Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — More than a hundred demonstrators intentionally had themselves arrested outside the White House on Thursday in protest against the Obama administration’s response to the sudden surge of illegal immigrants across the border with Mexico.

The act of civil disobedience was organized mostly by religious groups, including the Catholic Sisters of Mercy and the United Methodist Church.

Several hundred additional supporters looked on as the activists staged a sit-in on the sidewalk outside the White House grounds, prompting National Park Service police to remove and arrest them for obstructing foot traffic in a highly choreographed, but peaceful, demonstration.

“We are gathered here to make our voices heard,” the Rev. John McCollough said in a prayer service before the arrests. “We are here to pray for this president, our President Obama, to ask him to lose the bonds of injustice and let the oppressed go free. Si se puede!”

The demonstrators demanded the Obama administration cease the deportation of an estimated 1,100 of those illegal immigrants per day — a number expected to rise as the federal government grapples with the hundreds of thousands believed to have slipped through in the last nine months, and a 106% increase over the same period last year.

Roughly 57,000 are children, many unaccompanied by their parents and fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. The deluge has created a humanitarian crisis in southwestern states as federal and local authorities struggle under the load.

“You know religion, in all its diversity, is really not about what we believe. Religion — real religion — is about what our beliefs compel us to do,” Sister Eileen Campbell of the Sisters of Mercy said from the podium. “How they make us live our lives. Our faith compels us to do all that we can for those that are suffering the injustices of our current immigration policies and to do all we can to move those policies toward justice.”

The White House announced last week it was considering a pilot program, based in Honduras, which would allow children of that country to apply for refugee status rather than risk dangerous northward smuggling across thousands of miles. But while there is bipartisan agreement in Washington that the situation is spiraling out of control, a concrete path forward has been less than clear.

The Senate voted Wednesday to move a bill forward that would allocate $2.7 billion in funding for the crisis. Eleven Republicans joined with the Democratic majority to pass the bill, though at least $840 million has been earmarked for wholly unrelated projects, including Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.

It is $1 billion less than President Obama had asked for and a package being considered in the GOP-controlled House is much smaller: $659 million. With Congress’ August recess approaching and political jockeying in full steam, ahead of the November midterm elections, a short-term solution may be out of reach.

Acts of civil disobedience outside the White House are not unusual and several groups present Thursday have histories of such, but the size of Thursday’s arrest is more rare. Protesters taken into custody are typically transferred to the city’s metropolitan police for processing and released after.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As Congress works on a long-term plan to reform the Veterans Administration, first lady Michelle Obama used her platform to speak out on ending veterans’ homelessness.

Speaking to an estimated 1,600 federal and local officials as well as homeless advocates, the first lady said one possible way to end homelessness nationwide is to start with our homeless veterans.

Mrs. Obama called the more than 58,000 homeless American veterans a “stain on the soul of this nation.”

“As Americans, the idea that anyone who has worn our country’s uniform is sleeping on the ground should horrify us,” she said.

“That moral and patriotic duty is only part of the reason why ending veteran homelessness is so critical. As we all know, ending homelessness for our veterans can also be a crucial first step, a proof point to show that we can end homelessness for everyone in this country,” she continued.

The first lady called the work of homeless advocates “critically important.”

“Day after day, as you fight for more resources, you encounter too many folks who don’t take you seriously, because they don’t believe that we will ever truly be able to solve this problem…Yet when so many others accept homelessness as a fact of life, you refuse to give up,” she said. “I just want to say thank you.”

Mrs. Obama has made ending veterans’ homelessness a priority during her tenure as first lady, calling it a “moral outrage” at a White House event last month launching the Mayors’ Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness.

Since June, 182 local leaders have taken the challenge to end veteran homelessness in their communities by the end of 2015.

“We are seeing that with enough resources and the right strategies — strategies like housing first, rapid rehousing — we can make huge amounts of progress in a very short period of time,” the first lady said.

In an op-ed published Wednesday, Mrs. Obama pointed to success in Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

“Any number of veterans left out in the cold is too many, but those numbers show us that even in some of our largest metropolitan areas, ending veteran homelessness is eminently achievable,” she wrote.

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iStock/Thinkstock(BISHOPVILLE, S.C.) — A crashed drone carrying contraband, including marijuana, tobacco and cellphones, was found outside the razor wire fence at a maximum security prison in South Carolina.

One person has been arrested, however the search for a second suspect has been ongoing since prison officials found the downed aerial vehicle and contraband in the bushes outside Lee Correctional Institute in Bishopville on April 21.

Brenton Lee Doyle, 28, has been charged with drug possession and attempting to furnish contraband to inmates. Court records did not list an attorney for Doyle.

Authorities are seeking a second man, who was seen on surveillance video at a convenience store prior to the incident buying some products that were found with the crashed drone.

Stephanie Givens, a spokeswoman for Lee Correctional Institution, said investigators believe the drone was either crashed by the person piloting it or that it malfunctioned as it approached the prison.

Givens would not discuss the type of drone, but said it was a model that was “capable of flying long distances.”

“As technology gets more advanced, we have to find more advanced ways to fight that,” she said.

It is believed to be the first time the high-tech approach has been taken to smuggle contraband into a South Carolina prison.

Four people were accused last year of trying to fly a drone carrying tobacco and cellphones into a Georgia state prison.

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Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Boston Red Sox stayed active in the trade market Thursday, shipping starting pitcher John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig.

It was the second deal completed prior to Thursday’s non-waiver deadline by the Red Sox, who also traded All-Star pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for All-Star slugger Yoenis Cespedes.

The 35-year-old Lackey will join a Cardinals rotation that has been without starters Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia. The team also acquired starter Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians in a separate deal on Wednesday.

Lackey went 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox this season. He will make just $500,000 in 2015 due to a unique clause in his contract that tacked on an extra season if he underwent Tommy John surgery at any point. Lackey had the procedure in 2011 and missed all of 2012.

Kelly is 2-2 with a 4.37 ERA in 2014 with St. Louis, while Craig has struggled at the plate for much of the season. The once promising young star is hitting just .237 with seven home runs and 44 RBIs.

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Rob Carr/Getty Images(OWINGS MILLS, Md.) — Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice addressed the media Thursday for the first time since his two-game suspension was announced by the NFL.

Rice spoke about the suspension and publicly apologized to his wife, Janay, for the first time since his alleged altercation with his then-fiancee in February.

“I made the biggest mistake of my life,” Rice said.

Rice, 27, would not get into what happened in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, elevator, but he also apologized to all women affected by domestic violence and expressed his intentions to become an “ambassador” against it.

“That night I replay over and over in my head. That’s not me. My actions were inexcusable. That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life,” he explained. “The pain I’m talking about living with is waking up every day, and my daughter is two years old now, and I have a little girl, who’s very smart, very intelligent, and one day she’s going to know the power of Google, and me having to explain that to her, what happened that night.”

Rice was joined at the press conference by nearly 30 of his Baltimore Ravens teammates.

He will miss the team’s Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals and their Sept. 11 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The Oakland Athletics have acquired starting pitcher Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes, and cash considerations from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 competitive balance pick.

The Red Sox were dangling Lester for several days leading up to Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline.

Several teams were believed to be interested in the two-time World Series champion, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Baltimore Orioles. In the end, it was the Athletics who swooped in and gave the Red Sox an offer they couldn’t refuse.

The 30-year-old Lester will be a free agent after the season.

He will join a strong rotation in Oakland that already includes All-Stars Jeff Samardzija and Scott Kazmir, along with youngster Sonny Gray.

Cespedes, 28, is a two-time reigning Home Run Derby champion who has 17 homers and 56 RBIs this season. He will provide the Red Sox with a big bat in the middle of their lineup.

Gomes is hitting .234 with 6 home runs and 32 RBIs in 2014.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Florida man who fought with an al Qaeda-linked group in Syria was able to return home, unbeknownst to American security officials, and hang around in the U.S. for months before returning to the Middle East to carry out a deadly suicide bombing there, according to recent testimony before Congress.

Before his violent death, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha purportedly joined Jabhat al-Nusra, a powerful al Qaeda-linked opposition group in Syria. Social media accounts linked to the group said in late May that Abu-Salha had been part of a four-man suicide bombing against Syrian government forces. U.S. officials later confirmed Abu-Salha’s involvement in the operation.

But almost exactly a year earlier, Abu-Salha was able to travel from Syria back to the U.S., according to Seth Jones, Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the defense think tank Rand Corporation.

“It is troubling, however, that U.S. citizen Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha traveled to Syria to fight with al Qaeda-affiliated rebels, returned to the U.S. around May 2013 without U.S. officials realizing that he had trained with an al Qaeda-linked group, and traveled back to Syria in November 2013 before blowing himself up in a suicide attack in May 2014,” Jones testified before the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence last week, according to prepared remarks. “In short, U.S. officials apparently did not realize that a U.S. citizen who had received terrorist training in Syria was on American soil for approximately six months before returning to Syria to perpetrate a terrorist attack overseas.”

A U.S. intelligence official confirmed Jones’ account as accurate and told ABC News that the tracking of Americans and foreign fighters in Syria is a “hard nut to crack.”

“We have varying information on these folks,” the official said. “It’s a complex intelligence issue.”

Late Wednesday, The New York Times reported Abu-Salha’s purported trip back to America.

With his death, Abu-Salha joined a tiny group of U.S. citizens that have conducted suicide bombings. Three Americans have participated in suicide attacks on behalf of the al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab in Somalia since 2009, the first of which sent a “shockwave” through the American counter-terrorism community, senior counter-terrorism officials told ABC News after Abu-Salha’s death.

For months U.S. security officials have said they are very concerned about American and Western passport holders traveling to Syria, receiving paramilitary training and then returning to wreak havoc in the homeland. As ABC News reported in January, the FBI is already watching dozens of fighters who have returned from the Middle Eastern battlefield.

Matthew Olsen, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said last week that more than 12,000 foreign fighters, including more than 1,000 Westerners and around 100 Americans, are fighting in Syria.

“It has become the predominant battleground in terms of extremists,” Olsen told the Aspen Security Forum.

FBI Director James Comey told ABC News in May that his organization aimed to make sure the “coming Syria diaspora” does not turn into a “future 9/11.”

Representatives for the FBI and CIA were not immediately available to respond to requests for comment for this report.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Florida man who fought with an al Qaeda-linked group in Syria was able to return home, unbeknownst to American security officials, and hang around in the U.S. for months before returning to the Middle East to carry out a deadly suicide bombing there, according to recent testimony before Congress.

Before his violent death, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha purportedly joined Jabhat al-Nusra, a powerful al Qaeda-linked opposition group in Syria. Social media accounts linked to the group said in late May that Abu-Salha had been part of a four-man suicide bombing against Syrian government forces. U.S. officials later confirmed Abu-Salha’s involvement in the operation.

But almost exactly a year earlier, Abu-Salha was able to travel from Syria back to the U.S., according to Seth Jones, Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the defense think tank Rand Corporation.

“It is troubling, however, that U.S. citizen Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha traveled to Syria to fight with al Qaeda-affiliated rebels, returned to the U.S. around May 2013 without U.S. officials realizing that he had trained with an al Qaeda-linked group, and traveled back to Syria in November 2013 before blowing himself up in a suicide attack in May 2014,” Jones testified before the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence last week, according to prepared remarks. “In short, U.S. officials apparently did not realize that a U.S. citizen who had received terrorist training in Syria was on American soil for approximately six months before returning to Syria to perpetrate a terrorist attack overseas.”

A U.S. intelligence official confirmed Jones’ account as accurate and told ABC News that the tracking of Americans and foreign fighters in Syria is a “hard nut to crack.”

“We have varying information on these folks,” the official said. “It’s a complex intelligence issue.”

Late Wednesday, The New York Times reported Abu-Salha’s purported trip back to America.

With his death, Abu-Salha joined a tiny group of U.S. citizens that have conducted suicide bombings. Three Americans have participated in suicide attacks on behalf of the al Qaeda affiliate al-Shabab in Somalia since 2009, the first of which sent a “shockwave” through the American counter-terrorism community, senior counter-terrorism officials told ABC News after Abu-Salha’s death.

For months U.S. security officials have said they are very concerned about American and Western passport holders traveling to Syria, receiving paramilitary training and then returning to wreak havoc in the homeland. As ABC News reported in January, the FBI is already watching dozens of fighters who have returned from the Middle Eastern battlefield.

Matthew Olsen, the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said last week that more than 12,000 foreign fighters, including more than 1,000 Westerners and around 100 Americans, are fighting in Syria.

“It has become the predominant battleground in terms of extremists,” Olsen told the Aspen Security Forum.

FBI Director James Comey told ABC News in May that his organization aimed to make sure the “coming Syria diaspora” does not turn into a “future 9/11.”

Representatives for the FBI and CIA were not immediately available to respond to requests for comment for this report.

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) — A gunman killed himself Thursday morning after shooting his boss in the Bank of America building in Chicago’s financial district, authorities said.

The victim was the CEO of the company that the shooter worked for, and police said that the shooter was demoted last Friday.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy did not say what company both of the men worked for. Several companies are based in the Bank of America building.

The 59-year-old man shot the 54-year-old man before turning the gun on himself, police said.

The 54-year-old victim was taken to Northwestern University Hospital and is in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the head.

The shooter was confirmed dead at the scene, police said.

Law enforcement officials have not released the names of either individual. Police were alerted to the shooting at 9:50 a.m. local time.

The shooting took place on the 17th floor of a building on South LaSalle Street.

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David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images(GREEN BAY, Wisc.) — One of the best general managers in the NFL is sticking around a little longer as the Green Bay Packers are rewarding Ted Thompson with a contract extension.

Thompson’s new deal is being called “a multi-year contract extension” and he will remain in charge of the football operations. His original deal was set to expire after the 2016 season.

“The more you think about it, the more you think how nuts are you that you’d walk away from something like this,” Thompson said. “It’s important to me. It’s not my family, but I’ve got a lot of really good friends here and co-workers that I enjoy coming to work with every day.”

Thompson is entering his 10th season as the Packers general manager, and the team has gone 86-57-1 in the regular season and 6-5 in the postseason. They also won the Super Bowl XLV.

Thompson’s first draft pick came in 2004 when he selected quarterback Aaron Rodgers 24th overall.

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