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In the Nation

Padilla seeking to reinstate suit

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A man held for years as an "enemy combatant" is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate a lawsuit accusing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials of torturing him in a South Carolina military prison.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Jose Padilla in his appeal of a decision of the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in January that Congress, not the court system, has jurisdiction over military-detention cases.

Padilla had argued that he was entitled to sue Rumsfeld, current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former brig commander Catherine T. Hanft, and other officials because the government deprived him of other ways to seek remedies for his treatment, even under military code. - AP

Drop is reported in illegal migrants

WASHINGTON - The number of Mexican immigrants living illegally in the U.S. has dropped significantly for the first time in decades, a study says - a dramatic shift as many illegal workers, already in the U.S. and seeing few job opportunities, return to Mexico.

Roughly 6.1 million unauthorized Mexican immigrants were living in the U.S. last year, down from a peak of nearly 7 million in 2007, according to a Pew Hispanic Center study released Monday.

Much of the drop in illegal immigrants is attributed to the persistently weak U.S. economy, which has shrunk construction and service-sector jobs attractive to Mexican workers following the housing bust. Increased deportations, heightened U.S. patrols, and violence along the border also have played a role, as well as demographic changes, such as Mexico's declining birthrate. - AP

Lag time is cited in VA mental care

WASHINGTON - Federal investigators reported Monday that nearly half the veterans who seek mental-health care for the first time waited about 50 days before receiving a full evaluation, a much longer lag time than cited by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The VA has been saying that 95 percent of new patients seeking mental-health treatment get a full evaluation within the department's goal of 14 days.

But an inspector general's report said that the department's tracking was flawed and that the VA was overstating its success on providing quick care for veterans. - AP

A guilty plea in fake-bomb case

CHICAGO - A Chicago man accused of placing a backpack he thought held a bomb near Wrigley Field has pleaded guilty to two weapons charges.

Sami Samir Hassoun admitted Monday that he took what he thought was a bomb and dropped it in a trash bin near the home of the Chicago Cubs. It was a fake device given to him by undercover FBI agents.

The 24-year-old Lebanese immigrant pleaded guilty in a deal with federal prosecutors to attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device. His sentencing is Aug. 15. - AP