National News Explained

Julie Freijat, co-editor in chief

Syrian refugees relocate to Missouri

This April marked the beginning of a renewed effort to assist and relocate Syrian refugees into the United States. Ahmad al-Abboud and his family made the next step in their lives on April 6, arriving at the Kansas City International airport. The family traveled through war-torn parts of Syria and eventually arrived in Jordan, where they lived in a refugee camp and later a storage container. They were a few of roughly 1,000 refugees who were given the opportunity to come to the United States last fall.

Why is this a big deal? Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has already issued an executive order keeping Syrian refugees from settling in Kansas. This development is the one of the first of its kind in the United States and can possibly be a gateway to either harsher or a repeal of certain immigration laws. The arrival of the refugees will be an influence for laws across the country over the next few months.

Supreme Court split on Obama’s immigration order

In 2014, President Barack Obama issued an executive order to shield around four million undocumented immigrants from being deported after the House of Representatives blocked bipartisan immigration reform that had already been passed by the Senate. Currently, the Supreme Court is at a stalemate on the issue — the conservative side is challenging Obama’s authority to make the order. Essentially the action grants undocumented immigrants deferred action status and a work permit while protecting them from the risk of deportation.

Why is this a big deal? Immigration has been and is one of the most polarized political issues in America. Regardless of your stance on immigration, the point still stands that whichever way the Court leans will lead to more political unrest. Not only will it determine Obama’s immigration legacy but it also affects the candidates for the upcoming election who like to target these highly debated issues to further their political agenda. The decision will also determine the fate of millions of people.

Zika virus threat grows

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a travel alert to 30 territories where the Zika virus has spread. The virus, originating in the Zika forest of Uganda, is spread primarily through mosquitoes and typically causes mild symptoms including fever, rash, muscle pain and red eyes. It’s threatening connotation stems from its link to birth defects in pregnant women. In 2015, Brazil reported thousands of babies born with microcephaly, a syndrome in which the newborn’s head is significantly smaller than usual. This can lead to delayed development and other issues. Currently, there are 346 travel-related cases in the United States, 32 of which involve pregnancies.

Why is this a big deal? There is no vaccination for Zika, though the Obama Administration recently lobbied Congress for roughly $1.9 billion to counter the spread. The World Health Organization estimates four million people could be infected by the closing year.