spend billions more. But with at least 30 states planning to expand access to pre-K and President Obama promoting "preschool for all," what constitutes a quality preschool program?
And on his way to Asia, the president will make a stop in Washington state. There, he will view the destruction from a massive landslide north of Seattle in the town of Oso. Obama will meet with those affected by that disaster and first responders. It was a month ago that the hillside gave way and wiped out a rural neighborhood. Crews have been looking for the remains of victims ever since. The official death toll now stands at 41. NPR's Martin Kaste visited the site, and has this update.
Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:44 pm
If you're so inclined, and able, you could soon speak Tlingit, Inupiaq, or Siberian Yupik in Alaska with the knowledge that those and 18 other languages, including English, are officially recognized by the state. Alaska's Legislature approved a bill giving them that status Monday.