Joel Rose

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to close the city's notorious Rikers Island jail. But even he acknowledges that the process will not be quick or easy.

"It will take many years," de Blasio said at a news conference today at City Hall. "It will take many tough decisions along the way. But it will happen."

There are currently about 10,000 inmates at the Rikers Island jail complex, most of them waiting for trial. Amid reports of widespread violence by inmates and guards, the push to replace Rikers has been gaining momentum.

Editor's Note: This story has been edited throughout. An earlier version was inadvertently published.

Hossein Mahrammi, who helped U.S. development authorities in Kabul rebuild his war-torn country, expected a warm welcome when he arrived in the United States this month.

The economist had planned to stay in Afghanistan but left because he feared for himself and his family. One by one, he saw that his colleagues were assaulted or killed because they worked with Americans.

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Updated at 3:30 a.m. ET Thursday

Hours after a federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide temporary restraining order against President Trump's travel ban, U.S. District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang, in Maryland, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the 90-day ban against travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Chuang's order denies the plaintiffs' request to block other parts of Trump's March 6 executive order, including the temporary ban on refugees.

Veterinarians are sharply divided over a New Jersey bill that would make it a crime to declaw cats. New Jersey would be the first state to ban a practice that critics call painful and barbaric.

When Gordon Stull graduated from veterinary school more than 40 years ago, declawing was routine.

"I did it for a while, and it started to bother me," Stull says. "It just seemed like this is not a procedure I should be doing. Because it's not helping the animal. It's a convenient surgery for the client. And it's a mutilation."

Jeanette Vizguerra walked into a Colorado church on Wednesday — and into the forefront of a possible clash between Donald Trump and sanctuary churches across the country.

Vizguerra has lived in the U.S. since 1997. She has four children, three of them born here. Vizguerra was due to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Instead, she took sanctuary inside the First Unitarian Society of Denver.

Two lawyers, three judges, thousands of ordinary Americans: On Tuesday night, oral arguments in Washington v. Trump attracted an unusually large audience for audio-only legal proceedings.

The case centers on President Trump's controversial executive order that would temporarily bar all new refugees from entering the U.S., as well as visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries.

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The president's executive order on refugee resettlement leaves many refugees already in the U.S. in a state of limbo. NPR's Joel Rose has this story.

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