TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days, the spokesman for the country’s atomic agency said Monday while also warning that Iran has the need for uranium enriched up to 20%, just a step away from weapons-grade levels.
The announcement indicated Iran’s determination to break from the landmark 2015 accord, which has steadily unraveled since the Trump administration pulled America out of the deal last year and re-imposed tough economic sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.
The spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, made the announcement during a press conference with local journalists at Iran’s Arak heavy water facility that was carried live on Iranian state television.
The development comes in the wake of suspected attacks on oil tankers last week in the region, attacks that Washington has blamed on Iran, and also as tensions have spiked between Iran and the United States, a year after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America for the nuclear deal.
Kamalvandi acknowledged that the country already quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and said Tehran would increase uranium enrichment levels “based on the country’s needs.”
That increase could be to any level, from 3.67% which is the current limit set by the nuclear deal.
Iran’s needs 5% enrichment for its nuclear power plant in southern Iranian port of Bushehr and it also needs 20% enrichment for a Tehran research reactor, the spokesman said.
When uranium is mined, it typically has about 140 atoms of this unwanted isotope for every atom of U-235. Refining it to a purity of 3.67%, the level now allowed by the nuclear deal, means removing 114 unwanted atoms of U-238 for every atom of U-235.
Boosting its purity to 20% means removing 22 more unwanted isotopes per atom of U-235, while going from there to 90% purity means removing just four more per atom of U-235, he noted. Ninety percent is considered weapons-grade material.
That means going from 20% to 90% is a relatively quicker process, something that worries nuclear nonproliferation experts.
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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Some people travel with a particular objective in mind: to find the past in the present. It’s an impossibility, of course — you never truly succeed, because the present is so very present. But in a wayward, fast-moving world, a focus on history can root you, and offer perspective. This was my idea on a recent trip when I set out to find New York’s origins.
In the early 1600s, the Dutch founded a colony called New Netherland, with its capital of New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island. It was the base from which they laid a claim to the New World, and from which they tussled with their archenemy, England, and her colonies in New England and Virginia. The English won the power struggle when they took over in 1664, rechristening New Amsterdam as New York City.
New Netherland may be history, but its legacy is hiding in plain sight. It can be found in old houses and barns, in street patterns and in New York place names, from Harlem to Rotterdam, from “Breuckelen” (now Brooklyn) to Rensselaer. It’s in American culture broadly: “cookies” are Dutch; so is coleslaw. These small-scale legacies mask larger inheritances. The Dutch of the 17th century pioneered the concepts of free trade and religious tolerance, key ingredients in the development of what was to come: New York itself.
Fifteen years ago I wrote “The Island at the Center of the World,” about the Dutch founding of New Amsterdam. Lately I’ve been toying with revisiting that era in another book. To get back into the period, I spent a weekend driving through the former Dutch landscape, which also happens to be one of the prettiest parts of New York State. It wouldn’t be an exhaustive hunt for every remnant — more of a lightly orchestrated drive, stitching together locales, and meeting with historians and others who could give me perspective. It would be a reimmersion in the past, a visit to New York before it was New York.
There are plenty of sites in Brooklyn, elsewhere on Long Island, and in Manhattan that reflect the Dutch era. But I chose to focus on the Hudson Valley, the spine of the Dutch colony. So after a quick walking tour of what had been New Amsterdam, from Battery Park to Wall Street, I got in my car and headed north.
Driving out of Manhattan always presents challenges, but even these had a Dutch flavor. In Chinatown I maneuvered through heavy traffic onto the Bowery, which was once the boerderij, or farm road. Farther north, I skirted Nieuw Haarlem — the village founded in 1658 that would become Upper Manhattan’s Harlem — and made my way onto the parkway named for Henry Hudson, the English mariner who, sailing for the Dutch, first charted the area.
My first stop was at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Much of the year its greensward is taken up with cricketers and soccer players; on this chilly day there was only a skittish flock of gulls. At the far end stands the Van Cortlandt House, dating from 1748, the oldest building in the Bronx. But a century before that, when the East Coast was the Wild West, this land was the estate of the jurist Adriaen van der Donck, who locked horns with Peter Stuyvesant, the last director of New Netherland, over the colony’s fate. Van der Donck was known as the Yonkheer, more or less the equivalent of “Young Sir,” a title that in time morphed into the name of the city of Yonkers. The Saw Mill Parkway that runs past it also echoes this Dutch settler: He was the one who established the mill.
As I crossed the Hudson on the new Mario Cuomo Bridge I felt a twinge of sadness for the passing of its predecessor, whose name, Tappan Zee Bridge, was a lovely amalgam of languages. The Tappan were the native tribe who lived in this region, and zee, Dutch for sea, reflected the settlers’ naming of this widening in the river after their neighbors.
Heading up the west side of the Hudson on a moody spring afternoon, skirting Hook Mountain, which rises from the river with a primordial majesty, got me thinking about the Low Country settlers of the 1600s, who must have been stunned by such peaks. The Hudson Valley was — is — such a big, brooding, hunkering, muscular landscape. The wilderness was so very wild, and, whether from animals or natives who felt threatened by the Europeans, or the profound cold of the Little Ice Age, it was deeply dangerous. Those newcomers were all but powerless.
Today that wilderness is sprinkled with communities, many of whose settlers are escapees from New York City. A drive through the Hudson Valley is one of the most beautiful in the United States, with the river and the blue-black Catskills in the distance evoking the landscapes of 19th-century Hudson River School painters.
There was still a glow in the sky as I drove into New Paltz, dominated by the 6,500 students at the State University of New York campus and the former students who settled there. The result is a mellow, hippyish vibe. You’d have difficulty walking down Main Street without running into a candle shop, pottery studio or tearoom.
Tucked behind the modern city is Historic Huguenot Street, a 10-acre landmarked zone with seven houses from the early 1700s, built by the offspring of the French-speaking Huguenots who settled in the Dutch colony. I had been here many times, but always in summertime, when the place was crawling with tourists. This time I was lucky: the site was closed, and the chilly weather ensured that I would be alone. I paced the meadow, stood in front of the steep-roofed brooding stone edifice of the Jean Hasbrouck House, and listened to rainfall through the branches. I was searching for a sense of the towering serenity, the forbidding isolation that must have enveloped the colonial inhabitants. Eventually I headed back to the town center and shook off the gloom at a cheery little place called Scarborough Fare, which has dozens of varieties of olive oil on tap.
It was dark when I pulled into the Stone House Bed & Breakfast in Hurley, 15 miles north. I had found the place on Booking.com and selected it because it seemed to suit the trip. I could not have chosen better. The owner, Sam Scoggins, looked like an older version of the actor who played another Sam in “The Lord of the Rings,” and remarkably enough had a similar accent. He told me that he and his wife had met on a Buddhist dating website, bought this house 10 years ago and turned it into a bed-and-breakfast.
The house was built in 1705 by Cornelis Cool, a Dutchman, in the Dutch style, with Dutch doors and saw-toothed shapes in the gables calledvlechtingen. Mr. Scoggins showed me records indicating that Cool had been the largest taxpayer in the county. He certainly built a rich man’s home: a wandering warren of wide-plank floors leading to snug rooms. The house sits midway between Hurley, which in the early 1700s was predominantly Dutch, and the largely English town of Stone Ridge. Later in the century, Mr. Scoggins said, the owner of the house hosted dances, where Dutch girls from one town met British boys from the other.
For dinner, I settled on a local hangout: Hurley Mountain Inn, a big barnlike bar-and-grill with a pool table in back. In the morning I looked out my window onto an unspoiled New Netherland landscape: the Esopus Creek below, the Catskill Mountains beyond.
With the undulating forested ridges of the Catskills on my left, I headed up the New York State Thruway, crossed the Hudson River at the village of Catskill and made my way east to Kinderhook where I met up with two experts on the area’s early history: the historian Ruth Piwonka, a longtime resident of the village, and Charles Gehring, translator of the Dutch archives of New Netherland. Kinderhook is Hudson Valley quaint, with Federal and Greek Revival houses separated by mountain vistas. It feels top-heavy: a tiny community of oversize houses, many of them weighty with history, including the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, the Benedict Arnold House and the General John Burgoyne House.
But before that history, there was New Netherland. In fact, the name Kinderhook, or “children’s corner,” predates even the Dutch colony, which was founded circa 1625. “The name appears around 1614,” Ms. Piwonka told me. “You see it on explorers’ maps.” The popular story behind the name is that Henry Hudson was met here, on the Kinderhook Creek, by Indian families. “Nonsense,” said Mr. Gehring. “You have to understand that the Dutch named all such places as navigational markers.” He thinks it most likely that the name derives from rocks on the shore, which, from a ship, looked like children.
Next to Kinderhook is the even tinier village of Valatie, whose name presents another puzzle. It was officially named in the 1830s, but Ms. Piwonka said it was actually settled in 1661, when Peter Stuyvesant ordered families to farm the fertile flats along the creek. The name — pronounced va-LAY-shuh — signifies nothing in English. But the original Dutch — valletje— means “little falls,” and there are indeed falls here.
But why call them “little” falls? Ms. Piwonka led me six miles south, where, at the town of Stuyvesant Falls, I discovered two majestic drops in the water. The man for whom these falls were named also sent settlers here in 1661. By plopping settlers down in the area, Stuyvesant hoped to prevent the takeover of the encroaching English; despite his efforts, that takeover would come three years later. In one go, Ms. Piwonka had given me a lesson in geography, power and nomenclature.
After lunch at Magdalena’s, an excellent Mexican restaurant in Valatie, we met Lori Yarotsky, executive director of the Columbia County Historical Society, at a gabled brick house standing alone in a broad field. The Luykas Van Alen House was built by a son of a New Netherlander and was occupied by the same family from 1737 until 1935. Moving through the three meticulously restored main rooms gave me the visceral sense of the past I was looking for: a striking kas, or Dutch cupboard; wide hearths; broad beams overhead; enclosed four-poster beds; a fireplace toaster with its long handle.
I headed north on Route 9, past farmland, meadows and small towns, to the second city of New Netherland, Beverwijck, which became Albany. People like to make fun of Albany — pokey, drab, dull — but I appreciate its charms. There are extensive Victorian neighborhoods, and the old downtown is redolent of the era depicted in William Kennedy’s novel “Ironweed,” a time of speakeasies and flophouses. Albany was my base for visiting the Mabee Farm Historic Site, 20 miles away. Ian Stewart — burly and bearded, the very model of a preservationist/woodworker — was waiting for me. The fact that Mr. Stewart’s company, New Netherland Timber Framing and Preservation, is devoted to saving Dutch-era barns and farmhouses says something about the lasting physical impact of the Dutch.
I had asked Mr. Stewart if he would give me a primer in colonial Dutch architecture, so here we were, on a windswept, sun-washed flatland overlooking the meandering Mohawk River. The Mabee farm dates from 1670; the house itself, from 1702, is what you would charitably call cozy: Its closet-like rooms give you the feeling of the past as another place entirely.
But the star of the property is the barn. Dutch barns, it turns out, are a thing. “There were about 10,000 in America at one time,” Mr. Stewart said as he marched around the vaulted space, gesticulating at the wooden skeleton of the thing. “There are still 600 or 800 of them around.”
The barns are popular — many are repurposed as houses — because of their construction method, which involves an anchor beam with a protruding through-tenon. “It’s a really good way to tighten a joint because you’ve got it both wedged and pinned,” Mr. Stewart said. Doubly securing the central connectors allowed a Dutch barn to be built much larger and higher than an English barn. The result is a truly vast interior space.
Mr. Stewart led me back to downtown Albany to show me something exceedingly rare: a New World example of traditional Dutch urban architecture. Walking around Manhattan’s financial district you see no dwellings from the period — they’ve been swallowed up by development. The same is true for Albany, with one exception: 48 Hudson Avenue, the so-called Van Ostrande-Radliff House. “This is the last timber-framed Dutch house in Albany,” Mr. Stewart pronounced from the empty lot next to the building. “This is a gem.”
It didn’t look like a gem, at least not from the side. But from the front you get the idea, thanks to funds from the Dutch Consulate in conjunction with the New York State Museum, and the dogged work of the Historic Albany Foundation, which has created a scrim that hangs over the facade depicting its original timber-framed, gabled look. Now you get it. You might as well be in old Amsterdam, with swaggering burghers with swords and lace collars and long clay pipes strutting by.
While I was in Albany I walked through an exhibition in the New York State Museum devoted to Fort Orange, the original Dutch structure on the site. It’s a stand-in for a grand permanent exhibition on the history of New York that Mark Schaming, the director, told me should be ready by 2021. The fort exhibition was surprisingly intimate. The archaeologist Paul Huey and his team excavated the site in 1970, uncovering a massive array of artifacts. Here, in pipestems, beads and pottery, the lives not only of the Dutch settlers, but of the natives with whom they traded, and on whom they relied, are laid bare.
To me the most moving item was the cast of a skull of an unknown Dutch woman in her early 40s. Physical anthropologists determined that, besides missing many teeth, she had, in an age without painkillers, suffered from “acute infections, rickets, sinusitis, an upper respiratory infection, arthritis, and possibly gout.” Her bones indicated that this woman of perpetual pain had engaged in a lifetime of hard labor.
My weekend had been an act of recreation: trying to bring places in the past back to life. To help me, I had on my phone images by the historical artist Len Tantillo, who is as meticulous in his reconstructions of New Netherland as any academic historian I know.
I visited him at his studio, in Rensselaer County, where we looked at his painting of the Mabee farmhouse. “A work like that is relatively easy to do because the farm still exists,” he said. “You can go there and look at the buildings.”
But details change over time — a window is added, a door frame disappears — so to recreate it at a particular time, in this case, circa 1800, requires archival work. The Mabee family had slaves, and I noted that Mr. Tantillo had depicted a black man working a plow. “He was a man named Cato,” he said. “He was a slave who was owned by Jacob Mabee’s brother. He escaped, and there was an ad in an Albany newspaper for his return, giving his name and a physical description. He was captured and lived the rest of his life on this farm.”
Mr. Tantillo’s paintings achieve what I try to do in my historical writing, and what travelers of a certain mind-set are looking for. They bring us back. They awaken what, in a magical phrase, the Dutch historian Johan Huizinga once pointed to as the basis of all historical work: “our perpetual astonishment that the past was once a living reality.”
Russell Shorto is the author of “The Island at the Center of the World” and “Revolution Song: A Story of American Freedom,” among other books.
LONDON — Iran announced plans on Monday to stop complying with the landmark 2015 nuclear deal, which the United States withdrew from last year, leaving the door open to an “unlimited rise” in Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium amid escalating tensions between the two nations.
The announcement by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization was the country’s latest signal that it will abandon the pact unless the other signatories to the deal help Iran circumvent punishing United States economic sanctions imposed by President Trump.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the organization, said that Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile would surpass a limit set in the agreement within the next 10 days, the semiofficial news agency Tasnim reported. Low-enriched uranium can be used in a nuclear reactor, but not in an atomic bomb.
He said, however, that Iran would stay within the limits if Britain, France, Germany and the full European Union — all of which are signatories to the nuclear deal — followed through on plans to give Iran access to international financial systems, sidestepping American sanctions, and also made up for lost oil revenue.
“As long as they comply by their commitments, these will go back,” Mr. Kamalvandi said in a televised news conference at the country’s Arak nuclear plant.
In early May, President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said his country would reduce compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal and take several steps to resume the production of nuclear centrifuges and begin accumulating nuclear material if Europe did not agree to a system to ease the effects of American sanctions.
At the time, he set a 60-day deadline for the Europeans, who hope to salvage the deal despite Mr. Trump’s opposition, to make good on promises to help preserve Iran’s oil and banking sectors. That deadline expires early next month.
But Mr. Rouhani was careful to maintain that while Iran would retain its enriched uranium and heavy water rather than selling them to other nations, the country, for the time being, would stay within the limits set by the nuclear deal.
Monday’s announcement was the first time Iran’s government had said explicitly that it would step beyond the pact.
On Sunday, Helga Schmid, a senior Europe Union diplomat, visited Tehran for meetings on the nuclear deal. Ms. Schmid, who helped negotiate the 2015 agreement, reiterated her support for the deal, according to Reuters, and discussed options to enable trade to continue between the bloc and Iran.
For the past couple of decades, the Spanish giants have been synonymous with lavish spending. From Luis Figo and David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, club president Florentino Perez has spared no expense in assembling the world’s most glamorous collection of superstars.
In recent years, however, that perception has been off the mark. With the exception of Thibaut Courtois’ arrival from Chelsea last summer, Real have stayed away from big-name signings since 2014, when Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez were snapped up.
Since then, a succession of managers – Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, Julen Lopetegui, Santi Solari and now Zidane again – have called upon almost exactly the same set of players, with long-established stars Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo and Karim Benzema forming the backbone of the team year after year.
Not any longer. That sustained period of gentle evolution has made way for a full-on revolution, with Perez overseeing a frenzy of spending which has already reached record levels: more than 300m euros has been splashed since the end of last summer, surpassing the club’s previous transfer window record of 254m euros set in 2009 with the capture of Ronaldo, Benzema, Kaka and Xabi Alonso.
Why the drastic change in policy? Who are the new men? Will there be more? And what does it mean for the long-serving stars?
Zidane wins Perez power play… eventually
Immediately after overcoming Liverpool in May 2018 to lift the Champions League trophy for the third consecutive season, Zidane took an unusual step for a continent-conquering manager: he quit, arguing he could not continue to deliver success with the resources at his disposal.
Zidane has regularly stated his belief that success in the domestic league is the greatest test of a team’s capabilities, and he felt the Champions League triumph of 2018 was a flimsy mask for a sharp decline more accurately reflected by a feeble third-place finish in La Liga.
Quite simply, the writing was on the wall – especially following the sale of Ronaldo – and Zidane was reading the message: if he couldn’t make the changes he wanted, it was time to get out at the top.
Within weeks of Zidane’s resignation, it became abundantly clear that he was absolutely right. The 2018-19 campaign was by far the worst in the club’s recent history, with Los Blancos finishing third in La Liga (a record 19 points behind winners Barcelona) and failing to muster a meaningful challenge in the Copa del Rey or the Champions League, losing 18 games in all competitions.
After Lopetegui and Solari both lasted no more than a handful of weeks, Perez went back to Zidane with his tail between his legs, belatedly accepting Zidane’s view that that the squad was in need of serious surgery. If the Frenchman would come back, Perez would bow to his wishes in the summer transfer market.
Zidane, vindicated and emboldened, agreed. Now, at last, he is getting his way.
Hazard the leading light… for now
The centrepiece of Real’s summer haul, of course, is Eden Hazard. The Belgian was pursued semi-publicly by Perez for more than a year and attracted around 50,000 fans to the Bernabeu for his presentation on Thursday.
With an initial 100m euros (£89m) price tag, the former Chelsea man looks sure to be assigned starter status, and the prospect of Hazard teaming up with silky smooth link-up expert Benzema is certainly enticing.
But Hazard is not the only reinforcement to the forward line, with Real also acting swiftly to secure one of Europe’s fastest-rising attacking talents, Luka Jovic. The 21 year-old Serbia international scored 27 goals for Eintracht Frankfurt last season, and will expect to be more than a squad rotation option after attracting a 60m euros fee.
Another big sum, 47m euros, has been shelled out for left-back Ferland Mendy, who rose to prominence during Lyon’s excellent campaign last season and is set to compete with homegrown prospect Sergio Reguilon for the right to succeed out-of-favour veteran Marcelo.
With skipper Ramos now 33 years old, a centre-back for the future has been captured with the arrival of Eder Militao for 50m euros from Porto, while Real’s final summer signing – so far – can be marked down as a long-term investment: 18-year-old Brazilian winger Rodrygo Goes (60m euros from Santos).
And that might not be all. While they were awaiting the arrival of Hazard at Thursday’s presentation, Real fans entertained themselves by chanting: “We want Mbappe” and it’s by no means unthinkable that the French forward – who recently admitted doubt over his future – will be snatched away from Paris St-Germain in the next couple of months.
Rumours linking Zidane with another high-profile French star, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, are also refusing to go away, with Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele regarded as a second choice if that move fails to materialise.
It’s also worth noting the new signings won’t be the only fresh faces from Zidane’s last spell in charge. Firstly, Zidane will have to find space alongside Hazard, Benzema and Jovic (and Mbappe?) for Brazilian Vinicius Junior, one of last year’s few success stories.
Young midfielder Fede Valverde, currently with Uruguay for the Copa America, could also play a prominent role, having been selected to start by Zidane for five of last season’s closing eight games. And ex-Man City winger Brahim Diaz could get more chances to impress too.
So this might have already been a very busy summer, but Zidane’s work in reshaping his team has only just started.
Heading out: Bale, James and Asensio?
The recent batch of signings, plus the return of several loanees, has swelled the size of Zidane’s squad to an unwieldy 37 players, and from a financial perspective it’s also clear a number of sales must now be made to balance the books.
A fair amount of cash will be raised by trimming the periphery: a few fees of 10-20m euros for players like Dani Ceballos, Marcos Llorente, Theo Hernandez and Mariano Diaz could end up paying for Hazard as well as creating room in the squad.
But several higher-profile stars will also be culled, starting with Gareth Bale. The Welsh winger has suffered a complete breakdown in his relationship with Zidane and finding a new home for the former Tottenham man is a priority for Real – so far, though, the task of shifting an injury-prone 29-year-old with colossal wage demands is proving anything but easy.
Similar struggles could be encountered in selling Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez, who is unwanted by Zidane but rarely did enough during his loan spell at Bayern Munich to court the kind of mega-club capable of meeting his expectations.
Old campaigners Marcelo and Navas could also depart if the right offer comes along, Isco’s future is unclear despite his past strong relationship with Zidane, and another major talent potentially up for grabs is versatile forward Marco Asensio, who has not advanced as much as expected over the last couple of years.
Whatever happens, it’s clear there will have to be significant departures in the next few weeks – and equally clear that the Real Madrid we have been accustomed to watching for the past five years is now a thing of the past.
But even as those other measures have sailed through the new Albany, one measure has remained stalled: the newly revived proposal to allow undocumented immigrants to drive.
Despite immigration advocates’ efforts to cast it as both an economic boon and a social justice imperative, the so-called Green Light bill has met persistent opposition from law enforcement and large swaths of the public. Republicans have bought Facebook ads denouncing the effort. Even the National Republican Congressional Committee blasted New York’s bill last week.
The opposition has taken hold in the State Senate, where lawmakers from moderate suburban districts, many of whom won by razor-thin margins last year, hold sway. Those senators have been wary this year of some of the progressive left’s marquee causes, worrying that they might alienate their constituents and possibly damage their re-election chances.
While the State Assembly, which is dominated by city legislators, passed the bill on Wednesday, the Senate had not scheduled the measure for a vote. (Several Democrats in the Assembly voted against it.)
Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has declared his support for the idea, saying last month that it was one of his 10 legislative priorities for the remainder of the session. But he also has suggested that he does not expect it to pass before the session is scheduled to end on Wednesday — and one of his staunchest allies has explicitly advised suburban lawmakers not to vote for it.
Immigrant rights advocates and progressive lawmakers said the hesitation suggested the flimsiness of New York’s pro-immigrant rhetoric.
“I’d like to believe that this blue wave also came with the political courage to do the right thing,” Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, a Democrat from Queens, said. Ms. Cruz, who was formerly undocumented, won her seat last year. She added, “I’d like to believe that immigrant communities are more than just a talking point during elections.”
Twelve other states and Washington, D.C., allow undocumented immigrants to drive. New York has the third largest undocumented population in the country, with an estimated 940,000 people, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a nonprofit group.
The driver’s license debate has roiled several administrations and spanned decades.
Before 2001, New York residents could apply for driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, Gov. George E. Pataki, a Republican, began requiring applicants to have a Social Security number, effectively barring those without legal status.
In 2007, Mr. Spitzer, a Democrat, announced that he would undo that policy — only to meet a ferocious outcry across the country, even among liberals. Opponents at the time included Kirsten Gillibrand, then a member of the House of Representatives; Hillary Clinton, who vacillated on the issue then came out against it; and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, then the Erie County clerk. (All three have since reversed their positions.)
This year, activists believed their long-fought battle would finally end. But even as Mr. Trump’s immigration policies have activated the Democratic base, opponents have mounted a vigorous — and effective — campaign against the policy. A poll released on Monday by Siena College showed that more than half of New Yorkers surveyed opposed giving licenses to undocumented immigrants.
Senator John J. Flanagan, a Long Island lawmaker who leads the Republican minority, recently said that passing the bill would be a “colossal political mistake” for Democrats. Nick Langworthy, the incoming chairman of the state Republican Party, called the bill a product of the “extreme left” that showed disdain for the rule of law.
County clerks have again denounced the proposal, with some vowing to defy it if it becomes law, and county sheriffs have warned that it would constrain their ability to enforce traffic safety.
The issue is so fraught that even some who publicly support the bill have privately worked to block it. At a fund-raiser earlier this month on Long Island, Mr. Cuomo and Jay Jacobs, the leader of the state Democratic Party, met with five suburban senators and told them that voting for it would be politically perilous, according to two people familiar with the conversation.
Mr. Jacobs, a close ally of Mr. Cuomo, would not comment on that exchange. But he said that several senators as well as Assembly members had asked for his opinion on the issue, and that he had advised them not to heed the demands of the “far left.”
“I think there is a measure of arrogance in forcing people to accept things that they’re not willing to,” Mr. Jacobs said. “Those people, particularly in the city, frankly, who are pushing this, are really shortsighted in my view.”
He added that although he said he supported expanding licenses in theory, he would rather “play the long game” and not risk the Democratic majorities in both chambers.
None of the six Democratic senators from Long Island returned requests for comment.
Robert Mujica, the governor’s budget director, said he was present at the Long Island meeting and denied that the governor had discouraged senators from voting for the proposal.
He acknowledged that they had discussed polling on the issue but said the discussion was limited to why Mr. Cuomo believed expansion had to be done legislatively, as in other states, rather than via executive order. (Some legal experts have suggested that an executive order would work.)
To counter opponents’ arguments, advocates this year have waged a concerted educational campaign, describing how the proposal could reduce hit-and-runs, drive down insurance rates and generate $50 million each year for the state, according to estimates from the left-leaning Fiscal Policy Institute. Assembly staffers distributed talking points and charts to members to help them convince wary constituents.
Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda, one of the bill’s sponsors, said the informational effort was intended to succeed where Mr. Spitzer had failed, by centering arguments with bipartisan appeal rather than focusing on social justice arguments about immigrants’ rights.
Supporters have also emphasized that the bill would not provide a path to citizenship and would not enable licensees to board planes.
“National tensions around immigration are not just far-right-wing Republicans in border states,” said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo of the Bronx, the bill’s other lead sponsor. “I have always tried to be pragmatic about getting things done, and if that means I don’t tout the moral arguments of legislation, then so be it.”
Still, Mr. Sepúlveda said the Legislature faced a clear ethical choice. He criticized his colleagues for what he said were political rather than ideological calculations.
“I have difficulty accepting the fear of losing political positions,” said Mr. Sepúlveda, who also represents the Bronx. “I think it will be a stain on the Senate if the Assembly passes this and the Senate doesn’t.”
There are some signs that the opposition has relented. The Business Council of New York State, an influential group that often aligns with conservatives, recently backed the bill. Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, announced his support on Tuesday.
And Monday’s Siena poll, though still on balance unfavorable to the bill, showed a drastic increase in approval. The percentage of New Yorkers who support the bill had risen to 41 percent, from 34 percent in a March Siena poll. Forty percent of suburban voters now support the bill — up from only 27 percent three months ago.
Still, some people who would be most affected by the policy said they did not hold any particular expectations for success.
Gloria Jiménez Ortiz, 24, who arrived in upstate New York from Guatemala without documentation five years ago, said she and her husband were driving to buy food last year when they were pulled over. The police officer did not issue any tickets, but because her husband did not have a license, the officer called immigration officials.
Ms. Jiménez was released because she was pregnant, but her husband was detained for 10 months, she said. She gave birth while he was in custody.
Since then, she has felt unsure of New York’s promise of refuge.
“They only protect people with documents,” she said. “But I don’t have anything.”
President Donald Trump’s focus on the opioid crisis may strengthen his bond with poor, disaffected voters in hard-hit places like Appalachia that are a bedrock of his base. But the administration, for all its efforts, has not yet reversed the tide of the deadly epidemic.
The Trumpadministration’s response to the crisis of painkiller addictions and overdoses poses an unusual challenge for Democrats, who otherwise have claimed the electoral advantage on health issues during the Trump era. The White House can accurately point to signs of progress: Opioids prescriptions are down dramatically from their peak in 2012, early data suggests that overdose deaths are slowing, and the crisis is getting far more urgency and attention.
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“We will never stop until our job is done,” Trump declared at an opioid summit in Atlanta this spring. “We have results that are unbelievable … We’re making tremendous progress.”
But some of these gains could be attributed to work started in previous administrations. Nor is it clear what yardstick measures success. For instance, the decline in fatalities may not mean that fewer people are overdosing; it may mean that the campaign to make antidotes widely available is saving their lives, though not necessarily getting people treatment to end their addiction.
Democrats aren’t ceding the issue — presidential candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar have called for a much more aggressive counterattack and a whole lot more spending. Still, White House drug czar Jim Carroll says the Trump approach is finally addressing a crisis that flourished unabated during the Bush and Obama years.
“We are absolutely making progress,” Carroll told POLITICO in a recent interview. “It’s too soon to say we are turning the corner, but we now have the national attention and the spotlight on this issue. We’re reducing stigma, we’re getting more people to provide medication assisted treatment.”
“We are making a difference,” Carroll said. “We just need to continue to push hard.”
The team of top health officials helming the response includes several who weren’t in place when Trump declared a national opioid emergency in 2017. They include Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who assumed his post in January 2018, and Carroll, who was sworn in January 2019. That’s a contrast to a year ago, when the White House had no confirmed drug czar and Kellyanne Conway, a political strategist with no public health background, was running point on the crisis.
And while much of Trump’s own rhetoric around the crisis focuses on “building a wall” and punishing dealers, his administration has emphasized a public health approach, addressing addiction as a disease instead of a crime.
Congress has also responded, and it’s been bipartisan. Lawmakers have passed two major pieces legislation focused on all aspects of the crisis, from public health to law enforcement. It’s directed billions of dollars to states to get the crisis under control.
But as one aspect of the epidemic improves, another one gets worse. Deaths from prescription drugs and heroin may be slowing, but the body count from fentanyl and drugs like meth and cocaine are on the rise, alarming public health experts who say a response narrowly focused on opioids misses the mark on the broader challenge of drug addiction. Progress is slow in expanding access to safe, affordable treatment for more than 2 million Americans suffering from opioid addiction and countless more from other substances.
“We have turned off the opioid prescriptions spigot, but now we see meth making a comeback,” Mark Drennen, chief executive officer of the West Virginia Behavioral Healthcare Providers Association. Federal attention to opioids does help people with other drug addiction problems, he said, but “they kind of take a back seat.”
Deaths involving meth have been on the rise since 2010 and spiked 37 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the most recent CDC figures.
West Virginia is among roughly 28 states that have seen a drop in overdose deaths in the past year, according to preliminary federal figures.
Trump’s stress on opioids in 2016 helped him build a base in hard-hit West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania — states that also liked his appeal to the displaced working class and his exuberant support for reviving the coal industry. Conway calls the opioid crisis a “legacy issue” for Trump. His drug czar has been flying around the country touting the president’s efforts and early successes.
But Carroll’s recent trip to Minnesota is a good illustration of just how hard the task is. He went there on June 5 — right in the midst of a massive statewide spike in overdoses, with 175 overdoses, 17 of them fatal, over a two-week span. Officials attribute it to a bad batch of heroin, potentially laced with fentanyl.
According to the CDC, fentanyl-related deaths increased 47 percent between 2016 and 2017. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill on Thursday sent letters to Trump officials across six different agencies, asking on what they are doing to stop the flow of fentanyl and other illicit opioids.
Democrats running for president have rolled out their own strategies on the broader opioid issue. Warren and Klobuchar have both proposed significantly more funding — $100 billion over 10 years, compared with the $6 billion that the Trump administration and Congress have directed to states during the past two years.
They say Trump is falling short for a crisis of this magnitude. They also point to the contradiction in his administration calling for more access to addiction treatment while it tries to roll back the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, the biggest payer of behavioral health care.
More than 70,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, the highest number on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trump advisers, including Carroll, tout preliminary numbers for 2018 showing that overdoses are down 4 percent nationally. But there improvement is inconsistent: 21 states saw no improvement or even upticks in deaths.
“We don’t have enough [medication-assisted treatment] providers,” said Alexander Billioux, the assistant secretary of health for the Louisiana Department of Health’s Office of Public Health. “We’re starting from very little capacity and trying to expand as quickly as we can.”
Even with an infusion of an estimated $82 million federal dollars last year, Louisiana is having trouble expanding treatment. It’s one of the states where overdose deaths have gone up slightly.
Advocates say the overdose death rate is an important metric, but that it doesn’t tell the whole story. The administration does not have data on whether access to addiction treatment has increased within the past two years or how many people are in treatment now.It’s also not clear whether the slowdown in deaths means fewer people are overdosing or more people are getting saved amid national efforts to arm the public with naloxone, the overdose antidote.
“People will count the overdose deaths because it’s the most severe metric,” said Regina LaBelle, program director of the of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University and former ONDCP official under the Obama administration. “It’s the worst consequence, but it’s not the only consequence.”
Public health experts generally say the administration’s efforts on opioids are doing some good. But those steps don’t address the overarching problem of drug addiction, they say. Most of the administration’s policies target people struggling with opioids, while other drug-related deaths are also on the rise.
“It’s still a very acute approach to a chronic problem,” said Andrew Kessler, founder and principle of Slingshot Solutions. “I’m still not seeing a comprehensive response for the disease of addiction.”
Trump’s drug control policy office, typically in charge of coordinating the federal drug control strategy, has recently been under fire by lawmakers and the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office for not effectively fulfilling its role and for failing to provide the metrics required under statute to assess whether its strategy is working.
“There are serious issues that we flagged in terms of what they’re required to do and what they actually have been doing,” Triana McNeil, the acting director of the Government Accountability Office, said in an interview. “I don’t think the GAO, based off the work we’ve done today, could say we feel ONDCP is fulfilling their statutory role.”
For example, the GAO said that though the administration aims to expand access to medication assisted treatment, it doesn’t have data on how many providers and facilities currently administer MAT, making it difficult to fully assess whether they are indeed increasing access.
The drug office recently released its own set of goals, including reducing overdose deaths by 15 percent over five years and doubling access to medication assisted treatment. It didn’t say how it plans to do that or at what cost.
A study published in the journal Health Affairs found only 36 percent of addiction treatment facilities in 2016 offered a form of medication-assisted treatment and only 6 percent offer all three Food and Drug Administration-approved options. Many facilities and providers choose not to prescribe these medications because of low reimbursement rates and stigma.
Some federal officials have also acknowledged gaps in reaching racial and ethnic minority populations. According to the CDC, the death rate among African Americans involving fentanyl increased 141 percent each year, on average, between 2011 and 2016 and 118 percent among Hispanics, compared to 61 percent for their white counterparts.
“African Americans are less likely to be prescribed naloxone,” said Nora Volkow, the director for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, referring to the overdose antidote and studies her agency has done on racial gaps in administration of that drug. “Some communities have been more successful than others and that requires a certain structure of resources to make them available,” she said. The Trump administration, for its part, is working to address these gaps, she said, through demonstration programs and grants.
Public health experts say they are optimistic about the administration’s efforts but caution that it’s going to take years and sustainable solutions to turn the tide.
“We really need to be very careful and not spike the ball,” Georgetown’s LaBelle said.
“These towns and cities across the country will be dealing with the wreckage of the opioid crisis for quite some time.”