Morning Update: The Fire This Time

A judge blocks Trump's asylum rules, tensions in Mexico over the caravan, a mommy blogger is under fire. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Nov. 20.

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A judge blocked the Trump administration's new restrictions on asylum

This is a significant ruling, and the latest in a long line of defeats for the administration as it tries to curb immigration.

First, the background: The Trump administration introduced a new policy that bars asylum for those who cross into the country without authorization.

What was the Department of Justice’s argument? It said that the policy was necessary because a crush of asylum-seekers on the southern border had created a crisis.

And how did that argument go? Not well. Judge Jon Tigar in San Francisco ruled that the policy “irreconcilably conflicts with” the Immigration and Nationality Act. That act says anyone in the United States can apply for asylum, regardless of whether they arrived at a port of entry.

What does this mean? The judge ordered that the administration is to resume accepting asylum claims, regardless of how applicants enter the US.

There’s no looking away from this year’s California wildfires

The Camp fire in Northern California killed at least 79 people and destroyed more than 15,000 structures. This makes it both the deadliest and most destructive fire in the history of the state.

The fire is 70% contained. The first significant winter storm, due to arrive this week, may help with efforts to kill the flames, though it will present new challenges and dangers.

Mat Honan wrote the definitive piece on the question on everyone’s minds: What are we going to do about the fires?

From Honan’s piece: “We have fires because of climate change and because very many people are living in places they didn’t used to live, and neither of those problems has anything like a realistic solution.”

You should also read:

👉 California evacuees don’t know where they will live because there aren’t many options.

👉Young people whose lives were turned upside down by wildfires in Greece have sent heartbreaking messages of support.

👉 Here’s how you can help the victims of the wildfires today.


Four people are dead, including the gunman, after a shooting at a Chicago hospital. A doctor, a pharmaceutical assistant, and a police officer are the victims. Police said the gunman shot and killed a woman, an employee of Mercy Hospital, who “he was in a domestic relationship with.”

Airbnb just deactivated listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Israel says hosts should sue. After years of protests, the short-term rental company will pull approximately 200 listings in disputed territories. The announcement came one day before Human Rights Watch said it planned to publish a report on Airbnb’s business in the West Bank. Israeli government officials responded by moving to “restrict the company’s operations across the country.”

People are upset with Bill Maher after he dismissed Stan Lee’s legacy. The HBO host wrote, “The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning... for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.” Fans are furious.

A chickenpox outbreak has hit a North Carolina school with high vaccine opt-out rates. Dozens of kids are sick at Asheville Waldorf School, a private school with one of the highest religious exemption rates in the state. Of its 152 students, 110 were not vaccinated for chickenpox. It’s reportedly the largest outbreak of the viral infection to hit North Carolina in some 23 years, or since the vaccine became available in 1995.

You can now watch a bunch of ad-supported movies for free on YouTube, including Legally Blonde and Rocky. Google said that most of the films were made available due to partnerships with Hollywood studios, and while the service has only a small selection right now, it plans to add more in the future.

The FBI considers the Proud Boys to be an extremist group with ties to white nationalism. The agency warned Washington state law enforcement officials about the group, according to an internal police report. This is apparently the first time the FBI's classification has been made public.

A mommy blogger is under fire for posting that her son is the least “liked” of her kids on Instagram. Katie Bower, a DIY and parenting blogger with more than 52,000 followers, wrote what began as a pretty normal post celebrating her kid’s birthday. Then it took a turn: “His photos never got as many likes. Never got as many comments. From a statistical point of view, he wasn't as popular with everyone out there.” Judgment on social media was swift.

Trump’s nationalist rhetoric has trickled down to Mexico — and turned people against the caravan

There’s a burgeoning, and at times vitriolic, debate over immigration in Mexico.

In recent months, the caravan of Central American migrants has awoken nationalistic and xenophobic rhetoric rarely heard in the country, but increasingly normalized north of the border with the rise of President Donald Trump.

The arrival of the caravan has frayed nerves in Tijuana, the last stop on a five-week-long journey for migrants intent on seeking asylum in the US.

Those tensions are manifesting themselves in marches and anti-immigrant protesters trying to run off a group of migrants.

Our reporter Karla Zabludovsky spent time looking into how Trump’s rhetoric is turning people against the caravan.

These animals have been reunited with their owners after being rescued from the California wildfires

According to a veterinary school that took in animals that badly needed help after the California wildfires, the process of reuniting pets with their owners is “like trying to find a needle in haystack.”

Two weeks after truly terrifying fires started to sweep the state, those needles are beginning to be found.

There are some amazing stories of pets being reunited with their people, and I hope they bring you the joy it brought me. Just look at this:

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