NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


U.S. Border Industry Grows As Immigration Slows

Sep 22, 2012
Originally published on September 22, 2012 10:35 am



It's been more than a quarter century since the federal government enacted any immigration legislation which wasn't about enforcement and over that time, the government has spend hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircrafts, detention centers and agents. NPR's Ted Robbins looks at what taxpayer money has bought and why it's not likely to go away, even as budgets shrink and illegal immigration lessens.

TED ROBBINS, BYLINE: The nation's southern border bristles with equipment, technology and manpower designed to catch illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. It's a border industrial complex, fed by the government and supplied by defense contractors and construction companies.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: OK. We got some runners off of the 3 o'clock here. We're moving towards them.

ROBBINS: Equipment like this Black Hawk helicopter, just one of hundreds of aircraft flying daily missions.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: The bodies are straight down the hill from us. They're off our right front.

ROBBINS: Infrastructure like the border fence, which in some places has been built and rebuilt several times. There are towers, sensors and permanent checkpoints up to 20 miles north of the border.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Please state your citizenship, sir.


ROBBINS: It has spread even further into the country, into cities where ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement - agents pursue illegal immigrants and visa violators.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: We're going after a Mexican national. He's currently a lawful permanent resident.

ROBBINS: It even extends nationwide to roughly 250 immigrant detention centers.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #6: Yeah, we're going to walk down to echo.


ROBBINS: Some are run by the government, some by private prison corporations. The government spends an estimated $5 million each day to house detainees awaiting deportation. All this takes manpower. Roughly 80,000 federal employees work in immigration enforcement. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano...

SECRETARY JANET NAPOLITANO: It is safe to say that there has been more money manpower infrastructure technology invested in the border protection mission in the last three years than ever before.

ROBBINS: Since the last comprehensive immigration reform was passed by Congress in 1986, creating this border industrial complex has been a bipartisan affair. It really picked up after 9/11. Nearly every piece of security legislation since then has contained add-ons for immigration enforcement. If you add up the budgets of the responsible agencies since 1986, the bill is $219 billion in today's dollars.

That's roughly the entire cost of the space shuttle program. Unlike the space shuttle program, there's no end in sight. Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers, agrees it's going to be hard to pull back spending.

REPRESENTATIVE HAL ROGERS: You're right. It is a sort of mini industrial complex syndrome that has set in there and we're going to have to guard against it every step of the way.

ROBBINS: Arguably, there hasn't been much guarding so far. Here's an example:


ROBBINS: It's a tall, steel tower teeming with devices in the desert southwest of Tucson. Border Patrol Agent Brent Cagen describes what's on it.

BRENT CAGEN: This has sensor responders on it, as well as a communications package, which is a radar, day-and-night cameras, infrared, laser technology.

ROBBINS: It's an SBI-Net tower. The SBI-Net was supposed to be a high-tech virtual fence across the entire 2,100-mile border with Mexico. Instead, these towers cover just 53 miles. Homeland Security pulled the plug on the project after five years and almost a billion dollars.

MARK BORKOWSKI: Frankly, in my view, it was a disaster. And, you know, I ended up, as it turns out, being the person who ended up having to try to manage the way through that disaster.

ROBBINS: Mark Borkowski is in charge of technology for Customs and Border Protection. He came in during the SBI-Net debacle. The Boeing Corporation had built the towers, but the system was ineffective. Some components weren't even designed to work in the desert.

BORKOWSKI: There were issues with heat. Sometimes it was just a poor design of cabling.

It was actually the third time this had happened with high-tech towers. In 1997 there was ISIS, the Integrated Surveillance Intelligence System. That was scrapped in 2003 because the technology didn't work. Then came America's Shield, also scrapped.

ROBBINS: But the government hasn't given up. Right now, it's going over proposals to build hundreds of new towers. Many of the same defense contractors involved before have bid again - Raytheon, Lockheed and Boeing. Despite problems like that one, members of both parties insist the massive spending on the border build-up is working. Secretary Napolitano is so emphatic she slaps the table in her office as she makes the point.

NAPOLITANO: Immigration numbers down to 1971 levels, violent crime either down or flat, seizures of contraband up. You know, those are material elements of proof to show that we have got our arms around the border issue and we are sustaining that.

ROBBINS: But there are bigger forces at work - economics and demographics. Douglas Massey is a sociologist at Princeton University. For the last 30 years, he's been studying Mexican immigration patterns. He says fewer people are crossing illegally because the American economy collapsed in 2008 and took away the job magnet pulling people here. Those already here stayed.

DOUGLAS MASSEY: Unauthorized migrants very rationally stopped crossing the border.

ROBBINS: Meanwhile, the economy has been improving in Mexico. And the birthrate there has fallen sharply. Fewer working-age people are available to come here and fewer need to, which leads Douglas Massey to this conclusion.

MASSEY: Well, personally, I think the big boom in Mexican immigration is now over.

ROBBINS: If that's true, and a number of experts think it may be, the U.S. is at a crossroads on border spending and strategy. Again, Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers.

ROGERS: DHS is now dealing with the same challenge the entire government's facing and that's the realization that our budget is hemorrhaging from red ink and we've got to cut spending before it's too late.

ROBBINS: For the first time in its history, the Department of Homeland Security will get less money in its upcoming budget than it did the year before. But Arizona Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva says there's a lot of pressure from Congress and lobbyists to maintain and even move forward with programs.

REPRESENTATIVE RAUL GRIJALVA: There's a mutual dependency that's been created in the industries and Homeland Security. And that industry is going to, and is starting to become, a very, very powerful lobby up here.

ROBBINS: There are still calls for more infrastructure, more technology and more manpower to feed the border-industrial complex.

Ted Robbins, NPR News.


SIMON: You're listening to WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.