Author

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana Figueroa

Ariana covers the nation's capital for States Newsroom. Her areas of coverage include politics and policy, lobbying, elections and campaign finance.

New guidelines announced by the Biden Administration will give some Venezuelan migrants a path to temporary residence in the United States. In September, Venezuelans who crossed the U.S. border from Mexico waited in line for dinner at a hotel provided by the Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New plan for Venezuelan migrants will accept some into the U.S., send others to Mexico

By: - October 18, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration  announced new guidelines for Venezuelan migrants, under which some will have a pathway to temporary residence in the United States and others who crossed the border without authorization will be sent back to Mexico. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an agreement between Mexico and the U.S. […]

The battle for control of Congress: Abortion, inflation, crime and Biden

By: , and - October 10, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of Congress are fanning out to every district in the country, leaving the wonky floor debates on Capitol Hill behind for the campaign trail in advance of the crucial Nov. 8 midterm elections.  Democrats are fighting to hold their razor-thin majorities in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, citing two years of […]

U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

Alabama case that could limit Voting Rights Act heard at U.S. Supreme Court

By: - October 4, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday heard oral arguments in a case that challenges an Alabama redistricting map and could potentially eliminate remaining federal safeguards against racial gerrymandering. Voting rights advocates fear that the high court’s conservative majority will further weaken the Voting Rights Act, with implications for voters in states across the […]

Federal Correctional Institute, Memphis. (Photo: Bureau of Prisons)

Federal prisons ‘riddled with mismanagement’ probed by U.S. Senate panel

By: - October 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in a Thursday hearing grilled the top leader of federal prisons on how the agency would address staffing shortages and reports of abuse of incarcerated people.  “The Bureau (of Prisons) has been riddled with mismanagement and, sadly, with scandal,” said the chair of the committee, Illinois […]

(Photo illustration by John Partipilo)

An ‘unprecedented flood’ of book bans engulfs U.S. school districts, PEN report says

By: - September 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — More than 1,600 book titles across 32 states were banned from public schools during the 2021-2022 school year, with the bulk of the ban requests coming from a handful of right-wing groups pushing for censorship of books that feature LGBTQ+ characters and characters of color, a new report issued Monday said. “What I […]

Congressional panel debates federal role in preventing youth incarceration

By: - September 9, 2022

WASHINGTON — Members of a U.S. House Education and Labor Committee panel on Thursday questioned experts and leaders of youth rehabilitation programs about how the federal government could invest in programs to prevent kids from becoming incarcerated. “Although the juvenile justice system is intended to rehabilitate—not punish—young offenders, data shows that the more a young […]

U.S. education secretary urges boost in teacher pay, touts college debt relief

By: - September 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — Amid K-12 teacher shortages, book bans and attacks over critical race theory, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona at a meeting with reporters on Wednesday stressed the need for higher salaries to attract prospective educators to the profession. Cardona also touted the Biden administration’s recent student debt relief announcement in late August. The White […]

University prior to start of second presidential debate on Oct. 22, 2020/ (Photo: Tennessee Lookout)

Candidates, mostly Republican, skip debates, bar press during midterm campaigns

By: - September 4, 2022

WASHINGTON — With two months left of the 2022 campaign season, a majority of Republican candidates are continuing to skirt away from not only talking to local and national media outlets about their policy issues, but their own constituents, leaving voters with little information on their policy positions. “If we are to hold our elected […]

Kat Gower, 8, gets her second shot as her mother Allison watches.(Photo: John Partipilo)

CDC endorses updated COVID-19 vaccine boosters for this fall

By: - September 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Thursday signed off on the approval from the agency’s independent vaccine advisers that recommended an updated coronavirus vaccine booster this fall. The CDC recommended boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for those who are 12 years old and older and from Moderna for those who are 18 and […]

Leaders of the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, which is in the progressive tradition of Reform Judaism, say access to abortion care is a requirement of Jewish law and Missouri's abortion ban violates their members' religious freedom (Rebecca Rivas/The Missouri Independent).

Jewish congregations mount legal challenges to state abortion bans

By: - August 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — Thousands of years of Jewish scripture make it clear that access to abortion care is a requirement of Jewish law and practice, according to Rabbi Karen Bogard. “We preserve life at all costs,” she said in an interview with States Newsroom. “But there is a difference between that which is living, and that […]

Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced his administration will cancel some student loan debts. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Biden to wipe out $10,000 in student loan debt for many borrowers

By: - August 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he will cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for Pell Grant borrowers and up to $10,000 for all other borrowers with an income of less than $125,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a household. Biden also announced his administration is extending a pause […]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York), gives the thumbs up as he leaves the Senate chamber after passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Sunday. Getty Images photo by Drew Angerer.

U.S. Senate passes major health, tax and climate bill in boost for Democrats

By: and - August 7, 2022

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate, along party lines, passed a sweeping energy, health care, climate and tax package Sunday afternoon, following an overnight marathon of votes that resulted in just a handful of notable changes to the legislation. The 755-page bill was passed after Vice President Kamala Harris broke a 50-50 tie in the evenly […]