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.

(Photo illustration by John Partipilo)

More than 1,500 books have been banned in public schools, and a U.S. House panel asks why

By: - April 8, 2022

WASHINGTON — A U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee panel on Thursday examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers. “Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, […]

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JULY 22: A person stands next to the U.S.-Mexico border barrier painted with a mural depicting people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children and were deported as adults on July 22, 2021 in Tijuana, Mexico. The mural was created by artist Lizbeth De La Cruz Santana. While the Biden administration has haltingly restarted the asylum system along the southwest border, only a small number of asylum seekers whose situations are considered the most urgent have been allowed to cross the border with Title 42 exceptions. Thousands of asylum seekers remain stuck in Tijuana in precarious conditions. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Biden administration to halt pandemic policy blocking migrants who claim asylum

By: - April 3, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday the government will terminate a Trump-era policy that prevented migrants from claiming asylum during a health crisis, including the coronavirus pandemic. The policy will end on May 23, the CDC wrote in its notice. “There is no longer a serious danger that the entry […]

A plaque marks the gravesite of Emmett Till at Burr Oak Cemetery in Aslip, Ill. Till was murdered in 1955 in Money, Miss. after claims he whistled at a white woman. His killing helped spark the U.S. civil rights movement. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Biden signs law named for Emmett Till that makes lynching a federal hate crime

By: - March 30, 2022

WASHINGTON — Nearly 70 years after 14-year-old Emmett Till was kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi by two white men, President Joe Biden signed into law on Tuesday a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime.  “Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone belongs in America,” Biden said at  the Rose […]

Ketanji Brown Jackson would make history as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court. Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

Here’s what senators said on the first day of the U.S. Supreme Court hearings

By: and - March 22, 2022

WASHINGTON — The 22 members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee each had 10 minutes on Monday to make opening statements about the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, President Joe Biden’s pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.  Here’s what some had to say: TENNESSEE Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, appeared among the least likely to […]

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 01: US President Joe Biden arrives to deliver the State of the Union address as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) look on during a joint session of Congress in the U.S. Capitol House Chamber on March 1, 2022 in Washington, DC. During his first State of the Union address, President Joe Biden was expected to speak on his administration’s efforts to lead a global response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, work to curb inflation, and bring the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty Images)

Biden in State of the Union urges ‘unmistakable’ support for democracy in Ukraine

By: and - March 1, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to reassert America as a leading global voice for democracy and condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin for starting an “unprovoked” war in Ukraine.  “Throughout our history we’ve learned this lesson – when dictators do not pay a price for […]

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 28: Ketanji Brown Jackson, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, testifies during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Senate Office Building on April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. The committee is holding the hearing on pending judicial nominations. (Photo by Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)

Biden taps Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court

By: - February 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court Friday afternoon. “For too long, our government, our courts haven’t looked like America,” Biden said. “I believe it’s time that we have a court that reflects the full talents and greatness of our nation with a nominee […]

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to give a primetime address to the nation from the East Room of the White House March 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden gave the address to mark the one-year anniversary of the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden meets with county leaders in D.C., promotes Build Back Better plan

By: - February 15, 2022

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden during a Tuesday meeting with county leaders called on Congress to pass his stalled social spending package as a way to fight inflation, saying it would help with expenses families face. “Families are getting clobbered by the cost of everyday things,” Biden told members of the National Association of Counties […]

(Photo: Adam Glanzman/Bloomberg)

USDA to send out $1.4 billion to boost rural economies in the states

By: - February 2, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that the agency is investing $1.4 billion into rural economies through job training, business loans and the expansion of technical assistance.   “It’s a good day for rural America,” Vilsack, a former governor of Iowa, said during a call with reporters. Eight programs will dole […]

Reports: Supreme Court Justice Breyer to step down

By: , and - January 26, 2022

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is planning to announce his retirement in the coming days, according to multiple press reports Wednesday. The decision by the 83-year-old justice, who was nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, would give President Joe Biden his first chance to nominate a member of the Supreme Court, […]

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

With voting rights stalled, some senators mull an update to the Electoral Count Act

By: - January 24, 2022

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators is exploring legislation to overhaul how Congress counts Electoral College votes, but backers of stalled voting rights legislation are lukewarm on the effort as a substitute. The Electoral Count Act is an obscure law that has come under recent scrutiny, a year after the Jan. 6 attack on […]

The World Health Organization classified the new COVID-19 variant as a “variant of concern” due to its high mutation and transmission rate. The new strain is called “omicron.” (Getty Images)

Online orders for free at-home COVID tests to begin Jan. 19

By: - January 17, 2022

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday launched a new website for Americans to request up to four free COVID-19 tests per household. The administration is buying 1 billion at-home rapid COVID-19 tests, and Americans will be able to begin ordering the tests online on Jan. 19 at COVIDtests.gov. This is part of the administration’s effort […]