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FEMA urged to treat heat as a disaster; Biden's protections for undocumented spouses

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

President Biden is expected to announce an executive order today that would protect an estimated half a million undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens from deportation. The plan grants "parole in place" to undocumented people who have been in the U.S. for at least 10 years and provides work permits and a pathway for them to apply for legal permanent status. It will also extend a path to legality to noncitizen minors and stepchildren of American citizens.

President Joe Biden issued executive actions restricting asylum elegibility for most people who cross the border unauthorized, on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.
Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
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AP
President Joe Biden issued executive actions restricting asylum eligibility for most people who cross the border unauthorized on Tuesday, June 4.

  • 🎧 Biden has recently announced a string of rules or policies aimed at curbing the high number of unauthorized crossings at the Southern border, which has prompted backlash from immigrant rights groups that previously supported him, NPR's Sergio Martínez-Beltrán tells Up First. He says this latest policy seems to have pleased them for now, though it's expected to be challenged in court.


Several environmental, labor and health care groups are urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency to treat extreme heat and wildfire smoke as "major disasters." The designation would help states access federal funding during extreme heat events. The groups' petition comes as millions of Americans in the Midwest and Northeast prepare for summer's first big heat wave.

  • 🎧 So far, FEMA has declined to declare a heat-related disaster for states that have requested aid, NPR's Alejandra Borunda reports. That's because the agency thought the destruction wasn't so severe that states couldn't handle it themselves. But Borunda says it's known that heat kills many more people than disasters like hurricanes. In an extreme heat disaster, FEMA could set up cooling centers, send extra medical personnel and help develop permanent infrastructure to make cities cooler. Administrators say they know FEMA has a role to play in addressing extreme heat, and they're open to the idea, but it's new ground for them.


Maryland Gov. Wes Moore is pardoning people convicted of more than 175,000 marijuana-related crimes — the majority of which are misdemeanors. His decision comes a year after the state legalized recreational marijuana use. The pardons aim to ease the cascading social and economic damage wrought by the war on drugs — harm that advocates say disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic communities.

  • 🎧 Gov. Moore tells Morning Edition that many of the people pardoned had served their debt to society, but were still suffering the consequences of their convictions. They face barriers to employment, education, home ownership and more. He says with the pardons, he wants to “make second chances actually mean something.”

Deep Dive

Malcolm Reid at home in Decatur, Georgia, with his dog, Sampson. Reid, who recently marked his 66th birthday and the anniversary of his HIV diagnosis, is part of a growing group of people 50 and older living with the virus.
Sam Whitehead / KFF Health News
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KFF Health News
Malcolm Reid at home in Decatur, Georgia, with his dog, Sampson. Reid, who recently marked his 66th birthday and the anniversary of his HIV diagnosis, is part of a growing group of people 50 and older living with the virus.

When Malcolm Reid was diagnosed with HIV 28 years ago, it could have been a death sentence. Now, more than half of the people living with HIV in the U.S. are aged 50 or older. Researchers estimate that 70% of people living with the virus will fall in that age range by 2030. As people with HIV live longer — in part due to the development of antiretroviral therapies — other health challenges are piling up.

  • ➡️ Aging with HIV comes with a greater risk of health issues related to inflammation from the virus and the long-term use of harsh medications.
  • ➡️ Some face what researchers call the dual stigma of ageism and anti-HIV bias.
  • ➡️ Many have lost friends to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Loneliness can increase the risk of cognitive decline and other conditions.
  • ➡️ The U.S. healthcare system isn't prepared to handle the more than half a million people over 50 with HIV. An international coalition of older people with HIV signed "The Glasgow Manifesto," calling on policymakers to ensure better access to affordable care to enable patients to get more time with doctors and to fight ageism.

Picture show

People cycling in Tsinghua University in Beijing, China on April 23, 2024.
Stefen Chow for NPR /
People cycling in Tsinghua University in Beijing, China on April 23, 2024.

What's really happening inside China? Though the country has ended its pandemic isolation, tensions with the U.S. have prevented Americans from visiting. This spring, a Morning Edition team traveled to Beijing and Shanghai. Over dinner at a Hunan-style restaurant, host Steve Inskeep chats with NPR's John Ruwitch, who has covered China for decades, about how the United States' global rival is doing.

  • 📷 See photos the team captured in China and read highlights from Steve and John's conversation about what COVID did to the country's economy, its declining population, how its people have embraced technology and more.

3 things to know before you go

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WDC) in June. Many of the features Apple announced there will duplicate the services of 3rd-party apps, a practice known as "Sherlocking."
NIC COURY/AFP via Getty Images / AFP
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AFP
Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks during Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WDC) in June. Many of the features Apple announced there will duplicate the services of 3rd-party apps, a practice known as "Sherlocking."

  1. Apple has unveiled new transcription and recording software for iOS 18, set to release in the fall. It will essentially make one of the most popular call-recording apps obsolete — a practice many call "Sherlocking."
  2. George E. Norcross III, a powerful executive and political figure in New Jersey, has been accused of running a criminal enterprise that used extortion to promote his vast business and political and philanthropic empire. (via Gothamist)
  3. Country singer George Strait smashed the record for the largest ticketed concert in U.S. history when he played for a crowd of 110,905 fans on Saturday, according to Billboard.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2024 NPR

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