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The Takeaway


A fresh alternative in daily news featuring critical conversations, live reports from the field, and listener participation. The Takeaway provides a breadth and depth of world, national, and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.


New York, NY






A fresh alternative in daily news featuring critical conversations, live reports from the field, and listener participation. The Takeaway provides a breadth and depth of world, national, and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.






WNYC Radio 160 Varick St. New York, NY 10013 1-877-869-8253

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One Final Farewell

Our host and our staff have remained dedicated to one thing: bringing you, the listeners, a quality news and information show. Unfortunately, in February, The Takeaway staff found out that WNYC executives planned to cancel the show. The last day of the show was June 2nd, 2023. No official press release or external communications from NYPR mentions the end of the show, so in this episode, we address it head on with our former executive producer and current Executive Editor for GBH News, Lee Hill. Then, to celebrate the end of the show, we heard from the incredible people who have been making the show, both past and present. We want to say to all of you, thank you for being apart of the conversation and our community. The work of public radio is daunting, challenging, and often unrewarded. So, that's why we want you to remember this podcast as our final farewell.


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: David Escobar

Rounding out our Producer Appreciation Weeks, intern David Escobar and host Melissa Harris-Perry look back at some of the stories he’s produced for The Takeaway: Does The Indian Child Welfare Act Hang in Peril?/ An Enduring American Pastime: The State Fair Working Out the Four-Day Work Week Healing Trauma Through Nature in Wildcat How A Doll Became a Queer Icon in M3GAN "David Escobar is a senior at Fordham University, double majoring in Journalism and Digital Technology & Emerging Media. His first memories of public radio started back in his hometown of San Francisco, where he remembers constantly listening to his local NPR-affiliate KQED in the car with his family. David began at WFUV in 2022, anchoring the midday newscasts at the station. Now David hosts the “Fordham Conversations'' public affairs program, where he taps into the Fordham University community to discuss and uncover issues that impact our world. His passion lies in political and cultural issues around the country, especially in New York City. David also regularly hosts WFUV’s “What’s What,” the station’s daily news podcast."


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Showing Some Appreciation to David Gebel

David Gebel spent many years working as a singer and actor, and in between shows would work as a temp at various corporate jobs. Little did he know that all those acquired office skills would help him end up at WNYC, initially supporting Radiolab, and then expanding his work to also include supporting The Takeaway and the podcast More Perfect. David focuses on the paperwork, the scheduling and the business support tasks, so that everyone else can focus on making great audio, but David was also incremental in shaping our "Aging While Queer" special series project and a number of other listener-involved segments. We are sending him lots of love and appreciation for all the incredible work he's done on The Takeaway.


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Zachary Bynum

"Atlanta influences everything." As part of our Producer Appreciation Weeks, Host Melissa Harris-Perry talks with the professionals behind the scenes who bring you the stories you love. Digital producer Zachary Bynum is a resident of Atlanta who's worked remotely with The Takeaway for the last 2 years. He produces, edits, and publishes all of our social media content, webpages, and podcasts. Photos from Teen Vogue Summit 2022 at Goya Studios in West Hollywood, L.A. California. (Nov. 12 2022) (Zachary Bynum/ AP/Invision) Zachary has also produced some enterprising coverage on the show, so today we are revisiting some of his favorite segments he produced. Cop City Takeaway Report: A Teen Vogue State of the (Youth)ion Dragphobia is on The Rise Exploring Consumer Protection: The Kroger-Albertsons Merger Black.Queer.Rising.: Moore Kismet (they/them) & George M. Johson (they/them) Zachary is a journalist, producer, and digital storyteller. Before coming to The Takeaway, he earned a M.A. in Political Communications from American University in D.C. where he received a Van Swearengin Scholarship, awarded to students who show potential in the field of journalism and communications. Also, did you know our host, Melissa Harris-Perry, was one of Zachary's political science professors at Wake Forest University? Zachary received his B.A. in Politics and International Affairs from there in 2019. (Courtesy of Zachary Bynum's Facebook Page) Before graduating from American University in 2021, he was a paid media intern for Truxton Creative, a progressive digital advertising firm, where he worked on the Biden/Harris African American Paid Media operation during the 2020 election. You can follow Zachary on Instagram and Twitter: @__zaby (2 underscores) You can pitch him here: Subscribe: Linktree: zabywrites


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Monica Morales-Garcia

As part of our goodbye to The Takeaway, Melissa Harris-Perry sits down with the beautiful folks behind the scenes who make the show happen every day! Today, we're highlighting the work of producer, Monica Morales-Garcia, by listening back to a few of her favorite segments: "Black Maternal Health Week Comes to an End" "Hospice Care Is Plagued by Exploitation" "Brittney Johnson is Spellbinding" "Keyla Monterroso Mejia is Taking the Lead" "Now, Who Speaks [non-English]?" Monica joined The Takeaway in 2022, after a year-long audio fellowship at the Peabody Award-winning show Latino USA, the longest running national Latino news and cultural public radio program. Where she produced long-form narrative stories like, "Chisme: An Ancestral Language," and "The Little Black Dress: A Hidden History." As an independent journalist and producer Monica has worked on, 30 Años: An Oral History of Latino USA, and has produced and fact-checked at Our Body Politic, the public radio show created and hosted Farai Chideya.


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Cat Sposato

As part of our farewell to The Takeaway, host Melissa Harris-Perry sits down with the people behind the scenes who make The Takeaway happen. Today, we're taking a look at some of the work done by Cat Sposato while here on the show. Some of her favorite segments include: Unpacking the Parkland Shooter VerdictA Conversation with MacArthur Fellow Kiese LaymonHurricanes, Puerto Rico and Bad Bunny's "El Apagón"The Polarizing Popularity of Pickleball Cat joined The Takeaway team in September 2022, while in the final semester of her Master's program at New York University's Journalism Institute. Previously, she's worked at NPR Music and their Alt.Latino podcast, and covered entertainment for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Her work has been featured in V Magazine and VMAN. In her spare time, she runs a Substack newsletter called Pop-Closure, where she rants and raves about all of the moments across our culture that she cannot get over. Originally from Passaic, New Jersey, Cat is passionate about telling the stories of communities like hers. You can find more of her work on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter at @CatVeryPopular and at


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Morgan Givens

We continue our Producer Appreciation Weeks with Host Melissa Harris-Perry, who peels back the curtain and speaks with the talented folks that make The Takeaway every day. Today we're highlighting some of Morgan Givens' favorite segments produced during his time with The Takeaway: What Makes a Black ManElectric Literature Editor-in-Chief Denne Michele Norris Makes History and Makes SpaceAward Winning Poet Danez Smith Rises to the TopWhy Titus Kaphar Won't "Shut Up and Paint"Level Up: Accessibility in Gaming Morgan joined The Takeaway team in late 2022, and initially made his way into radio in a roundabout way. He spent years as a police officer in Washington, D.C., where he helped rewrite the training curriculum for the D.C. Police Academy before leaving the department for the non-profit sector, where he did work to eliminate sexual violence in the nation's prisons. Eventually, he interned with WAMU and NPRs 1A before becoming a producer for the program. Morgan is a graduate of the Transom Storytelling Workshop, Neon Hum and Sony's Editor Bootcamp, and is an AIR New Voices Scholar and Mentor. He’s been named one of Variety’s Storytellers to Watch, has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR, Buzzfeed, NPRs Invisibilia, Crooked Media’s Work Appropriate and is frequently called upon to host The Moth storytelling events and perform for The Moth Mainstage in venues around the country. A frequent audio conference panelist, he's also spoken at the AFI Documentary Film Festival about the art of creating great audio. Morgan is also the creator of the award winning and critically acclaimed hopepunk fiction podcast Flyest Fables. Currently repped by CAA, he's hard at work on his debut memoir. Find him occasionally on Twitter at @Optimus_Mo and at


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Mary Steffenhagen

As part of our farewell to The Takeaway, Melissa Harris-Perry sits down with the folks behind the scenes who make the show happen every day. Today, we're highlighting the work of Mary Steffenhagen — an award-winning investigative journalist and producer who joined The Takeaway just over a year ago — by listening back to a few of her favorite segments: • "When Women’s Survival is Criminalized" and "Corrections in Ink" • "A Culture of Abuse and Cover-Ups in the Southern Baptist Convention" • "How Trains Left Indelible Tracks on American Culture" • "Music In Their Own Words: Sylvan Esso" • "The Realities of Race in Assisted Reproduction" • "Human Composting is Legal in New York—Now What?" Mary Steffenhagen's original reporting on labor organizing, social activism, and the political movement behind homeschooling has earned awards from the Sidney Hillman Foundation (Hillman Award), the Newswomen's Club of New York (Front Page Award) and multiple national student journalism associations. She has reported for outlets including Teen Vogue, City Limits and Chalkbeat. She was also a Fulbright scholar in the 2022 Berlin Capital Program and previously interned at Salon and Coda Media, where she helped produce a weekly news podcast. She earned a masters' in investigative and audio journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY in 2021. Find her on Twitter @marynotmerry__ and at


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Ryan Wilde

We continue our Producer Appreciation Weeks with Host Melissa Harris-Perry, who peels back the curtain and speaks with the talented folks that make The Takeaway every day. Producer Ryan Wilde got his first taste of radio in an unlikely place: 104.5 Ice Radio in Antarctica. After beginning his public radio career as an intern, and then producer for The Brian Lehrer Show, he also had a stop in Illinois to produce The 21st, a daily, statewide show produced by Illinois Public Media. After returning to New York City, he joined The Takeaway team in 2022. Ryan revisits some of his favorite segments, and shares highlights from two series he's spearheaded, from his past year producing for The Takeaway: "Downballot" Series"23 Mayors in 2023" SeriesMason, Tennessee is Fighting for its FutureA Fight For Survival: The "Salmon People" of the Columbia RiverRyans Only at the Ryan Meetup (and Definitely No Bryans) Find Ryan on Twitter at @RyanAndrewWilde


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Producer Appreciation Weeks: Katerina Barton

As part of our Producer Appreciation Weeks, Host Melissa Harris-Perry talks with the professionals behind the scenes who bring you the stories you value and the shows you love. Producer Katerina Barton revisits some of her favorite segments that she's produced throughout the past two years on The Takeaway: Gordon Plaza Residents Fight for Relocation from Toxic LandWhat is Driving the Truck Driver Shortage?What Does Queer Mean?Holiday Movie PrescriptionsThe Savannah Bananas Play Ball Katerina joined The Takeaway as an intern in 2020 and came back as a temp producer in 2021, before she became an associate producer in 2022. She has produced nearly 300 segments for The Takeaway. Prior to joining the Takeaway, Katerina earned a duel master's degree at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism in Global & Joint Program Studies: Journalism & European/Mediterranean Studies Institute, worked as a reporter at a weekly paper in central Texas, and spent a year teaching English on a small island in Indonesia as part of a Fulbright English Teaching Fellowship. Find her on Twitter @KaterinaBarton.


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Showing Appreciation to Our Senior Broadcast Engineer Vince Fairchild

Over the years, The Takeaway has seen a long list of rotating staff made up of outspoken journalists and producers. That list does not include Vince Fairchild who is a 'Takeaway veteran' in every sense of the word. Vince has worked as a broadcast engineer on the show since its first year on air in 2008 and now serves as our Senior Broadcast Engineer. "He fact checks like no other. He sound designs with mastery. And he’s so good that when our Director Jay Cowit is out, Vince slides right into the director’s chair with aplomb." For those who know Vince, they know he is regarded as a quiet yet formidable leader. What that means is when he chooses to speak, Team Takeaway always listens. Melissa chatted with Senior Broadcast Engineer Vince Fairchild about The Takeaway as our final show approaches June 2nd. Vince, we're sending you all the love and appreciation for what you've done.


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Movie Therapy: Prescriptions for Embracing Change

As the Takeaway comes to an end, we get one last set of movie prescriptions from Kristen Meinzer, a culture critic and host of the podcast "By The Book" and Rafer Guzman, a film critic for Newsday, and they bring us movie prescriptions about embracing change and fresh starts. Together Kristen and Rafer are the co-hosts of the podcast, Movie Therapy. KRISTEN’S PICKS: Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar, 2021 When middle aged best friends Barb and Star lose their jobs, they decide that a restorative vacation in Vista Del Mar is just what they need to help them ease into the next chapter. But things don't go quite as planned - with mysterious men, villains, and more throwing monkey wrenches into their getaway. Fortunately their friendship, optimism, and sense of humor keeps them strong and ready for anything that's thrown their way. The movie stars Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. The lesson: Things in life don't always go as planned. Sometimes we lose a job, and then things get worse from there. But leaning on our friends, and laughing at the absurdity of life can make it all more manageable. Sister Act, 1992 Whoopie Goldberg stars as a nightclub singer who's forced to go into witness protection in a convent after witnessing a mob hit. While there, she struggles with the regimented life of the nuns. But thanks to her outstanding musical talents and charisma, she's able to turn the convent choir into a soulful chorus complete with a Motown repertoire. The lesson: Sometimes we're thrown into situations that feel wildly out of our purview. But that doesn't mean we can't handle them. In fact, those situations combined with our unique skills mean that we might excel in new ways. Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, 2010 This documentary follows one year in the life of Joan Rivers. It was filmed when Rivers was 75, and coming out of what she considered a down year...after 40+ years of ups and downs as an actor, writer, and comedian. Along the way, she reveals some of her darker moments, biggest struggles, and incredible work ethic...along with lots of her biting wit. The lesson: Even a legend like Joan Rivers has had lots of down years...times that could have broken her...but she chose to keep working, evolving, and trying new things. I'll also add that this film has a special place in my heart because when she was on her press tour for it, Rafer and I got to interview her...and she ended up being our first celebrity interview for the Movie Date podcast. RAFER’S PICKS: Harold and Maude, 1971 This is kind of the original cult movie, from 1971 -- before Rocky Horror, before Pink Flamingos, there was Harold and Maude. It’s the story of Harold, played by Bud Cort, and he’s a very rich, very mobrid young man who spends most of his time staging fake suicides to upset his mother. He hangs himself, cuts his throat, immolates himself and so on. For fun he attends random funerals, and that’s where he meets an 80-year-old woman named Maude, played by the great Ruth Gordon. And Maude is a rebel, even kind of an outlaw -- she's kind of a hippie, she poses nude for artists and for some reason she love to steal cars. She just loves to live. And these two start a friendship and despite their vast age difference, they fall in love. There was a time when you could see this movie at an art-house theater just about once a week, and I pretty much did, but I think it got oversaturated and it’s really fallen off the radar these days. But I think it’s worth revisiting. I like this movie because it seems morbid and perverse, and the humor is very dark. But as it goes on, it gets more and more tender and sincere, and these two characters start to feel very real. And in the end, Maude changes Harold, she gives him a new way of looking at life, she gives him a new spirit and she gives him a new way of expressing himself. She teaches him to play the banjo (and like Steve Martin always said, it’s impossible to be in a bad mood when you play a banjo.) And the...


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Showing Appreciation to Our Line Producer Jacklyn Martin

You might not know this about our Line Producer Jackie Martin, but she is an Air Force Veteran who served from 2000-2005. On The Takeaway, she has produced segments about “Other Than Honorably” Discharged LGBTQ+ Veterans who were discriminated against and discharged due solely to their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status. On top of that, she has coproduced a number of other segments about sports, politics, and culture. "After she left the AirForce she began her career in radio, where she worked for Howard Stern, and the SiriusXM sports channels. Jacklyn joined the Takeaway in January 2020 and has led production on a number of stories. She is the mother of two and enjoys traveling with her family, visiting every Major League Baseball stadium across the U.S. is her goal, and she also enjoys hiking, biking, or any outdoor activity." Jackie is thoughtful and empathetic, and most of all, unparalleled in the speed and quality of her work on the show. That is why we want to thank her for all her work and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.


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Showing Some Appreciation: Inside the Control Room with Director Jay Cowit

We went behind-the-scenes with our control room team: Jay Cowit, Vince Fairchild and Jackie Martin to find out how The Takeaway gets made every day. Then, we got a 1-on-1 conversation between show host Melissa Harris-Perry and Director Jay Cowit who's been working on the Sound design of The Takeaway for nearly 15 years now. "Jay has been with The Takeaway since its on-air inception in 2008, and has been the Show Director, Technical Director, and sound designer since 2009...He is responsible for the show's aural style, including, but not limited to, selecting the music used on the show, mixing interviews, producing the daily podcast version of the show, and creating sonic design used to convey news concepts." For more than a decade, Jay has carried the sonic vision of the show to its highest quality possible and for that, we thank him for all his leadership and work.


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Showing Appreciation to Our Powerhouse Producer Shanta Covington

On Friday, June 2, we will broadcast our final episode. As we head into these final days, we are taking the time to pause and show a little gratitude for the extraordinary team of producers who make The Takeaway every day. Today, we are hailing our Senior Producer: Shanta Covington. Shanta and Takeaway host Melissa Harris-Perry have been working on media projects together for over a decade now. They first met in 2010 prior to Melissa's work as host of MSNBC's MHP Show (2012-2016), for which Shanta was the first hire. Shanta was a segment/guest booking producer for the network with a profound impact. On the MHP show, she helped shape critically momentous coverage of things like the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin and unrest in Ferguson following the police killing of Michael Brown. WATCH: A Decade of Racial Violence | Melissa Harris-Perry Melissa Harris-Perry talks about the recent arc of racial injustice in America, putting the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner in the context of the last decade of “assault on the dignity and bodies of black people that goes unrecognized and unpunished." On The Takeaway, she co-produced award-winning segments, like our interview with feminist hip hop journalist and filmmaker of "Surviving R. Kelly," dream hampton. "She is a passionate content creator and storyteller with more than 20 years in television/digital/film production as well as photography. She loves great movies, great stories and of course great content. In addition to her work for the Takeaway at WNYC, she owns and operates her own photography and video company." In less than a year of producing radio for the very first time, she went from a temporary producer to the show’s sole senior producer and has led the show's team of associate producers and temporary producers tirelessly. That's why Team Takeaway is sending her all the love and gratitude in this Producer Appreciation segment.


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Replay: Visiting the Prison at Angola

Original Air Date: August 30, 2022 More than 55,000 people across the U.S. are incarcerated with the sentence of life without the possibility of parole. This population been rising sharply in the past few decades, with an increase of 66% since 2003, according to research by The Sentencing Project. For those who are sentenced to live and die behind prison walls, there is a sense that they have been forgotten. But a new project is documenting some of their stories: The Visiting Room Project features interviews with more than 100 men who are serving with life without parole at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola. The Takeaway spoke with Project co-creator, Dr. Marcus Kondkar of Loyola University New Orleans, and with Mr. Arthur Carter, who was recently released from Angola after his life without parole sentence was reduced. "I think that once you get a chance to see this is the person that the taxpayers are still holding in prison, I think the question should resonate: why they still are? Why are they still serving life sentences with no possibility of going home?" said Mr. Carter.


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Narcan: How To Save a Life

The mounting death toll from the opioid crisis in the United States continues to wreak havoc in cities, towns, and rural communities across the nation. Over the past two decades, the number of people dying from opioid overdoses in New York, and across the United States, are rising each year. But there is something that some public health experts say could help. Narcan, the brand name for the drug naloxone, is an overdose prevention tool that anyone can use. It’s a simple nasal spray, it's legal, it’s pretty quick and easy to learn how to use, and it can reverse the effects of opioid overdose, and potentially save a life. In March, the Food and Drug Administration authorized over the counter sales of Narcan, making a potentially live-saving drug even more widely available. A CDC study from 2020 found that nearly 40 percent of overdose deaths occurred while another person was nearby — which means the more people carrying Narcan, the better chance there is of saving a life. Takeaway producer Katerina Barton reports, and spoke with Joanna Kaufman, a nursing student, full spectrum doula and priestess in training, living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, whose brother, Benjamin, died in 2019 from a fatal opioid overdose. Katerina also received a Narcan training from Elena Rotov, an overdose prevention coordinator, Hep C/HIV tester, and Hep C coordinator at the Brooklyn-based harm reduction center After Hours Project. Narcan is currently accessible and mostly distributed outside of the traditional health care system from nonprofits and harm reduction organizations. It is also available in some states at participating pharmacies. Most cities offer free community Narcan trainings, where you will receive a free dose of Narcan, and you can also find trainings at nonprofits and harm reduction organizations near you, and online. New York City Public Overdose Prevention Programs


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Black History and Afrofuture with Costume Designer Ruth E. Carter

Ruth E. Carter made history when she became the first Black costume designer to win an Oscar, and the first Black woman to win two Oscars, both for her work on Marvel’s Black Panther franchise. She’s been the premier designer for movies that portray iconic Black characters and cultures for three decades, having worked with the likes of Spike Lee, Denzel Washington and Ava DuVernay even before her Black Panther triumphs. Carter recounts pivotal moments and reflects on her career in a new book, "The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther," from out May 23rd. Carter sat down with The Takeaway to talk about her visions of Black history and for Afrofutures. Cover of "The Art of Ruth E. Carter: Costuming Black History and the Afrofuture, from Do the Right Thing to Black Panther." (Chronicle Books)


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L.A. Strippers Win the Fight for a Union

A group of dancers working at the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, just won their battle to form the only current union for strippers in the country. Since being locked out on the job in March 2022, the dancers held a strike and picket for eight months before officially voting to unionize with Actors' Equity in November. But club management challenged the vote, prompting the National Labor Relations Board to set a hearing for May 15, 2023. Yet over this past weekend, the owners agreed to come to the table and recognize the union vote — handing the dancers a historic victory. We speak with Reagan, a dancer and union organizer with the Star Garden Topless Dive Bar dancers, about the months leading up to this moment and what's next for the new union. Click here to listen to our previous conversation with Reagan in August 2022.


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Title 42 Ended. What Happens Now?

Under the covid era immigration policy, Title 42 had expelled and turned away 2.6 million people at the U.S. Southern border without question. But that has not stopped the tens of thousands of migrants from gathering along the Southern border, hoping to be allowed to remain in the United States while awaiting a court date. While the Biden administration has rejected comparisons to the Trump administration, now as Title 42 measures have been lifted new asylum rules have been put into place. Causing migrant advocate groups to point out that the Biden administration has only “doubled down.” Joining us now is Faisal Al-Juburi, a spokesperson with RAICES a non-profit group defending the rights of immigrants and refugees, and Camilo Montoya-Galvez, immigration reporter at CBS News.