Vox Sentences: Syria’s final push

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

Natural-born citizens are losing their passports; Syrian civilians are at risk in a final effort to rid the country of rebels.


Naturally born no more

 Getty Images
  • The Trump administration is calling the citizenships of “hundreds, even thousands” of Hispanic Americans born along the Texas-Mexico border into question. Immigration lawyers say their clients are being interviewed, denied entry into the US, losing their passports, and even being thrown into deportation proceedings. [Washington Post / Kevin Sieff]
  • Immigration officials are also saying that birth certificates are not sufficient evidence and asking citizens to provide random documents such as baptismal certificates, prenatal care information, and rental agreements from when they were infants. [Daily Beast]
  • The State Department claims it has not changed “policy or practice regarding the adjudication of passport applications.” Rather, officials say they are investigating “an area of the country where there has been a significant incidence of citizenship fraud.” [CNN / Maegan Vazquez]
  • And technically, they haven’t changed policy. Officials began this practice under the Bush and Obama administrations when they discovered up to 250 midwives were signing fraudulent birth certificates for babies really born in Mexico. The problem is, however, that these medical professionals also signed many valid certificates. [AP / Christopher Sherman]
  • What differs here is the frequency at which passports are being revoked. There has allegedly been a “surge” of denials. The Trump administration is also looking into the citizenships of up to 15,000 babies delivered by a South Texas obstetrician. [Slate / Elliot Hannon]
  • The case against the midwives was settled in 2009 after the ACLU brought a lawsuit. But the passport denials persisted and continue to persist at a higher level today. [HuffPost / Liza Hearon]
  • The entire issue is indicative of President Trump’s desire use “the full extent of the power given … by law” to shape the system of American citizenship and “challenge the citizenship and voting rights” of specific groups. [Vox / Dara Lind]

Syria and Russia are teaming up to defeat rebels once and for all

  • The Syrian government is mounting a campaign for the final push against rebels in the Idlib governorate, the last rebel-held territory in the country. Civilians are “terrified” and fear that this will be “a battle soaked in blood.” [The Nation / Loubna Mrie]
  • Russian forces are teaming up with Syria for this “all-out offensive” to “wipe out those terrorist groups.” Russia is also trying to broker a deal with Turkey to accept civilians fleeing the conflict, though the neighboring country has stated it will not open its borders. [Al Jazeera]
  • The UN is calling for action to avoid what could likely be a “perfect storm” and add to the already 400,000 dead or missing civilians. [BBC]
  • There is some conjecture that President Trump is looking to distract from Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. But it’s safe to say little focus has been given to the 2.9 million civilians at risk who are trying to flee. [CNN / Nic Robertson]

Miscellaneous

  • California has become the first state in the US to pass a resolution that condemns the nonconsensual normalization of intersex children through cosmetic medical procedures. [USA Today / Susan Miller]
  • Snapchat, the Weather Channel, Citi Bike, and other apps have been hit with an anti-Semitic campaign: New York users saw that their city was renamed “Jewtropolis” on maps this morning. [The Verge / Jacob Kastrenakes]
  • Hassan Al-Kontar, a Syrian refugee, is facing deportation from Malaysia to Syria and, as a result, has been stuck in the Kuala Lumpur airport since March. In that time, he’s received many marriage proposals. [Vice / Nyima Pratten]
  • Apple will likely unveil its new slew of iPhones on September 13. As with every new iPhone rollout, this year’s models are supposed to be the “most impressive yet.” [CNBC / Sara Salinas]

Verbatim

“Taking on Trump is not a matter of having … the best-articulated policy proposals: it is a matter of putting forward a vision that offers the opposite of the Trumpian pull of the imaginary past. That vision — the promise of something yet unknown — is, in fact, the stuff of politics.” [Masha Gessen on the Cuomo-Nixon debate and the “definition of politics” / New Yorker]


Watch this: Political correctness, explained

Political correctness can sometimes feel like a tug-of-war between inclusivity and free speech. Experts discuss the concepts behind the fraught term on this week’s episode of Explained, now on Netflix.


Read more

How Republicans are undermining the 2020 census, explained with a cartoon

From midlife crises to cowboy dreams: August’s biggest new albums

China’s brutal crackdown on the Uighur Muslim minority, explained

Trump’s Justice Department is threatening cities that allow safe injection sites

It feels like the world is ending — and I can’t stop reading about it