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June 13, 2018

Employees at Casa Padre, a former Walmart that houses nearly 1,500 unaccompanied migrant children in Brownsville, Texas, called the police on Sen. Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.) last month, but on Tuesday, MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff was given a tour of the facility. "I have been inside a federal prison and county jails," he said on Twitter afterward. "This place is called a shelter but these kids are incarcerated."

There are currently 1,469 boys age 10 to 17 housed in the facility, with up to 30 percent of them — or 440 children — among the new batch separated from their parents under President Trump's new "zero tolerance" border policy, Soboroff explained. "The thing that strikes me, as the parent of a 2 1/2-year-old boy, is what about from 0 to 10?" Soboroff told Chris Hayes on MSNBC Tuesday night. "Where are those kids?" There are 99 other facilities housing children in 17 states. These children are "allowed outside, Chris, where we are, in the fresh air, for two hours a day," he said. "And the rest, 22 hours a day, they're inside a former Walmart."

One of the strangest things about the facility, Soboroff said, is the mural of Trump you see right when you enter, with the quote, in both English and Spanish: "Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war."

Casa Padre is a licensed child-care facility run by the Texas nonprofit Southwest Key Programs (SKP), but the "tent cities" the Trump administration is envisioning won't have to be, Soboroff said. SKP runs facilities for unaccompanied child migrants in seven states and, according to a 2015 tax filing, CEO Juan Sanchez made $770,860 in annual "reportable compensation." You can read more of Soboroff's observations on Twitter. Peter Weber

9:29 p.m. ET
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It's a quiet ending for a show that created shockwaves throughout its 27 years.

The Jerry Springer Show — which within the past few months aired programs with such titles as "Catfished by a Little Person," "Stop Pimpin My Twin Sister," and "Cold-Hearted Convicts" — has stopped filming new episodes, it was unceremoniously announced this week. Since its debut in September 1991, The Jerry Springer Show has produced 4,000 episodes. The talk show is syndicated, and NBC Universal that the CW and other networks will continue to air reruns.

Producers are dangling a carrot to fans, saying that "there is a possibility" that original episodes could be ordered in the future. While the show is known for its outrageous guests, gratuitous violence, and overall crassness, it's not making as big of an impact in a world dominated by reality TV shows. Springer "was lapped not only by other programs, but by real life," television historian David Bianculli told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

8:37 p.m. ET
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On Thursday morning, the White House is expected to announce its proposal to merge the Departments of Labor and Education, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

Over the last month, the White House has gone through a review of the different cabinet agencies, looking for ways to make the federal government smaller. The merger would likely need to be approved by Congress, and isn't the only change being eyed by the White House; there's also been discussion of renaming the Department of Health and Human Services to something closer to its previous moniker, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, The Journal reports.

The Education Department is already one of the smaller government agencies, with 3,900 employees, while the Labor Department has 15,000 employees. Catherine Garcia

8:00 p.m. ET
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Ivanka Trump tweeted on Wednesday evening how thrilled she is that her dad, President Trump, signed an executive order that stops the separation of children from their parents at the border.

Nowhere in her tweet did Trump note that it was a self-made crisis, as her father's administration was behind the policy. "Thank you @POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border," she said. "Congress must now act + find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values; the same values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families."

Before Wednesday, Ivanka Trump never publicly commented on the policy or news that infants and toddlers were in "tender age" facilities, although the president said after signing the executive order that his daughter and first lady Melania Trump both pressed him to do something about the forced separations. On Sunday, the first lady's office said she "hates to see children separated from their families," and wanted Democrats and Republicans to unite for comprehensive immigration reform. A White House official told The Washington Post that over the last few days, Melania Trump, an immigrant from Slovenia, "became even more vocal about her thoughts and opinions on the topic." Catherine Garcia

7:15 p.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

After actor Peter Fonda tweeted about her 12-year-old son, Barron, on Wednesday morning, first lady Melania Trump had her office contact the Secret Service.

In response to the administration's policy of taking children away from their parents at the border, Fonda tweeted, "WE SHOULD RIP BARRON TRUMP FROM HIS MOTHER'S ARMS AND PUT HIM IN A CAGE WITH PEDOPHILES AND SEE IF MOTHER WILL STAND UP AGAINST THE GIANT ASSHOLE SHE IS MARRIED TO." Fonda later deleted the tweet, and "sincerely apologized" for tweeting "something highly inappropriate and vulgar about the president and his family in response to the devastating images I was seeing on television."

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communications director told The Hill that the tweet was "sick and irresponsible." Catherine Garcia

6:45 p.m. ET
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Burger King has apologized for an ad that ran on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, promising 3 million rubles ($47,000) and a lifetime supply of Whoppers for any woman impregnated by a soccer player competing in the World Cup.

Burger King's Russian division is known for dreadful campaigns, The Guardian reports; in one advertisement for a buy one burger get one free deal, the company used the image of a 16-year-old rape victim. After pulling the World Cup ads, Burger King apologized on VK, calling the campaign "too offensive." Catherine Garcia

5:36 p.m. ET

President Trump patted himself on the back for trash-talking Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) in front of House Republicans, but not everyone enjoyed the show.

Trump claimed that GOP leaders loved it when he joked about Sanford's recent election loss. "I want to congratulate Mark on a great race," Trump reportedly said in the meeting, calling Sanford a "nasty guy." Most accounts say that lawmakers were simply silent, and Fox News reports that some audience members booed the "low blow," but Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) made his disapproval publicly known.

Amash called it a "classless cheap shot," and set the record straight that no House members applauded, despite Trump's claims. Summer Meza

5:33 p.m. ET
Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Image

Russia thinks the U.S. may trigger another space race.

But it won't be like the brainy battles of yesteryear. It'll be more like an intergalactic arms race that could be worse than the current nuclear one, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

President Trump directed the Pentagon to add a Space Force to the military Monday, declaring that this new branch of the military would preserve "American dominance in space." The first few goals include a mission to Mars and a system for space traffic management, Trump said.

But to the Russian Foreign Ministry, that sounds like the U.S. might deploy weapons over Earth, a spokeswoman told AP. That could spark consequences "no less harmful than the nuclear arms race," the spokeswoman said.

Russia and China did draft a treaty to preserve space as neutral territory, but the U.S. opted out. Regardless of a treaty, U.S. intelligence cautioned in February that the two countries are developing weapons that could be used to shoot down American satellites. Officials under past presidents have suggested defensive measures in space as well.

Looks like this star war could be heating up. Kathryn Krawczyk

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