Immigration

Mary Margaret Olohan | Reporter

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 hopeful, said social security and a pathway to citizenship should be rights for immigrants “in the country now” Tuesday at a campaign event in Iowa.

“I have a lot of ideas,” Gillibrand said. “First, we need comprehensive immigration reform. If you are in this country now, you must have the right to pay into social security, to pay your taxes, to pay into the local school system, and to have a pathway to citizenship.”

Gillibrand has been vocal in her thoughts on immigration.

“Immigration is not a security issue. It is an economic and a humanitarian and a family issue,” she said during a town hall with MSNBC on Monday.

She also added there is “no such thing as an illegal human.”

WATCH:

Gillibrand’s words come after she announced her entrance in the 2020 race Sunday. (RELATED: Gillibrand Makes Her First Political Flip Flop Since Announcing Presidential Run)

She also recently said illegal immigrants should be allowed to receive driver’s licenses — though she was formerly against this.

She said in 2007 she did not support giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. She changed her mind in January, saying, “I think we have to make it possible for people to provide for their families.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

A growing number of Americans say immigration levels should remain the same or increase, according to a major U.S. survey, a shift that comes as the Trump administration has ramped up immigration enforcement.

At the same time, the latest data from the General Social Survey — a widely respected poll that has measured trends on American attitudes since the 1970s — shows a growing partisan divide on the topic over the past decade.

The 2018 survey was released this week and shows 34 percent of Americans want immigration levels to be reduced, down from 41 percent in 2016, according to an analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff.

That's compared with 23 percent of Americans who want more immigration, up from 17 percent in 2016. Forty-one percent say they want immigration levels to stay the same.

It's the first time since the survey question was first asked in 2004 that more Americans want immigration to remain the same than to be reduced.

The survey is conducted every two years, and the question was last asked before President Donald Trump took office and made it harder for people to immigrate to the United States.

Trump — who made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his election campaign — has repeatedly called for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and his push for wall funding last year drove the federal government to a monthlong shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of government workers.

The administration enacted a travel ban for citizens of mostly Muslim countries, including Iran and Yemen, that has torn many families apart. And officials last year separated immigrant parents from their children to prosecute illegal border crossers, a move that sparked an international outcry.

"People are more tolerant of immigration than the president and the far right would have us believe," said Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.

According to the survey, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans want more immigrants allowed into the country, while Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor less immigration.

But fewer Republicans want a reduction in immigration than did in 2016. In 2018, 52 percent of Republicans said they wanted less immigration, down from 62 percent two years earlier.

Forty-four percent of Democrats say they want immigration levels to remain the same, while 34 percent want an increase in immigration.

The survey — which does not distinguish between illegal and legal immigration — also looked at Americans' views on the issue by race. About 41 percent of whites want a decrease in immigration, while only 24 percent of blacks and 22 percent of Hispanics say the same.

Trump has made immigration an intensely political issue, and also an issue of race, said Manuel Pastor, director of the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

"Trump is trying to create a Republican Party that's much more based in an older, white electorate in nonmetropolitan areas of the country," Pastor said. "The Democrats are trying to put together political coalitions that have a deep base in metropolitan areas, and that includes many more people of color."

The General Social Survey has been conducted since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing.

Sample sizes for each year's survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The most recent survey was conducted April 12 through November 10, 2018 and includes interviews with 2,348 American adults. MARGIN OF ERROR?

Online: http://www.apnorc.org

Source: NewsMax

A growing number of Americans say immigration levels should remain the same or increase, according to a major U.S. survey, a shift that comes as the Trump administration has ramped up immigration enforcement.

At the same time, the latest data from the General Social Survey — a widely respected poll that has measured trends on American attitudes since the 1970s — shows a growing partisan divide on the topic over the past decade.

The 2018 survey was released this week and shows 34 percent of Americans want immigration levels to be reduced, down from 41 percent in 2016, according to an analysis by The AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and GSS staff.

That's compared with 23 percent of Americans who want more immigration, up from 17 percent in 2016. Forty-one percent say they want immigration levels to stay the same.

It's the first time since the survey question was first asked in 2004 that more Americans want immigration to remain the same than to be reduced.

The survey is conducted every two years, and the question was last asked before President Donald Trump took office and made it harder for people to immigrate to the United States.

Trump — who made immigration enforcement a centerpiece of his election campaign — has repeatedly called for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and his push for wall funding last year drove the federal government to a monthlong shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of government workers.

The administration enacted a travel ban for citizens of mostly Muslim countries, including Iran and Yemen, that has torn many families apart. And officials last year separated immigrant parents from their children to prosecute illegal border crossers, a move that sparked an international outcry.

"People are more tolerant of immigration than the president and the far right would have us believe," said Louis DeSipio, a political science professor at the University of California, Irvine.

According to the survey, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans want more immigrants allowed into the country, while Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to favor less immigration.

But fewer Republicans want a reduction in immigration than did in 2016. In 2018, 52 percent of Republicans said they wanted less immigration, down from 62 percent two years earlier.

Forty-four percent of Democrats say they want immigration levels to remain the same, while 34 percent want an increase in immigration.

The survey — which does not distinguish between illegal and legal immigration — also looked at Americans' views on the issue by race. About 41 percent of whites want a decrease in immigration, while only 24 percent of blacks and 22 percent of Hispanics say the same.

Trump has made immigration an intensely political issue, and also an issue of race, said Manuel Pastor, director of the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.

"Trump is trying to create a Republican Party that's much more based in an older, white electorate in nonmetropolitan areas of the country," Pastor said. "The Democrats are trying to put together political coalitions that have a deep base in metropolitan areas, and that includes many more people of color."

The General Social Survey has been conducted since 1972 by NORC at the University of Chicago, primarily using in-person interviewing.

Sample sizes for each year's survey vary from about 1,500 to about 3,000 adults, with margins of error falling between plus or minus 2.2 percentage points and plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The most recent survey was conducted April 12 through November 10, 2018 and includes interviews with 2,348 American adults. MARGIN OF ERROR?

Online: http://www.apnorc.org

Source: NewsMax

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

  • Curtis Flowers, a death row inmate, has been tried six times in connection with a brutal quadruple homicide in Mississippi. 
  • Each trial has ended in either a hung jury or a conviction reversed on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct.
  • The Supreme Court will decide what evidence Flowers can use to argue the prosecution skewed a jury along racial lines to help secure his latest conviction. 

The Supreme Court seemed poised Wednesday to side with a black death row inmate who believes the prosecution rigged the jury for his murder trial on the basis of race.

The question before the justices asks whether a judge can consider past practices or misconduct when deciding if a prosecutor is removing prospective jurors on the basis of race.

Novelist Harper Lee may as well have written the story of Curtis Flowers, the defendant in Wednesday’s case. Flowers is a black man who has been tried six times in a Mississippi court in connection with a quadruple homicide by the same white prosecutor, Doug Evans. Two of those cases resulted in a mistrial due to deadlocked juries. Flowers was found guilty in the other three, but appeals courts lifted those convictions because of misconduct on Evans’s part.

The sixth and most recent trial, which ended with a conviction, is the matter currently before the high court.

When seating a jury for trials, both the prosecution and the defense can use so-called peremptory strikes to exclude a prospective juror for almost any reason at all. The Supreme Court said peremptory strikes could not be used on account of race in a 1986 decision called Batson v. Kentucky. The decision followed the long, unfortunate history of prosecutors seating all-white juries in cases with black defendants.

It is often difficult to prove a Batson violation, however — though lawyers can bring a “Batson challenge” if they believe the other side is striking jurors for racial reasons, the other side will prevail if they can give a valid, race-neutral reason for excluding the jurors at issue.

In Flowers’s sixth trial, Evans used his strikes to boot five of the six potential black jurors. One of the six was seated, and Evans cited legitimate reasons for excluding the other five.

Yet Flowers argues there is still racial chicanery afoot. Among other things, Flowers points out that Evans used strikes to dismiss 41 of the 42 black people eligible for jury service over the course of the trials. Flowers says that history is highly salient to showing racial bias in his most recent trial.

The Supreme Court seemed largely united in its sympathy for Flowers and in the feeling that Evans’s prior conduct was relevant.

“We can’t take the history out of the case,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh said.

Kavanaugh elsewhere said that Batson meant to bolster confidence in the integrity of juries and suggested the community’s trust was broken by the Flowers saga.

“Can you say, as you sit here today, you have confidence in how this all transpired in this case?” he asked a lawyer for the state of Mississippi. (RELATED: Supreme Court Deals Trump An Immigration Victory)

Prosecutors sometimes conduct brief investigations of potential jurors to discover possible conflicts of interest or other facts relevant to a person’s ability to serve on the panel. Justice Elena Kagan noted that Evans pursued three such investigations in the Flowers case. All three subjects were black.

Sheri Lynn Johnson of the Cornell University Death Penalty Project, who represents Curtis Flowers, speaks to the news media outside of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Sheri Lynn Johnson of the Cornell University Death Penalty Project, who represents Curtis Flowers, speaks to the news media outside of the Supreme Court on March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Other justices asked at length about the particulars of specific jurors, aiming to show that Evans repeatedly seated white jurors with conflicts of interest much like those for which black people were excluded.

Yet several of the justices wondered how much judges should rely on past wrongdoing should bear in a Batson challenge.

“If the prosecutor had one Batson violation in his 30-year career, 20 years ago, is that something that should be pertinent in the assessment of current Batson challenges?” Chief Justice John Roberts asked Sheri Lynn Johnson, who represented Flowers at the high court.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wondered if Evans’s history alone could establish a Batson violation in Flowers’s case, absent other factors.

Justice Clarence Thomas, the court’s lone black person, stunned observers with a question late in the proceedings. Thomas has asked questions during oral arguments just twice in the last decade, given his belief that the court should ask fewer questions of the advocates.

Thomas wondered if the defense had exercised any peremptory strikes of its own. Johnson conceded they had.

“And what was the race of the jurors struck there?” Thomas asked.

“She only exercised peremptories against white jurors,” Johnson replied. “But I would add that her motivation is not the question here. The question is the motivation of Doug Evans.”

A decision in the case, Flowers v. Mississippi, is expected by June.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

The Trump administration announced Tuesday it would no longer detain select migrant families who illegally cross the border in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.

The change is a result of crowded detention facilities, according to The Wall Street Journal, and represents a reversal of the administration’s previous commitment to end “catch-and-release” practices, calling for “catch-and-detain” instead. (RELATED: ICE Officers Giving Up On Trump Over Catch And Release)

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 11: Honduran asylum seeker Sandra Sanchez adjusts the coat of her daughter Yanela Sanchez, 2 1/2, in the basement apartment they share with fellow immigrants on February 11, 2019 in the greater Washington D.C. area. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 11: Honduran asylum seeker Sandra Sanchez adjusts the coat of her daughter Yanela Sanchez, 2 1/2, in the basement apartment they share with fellow immigrants on February 11, 2019 in the greater Washington D.C. area. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The administration has struggled to manage the recent surge in illegal crossings and detention facilities have been pushed to occupancy limits. Additionally, immigration officials have come under fire for safety issues, including the December 2018 deaths of two Guatemalan children in custody.

The policy means Border Patrol agents will release hundreds of families instead of transferring them to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for detention. Not all families will be released, the numbers of which will be determined by actual facility populations.

Those released by the Border Patrol will be given notices to appear, which orders them to report at a later date to immigration authorities for asylum requests or deportation. Families are allowed to live in the U.S. while waiting for the asylum process.

The Rio Grande Valley has produced 42 percent of the 136,000 arrests made for illegal border crossings nationally. Migrants are largely from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Families with children are currently permitted 20 days in one of three family detention centers, which hold thousands of people.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Foreign nationals from three Central American countries that send some of the highest numbers of illegal immigrants to the U.S. are sending back a record amount of money to their home countries.

Immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras sent back a record $120 billion in remittances this decade, according to an immigration expert who spoke to the Washington Examiner using U.N. and Latin American banking statistics. The numbers are expected to keep rising, with immigrants from these three nations having sent $17 billion in 2018 alone, and Central American bank data indicates that the trend will keeping going.

“The sums of money involved are huge, particularly as a share of GDP and personal income in the Central American countries,” Jessica Vaughan, an immigration expert with the Center for Immigration Studies, said to the Examiner. “It offers a big clue as to why these countries are giving only token efforts to stem the tide of migrants to the United States, especially El Salvador and Honduras.”

The issue of remittances — money sent to the home countries of immigrants living and working in the U.S. — has remained a hot topic of debate. U.S. lawmakers have, in the past, proposed legislation that would tax remittances.

One proposal that did not make it through Congress would have taxed these payments at seven percent. If such a tax was levied on the $138 billion all immigrants sent in remittances in 2016, the revenue would have paid for President Donald Trump’s border wall within three years’ time.

However, the enormous size of the remittances play a significant role in the Central American economies — creating an incentive for their governments to not seek reform. Remittances to Honduras and El Salvador made up over 20 percent of their economies, with over 90 percent of remittances sent to these countries originating from the U.S.

Migrants are hit by tear gas by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after attempting to illegally cross the border wall into the U.S. in Tijuana, Mexico

Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America trying to reach the United States, return to Mexico after being hit by tear gas by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after attempting to illegally cross the border wall into the United States in Tijuana, Mexico November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

While the Trump administration has threatened to withhold millions of dollars in aid to Central American nations for their continued toleration of migrant caravans into the U.S., the aid is just a fraction of the billions in remittances that are sent annually. (RELATED: More Than 400 Illegals Were Caught By Border Patrol In Five Minutes)

At the same time, people from Central America are making up a significant portion of the migrants attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, while speaking to a congressional committee in February, said the influx of Central American migrants and unaccompanied children — who cannot be quickly deported — has strained her agency’s resources.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Mary Margaret Olohan | Contributor

NYU hired a former New Yorker employee Wednesday, fired for falsely labeling an ICE agent as a Nazi, to teach on far right coverage.

Talia Lavin will now work at New York University teaching a course called “Reporting on the Far Right” in NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She is an adjunct faculty member and a “writer and researcher focused on far-right extremism and social justice,” according to her university profile.

Lavin was fired from the New Yorker for accusing a disabled ICE agent and US Veteran of being a Nazi due to a cross tattoo on his arm. This accusation came after she viewed a photo of the veteran online, where she then tweeted about it. She later deleted her tweet, saying that “some vets said this ICE agent’s tattoo looked more like a Maltese cross than an Iron Cross (common among white supremacists), so i deleted my tweet so as not to spread misinformation.” (RELATED: College Professor Who Admitted to Giving Nazi Salute Fired)

The official ICE twitter account responded to the incident by pointing out that the cross was the symbol of the agent’s platoon in Afghanistan. “Justin Gaertner is a combat wounded U.S. Marine who continues to serve his country as an ICE computer forensics analyst, helping solve criminal cases & rescue abused children,” they said in a tweet.

In a statement, ICE told Lavin and the New Yorker that they owed Gaertner an apology. The statement also advised that the writing on Gaertner’s arm was “the Spartan Creed” dedicated to protecting family and children. (RELATED: Retired ICE Agent Shares Story Of Murdered Partner And Opinions On The Wall)

The New Yorker disavowed any association with Lavin’s views.

Less than a month after she was fired from the New Yorker, Lavin was picked up by Media Matters, the progressive media watchdog, where she worked as a “researcher on far-right extremism and the alt-right.” Her work includes topics such as Russian influence on positive American coverage of Trump, far right anti-Semitic conspiracies, how YouTube assists in right-wing radicalization, and more.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

The White House is strongly condemning New York City after it says sanctuary city policies led to the release of an illegal immigrant who later bit off the finger of an ICE agent trying to apprehend him.

“New York’s dangerous ‘sanctuary’ policies are directly responsible for the egregious and violent harm suffered by this courageous ICE officer,” White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement to The Daily Caller.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman explained to The Daily Caller that Dominican national Christopher Santos Felix “entered the United States on a visitor’s visa in June 2015, but failed to leave within the required timeframe.” Felix then racked up a litany of criminal charges, including driving while intoxicated, before he was arrested for assault by the New York City Police Department on Sept 29, 2018. (RELATED: NYC Council Passes ‘Abolish ICE’ Resolution)

The ICE spokeswoman continued that they requested a detainer be put on Felix so that he could be taken into federal custody, but as a result of New York City’s sanctuary city policies, he was then let go.

“On March 3, 2019, Santos Felix was arrested by ERO for immigration violations. At the time of the arrest, Santos Felix allegedly assaulted an ERO officer and is now facing federal prosecution,” the spokeswoman said.

ICE agent’s hand

The spokeswoman added, “the officer’s injury was the direct, foreseeable and entirely avoidable result of New York’s criminal alien sanctuary policies. Proponents of sanctuary policies claim they make communities safer, but in many cases they are causing more harm than good.”

The criminal complaint against Felix reviewed by the Caller notes that he attacked ICE officers after his handcuffs were temporarily removed so that he could put on some clothing. Officers quickly moved to secure Felix and while they were restraining him, he bit the officer’s finger.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses members of U.S. military during refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient Sgt. Sean Rogers after calling him onstage while addressing members of the military during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump’s much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers.

The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected.

Around 10 percent of the list relates to educational establishments and includes school buildings for the children of service members in places like Germany, Japan, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration’s oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House’s desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

However, of the $1.2 billion in projects related to education, approximately $800 million worth are far in the future, and those funds could readily be used for wall construction and replaced later.

The Pentagon told Congress that just because a project was listed, it “does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” as a funding source to build sections of the border wall.

Trump earlier in March asked for $8.6 billion in his 2020 budget request to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It drew swift criticism from Democrats.

He declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, a move that allows his administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

In a tense Congressional hearing last week, Democratic senators demanded that they be provided a list of military funds that could be utilized to fund wall construction.

Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing. A recent Reuters investigation https://reut.rs/2t1Y2UA found thousands of U.S. military families were subjected to serious health and safety hazards in on-base housing, prompting moves from lawmakers to improve landlord controls.

But elementary and middle schools on bases around the world serving military families are at risk of suffering from the funding diversion, as well as a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point, the Army’s military academy in New York state.

Joint Base Andrews, where the president’s Air Force jet is based, was slated to receive $13 million for a “Child Development Center,” but funding for that project is on the list.

The base currently has three child development centers serving the 12,000 to 14,000 active and reserve military stationed there.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump addresses members of U.S. military during refueling stop in Anchorage, Alaska
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump introduces U.S. Army Bronze Star recipient Sgt. Sean Rogers after calling him onstage while addressing members of the military during a refueling stop at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska, U.S., February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Mike Stone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense is proposing to pay for President Donald Trump’s much-debated border wall by shifting funds away from projects that include $1.2 billion for schools, childcare centers and other facilities for military children, according to a list it has provided to lawmakers.

The Pentagon gave Congress a list on Monday that included $12.8 billion of construction projects for which it said funds could be redirected.

Around 10 percent of the list relates to educational establishments and includes school buildings for the children of service members in places like Germany, Japan, Kentucky and Puerto Rico.

The move comes as a surprise given the Trump administration’s oft-touted support for the sacrifices made by military families and suggests the White House’s desire to build a wall on the border with Mexico outstrips nearly all other issues.

However, of the $1.2 billion in projects related to education, approximately $800 million worth are far in the future, and those funds could readily be used for wall construction and replaced later.

The Pentagon told Congress that just because a project was listed, it “does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used” as a funding source to build sections of the border wall.

Trump earlier in March asked for $8.6 billion in his 2020 budget request to help pay for his promised wall on the U.S-Mexico border to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking. It drew swift criticism from Democrats.

He declared a national emergency in a bid to fund the wall without congressional approval, a move that allows his administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

In a tense Congressional hearing last week, Democratic senators demanded that they be provided a list of military funds that could be utilized to fund wall construction.

Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing. A recent Reuters investigation https://reut.rs/2t1Y2UA found thousands of U.S. military families were subjected to serious health and safety hazards in on-base housing, prompting moves from lawmakers to improve landlord controls.

But elementary and middle schools on bases around the world serving military families are at risk of suffering from the funding diversion, as well as a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point, the Army’s military academy in New York state.

Joint Base Andrews, where the president’s Air Force jet is based, was slated to receive $13 million for a “Child Development Center,” but funding for that project is on the list.

The base currently has three child development centers serving the 12,000 to 14,000 active and reserve military stationed there.

(Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Chris Sanders and Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

Henry Rodgers | Capitol Hill Reporter

2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke once floated El Paso, Texas’s lax law enforcement as the key to the city’s safety.

The Texas Democrat said in 2012 El Paso was the safest city in the country with a population over 500,000.

“It may be because you have very progressive law enforcement officials here who refuse to enforce federal immigration laws,” O’ Rourke said in a 2012 interview with In These Times after he won the Democratic primary for a congressional seat he later went on to win.

“Regardless of status” El Paso’s key is to make sure everyone feels welcome, O’Rourke told the magazine and touted “the really strong, family-centric values that you have in immigrant communities.” O’Rourke also said the southern border is the “safest part” of Texas, but that barriers or walls are not the reason for low crime.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke addresses a campaign rally at the Pan American Neighborhood Park on Nov. 4, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The border is the safest part of the state. But for so many, the border has become this convenient foil to look tough on crime, tough on immigration, tough on these Mexicans who want to come and take our jobs and our benefits, and give our kids drugs,” O’ Rourke continued.

O’Rourke has since claimed that the U.S.-Mexico border wall is the reason why there has been an increase in the number of migrants that have died illegally entering into the country. (RELATED: Beto O’Rourke Thinks People Have Died Because Of The Border Wall)

“The number of people dying at the U.S.-Mexico border in some years has grown,” O’Rourke said during a town hall in El Paso in December. “In some years has grown because it’s connected to that wall that we have already built that pushes people who are at their most desperate and vulnerable to ever-more inhospitable stretches of the Chihuahuan Desert.”

O’Rourke will have to defeat a long list of Democratic candidates to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Henry Rodgers | Capitol Hill Reporter

2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke once floated El Paso, Texas’s lax law enforcement as the key to the city’s safety.

The Texas Democrat said in 2012 El Paso was the safest city in the country with a population over 500,000.

“It may be because you have very progressive law enforcement officials here who refuse to enforce federal immigration laws,” O’ Rourke said in a 2012 interview with In These Times after he won the Democratic primary for a congressional seat he later went on to win.

“Regardless of status” El Paso’s key is to make sure everyone feels welcome, O’Rourke told the magazine and touted “the really strong, family-centric values that you have in immigrant communities.” O’Rourke also said the southern border is the “safest part” of Texas, but that barriers or walls are not the reason for low crime.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke addresses a campaign rally at the Pan American Neighborhood Park on Nov. 4, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“The border is the safest part of the state. But for so many, the border has become this convenient foil to look tough on crime, tough on immigration, tough on these Mexicans who want to come and take our jobs and our benefits, and give our kids drugs,” O’ Rourke continued.

O’Rourke has since claimed that the U.S.-Mexico border wall is the reason why there has been an increase in the number of migrants that have died illegally entering into the country. (RELATED: Beto O’Rourke Thinks People Have Died Because Of The Border Wall)

“The number of people dying at the U.S.-Mexico border in some years has grown,” O’Rourke said during a town hall in El Paso in December. “In some years has grown because it’s connected to that wall that we have already built that pushes people who are at their most desperate and vulnerable to ever-more inhospitable stretches of the Chihuahuan Desert.”

O’Rourke will have to defeat a long list of Democratic candidates to take on President Donald Trump in the 2020 general election.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas apprehended more than 430 illegal immigrants in just five minutes while they attempted to cross the border.

At approximately 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Border Patrol agents working near El Paso apprehended a group of 194 migrants attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At 2:50 a.m., agents working near Downtown El Paso encountered a second group consisting of 252 illegal migrants.

In total, border enforcement officials took more than 430 illegal migrants into custody within the first three hours of that day. The two groups comprised mostly of Central American families and unaccompanied children.

“In the last 30 days, the U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector is averaging 570 apprehensions a day, with 90 percent of those being in the El Paso Metropolitan Area,” CBP said in a Tuesday statement. “These numbers continue to stretch the resources available to the U.S. Border Patrol to deal with this influx and the challenges that come with it.”

The huge number of apprehensions in the short span of time comes as the U.S. government is expecting March to be a recording-setting month for illegal border crossings on the southern border.

A group of Central American migrants -mostly from Honduras- get over a fence as they try to reach the US-Mexico border near the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on Nov. 25, 2018./ PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

A group of Central American migrants -mostly from Honduras- get over a fence as they try to reach the US-Mexico border near the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on Nov. 25, 2018./ PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, while giving the annual State of Homeland Security address, said her department is expecting to capture nearly 100,000 migrants by the end of March. This would mark the highest number of apprehensions in over a decade.

“I want to cut through the politics today to tell you loud and clear: There is no ‘manufactured’ crisis at our southern border. There is a real-life humanitarian and security catastrophe,” Nielsen stated Monday during her address. “The situation at our southern border has gone from a crisis, to a national emergency, to a near system-wide meltdown.” (RELATED: Trump Donates $100,000 Of His Salary To Help Fund Immigration Enforcement)

Much like the illegals who were nabbed on Tuesday morning, many of the migrants who try to cross the southern border are Central American or unaccompanied minors. These people are not able to be quickly deported because of trafficking laws, unlike Canadian or Mexican nationals. The situation has left immigration officials stretched thin on resources as migrants flood detainment centers.

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Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas apprehended more than 430 illegal immigrants in just five minutes while they attempted to cross the border.

At approximately 2:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Border Patrol agents working near El Paso apprehended a group of 194 migrants attempting to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a press release from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At 2:50 a.m., agents working near Downtown El Paso encountered a second group consisting of 252 illegal migrants.

In total, border enforcement officials took more than 430 illegal migrants into custody within the first three hours of that day. The two groups comprised mostly of Central American families and unaccompanied children.

“In the last 30 days, the U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector is averaging 570 apprehensions a day, with 90 percent of those being in the El Paso Metropolitan Area,” CBP said in a Tuesday statement. “These numbers continue to stretch the resources available to the U.S. Border Patrol to deal with this influx and the challenges that come with it.”

The huge number of apprehensions in the short span of time comes as the U.S. government is expecting March to be a recording-setting month for illegal border crossings on the southern border.

A group of Central American migrants -mostly from Honduras- get over a fence as they try to reach the US-Mexico border near the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on Nov. 25, 2018./ PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

A group of Central American migrants -mostly from Honduras- get over a fence as they try to reach the US-Mexico border near the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on Nov. 25, 2018./ PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, while giving the annual State of Homeland Security address, said her department is expecting to capture nearly 100,000 migrants by the end of March. This would mark the highest number of apprehensions in over a decade.

“I want to cut through the politics today to tell you loud and clear: There is no ‘manufactured’ crisis at our southern border. There is a real-life humanitarian and security catastrophe,” Nielsen stated Monday during her address. “The situation at our southern border has gone from a crisis, to a national emergency, to a near system-wide meltdown.” (RELATED: Trump Donates $100,000 Of His Salary To Help Fund Immigration Enforcement)

Much like the illegals who were nabbed on Tuesday morning, many of the migrants who try to cross the southern border are Central American or unaccompanied minors. These people are not able to be quickly deported because of trafficking laws, unlike Canadian or Mexican nationals. The situation has left immigration officials stretched thin on resources as migrants flood detainment centers.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City
FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador attends a news conference to announce a plan to strengthen finances of state oil firm Pemex, at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Romero

March 20, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The Mexican government is seeking a bilateral deal with the United States that includes a $10 billion development plan for Mexico and Central America aimed at addressing immigration, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday.

Lopez Obrador said the potential agreement, which would focus on generating employment so that more would-be migrants could find work at home, was discussed during a Tuesday night meeting with Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.

(Reporting by Miguel Angel Guteirrez; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

U.S. Border Patrol agents nabbed three criminal illegal aliens Tuesday — two trying to enter the United States through Arizona and a third at a California crossing.

Avilia Rosales, one of the two illegal border crossers caught in Arizona, has a criminal record for child molestation. The other, Arturo Benjamin Avila Torres, has been convicted for assault with a firearm and for “lascivious acts with a minor under 14,” according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB) as reported by the Washington Examiner.

TIJUANA, MEXICO - JANUARY 10: U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stand guard on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border during a 'large-scale operational readiness exercise' on January 10, 2019 as seen from Tijuana, Mexico. President Trump is visiting the southern border in Texas today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents stand guard … (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Both men will be prosecuted for illegal immigration, according to the CPB. Border patrol agents are increasingly using biometric assessments of suspects to “ensure illegal aliens with criminal histories are positively identified.” (RELATED: Illegal Arrested In Murder Case Had Long Criminal Record But Was Not Deported)

The third criminal illegal, Alberto Martinez Flores, was stopped at the Calexico, California, border crossing. According to a CBP news release, Flores has a long criminal record dating back a decade. He was convicted of assault, strangulation and unlawful imprisonment and sent to jail. In 2017, Flores was again convicted for vehicular assault and sent to prison for 13 months. Flores has been deported at least once.

Flores said he intended to travel to Los Angeles and live there if he had successfully eluded capture, according to the CBP.

“Our agents were able to arrest Martinez without incident,” said Assistant Chief Patrol Agent David Kim. “This man’s criminal history clearly shows how dangerous he is and now he’s off the streets thanks to our agents’ hard work and diligence.” (RELATED: San Jose Police Officer: Sanctuary Laws Need To Be Changed Immediately)

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen greets a member of the U.S. Border Patrol at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Advanced Training Facility in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen greets a member of the U.S. Border Patrol … REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The arrests underline the increasing activity at the U.S.-Mexico border and why the  Trump administration maintains that the current environment can be characterized as a crisis. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost agrees with this assessment. President Donald Trump remains committed to building a wall to contain the illegal entry of illegals.

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Source: The Daily Caller

The Wider Image: An immigrant's tale: Leaving Britain to escape Brexit hostility
Maria, 31, holds her baby daughter Ioana, who is less than a week old, at their home in London, Britain, February 3, 2019. REUTERS/Alecsandra Dragoi

March 20, 2019

By Alecsandra Dragoi

LONDON (Reuters) – A few months after Britain voted to leave the European Union, Maria was waiting to see a doctor at a London hospital when an elderly English woman told her to go back to her native Romania.

“You are a foreigner,” Maria, who was heavily pregnant at the time, recalls the woman saying. “Your place is not here.”

Maria was stunned. Until that moment, she had never faced direct abuse over her nationality in her 10 years in the country.

But ever since the 2016 Brexit campaign – when some Leave supporters said they wanted Britain to take more control of immigration – Maria said hostility toward EU nationals such as her has come into the open.

The 31-year-old, who asked to use just her first name, said she was now preparing to leave Britain later this year with her husband and two children, fed up with what she described as xenophobia, as well as the rising cost of living in London.

“After Brexit we could all feel the obvious feeling that we are not wanted here,” Maria said. “I don’t want my kids to grow up in this sort of environment.”

She worries about her children being bullied at school. Last year her Romanian nanny and two-year-old daughter were playing in a park when a woman publicly accused them of being thieves.

Huge uncertainty still hangs over Brexit – with politicians torn between a range of options, including calling the whole thing off. But many Europeans are already voting with their feet and choosing to move.

In the year to the end of June last year, 145,000 EU nationals quit Britain, an 18 percent increase on the previous year, while the number of people arriving has slowed.

Politicians from across the political spectrum regularly say they are proud of Britain’s diverse makeup. And the government has passed legislation to let EU citizens living in the UK apply to stay after the split.

But many EU immigrants, particularly those from the poorer eastern member states such as Poland and Romania, complain they are still made to feel unwelcome.

They say they find themselves accused of stealing jobs from Britons and driving down wages, even though unemployment is at a four-decade low, or of overburdening health services.

Official figures show hate crime in Britain surged to a record level last year, up by almost a fifth, with the Brexit vote cited as a significant factor.Maria came to Britain in 2008 to work in a care home and was hoping she would earn enough buy a car. She initially planned to stay for a year but then met her Romanian husband and decided to stay longer.

On a good month from their work at a removal company, they can save about 500 pounds, enough for them to buy a house back home in Romania. They live frugally in a tiny studio apartment in Hampstead, London, with their two daughters.

They share with their elder daughter a large double bed which takes up most of the flat. There is a small table in the corner of the room where they eat their meals.

“It is very difficult because if one of the children is crying they will wake up the other one,” she said. “You can’t socialize with many people because it is very small.”

Maria said she was initially following all the news about Brexit, but now finds it perplexing.

“I think Brexit is madness,” she said. “I don’t think they needed to come out of the EU. It is very sad that Brexit is destroying the UK.

“We have been affected by this uncertainty. There is so much uncertainty and we just wanted to go home.”

(Writing by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Stephen Addison and Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Hungary's National Day celebrations in Budapest
FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during Hungary’s National Day celebrations in Budapest, Hungary, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Marton Dunai and Andreas Rinke

BRUSSELS/BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s conservatives floated a compromise in a long-running dispute between Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban and the EU’s center-right grouping that could avert his party’s expulsion over concerns about Budapest’s authoritarian drift.

Orban, a feisty nationalist, was due in Brussels on Wednesday for a meeting to decide the fate of his Fidesz party after 13 sister organizations in the European People’s Party (EPP) urged its expulsion.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, head of Germany’s Christian Democrats, the largest party in the EPP, said Fidesz should be suspended, but not expelled, for violating the grouping’s values with contested judiciary reforms and anti-immigration campaigns.

“As long as Fidesz does not fully restore trust there cannot be normal full membership,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told Reuters.

A membership “freeze” would be an option, added Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is the frontrunner to eventually replace German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Bavaria’s premier Markus Soeder, both EPP members, supported her position, sources close to Kramp-Karrenbauer said.

But, as Orban’s decision to attend in person what would normally be a routine administrative meeting demonstrates, the stakes are high: EPP membership for Fidesz confers mainstream respectability and influence that other populist parties lack.

The decision poses a particular headache for Manfred Weber, the EPP’s lead candidate in May’s European Parliament elections, whose chances of succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the executive European Commission would be reduced without the votes of Fidesz’s European lawmakers, of whom there are currently 12.

Juncker, who was the target of a Hungarian government poster campaign depicting him as a proponent of mass immigration into Europe and a puppet manipulated by wealthy Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros, wants Fidesz expelled.

JUNCKER BACKS EXPULSION

On Wednesday Juncker, who is also from the EPP, repeated his call for Fidesz to be kicked out of the grouping.

“I think that Mr Orban is a long way from basic Christian Democratic values,” he told German radio.

The EPP grouping, the largest in the European Parliament, is also concerned over Orban’s campaign against the private Central European University in Budapest that Soros founded.

Sources close to Weber said Orban had at least partially met the German conservative’s conditions for keeping Fidesz in the EPP, including by apologizing to colleagues in the grouping for labeling them immigration-backing “useful idiots”.

The sources said the EPP committee in Brussels would vote on Wednesday on proposals to deprive Fidesz of the right to vote in meetings of the grouping or to propose candidates for posts. Fidesz would also no longer be present at all meetings.

Weber also proposed that former European Council president and Belgian prime minister Herman van Rompuy could head a monitoring committee to evaluate Fidesz’s cooperation with its sister parties, the sources added.

However, some were not sure Fidesz – which has a big majority in Hungary’s parliament – would accept being suspended.

“I think in reality this means that Fidesz will leave the group,” said Swedish conservative Gunnar Hokmark. “I don’t think they will appreciate being suspended. And anyway they will not be able to live up to the conditions.”

(Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin, writing by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Source: OANN

Combination photo of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates
2020 Democratic presidential candidates are seen in a combination of file photos (L-R top row): U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, (L-R bottom row): U.S.Senator Kamala Harris, Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang. REUTERS/Files

March 20, 2019

By Ginger Gibson

HEMINGWAY, S.C. (Reuters) – In the most polarized political environment in decades, Democratic voters want to know how their eventual nominee will match up against President Donald Trump in the November 2020 general election.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York appears willing to go the furthest yet, at least symbolically, in trying to prove she is ready to go toe-to-toe with the president.

On Sunday, she will deliver her campaign launch speech at a rally in view of one of Trump’s hotels in New York City, taking her “vision of restoring America’s moral integrity straight to President Trump’s doorstep,” her campaign said.

The backdrop for her speech underscores a defining theme of the Democratic nominating contest. Trump is present at every campaign stop – not physically, but as a constant topic of discussion, even if his name is not uttered by those seeking to defeat him.

Candidates are trying to convince voters in early primary states that they would provide the best Trump opposition. And in a large field with few variations on policy so far, each contender is using different tactics to make their case.

“Voters need to believe that a candidate can stand on stage, take a rhetoric punch from Trump and still look strong and viable,” said Joel Payne, a Democratic strategist who worked for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 White House race.

Potential and declared candidates including former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders “have likely already passed that litmus test with voters,” Payne added. “Others who are less known to the public probably still have some proving to do.”

A February poll by Emerson College found every Democratic hopeful out-performed Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, except when a third-party candidacy was added to the equation.

At campaign events in rural South Carolina this month, Senator Kamala Harris used a simple refrain to begin answers about complicated policy questions: “We need a new president.”

Harris, a former prosecutor, is seeking to convince voters that her courtroom experience prepared her to be able to successfully “prosecute” Trump on the debate stage, a campaign aide said.

But Harris does not plan to make her case using any demeaning nicknames for Trump, something the president did during the 2016 campaign to deride his opponents.

“They don’t want someone who is going to mimic his tactics,” the aide said of Democratic voters. “Democrats want someone who can confront from him.”

VOTERS FOCUSED ON ELECTABILITY

A February poll by Monmouth University found that 56 percent of Democrats would prefer a nominee who has a good shot at defeating Trump even if they do not agree on policy positions.

The poll found women voters – who turned out in droves during the 2018 midterm elections to help send a historic number of women to Congress – were even more inclined to prioritize electability over ideology with 61 percent putting their positions aside in favor of a candidate who can defeat the president, compared to 45 percent of men.

The high level of Democrats citing electability over “kitchen table” issues like jobs and the economy was surprising to Tim Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa.

But Hagle thinks it could be a product of the large field of Democrats, with voters looking for ways to whittle it down. Once the field narrows, policy issues such as immigration and jobs could again emerge as top concerns, he said.

“What is different this time is the intensity about wanting to defeat Trump,” Hagle said.

Even candidates who are inclined not to tussle with Trump directly still talk about him a lot.

In Mount Vernon, Iowa on Friday, Beto O’Rourke largely spoke of Trump in the context of using his campaign to try and bring people together. He criticized Trump – not using his name – for how the president talks about immigrants and Muslims.

“We’ve never been as divided as we are right now. And we’ve never seen the kind of rhetoric employed by this president in our history,” said O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman. “This is absolutely wrong. And there’s a consequence to this rhetoric and the policies employed by the president.”

Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, a Democratic hopeful, insists Trump can be defeated by a candidate who offers a calmer tone instead of attacks.

“I know there’s some ‘fight fire with fire’ people out there, and God bless ’em, if they become the nominee, I’m behind them,” Booker told a group of voters at a New Hampshire pub last week. “But I’m willing to die on this hill, because I believe that when we as Americans extend grace to one another, we’re not weaker, but stronger.

“My mom taught Sunday school, and she taught me to love my enemies,” Booker said. “I’m not going to let anybody drag me so low as to contort my soul and make me hate them.”

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax in New Hampshire and James Oliphant in Iowa; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: CDU party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer attends CDU party meeting in Potsdam
FILE PHOTO: CDU party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer attends meeting of Germany’s governing Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Potsdam, Germany, January 14, 2019. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt -/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) – German conservative leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Wednesday that suspending Hungary’s Fidesz party from the EU’s center-right political group would be a good option until trust was rebuilt with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The European People’s Party (EPP) meet on Wednesday to decide what action to take against Orban’s Fidesz after a row between the mainstream group which accuses the populist, anti-immigrant Orban of flouting the rule of law. Some delegates want to exclude Fidesz altogether.

“As long as Fidesz does not fully restore trust there cannot be normal full membership,” Kramp-Karrenbauer, a confidante of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Reuters on Wednesday.

A membership “freeze” would be an option, the leader of Germany’s Christian Democrats (CDU) said.

Fidesz angered the EPP by distributing posters of European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker depicted as a puppet manipulated by billionaire George Soros into backing uncontrolled immigration into Hungary.

Orban has also campaigned against the private Central European University in Budapest founded by Soros.

Earlier this month, Orban apologized for offensive language but some EPP leaders said was not enough.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said Orban had taken some first steps to show that it made sense to continue a dialogue.

“But it is not enough to put doubts to rest about whether Fidesz shares an understanding of the common values of the EPP that would enable a future cooperation based on trust,” she said.

Juncker told German radio on Wednesday that he advised the center-right EPP bloc to kick out Fidesz.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Thomas Seythal and Madeline Chambers; Editing by Michelle Martin)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge can be seen behind a real estate agent and buyer in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse, Australia
FILE PHOTO: The Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge can be seen behind real estate agent and a potential buyer from Shanghai, during an inspection of a property for sale in the Sydney suburb of Vaucluse, Australia, July 11, 2015. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Colin Packham

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia on Wednesday cut its annual intake of immigrants by nearly 15 percent, and barred some new arrivals from living in its largest cities for three years, in a bid to ease urban congestion.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison – who is trailing badly in the polls ahead of a federal election in May – hopes to tap into rising voter frustration over house prices and congestion, which some see as a consequence of population growth.

“This is a practical problem that Australians wanted addressed,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra, the capital, after announcing the annual immigration intake would be cut to 160,000 people, from 190,000 previously.

The immigration policy change comes at a time of national reflection over Australia’s attitude towards migrants after the shooting of at least 50 people at two mosques in New Zealand’s city of Christchurch.

Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.

“My great frustration is that, in addressing these issues of population and immigration programs, these debates often get hijacked by those of competing views who seek to exploit them for other causes,” Morrison added.

“I reject all of that absolutely.”

A ReachTel poll published in September showed that 63 percent of Sydney residents supported curbs on the number of migrants moving to Australia’s biggest city.

Morrison said the cap would include places for up to 23,000 people who could migrate to Australia under a new skilled visa.

Such arrivals could gain permanent residency after living outside of Australia’s largest cities for three years, he added.

They will be barred from living in Melbourne, Perth, Sydney or the Gold Coast, where infrastructure is overutilised, said immigration minister David Coleman.

Authorities will require proof of residential and work addresses in future applications for permanent residency, he added, as a way of enforcing the requirement.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

Kim Guilfoyle | Contributor

Congress tried to veto reality.

Instead, President Trump vetoed Congress.

When Congress voted to block President Trump’s emergency declaration on the southern border, the president vetoed their measure.

No matter how hard Congress tries to ignore, deny and dodge reality, we have a humanitarian, security and enforcement crisis at the border. As Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen said, it is beyond a national emergency — it’s a total meltdown of our immigration system.

Sadly, their willful ignorance, ideological blindfold and hatred of President Trump prevent Congress from acknowledging it.

Illegal immigrant apprehensions on our southern border are at the highest level in a decade. But even that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story.

The number of migrant families with young children is higher than ever. In the first five months of this year, over 136 thousand were apprehended — that’s almost a third higher than were apprehended all of last year. (RELATED: Guilfoyle: President Trump’s State Of The Union Was A Grand Slam)

Human traffickers have put the word out in Central America that bringing a child provides a free pass to enter our country.  Business is so brisk smugglers are now offering a volume discount and using luxury express buses to take migrants from Guatemala to the U.S. with children traveling free, the Washington Post reports.

Once at the frontier, migrants don’t try to evade the Border Patrol. They willingly surrender, often in groups of a hundred or more, lining up in an orderly fashion as if they were entering our country legally.

So far this year, over 268,000 immigrants were apprehended on our southwestern border. Another 100,000 could cross in March. On one night alone in early March, agents took in 700 migrants just in El Paso.

At the current rate, one million of the poorest people on Earth could show up at the Rio Grande this year.  Once they are released into our country, as courts dictate, they will compete against the most vulnerable Americans for jobs on the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Many of the arriving migrants have medical issues and require emergency care. Kevin K. McAleenan, commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, sayson a typical day the United States Border Patrol refers 50 individuals to a hospital or medical provider. All children receive medical screening.

As a former prosecutor who fought for justice for women and children who were victims of sexual assault, it gives me chills when I hear CBP must screen every female over 10 years of age for rape. Doctors Without Borders reports more than 30 percent of women migrants it interviewed are sexually assaulted on the way north.

At the same time Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer deny there is an emergency at the border, they asked for nearly a half billion dollars from taxpayers to provide medical care and food for illegal immigrants showing up at the border. (RELATED: Guilfoyle: Americans Can Have A Merry Christmas Thanks To President Trump)

But there’s more to the emergency than migrants. The same criminal gangs that traffic people also traffic drugs. They will use migrants to divert Border Patrol agents in order to bring drugs across.

Drug overdoses are now the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 55.

Over 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017.  The Centers for Disease Control reports the sharpest increase in deaths came from fentanyl, cheap synthetic heroin that is flooding our country.

Fentanyl is made in China and smuggled into America by Mexican cartels.  One load of fentanyl seized by customs agents on the Mexican border in January was enough to kill more than 115 million people.

By any measure of objective reality, there is a national emergency at the southern border.

There’s also another national emergency. It’s in Washington where Congress refuses to recognize reality or do anything about it.

The president took an oath to preserve and protect our country.

He takes that oath seriously.

Congress must take off its blindfold and work with President Trump to end the immigration crisis threatening our nation.

Kimberly Guilfoyle (@KimGuilfoyle) is vice chairwoman of America First Policies, a nonprofit organization supporting key policy initiatives that will work for all citizens in our country and put America first.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A woman who climbed the Statue of Liberty and forced authorities to evacuate thousands of tourists in the area was sentenced to five years of probation and 200 hours of community service Tuesday.

Therese Okoumou, a 45-year-old Staten Island woman, climbed the base of the statue to protest Trump administration immigration policies July 4, 2018.

Prosecutors asked for a 30-day prison sentence for Okoumou, reported ABC News. (RELATED: GOP Rep Devin Nunes Sues Twitter For $250 Million)

She “staged a dangerous stunt that alarmed the public and endangered her own life and the lives of the NYPD officers who responded to the scene,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement in July 2018.

Therese Patricia Okoumou arrives for her sentencing for conviction on attempted scaling of the Statue of Liberty to protest the U.S. immigration policy, at federal court in New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Therese Patricia Okoumou arrives for her sentencing for conviction on attempted scaling of the Statue of Liberty to protest the U.S. immigration policy, at federal court in New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Therese Patricia Okoumou raises her fist after her sentencing for conviction on attempted scaling of the Statue of Liberty to protest the U.S. immigration policy, outside a federal court in New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Therese Patricia Okoumou raises her fist after her sentencing for conviction on attempted scaling of the Statue of Liberty to protest the U.S. immigration policy, outside a federal court in New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Okoumou’s lawyers argued her protests created no danger and jail time would make it harder for her to get a job, which the judge had suggested she do, according to ABC News.

“I do not need probation and I do not belong in prison. I am not a criminal,” Okoumou told Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein Tuesday.

Okoumou has used her courtroom appearances as an occasion to continue sending her message. She blasted the following message out to her 13,000 Twitter followers Monday evening:

She showed up to the courtroom with clear tape covering her mouth in protest over limits to her freedom of expression, she said, according to ABC News. Gorenstein ordered her to remove the tape.

WATCH:

Okoumou had, in an apparent reference to first lady Melania Trump, showed up to court in a dress with the phrase “I really care why won’t u? Be best” in August 2018.

The protester had been convicted of trespassing for the stunt in November 2018. She had previously been arrested in August 2017 on charges of trespassing, obstruction of government administration and misdemeanor assault during a protest against the New York Department of Labor.

President Donald Trump called Okoumou a “clown” at a rally in Montana on July 5, 2018, a day after her stunt.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

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FILE PHOTO: A group of asylum seekers pass a Canadian army vehicle as they walk down the street while escorted from their tent encampment to be processed at Canada Border Services in Lacolle
FILE PHOTO: A group of asylum seekers pass a Canadian army vehicle as they walk down the street while escorted from their tent encampment to be processed at Canada Border Services in Lacolle, Quebec, Canada August 11, 2017. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada said on Tuesday it planned to spend an additional C$1.2 billion ($902 million) over five years to stem the flow of irregular migrants from the United States, which has become a political threat to the Liberal government ahead of an October election.

Some 57,000 asylum seekers from Nigeria, El Salvador, Honduras and other nations crossed the U.S. border into Canada last year, in some cases citing a fear of persecution by the government of U.S. Donald Trump.

They are allowed to stay until their cases have been heard. Given Canada’s clogged judicial system, that could take years.

Canada began prioritizing the deportation of asylum seekers who walked across the border last year, in a bid to tackle the politically sensitive issue.

In the annual budget, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Ottawa would implement a comprehensive border enforcement strategy “to detect and intercept individuals who cross Canadian borders irregularly and who try to exploit Canada’s immigration system.”

Most arrive in the populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec, which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars taking care of the newcomers. Critics complain that Ottawa is not doing enough to deter the migrants and Liberals concede the issue is hitting the party’s popularity.

According to the budget, the government will start spending the C$1.2 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal year to strengthen the border and speed up the asylum process. Ottawa will also try to “better manage, discourage and prevent irregular migration,” the budget text said.

Canadian officials have over the past two years visited Nigeria, as well as various ethnic communities in the United States, to try to persuade would-be migrants to stay put.

The officials have said that although the people driving the migrant surge claim that everyone who crosses the border is allowed to stay, most are sent back once their cases have been handled.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; editing by Denny Thomas and Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Former Republican President George W. Bush called immigration a “blessing” and a “strength” while speaking at his presidential center in Dallas.

“America’s elected representatives have a duty to regulate who comes in and when,” the 43rd president said Monday during a naturalization ceremony at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, an event that included dozens of newly minted U.S. citizens. “In meeting this responsibility, it helps to remember that America’s immigrant history made us who we are. Amid all the complications of policy, may we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength.”

Bush was not alone during the ceremony. His wife, former first lady Laura Bush, also spoke and praised the benefits of immigration.

“We’re a much richer state for all the cultures that have settled on our land,” she stated.

During his speech, the 43rd president called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform — a measure that was also largely sought after by the Obama administration. The comments were in lockstep with George Bush’s policy goals during his own presidency. The 43rd president is now considered more moderate on immigration than where the Republican Party currently stands in the Trump era.

However, the Texas Republican also touted the need for sovereign borders, and he praised the work of Border Patrol agents.

“Borders are not arbitrary, and they need to be respected along with the fine men and women of the immigration services and the Border Patrol,” George Bush continued Monday. The words were in contrast to the rising number of Democrats who have bemoaned immigration agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and have called for the agency to be abolished altogether.

The relationship between President Donald Trump and the Bush family is notably rocky.

Former President George W. Bush waits on the first tee alongside Captain Jay Haas (Harry How/Getty Images)

Former President George W. Bush is pictured. (Harry How/Getty Images)

During the 2016 Republican primaries, Trump continuously mocked George Bush’s younger brother, Jeb Bush, whom he referred to as “low energy.” In an indirect reference to the Trump administration, the 43rd president in October 2017 suggested Trump promoted bigotry. Jeb Bush said during an interview in March he wanted to see a Republican candidate launch a primary campaign against the current president. (RELATED: ICE Officers Giving Up On Trump Over Catch And Release)

“I think someone should run just because Republicans ought to be given a choice,” Jeb Bush said during an interview with CNN’s David Axelrod. “It’s hard to beat a sitting president, but to have a conversation about what it is to be a conservative — I think it’s important.”

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

  • A deeply divided Supreme Court ruled that immigration authorities can detain noncitizens for possible deportation long after they serve prison sentences for criminal convictions.
  • The ACLU had argued that federal law imposes a strict time limit on when government officials can detain aliens for deportation after they are released from jail.
  • Thousands of noncitizens could be affected by Tuesday’s ruling.

The Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration Tuesday in a dispute over the federal government’s power to arrest certain noncitizens who commit crimes and hold them in immigration jails before a deportation proceeding.

The five to four decision was met with a vigorous dissent from the Court’s liberal bloc led by Justice Stephen Breyer, who said the majority was enabling the detention and possible deportation of foreign nationals for minor crimes they committed in the distant past.

Tuesday’s case arose when green card holders Mony Preap and Bassam Yusuf Khoury were arrested by federal immigration authorities years after they served criminal sentences for drug convictions. Preap and Khoury were detained without bail pending deportation.

A five-justice majority said aliens facing deportation may be held in immigration jails without bond hearings in February 2018.

Preap and Khoury challenged their detention in federal court with two classes of similarly situated migrants. Arguing on their behalf, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the government can only detain noncitizens with criminal records within 24 hours of their release from prison. A provision of federal law directs the secretary of Homeland Security to arrest criminal aliens “when the alien is released.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the ACLU and ruled for the plaintiffs. The Court’s conservative majority reversed that decision in Tuesday’s ruling, finding federal law requires the detention of certain classes of aliens before removal.

“As we have held time and again, an official’s crucial duties are better carried out late than never,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the majority.

The majority connected Tuesday’s case to the ongoing dispute over sanctuary jurisdictions, which refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Alito said it is difficult for federal officials to discover when noncitizens will be released from prison, since certain states and localities will not provide that information.

“Under these circumstances, it is hard to believe that Congress made the secretary’s mandatory-detention authority vanish at the stroke of midnight after an alien’s release,” the opinion reads.

Alito elsewhere said the “when…released” language simply establishes when the federal government’s detention duty is triggered while “exhorting the secretary to act quickly.”

A common area and cell room doors are seen inside ICE's Caroline Detention Facility in Bowling Green, Virginia, on August 13, 2018. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

A common area and cell room doors are seen inside ICE’s Caroline Detention Facility in Bowling Green, Virginia, on August 13, 2018. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

The decision was limited in one respect — Alito cautioned that certain noncitizens who are detained long after serving their jail sentences may bring “as applied” constitutional challenges to their arrest by immigration authorities.

The ACLU coupled Tuesday’s decision with the February 2018 ruling on bond hearings, and accused the Court of embracing an extreme view of immigration detention laws.

“For two terms in a row now, the Supreme Court has endorsed the most extreme interpretation of immigration detention statutes, allowing mass incarceration of people without any hearing, simply because they are defending themselves against a deportation charge,” said deputy director Cecillia Wang, who argued Tuesday’s case before the justices. “We will continue to fight the gross overuse of detention in the immigration system.”

In dissent, Breyer feared that the decision will result in extended detention for criminal aliens who will eventually be released from federal custody because they have some exemption from deportation.

“For a high percentage of them, it will turn out after months of custody that they will not be removed from the country because they are eligible by statute to receive a form of relief from removal such as cancellation of removal,” Breyer wrote. “These are not mere hypotheticals.”

That outcome, and other potentially prompted by Tuesday’s decision disregard the “basic promises that America’s legal system has long made to all persons,” Breyer charged.

Breyer read his dissent from the bench Tuesday, a seldom-used procedure meant to signal strong disagreement with the majority.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

President Donald Trump announced that he is donating $100,000 of his salary to the Department of Homeland Security, following a promise he made before entering office.

“While the press doesn’t like writing about it, nor do I need them to, I donate my yearly Presidential salary of $400,000.00 to different agencies throughout the year, this to Homeland Security,” the president tweeted on Monday. “If I didn’t do it there would be hell to pay from the FAKE NEWS MEDIA!”

Trump pledged not to accept a salary during the 2016 presidential campaign, but he is by law required to do so. After entering the Oval Office, he has opted to donate his annual $400,000 salary to various agencies every quarter.

The president in January directed his $100,000 paycheck to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a department that “conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being,” according to the its website. The donation was more personal for Trump, whose late brother, Fred Trump Jr., died nearly four decades ago after battling alcohol addition.

People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

People work on the U.S./ Mexican border wall on February 12, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Other agencies that have been beneficiaries of Trump’s salary includes the National Park Service, Department of Transportation, the Small Business Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs and others. John F. Kennedy and Herbert Hoover are the only other U.S. presidents to refuse a salary while in office. (RELATED: Border Crossings To Reach Highest Levels In Over A Decade, Nielsen Warns)

The most recent donation will help fund the Department of Homeland Security’s operations on the border and other immigration enforcement activities.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

The Supreme Court on Tuesday endorsed the U.S. government's authority to detain immigrants awaiting deportation anytime – potentially even years – after they have completed prison terms for criminal convictions, handing President Donald Trump a victory as he pursues hardline immigration policies.

The court ruled 5-4 along ideological lines, with its conservative justices in the majority and its liberal justices dissenting, that federal authorities could pick up such immigrants and place them into indefinite detention anytime, not just immediately after they finish their prison sentences.

The ruling, authored by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, left open the possibility that some individual immigrants could challenge their detention. These immigrants potentially could argue that the use of the 1996 federal law involved in the case, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act, against them long after finishing their sentences would violate their due process rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The law states the government can detain convicted immigrants "when the alien is released" from criminal detention. Civil rights lawyers argued that the language of the law shows that it applies only immediately after immigrants are released. The Trump administration said the government should have the power to detain such immigrants anytime.

It is not the court's job, Alito wrote, to impose a time limit for when immigrants can be detained after serving a prison sentence. Alito noted that the court has said in the past that "an official's crucial duties are better carried out late than never."

Alito said the challengers' assertion that immigrants had to be detained within 24 hours of ending a prison sentence is "especially hard to swallow."

In dissent, liberal Justice Stephen Breyer questioned whether the U.S. Congress when it wrote the law "meant to allow the government to apprehend persons years after their release from prison and hold them indefinitely without a bail hearing."

Tuesday's decision follows a February 2018 ruling in a similar case in which the conservative majority, over liberal dissent, curbed the ability of immigrants held in long-term detention during deportation proceedings to argue for release.

Cecilia Wang, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who argued the newly decided case for the challengers, said that in both rulings "the Supreme Court has endorsed the most extreme interpretation of immigration detention statutes, allowing mass incarceration of people without any hearing, simply because they are defending themselves against a deportation charge."

Trump has backed limits on legal and illegal immigrants since taking office in January 2017.

Kerri Kupec, a U.S. Justice Department spokeswoman, said administration officials were pleased with the ruling.

In both of the detention cases, the Supreme Court reversed the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a liberal leaning court that Trump has frequently criticized. In each case, litigation against the federal government started before Trump took office.

In the latest case, the administration had appealed a 2016 9th Circuit ruling that favored immigrants, a decision it said would undermine the government's ability to deport immigrants who have committed crimes.

The appeals court had said that convicted immigrants who are not immediately detained by immigration authorities after finishing their sentences but then later picked by immigration authorities could seek bond hearings to argue for their release.

The plaintiffs included two legal U.S. residents involved in separate lawsuits filed in 2013, a Cambodian immigrant named Mony Preap convicted of marijuana possession and a Palestinian immigrant named Bassam Yusuf Khoury convicted of attempting to manufacture a controlled substance.

Under federal immigration law, immigrants convicted of certain offenses are subject to mandatory detention during their deportation process. They can be held indefinitely without a bond hearing after completing their sentences.

In the most significant immigration-related case recently before the court, the conservative justices were also in the majority in June 2018 when they upheld on a 5-4 vote Trump's travel ban on targeting people from several Muslim-majority countries.

But in April 2018, conservative Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch joined with the court's four liberal justices in a 5-4 ruling that could hinder the administration's ability to step up the removal of immigrants with criminal records, invalidating a provision in another law, the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Hungary PM Orban delivers annual state of the nation address
FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaves the stage after delivering his annual state of the nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

March 19, 2019

By Thomas Escritt and Marton Dunai

BRUSSELS/BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will attend a meeting of conservative officials from across Europe that may decide whether his party will stay in the main EU center-right political group where he has been accused of authoritarianism.

Wednesday’s meeting of delegates from the European People’s Party could be the denouement of a years-long dispute between the populist, anti-immigration Orban and more mainstream, pro-EU parties in the EPP that accuse him of flouting the rule of law.

Thirteen member parties called for a vote on the Fidesz party’s continuing membership after it distributed posters depicting European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, an EPP member, as a puppet manipulated by billionaire George Soros into backing uncontrolled immigration into Hungary.

The stakes are high for both sides. Losing Fidesz’s legislators – currently there are 12 – could cost the center-right group its position as largest party in the European Parliament after May’s elections. Worse, other parties might follow.

But for Orban, being in a group containing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and venerable government parties from the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavia gives him access to the continent’s power brokers and confers a mainstream respectability that other populists lack.

The CDU has gone to great lengths to preserve relations with Fidesz, even as rights groups accused him of stoking ethnic hatred with anti-migration campaigns, and interfering with judicial independence.

But the posters, and Orban’s campaign against the private Central European University in Budapest that Soros founded, could have pushed things too far.

There are signs that the calculus is shifting for Orban as well: Hungary’s pro-government press have called for Fidesz to quit the EPP rather than endure “humiliating” negotiations.

“All the signals that are coming from Budapest suggest they are targeting a break,” said Andreas Nick, the CDU’s point-man on relations with Hungary in Germany’s parliament. “It looks as if they are really begging to be kicked out.”

Nick has described a meeting with a Fidesz official who asked him whether he “also got money from George Soros” after he had had expressed support the Central European University . “I showed him the door,” he said.

Orban has talked of shifting the EPP to the right. If that fails, he has suggested Fidesz could form an alliance with Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS).

It is also possible that the 260 delegates could hedge their decision, for example by suspending, but not expelling, Fidesz.

The challenge is most serious for Manfred Weber, a German ally of Merkel’s who is the conservative bloc’s lead candidate in the European Parliament elections and a possible successor to Juncker as European Commission chief – an ambition that could depend on whether he can keep Fidesz on side.

But unsuccessful attempts at mediation could undermine his authority and are a gift to other parties that accuse the EPP of being soft on what they call fundamental European values such as democracy and the rule of law.

“Viktor Orban has undermined freedom of the press in Hungary, forced a university to close and harassed NGOs,” said Ska Keller, the Greens leader in the European Parliament.

“Manfred Weber cannot be trusted as a candidate for the EU’s top job if he continues to defend Orban.”

(Additional reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

Source: OANN

Brazilian President Bolsonaro participates in Brazil-U.S. Business forum
FILE PHOTO: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro participates in a Brazil-U.S. Business Council forum to discuss relations and future cooperation and engagement in Washington, U.S. March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

March 19, 2019

By Lisandra Paraguassu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro endorsed U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda on the eve of their first meeting at the White House, saying he supports a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and that most immigrants to the United States wish to do harm.

Bolsonaro, a far-right congressman who rode to the presidency with a brash, anti-establishment campaign modeled on Trump’s 2016 run, has pledged a new era of pro-American policy in the Southern Hemisphere’s second-largest country.

Ahead of Tuesday’s Oval Office meeting, Bolsonaro waived a visa requirement for U.S. visitors to Brazil and later in a Fox News interview on Monday night threw his weight behind Trump’s immigration agenda, which includes a wall on the Mexican border.

“We do agree with President Trump’s decision or proposal on the wall,” Bolsonaro said, in remarks translated to English by the broadcaster. “The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions. They do not intend to do the best or do good to the U.S. people.

“I would very much like the U.S. to uphold the current immigration policy, because to a large extent we owe our democracy in the Southern Hemisphere to the United States,” he said.

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, rose to power praising the U.S.-backed military government that ran Brazil for two decades before a return to democracy in 1985, echoing Cold War rhetoric in his presidential campaign about the need to fight a continued communist threat.

Since his inauguration in January, Bolsonaro also has adopted elements of Trump’s presidential style, including taunting political foes on Twitter and denouncing media coverage he does not like as “fake news.”

Although he did not get into specifics of his agenda in Washington, Bolsonaro said the presidents would discuss a deepening political and economic crisis in socialist Venezuela.

Bolsonaro said Brazil is the country most interested in seeing an end to the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, which he called a “drug trafficking dictatorship.”

In addition to their shared political agenda, Bolsonaro spoke hopefully of a blossoming friendship with Trump.

“I’m willing to open my heart up to him and do whatever is good, to the benefit of both the Brazilian and the American people,” Bolsonaro told Fox News.

(Writing and additional reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Brad Haynes and Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Court stands before decisions are released for the term in Washington
FILE PHOTO: The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S., May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday endorsed U.S. government authority to detain immigrants awaiting deportation anytime – potentially even years – after they have completed prison terms for criminal convictions, handing President Donald Trump a victory as he pursues hardline immigration policies.

The conservative-majority court ruled 5-4 that federal authorities could pick up such immigrants and place them into indefinite detention at any time, not just immediately after they finish their prison sentences.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

Honduran migrant Ariel, 19, who is waiting for his court hearing for asylum seekers returned to Mexico to wait out their legal proceedings under a new policy change by the U.S. government, is pictured after an interview with Reuters in Tijuana
Honduran migrant Ariel, 19, who is waiting for his court hearing for asylum seekers returned to Mexico to wait out their legal proceedings under a new policy change by the U.S. government, is pictured after an interview with Reuters in Tijuana, Mexico March 18, 2019. Picture taken March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes

March 19, 2019

By Lizbeth Diaz and Mica Rosenberg

TIJUANA/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A group of asylum seekers sent back to Mexico was set to cross the border on Tuesday for their first hearings in U.S. immigration court in an early test of a controversial new policy from the Trump administration.

The U.S. program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), turns people seeking protection in the United States around to wait out their U.S. court proceedings in Mexican border towns. Some 240 people – including families – have been returned since late January, according to U.S. officials.

Court officials in San Diego referred questions about the number of hearings being held on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which did not respond to a request for comment. But attorneys representing a handful of clients were preparing to appear in court.

Migrants like 19-year-old Ariel, who said he left Honduras because of gang death threats against himself and his family, were preparing to line up at the San Ysidro port of entry first thing Tuesday morning.

Ariel, who asked to use only his middle name because of fears of reprisals in his home country, was among the first group of asylum-seeking migrants sent back to Mexico on Jan. 30 and given a notice to appear in U.S. court in San Diego.

“God willing everything will move ahead and I will be able to prove that if I am sent back to Honduras, I’ll be killed,” Ariel said.

While awaiting his U.S. hearing, Ariel said he was unable to get a legal work permit in Mexico but found a job as a restaurant busboy in Tijuana, which does not pay him enough to move out of a shelter.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy groups are suing in federal court to halt the MPP program, which is part of a series of measures the administration of President Donald Trump has taken to try to curb the flow of mostly Central American migrants trying to enter the United States.

The Trump administration says most asylum claims, especially for Central Americans, are ultimately rejected, but because of crushing immigration court backlogs people are often released pending resolution of their cases and live in the United States for years. The government has said the new program is aimed at ending “the exploitation of our generous immigration laws.”

Critics of the program say it violates U.S. law and international norms since migrants are sent back to often dangerous towns in Mexico in precarious living situations where it is difficult to get notice about changes to U.S. court dates and to find legal help.

Immigration advocates are closely watching how the proceedings will be carried out this week, especially after scheduling glitches created confusion around three hearings last week, according to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which runs U.S. immigration courts under the Department of Justice, said only that it uses its regular court scheduling system for the MPP hearings and did not respond to a question about the reported scheduling problems.

Gregory Chen, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said there are real concerns about the difficulties of carrying out this major shift in U.S. immigration policy.

“The government did not have its shoes tied when they introduced this program,” he said.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Tijuana and Mica Rosenberg in New York; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The British flag flies next to European flags at the European Commission in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: The British flag flies next to European flags at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium December 8, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 19, 2019

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Leaving the European Union is making it harder for fintech firms in Britain to recruit top talent, a report said on Tuesday, threatening to slam the brakes on a 7 billion pound ($9 billion)growth sector just as EU states step up competition.

The Fuelling Fintech report from TheCityUK, which promotes Britain as a financial center, and recruitment firm Odgers Berndtson, said fintech and other financial services firms must work harder to secure the skills they need.

Fintech employs 60,000 people and investment grew by 154 percent in 2017.

The report offers ways to generate more “home grown” tech talent as immigration faces curbs after Brexit.

“Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, there has been a significant decrease of graduates coming to the UK from France and Germany in particular,” said Miles Celic, chief executive of TheCityUK.

Up to a fifth of the skills needed in recent years has come from EU countries, and UK hirers are now seeing a net migration of tech graduates back to the bloc.

Companies struggle to fill roles in coding, cloud computing, machine learning, software development, cyber, artificial intelligence and blockchain, the report said.

“There is a risk that those talented migrants with the skills needed by the UK will leave before these skills can be replaced by home-grown talent,” Celic said.

(GRAPHIC: TheCityUK/Odgers Berndston Report – https://tmsnrt.rs/2ObgELT)

The report recommends copying pharmaceuticals and manufacturing by forging long-term partnerships with academia to create a pipeline of skilled people – and also looking beyond graduates.

Better data gathering on the skills needed and better retraining of existing employees are also needed, the report said.

Britain has emerged as a leading fintech hub in Europe in recent years but now faces increased competition from EU cities such as Berlin, Paris and Luxembourg that can offer access to the bloc’s vast single market. Britain’s future access to the EU market could remain unclear for some time to come.

“The current shortage of tech talent is a strategic issue for the UK’s financial and related professional services industry, yet little has been done to quantify our current and future skills need,” said Nathan Bostock, chief executive of Santander UK bank and chair of TheCityUK’s working group on trade and investment.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

Vietnamese who live in Japan celebrate Vietnamese New Year at a Catholic Church in Kawaguchi, near Tokyo
Vietnamese who live in Japan celebrate Vietnamese New Year at a Catholic Church in Kawaguchi, near Tokyo, Japan February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 18, 2019

By Linda Sieg and Ami Miyazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) – When a young Vietnamese woman found out late last year that she was pregnant after arriving in Japan on a “technical trainee” visa, she was given a stark choice: “Have an abortion or go back to Vietnam.”

But returning home would leave her unable to pay back the $10,000 she borrowed to pay recruiters there.

“She needs to stay to pay back her debts,” said Shiro Sasaki, secretary general of the Zentoitsu (All United) Workers Union, who has advocated on her behalf and said such threats were common.

Buoyed by hopes of higher wages but burdened by loans, Vietnamese youth – the fastest-growing group of foreign workers in Japan – will be among those most affected by a new scheme to let in more blue-collar workers that kicks off in April.

“Trainees from China have been declining as wages there rise with economic growth, while in Vietnam, unemployment is high for youth with high education levels, so many young people want to go abroad to work,” said Futaba Ishizuka, a research fellow at the Institute of Developing Economies, a think tank.

The technical trainee program is widely known as a back door for blue-collar labor in immigration-shy Japan. Reported abuses in Japan include low and unpaid wages, excessive hours, violence and sexual harassment. In Vietnam, unscrupulous recruiters and brokers often charge trainees exorbitant fees.

Such problems will persist and could worsen under the new system, aimed at easing a historic labor shortage, according to interviews with activists, academics, unionists and trainees.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose conservative base fears a rise in crime and a threat to the country’s social fabric, has insisted that the new law, enacted in December, does not constitute an “immigration policy.”

That worries critics.

“In fact, Japan is already a country of immigrants. But because they say it is not an ‘immigration policy’ and the premise is that people will not stay, they only take temporary steps,” said Japan Civil Liberties Union director Akira Hatate. “The needs of society are not met, and the needs of the workers are not met.”

GROWING NUMBERS

The trainees system began in 1993 with the aim of transferring skills to workers from developing countries. But persistent abuses developed early on, experts say.

Those issues were spotlighted last year during debate over the new law.

Among the high-profile cases was that of four companies’ using trainees for decontamination work in areas affected by radiation after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Two firms, also accused of not paying appropriate wages, were banned from employing trainees for five years; the others got warnings from the justice ministry.

A labor ministry survey published in June showed more than 70 percent of trainee employers had violated labor rules, with excessive hours and safety problems most common. That compared to 66 percent for employers overall.

The Organization for Technical Intern Training (OTIT), a watchdog group, was set up in 2017. This month, it issued a reminder to employers that trainees are covered by Japanese labor law. It specifically banned unfair treatment of pregnant workers.

Harsh conditions led more than 7,000 trainees to quit in 2017, experts say, many lured by shady brokers promising fake documentation and higher-paying jobs. Almost half were from Vietnam.

Because trainees are not permitted to switch employers, leaving their jobs usually means losing legal visa status. A few go to shelters run by non-profit groups or get help from unionists; many disappear into a labor black market.

“The situation is completely different from what they were told back home,” said Shigeru Yamashita, managing director of the Vietnam Mutual Aid Association in Japan. “They have debts they cannot repay with their salaries at home, so the only option is to flee into the black market for labor.”

ADDRESSING SHORTAGES

The new law will allow about 345,000 blue-collar workers to enter Japan over five years in 14 sectors such as construction and nursing care, which face acute labor shortages. One category of “specified skilled workers” can stay up to five years but cannot bring families.

A second category of visas – currently limited to the construction and shipbuilding industries – allows workers to bring families and be eligible to stay longer.

Nguyen Thi Thuy Phuong, 29, left her husband and elementary-school-age child home in Vietnam to work as a trainee in a knitwear factory in Mitsuke City in northern Japan.

The textile industry was not included in the new visa program after coming under fire for the high number of labor violations in its trainee programs.

Now she wishes she could bring her family and stay longer than three years.

“Life in Japan is convenient, and the air is clean,” she told Reuters in careful Japanese during a break from work.

For-profit employment agencies and individuals can register as liaisons between recruiters and employers. These “registered support organizations” will not need licenses.

Immigration authorities will provide oversight of the new foreign workers; the labor ministry’s immigration bureau will become an agency on April 1, a bureaucratic distinction that gives it more clout.

On Friday, the justice ministry issued fresh rules for the new system, including a requirement that foreign workers be paid at least as much as Japanese employees.

But Sasaki said the agency’s focus would be residence status, not labor conditions.

Some companies have woken up to the risk of losing investors if they or their suppliers violate workers’ rights, said Japan Civil Liberties Union’s Hatate.

But the rush to implement the new law has left local authorities worried that too little has been done to support and integrate more foreigners.

“If there is not a proper framework to accept them and they are thought of as purely a way to fill the labor shortage, for certain there will be major problems,” Yuji Kuroiwa, governor of Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo, told Reuters.

Takashi Takayama, whose Vietnamese name is Cao Son Quy, fled Vietnam as a refugee in 1979. He recalled how foreigners were laid off in droves after the 2008 global financial crisis and fears a similar scenario when demand for labor eases after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“When the Olympics are over, I think a tragic event will occur,” Takayama said at a Vietnamese New Year celebration at a Catholic church outside Tokyo. “I don’t want to see that.”

(Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Paulina Likos | Contributor

WATCH:

With millions of new jobs created, President Donald Trump has had his fair share of economic accomplishments. In foreign policy, the United States is now making better deals with other countries. On immigration, this administration is working diligently toward tighter border security. While Trump is following through with his campaign promises, there are those in the media who would like to diminish his achievements. (RELATED: Foxconn Says It Will Be Up And Running By 2020 After Trump Talks)

It doesn’t take much to acknowledge the facts. Regarding U.S. economic progress, even CNN’s Poppy Harlow said, ‘It’s good to see, but will it last?’ At the very least, she acknowledged the positive impact Trump’s policies have had on the economy.

Kevin Hassett, Chair of White House Council of Economic Advisers, said it best when he responded to a critique, “The tone of the critique is extremely incorrect and if you think we did something wrong you should accuse us of making an error, but accusing us of being dishonest is beyond the pale.” (RELATED: ‘My Father Was His Kryptonite’: Meghan McCain Launches Tirade Against Trump)

Click to watch Trump’s successes since taking office thus far.

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Acting Pentagon Chief Patrick Shanahan said on Monday he had provided Congress with a list of projects from the military construction budget that could be cut back in order to help pay for a wall on the border with Mexico.

Last month Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.

Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday to block a measure passed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress that would terminate his emergency declaration for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico to stem illegal immigration and crime.

Speaking before the start of his meeting with his French counterpart, Shanahan was asked if he had sent the list of projects to Congress.

"I have," Shanahan said.

The more than 20-page document seen by Reuters included all the projects that were not awarded funding as of Dec. 31 2018.

The list includes a cemetery at the U.S. Military Academy in New York and a command and control facility at Camp Tango in South Korea.

It is essentially up to Congress to go through the list and figure out which projects will not be affected, including military housing, barracks and projects that have already been awarded funding.

The list is unlikely to satisfy Congress.

"This list is wholly insufficient and just tells Congress what projects it already approved," said Evan Hollander, a spokesman for Representative Nita Lowey, a Democrat and chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee.

"This appears to be nothing more than another stall tactic designed to delay the political consequences of President Trump’s emergency declaration," Hollander said.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the pool of projects included was valued at about $12.9 billion. The Pentagon has said it could use about $3.6 billion from the military construction budget this year, if needed.

The issue was highlighted during a tense Congressional hearing on Thursday, when Democratic Senators demanded that they be provided a list of military that could be impacted if funding was used to build a wall.

"We know President Trump wants to take money from our national security accounts to pay for his wall, and now we have a list of some of the projects and needed base repairs that could be derailed or put on the chopping block as a result," Senator Jack Reed said in a statement.

Source: NewsMax

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pushed back against claims that the U.S.-Mexico border crisis is “manufactured” and warned that crossings are on track to reach levels not seen in over 10 years.

“I want to cut through the politics today to tell you loud and clear: There is no ‘manufactured’ crisis at our southern border. There is a real-life humanitarian and security catastrophe,” Nielsen said Monday at George Washington University during her annual State of Homeland Security address. “The situation at our southern border has gone from a crisis, to a national emergency, to a near system-wide meltdown.”

The Department of Homeland Security, Nielsen stated, is on track to apprehend nearly 100,000 migrants by the end of March as they attempt to illegally cross the southern border — the most apprehensions since March 2007.

The huge increase in migrant apprehensions for this month follows a steady pattern. Immigration enforcement officials arrested about 75,000 foreign nationals in February and apprehended approximately 50,000 to 60,000 in the end of 2018. The Border Patrol captured a total of 361,000 people in fiscal year 2018.

“The system is breaking, and our communities, our law enforcement personnel, and the migrants themselves are paying the price,” Nielsen continued in her speech, which took place in Washington, D.C.

The secretary’s comments come as numerous Democratic politicians and other critics of President Donald Trump have accused him of “manufacturing” a crisis out of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Newly elected Democratic Govs. Tony Evers of Wisconsin, Gavin Newsom of California and Lujan Grisham of New Mexico have announced a withdrawal of their National Guard troops from the southern border. All three governors have criticized the president’s claims that the southern border is undergoing a crisis.

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 09: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at The Association Of The U.S. Army Annual Meeting on October 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 09: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at The Association Of The U.S. Army Annual Meeting on October 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Grisham framed the president’s emergency declaration as “fear mongering,” Newsom called it “political theatre” and a coalition of former security officials said it was not “remotely” justifiable.

Members of the Trump administration have pushed back against this narrative.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost explained to a House committee in February that while the border crossings are not at the levels seen in the 1990s and early 2000s, the huge increase in Central American migrants — who are not Canadian or Mexican — and the high number of unaccompanied children have stretched her agency thin. Provost said the situation constitutes both a border and humanitarian crisis. (RELATED: The Amount Of Meth Pouring Across The US Southern Border Is Skyrocketing)

Trump himself has hit back at the “manufactured” framing, calling it a soundbite.

“Well, you know, I watched last night. I saw on your show last night, actually, where you had anchor after anchor using the exact same word. It’s manufactured. Manufactured,” Trump said to Fox News host Sean Hannity in January. “No. It’s a manufactured sound bite. It’s just a soundbite.”

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Amber Athey | White House Correspondent

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) disputed claims Monday that they are refusing medical care for a severely sick infant that is currently being detained with his father at the border.

The claim that ICE is housing a sick infant originated in a tweet thread over the weekend by RAICES, a nonprofit that provides legal services to illegal immigrants. RAICES asserted that they are in contact with a father who said his baby is suffering from “nonstop diarrhea,” “stomach pain” and is unable to eat. The family is allegedly being kept in the Karnes detention center in Texas.

Several Democratic congresswomen tweeted about the child, urging ICE to take the baby to the hospital immediately.

“This is inhumane,” Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar wrote.

“A child is sick,” Democratic Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia declared. “We need to know that medical care is being offered. Unacceptable.”

ICE, however, denied that they are in custody of any sick child. (RELATED: Nielsen To Conduct Firsthand Review Of DHS Practices At Border)

In a statement released Monday, ICE indicated that they “completed auxiliary wellness checks over the weekend” to determine if a child exhibiting the aforementioned symptoms was in custody at Karnes.

“ICE officials completed auxiliary wellness checks over the weekend & confirmed that no child currently in custody at the Karnes FRC is exhibiting signs of dehydration, nor was any resident seeking medical attention for a child with the symptoms described in the anonymous reports,” ICE stated.

In August, an immigration lawyer falsely accused ICE of allowing a child to die from respiratory illness in the Dilley Family Detention Center in Texas. After ICE disputed that report, the lawyer updated her claim to indicate that the child died after she left ICE custody. (RELATED: ICE Says Reports About Child Dying In Texas Facility Are False)

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Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether states can prosecute illegal aliens for using fraudulent information to obtain employment, the justices announced Monday.

The case, which arose in Kansas, could feature prominently on the court’s docket next term, as it touches illegal immigration and will likely be heard as ballots are cast in the Democratic presidential primary.

“I am encouraged by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear our appeal,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said in a statement. “We remain convinced Congress did not intend to block Kansas from prosecuting defendants for falsifying state tax forms or private legal documents merely because the defendant also falsified federal employment verification forms.”

The case involves three foreign nationals — Ramiro Garcia, Donaldo Morales and Guadalupe Ochoa-Lara — who entered the country illegally. The trio used stolen Social Security numbers when applying for work in the service industry. All three were convicted of identity theft in Kansas courts.

Those convictions were reversed on appeal to the Kansas Supreme Court. A four-justice majority said that a federal statute called the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) prohibits states from pursuing such prosecutions. The Kansas court held that IRCA gives the federal government exclusive power to bring prosecutions that use information from the I-9, a federal form used to confirm employment eligibility. Social Security numbers are included on the I-9.

Kansas argued it could still prosecute the defendants because they used the stolen Social Security numbers on other government filings, including state tax forms. The state Supreme Court rejected that argument. Under IRCA, the court found, the federal government’s exclusive control touches both the I-9 itself and the information that appears on it. (RELATED: Is Chief Justice John Roberts Tacking Left?)

On appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, lawyers for Kansas said the lower court’s decision is contrary to the findings of other courts — like the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — which have allowed state prosecutions of the sort at issue here. The justices are much more likely to take a case presenting a question of law about which multiple courts disagree.

The justices of the Supreme Court await the arrival of the casket of former President George H.W. Bush inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on December 3, 2018 (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

The justices of the Supreme Court await the arrival of the casket of former President George H.W. Bush inside the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Dec. 3, 2018. (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Kansas also said states have an important role to play in combatting identity theft.

“This nationwide, indeed worldwide, problem and its consequences are more than the federal government alone can address,” Kansas’s petition for review reads. “Thus, the states play a substantial and integral role in combatting identity crimes and their pernicious consequences.”

The Trump administration urged the high court to take the Kansas case. In a legal filing supporting Kansas, Solicitor General Noel Francisco warned the lower court decision would produce chaotic results and undermine the power of the states.

A coalition of 10 states led by Michigan also urged the high court to grant review in the Kansas case.

The justices will hear the case during the Supreme Court’s next term, which begins in October.

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Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

Law enforcement officials are confiscating substantially larger amounts of methamphetamine as Mexican drug cartels increasingly push the drug into U.S. markets.

A drug-tracking system from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) indicates that a total of 347,807 law enforcement meth seizures were submitted to various labs across the country in 2017, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The number is a 118 percent hike from 2010 submissions.

U.S. meth-related deaths hit 6,762 in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is approximately 3.5 times the amount in 2011. While specific data beyond 2016 is not currently available, provisional data through July 2018 indicates that meth-related deaths are still climbing.

The flood of meth, a popular synthetic drug that is made in labs, has made it much more affordable for U.S. consumers and inflamed the drug overdose crisis currently plaguing the country.

“Everybody’s biggest fear is what’s it going to look like if meth hits us like fentanyl did,” said Jon DeLena of DEA’s New England office said to the Washington Post. Access to fentanyl, a dangerously potent synthetic opioid, has led to mass overdoses across the country. Many fear that the increased trafficking of meth could result in similar death rates.

DEA officials are blaming the situation on Mexican drug cartels, which are more aggressively pushing the drug into the U.S. interior as they attempt to rival South American-made cocaine. The synthetic stimulant is now becoming more prevalent in many regions — such as the U.S. Northeast — where meth was more-or-less scarce.

A member of the German Criminal Investigation Division (BKA) displays Crystal Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) during a news conference at the BKA office in Wiesbaden November 13, 2014. Police found 4 kilograms of Crystal Meth and 2.9 tons of Chlorephedrine, a base substance to produce Crystal Meth, during a police raid in Leipzig on November 5 and November 8, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

A member of the German Criminal Investigation Division (BKA) displays Crystal Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) during a news conference at the BKA office in Wiesbaden November 13, 2014. Police found 4 kilograms of Crystal Meth and 2.9 tons of Chlorephedrine, a base substance to produce Crystal Meth, during a police raid in Leipzig on November 5 and November 8, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

Meth production in the U.S. has generally declined in the past 10 years, but this trend has been offset with an increase in supply from Mexico.

“They’re flooding it through tunnels, they’re flooding it through ports of entry, they’re flooding it between ports of entry,” stated DEA Special Agent Doug Coleman.

News of meth’s rise follows President Donald Trump’s ongoing battle with Congress to secure the U.S.-Mexico border with a massive wall.

Congress allocated just over $1.37 billion to finance 55 miles of border wall in Texas following gridlock between Democratic and Republican lawmakers. Trump accepted that funding in February, but he then declared a national crisis. The president has since requested an additional $8.6. billion for wall construction. (RELATED: Trump To Close Immigration Offices In Other Countries To Save Money)

Trump vetoed a Congressional resolution that disapproved of his emergency declaration — the first veto of his presidency. However, a number of lawsuits are still seeking to block the declaration in court.

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Nick Givas | Media And Politics Reporter

Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement supervisor Jason Piccolo said America will need more than a border wall if it wants to defend its sovereignty, during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

Piccolo was discussing an MS-13 gangster who was murdered by members of his own gang and said the U.S. needs more resources to combat illegal immigration.

“We need more resources. It’s not just the wall we need. We need more special agents,” he said. “We need more officers to dismantle these organizations and then we also need optics down south. If you come here, you’re not going to get some sort of benefit. Right now the thing is if you come across the border, they think they’re going to get a benefit.”

WATCH: 

Piccolo also highlighted the danger of MS-13 and said this type of killing is commonplace among gang members. (RELATED: MS-13 Member Taken Into Custody Over ‘Gang Related’ NYC Subway Murder)

“Their mantra is kill, rape, control,” he said earlier in the interview. “This same thing happened last year. I don’t know if the victim last year wanted to get out of the gang or was even associated with the gang, but he was stabbed 100 times, dismember and decapitated. You’re seeing this all over the place.”

Piccolo called for bipartisan immigration reform but said it’s unlikely to happen given the partisan gridlock in Washington.

“The thing is we need that bipartisan immigration reform we’ve been talking about ever since I became a guest on here last year,” he said. “It’s just — how is it ever going to happen? Right now you can’t do anything, get any laws passed, even if you piecemeal it.”

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A majority of New York State voters, according to a newly released Siena College poll, overwhelmingly oppose illegal immigrants receiving driver’s licenses.

Sixty-one percent of New York voters say they do not believe non-citizens should receive driver’s licenses. While 49 percent of Democrats support issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, 84 percent of Republicans and 71 percent of Independents oppose such a policy.

“Overwhelmingly, Republicans and Independents, upstaters and downstate suburbanites, oppose allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Democrats and New York City voters are closely divided on the issue,” Siena Research’s Steven Greenberg said. “White voters strongly oppose; black and Latino voters support it by small margins.”

New York’s WGRZ TV conducted their own poll last year when New York State Democrat lawmakers pushed for licenses for illegal immigrants and their viewers overwhelmingly opposed it.

NY Immigration Coalition: Credit: WGRZ TV Video Screen Shot

Siena’s numbers were released one month after immigrant advocate groups did another push for driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants now that Democrats have the majority of both chambers in the New York State legislature. (RELATED: Poll: New Yorkers Consider Ocasio-Cortez A Villain In Amazon Pullout By Wide Margins)

In 2017, a bill that would have allowed licenses to illegal immigrants was filed in the lower chamber by Democratic Assemblyman Francisco Moya, but the legislation died in the state Senate, which was controlled by the Republicans at the time.

New York State Comptroller Scott Stringer is an advocate for the measure.

“For many of us, a driver’s license is nothing more than a piece of plastic tucked in between our credit cards, but for undocumented immigrants it means better job opportunities, a safe way to get your child to school, and to the hospital in an emergency – all without fear of deportation during a routine traffic stop,” Stringer said at a rally with Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) officials in Manhattan last month, according to The New York Post.

Stringer and FPI pointed to reports that showed the state would rack up extra money totaling $9.6 million through additional driver’s license fees. (RELATED: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Illegal Aliens Are ‘My Constituents’)

The new Siena poll, however, shows a majority of New York State voters don’t like the leftward direction the New York State is going in, either. Just 36 percent say that the Empire State is not moving too far to the political left, while 51 percent says the state is moving too politically leftward.

“While Democrats disagree, a strong majority of independents and an overwhelming majority of Republicans say that Democratic control of the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature are moving the state too far to the left,” Greenberg said. “Two-thirds of voters — including a majority of Democrats — say that Democratic control of the state makes it harder for businesses to be successful.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted between March 10-14 by telephone calls conducted in English to 700 New York State registered voters. It has an overall margin of error of +4.2 percentage points.

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Molly Prince | Politics Reporter

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar blamed President Donald Trump on Sunday after reports that members of the Minnesota Democratic Party are considering removing her from congressional office for her repeated anti-Semitic statements.

“I’m sorry Mr. [Donald Trump],” Omar tweeted in response to the reports. “I am for real, you can’t #MuslimBan us from Congress!”

Minnesota Democrats are reportedly dismayed that Omar has made a string of bigoted comments about Jews, which have received massive condemnation from both sides of the aisle. Consequently, members of the state party are looking for someone to contest her nomination in 2020 and run a different candidate in her place.

Rather than blaming the Minnesota Democrats, Omar focused the backlash on Trump’s 2017 executive order, which has been referred to as a Muslim ban. The executive order suspended U.S. entry of those whose counties do not meet adjudication standards under federal immigration law for 90 days and included exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

Omar, along with fellow Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, became America’s first Muslim congresswomen when sworn into office in January. Both congresswomen’s time in office has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism.

Omar has defended the anti-Semitic statements, such as ones invoking Allah to expose Israel’s “evil doings,” and she is on record stating that Israel is not a democracy. She also gave an interview to a host that referred to Israel as the “Jewish ISIS” and mocked how Americans speak about al-Qaeda and Hezbollah. (RELATED: Nancy Pelosi Sees Herself In Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Ilhan Omar)

Both Omar and Tlaib waited until after they won their congressional elections to reveal their support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to punish Israel by economically depriving the country for its alleged mistreatment of Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The Anti-Defamation League describes the movement as “the most prominent effort to undermine Israel’s existence.”

Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Tom Brenner/Getty Images

BDS has metastasized through college campuses, initially promulgated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the movement’s most visible arm. SJP has been linked to the Islamic terror group Hamas, according to The Washington Free Beacon. Moreover, the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, the American umbrella group of the BDS movement, has reportedly given money to terrorist organizations like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Omar announced in February that she is scheduled to raise money with the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) only a week after she used an anti-Semitic trope to claim Israel has paid for GOP support.

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Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar detailed her stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a Washington Post op-ed published Sunday night.

Omar’s op-ed, which discusses her thoughts on U.S. foreign policy as a whole, comes after she’s faced multiple accusations of pushing anti-Semitism under the guise of being critical of Israel.  (RELATED: Omar Facing More Accusations Of Anti-Semitism)

“The founding of Israel 70 years ago was built on the Jewish people’s connection to their historical homeland, as well as the urgency of establishing a nation in the wake of the horror of the Holocaust and the centuries of anti-Semitic oppression leading up to it,” she wrote.

“We must acknowledge that this is also the historical homeland of Palestinians. And without a state, the Palestinian people live in a state of permanent refugeehood and displacement,” she continued.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (2nd L) speaks as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) (L) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (R) listen during a news conference on prescription drugs January 10, 2019 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee when she was a teenager, added:

I support a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders, which allows for both Israelis and Palestinians to have their own sanctuaries and self-determination. This has been official bipartisan U.S. policy across two decades and has been supported by each of the most recent Israeli and Palestinian leaders, as well as the consensus of the Israeli security establishment.

This is not first time she has come out in favor of a two-state solution.

“When I criticize certain Israeli government actions in Gaza or settlements in the West Bank, it is because I believe these actions not only threaten the possibility of peace in the region — they also threaten the United States’ own national security interests,” she wrote in the op-ed.

In February, the Minnesota congresswoman accused the pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) of buying pro-Israel support from American politicians. She apologized for how she said it but not for bringing up “the problematic role of lobbyists” in politics. Omar was rebuked by both parties and later deleted the tweet. (RELATED: Omar Addresses The Now-Deleted AIPAC Tweet That Sparked Backlash)

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar participates in a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

She most recently received backlash for alleging that members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” with the U.S. and Israel.

Both comments spurred action against her in the form of votes.

After the first comment, the House added a motion to condemn anti-Semitism to a non-related bill, which passed with a 424-0 vote (and two GOP members voting present).

Earlier this month, the House passed a resolution to condemn all types of bigotry after Omar’s “dual loyalty” comment. The resolution was originally going to denounce anti-Semitism, but there was language added to condemn hate against, “African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, the LGBTQ community, immigrants and others.” It did not specifically name Omar.

Twenty-three Republicans voted against the resolution with many saying they felt the final text no longer accomplished its intended goal.

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CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter started off “Reliable Sources” with a dizzying mix of thoughts and accusations Sunday. One of them being this: Is Fox News mentally unhealthy?

He announced that Fox News has suspended Jeanine Pirro for questioning Rep. Ilhan Omar‘s (D-Minn.) patriotism. This came on the heels of several morning tweets from President Trump in which he praised Pirro and insisted that the network bring her back. So far, the network has said nothing about firing Pirro.

“For the record, if Tucker Carlson is watching, I don’t want Fox to shut down,” Stelter told his three-member panel, which consisted of a NYT White House reporter, a deafening liberal media reporter who has absolutely no volume control and an ex-President Obama official, all of whom vociferously agree with Stelter or otherwise suck up to him. He won’t bring on guests who disagree with him.

But please…let him continue.

“I just want Fox News to be a healthy part of the media ecosystem, and the spread of misinformation that happens on these programs is unhealthy,” he said. “I think it’s as simple as that.”

Hey Brian, please get over yourself. Number 1: Tucker, who consistently refers to you as a “the eunich,” doesn’t watch your show. Whatever clips or information he needs, he gets from his staff. He doesn’t spend his Sundays hanging on your ever word or your any word. He hasn’t watched TV in years. Number 2: Your degree from Towson University in mass communication and working on the school paper don’t qualify you to assess anyone’s psychological fitness. Number 3: Your brand of journalism  on a daily, weekly basis is biased. You have no business presenting yourself as otherwise. Number 4: Has it ever dawned on you that you may want to get yourself psychologically evaluated?

I’m sure CNN’s actual MD, Sanjay Gupta, could arrange it.

“Stelter is a cancer in the media ecosystem,” said a journalism industry veteran. “He is a ridiculous figure and helps spreads misinformation while kissing up to everyone outside of Fox.”

For the past few years, Stelter has been relentlessly questioning Trump’s sanity and mental stability. He’s not a psychiatrist. He has no degree in any field even touching on psychology. He’s totally unqualified to diagnose anyone, let alone an entire news network. But he bloviates. He pretends to have some mental prowess as he runs around to all the shows playing CNN’s resident psychiatrist and uttering CNN President Jeff Zucker‘s talking points. (RELATED: CNN Chief Media Correspondent Declares Trump Untrustworthy)

Each week Stelter routinely insults Fox News. He makes it part of his mission. Part of the reason he spouted off on Fox News’s so-called “mental health” on Sunday was that he couldn’t bear Trump’s morning tweets. Former State Department Chairman Hillary Clinton favored MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who swoons in the presences of Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren, who also prefers MSNBC. (RELATED: ‘Madness’ — CNN’s Brian Stelter Claims Trump Is Mentally Unfit) 

Do any left-wing media reporters like Stelter criticize them for their preferences?

“Bring back @JudgeJeanine,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox ….must stay strong and fight back with vigor. Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don’t give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true …to the people that got you there. Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you’ve got – NUMBER ONE. Don’t hand it to them on a silver platter. They can’t beat you, you can only beat yourselves!”

Not sure which words got under Stelter’s skin most — losers, Fake News Media, Tucker or Judge Jeanine.

“So that’s where we are, the President telling his favorite network to stick it out,” Stelter told viewers.

His panelists all provided stuffing for Stelter’s views.

Katie Rodgers, a White House reporter for the New York Times, said Trump is a Pirro fanboy, which is news to no one.

“He watches it every week,” she said of Pirro’s Saturday night show. “We know he tunes in every week. It’s a prime time Saturday night thing for him. …To cut this sort of oxygen off is a big deal for him.”

Baltimore Sun media critic David Zurawik was very ZURAWIK, if you know what I mean. He didn’t really finish all his thoughts, but here’s what came roaring out of his mouth.

“I’M NOT SURPRISED,” he shouted.”I THINK THEM SUSPENDING HER AND THE PRESIDENT SENDING OUT THESE REMARKABLE, JUST UTTERLY REMARKABLE FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TELLING THE CABLE CHANNEL WHAT TO DO WITH THREE TWEETS IN A ROW. .. I REALLY THINK IT’S A BOTTOM LINE EFFECT. …LOOK YOU TAKE ADS OUT OF PRIMETIME AND YOU MOVE THEM TO ANOTHER DAY PART, YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A SMALLER AUDIENCE. YOU CAN’T KEEP DOING THAT FOREVER.”

The final panelist for Stelter’s anti-Fox News segment was Nayyera Haq, a former senior director in Obama’s White House. Can you even imagine what she might say? She despises Pirro and the network on which she appears.

“Judge Pirro’s show is not a news show,” she said. “It is an opinion show. …It would be shocking, I think, if, after her comments about Muslims having not being part of the fabric of American life, and not being able to be loyal to America, …if she was on air having to either apologize, which I don’t think that anybody at Fox is ready for her to do publicly, or, for her to double down,” Haq said. “Either way, the comments she had made last week about Ilhan Omar were part of a broader fabric of how people are justifying the attacks on immigrants, the attacks on immigration policy and are part and parcel of a white nationalist rhetoric. So probably better for all involved that she wasn’t on TV last night.”

Zurawik soon got all riled up about Carlson paying back lefty watchdog group Media Matters for digging up years old remarks he made to shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge. (Full disclosure, Carlson founded The Daily Caller.) On his program, Tucker reported that Media Matters President Angelo Carusone used to write a blog that made disparaging remarks against gays and Jews, including his Jewish boyfriend, who he said was attractive despite being Jewish. Carusone claimed it was satire that didn’t quite work.

Stelter wanted to know if Carlson’s segment on Carusone was “just a distraction.”

Zurawik had a lot to say:

“BRIAN I THINK IT’S MUCH WORSE THAN A DISTRACTION. …I LOOKED AT IT AND I THOUGHT, I WAS SO DISPIRITED,” he said, adding that it reminded him of the fights that used to occur between ex-FNCers Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck, which he said was a “LOW POINT” for cable news.”I THOUGHT OF 2009 … IT WAS ALMOST AS IF THEY WERE PUTTING A BOUNTY ON EACH OTHER. …THAT’S EXACTLY WHERE TUCKER CARLSON WAS TAKING THIS THING.”

But getting back to Carlson, Zurawik shouted, “WHAT HE SAID ON BUBBA THE LOVE SPONGE IT’S SICKENING, IT’S DISGUSTING, IT’S VILE AND SAYS SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT KIND OF PERSON HE IS.”

Stelter played a clip of Carlson saying most outlets want to shut down Fox News.

“That’s not what I want,” Stelter emoted to his panel, looking painfully distressed. “Do you want that?”

Actually for Zurawik, who never misses a chance to kiss up to Stelter, yes, that’s precisely what he wants. He said if this gets rid of the likes of Carlson, then so be it. He also said Trump is clearly lecturing Fox News.

Which eventually led to Stelter’s sublimely ridiculous quote about Fox News’s mental health.

“For the record, if Tucker Carlson is watching, I don’t want Fox to shut down. I just want Fox News to be a healthy part of the media ecosystem, and the spread of misinformation that happens on these programs is unhealthy. I think it’s as simple as that.”  

Source: The Daily Caller

David Krayden | Ottawa Bureau Chief

The student activists who blamed Chelsea Clinton for the New Zealand mosque shootings say their only aim was “to speak truth to power.”

The aggressive group confronted a pregnant Clinton at a New York University vigil Friday for the 49 Muslims killed in the Thursday attack. But the students, who say they “are unafraid to speak the truth,” wrote in a BuzzFeed News op-ed piece posted Sunday that cornering Clinton was all about their “duty to call out any bigotry wherever it exists.”

“This right here is the result of the massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you have put out into the world,” one student said to Clinton. “I want you to know that. I want you to feel that deep inside. The 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.” (RELATED: Chelsea Clinton Apologizes To Students Who Blame Her For NZ Attack)

The activists apparently did not think Clinton had any business offering her condolences to the dead or attending any vigils.

“We did a double take when we first noticed Chelsea Clinton was at the vigil,” they wrote. “Just weeks before this tragedy, we bore witness to a bigoted, anti-Muslim mob coming after [New York Democratic] Rep. Ilhan Omar for speaking the truth about the massive influence of the Israel lobby in this country.” (RELATED: Minnesota Democrats Want To Topple Ilhan Omar And Nominate New Candidate)

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. Feb. 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Clinton disagreeing with Omar’s contention that Israel was buying-off Congress supposedly made Omar “vulnerable to anti-Muslim hatred and death threats” and therefore the group was “shocked when Clinton arrived at the vigil, given that she had not yet apologized to Rep. Omar for the public vilification against her.” They claimed “many students were dismayed to see her there.”

Students heckle Chelsea Clinton (not in picture) after the vigil held at NYU Kimmel Center to mourn for the victims of New Zealand's Christchurch mosque attack, in New York City, U.S. March 15, 2019. Picture taken March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi

Students heckle Chelsea Clinton (not in picture) after the vigil held at NYU Kimmel Center to mourn for the victims of New Zealand’s Christchurch mosque attack, in New York City, U.S. March 15, 2019. Picture taken March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi

The activists noted they found the “opportunity to have her ear and confront her on her false charge of anti-Semitism against our only Black, Muslim, Somali, and refugee member of Congress. We took our chance to speak truth to power.”

While maintaining that “Chelsea hurt our fight against white supremacy” and reiterating their right to tell her she was unwelcome at a vigil, the student activists nonetheless argued that “for any of us to be safe, all of must be safe.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Striking back against the silencing campaign attempts against Fox News hosts Judge Jeanine Pirro and Tucker Carlson, fervent rejectors of liberal ideals, President Donald Trump tweeted calls Sunday to "stay strong and fight back with vigor."

President Trump issued three tweets rejecting "the fake news media . . using every trick in the book" to silence the will of the American people who elected him and made Fox News the No. 1-watched news programs.

"Bring back @JudgeJeanine Pirro," President Trump's tweetstorm began. "The Radical Left Democrats, working closely with their beloved partner, the Fake News Media, is using every trick in the book to SILENCE a majority of our Country. They have all out campaigns against @FoxNews hosts who are doing too well. Fox . . .

". . . must stay strong and fight back with vigor," President Trump continued. "Stop working soooo hard on being politically correct, which will only bring you down, and continue to fight for our Country. The losers all want what you have, don't give it to them. Be strong & prosper, be weak & die! Stay true . . .

". . . to the people that got you there," President Trump concluded. "Keep fighting for Tucker, and fight hard for @JudgeJeanine. Your competitors are jealous – they all want what you've got – NUMBER ONE. Don't hand it to them on a silver platter. They can't beat you, you can only beat yourselves!"

Judge Jeanine's program did not air Saturday night, and she has not tweeted for a week, after Fox News condemned remarks she made against Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., at the start of her March 9 episode, as Mediaite reported.

Carlson, meanwhile, has frequently faced attacks for his political positions on immigration and one-time remarks to a shock-jock radio host.

Source: NewsMax

FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Gillibrand greets customers at Revelstoke Coffee in Concord
FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) greets customers while campaigning for president at Revelstoke Coffee in Concord, New Hampshire, U.S., February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

March 17, 2019

By Ginger Gibson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand formally launched her presidential bid on Sunday morning, announcing she will deliver her first major speech next week in front of Trump International Hotel in New York City.

Gillibrand, who launched an exploratory committee earlier this year as a precursor, joins more than a dozen other Democrats who have already formally entered the contest to win the nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

“We need a leader who makes big, bold, brave choices. Someone who isn’t afraid of progress,” Gillibrand says in a video released Sunday morning to formalize her entry into the campaign. “That’s why I’m running for president. And it’s why I’m asking you for your support.”

Gillibrand, 52, had already been campaigning in key states that hold early primary contests. She has struggled to see her polling numbers increase in the wake of her initial announcement, a benefit some of her other opponents enjoyed after starting their campaigns. Gillibrand remains at 1 percent in most public opinion polls of the Democratic primary.

Gillibrand opted to use a video instead of a speech at a rally, the traditional method, to formally launch her campaign. She will travel on Monday to campaign in Michigan, followed by stops in key early contest states of Iowa and Nevada.

On March 24, Gillibrand will deliver a launch speech in her home state in front of Trump International Hotel in New York City, to take “her positive, brave vision of restoring America’s moral integrity straight to President Trump’s doorstep,” her campaign said.

The launch video released Sunday morning alludes to several policy debates, including immigration, gun control and climate change.

“We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon. If we can do that, we can definitely achieve universal health care,” Gillibrand said in the video. “We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics and take back our democracy.”

Gillibrand has sought to position herself as a unifying figure who can appeal to rural voters.

Some in the Democratic party believe an establishment figure who can appeal to centrist voters is the way to victory. Others argue a fresh face, and particularly a diverse one, is needed to energize the party’s increasingly left-leaning base.

Gillibrand was a member of the centrist and fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition while in the House of Representatives. Her positions became more liberal after she was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton in New York when Clinton became former President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

Gillibrand then won the seat in a special election and was re-elected to six-year terms in 2012 and 2018. She has attributed the ideology shift to representing a liberal state versus a more conservative district.

As a senator, Gillibrand was outspoken about rape in the military and campus sexual assault years before the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault first arose in 2017.

In late 2017, as she pushed for a bill changing how Congress processes and settles sexual harassment allegations made by staffers, some prominent party leaders criticized her for being the first Democratic senator to urge the resignation of Senator Al Franken, who was accused of groping and kissing women without their consent.

During the same period, Gillibrand said Hillary Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, should have resigned from the White House after his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, which led to his impeachment by the House. Some criticized the senator for attacking the Clintons, who had supported her political career.

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

O'Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters before a march in El Paso
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters before an anti-Trump march in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

March 17, 2019

By James Oliphant

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (Reuters) – As he had done at several stops in his first campaign trip as a presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke on Friday climbed atop a counter at a local Iowa business and addressed a small but adoring crowd. People clapped and cheered. Outside, some waited in the cold, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. 

By that measure, his tour across eastern Iowa last week was largely a success. But by no means was O’Rourke considered a front-runner. And that underscored the challenge he faces as he competes for the 2020 Democratic nomination.

O’Rourke, a former three-term U.S. congressman from Texas, became a celebrity last year when his longshot bid to unseat U.S. Senator Ted Cruz drew national attention and a torrent of money. But ultimately, his fame was not enough.

That loss led some critics to wonder why someone who couldn’t secure a Senate seat would then think he should run for president.

That is not his only obstacle. O’Rourke, 46, is a wealthy, white man from a conservative-leaning state who is more moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors. Given the energy among progressives in the early stages of the race and the diversity of the Democratic field, O’Rourke would appear to be everything that many in party say they do not want.

More than a dozen Democrats have declared their candidacy to take on President Donald Trump in next year’s election, including six women. U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California would make history as the first black woman to gain the nomination. Julian Castro, a former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, would be the first Hispanic to do so. Another contender, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is openly gay.

O’Rourke also must grapple with the enduring popularity of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, a progressive who remains a formidable adversary after battling Hillary Clinton in 2016, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is weighing a presidential bid.

Even so, none of them are on the cover of the latest issue of Vanity Fair, as O’Rourke is. His interview with the magazine sparked controversy on social media last week when he said he was “born” to run for president. Critics also found fault with his oft-repeated joke on the trail about how he “helps” raise his three children with his wife, Amy.

To his detractors, it smacked of white male privilege. O’Rourke grew up affluent, attended the Ivy League’s Columbia University, and married the daughter of a real estate baron. His estimated net personal wealth is more than $9 million.

His image in his race against Cruz, however, belied that background. He fashioned himself as the scrappy underdog, a former punk rocker who was battling the establishment, visiting every county in Texas in a Dodge minivan and holding numerous town halls where he fielded questions from the public.

It was a strategy he took to Iowa last week, going so far as to rent another Dodge minivan that he drove himself and shooting a fundraising video on Facebook of him filling its gas tank.

O’Rourke differed from many of his liberal competitors by talking frequently about how he worked with Republicans in Congress to improve care for veterans in his home town of El Paso, Texas. Asked whether he was a true “progressive,” he referenced President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican.

O’Rourke maintained that his campaign would be relentlessly optimistic – and he only rarely rebuked Trump. “We will not belittle or demean or vilify other candidates,” he said in Mt. Vernon. “We will not define ourselves in contrast to others or say who we are against.”

His policy positions were largely nonspecific. He championed universal health care, immigration reform and combating climate change, but largely said any reforms would have to be pragmatic and incremental.

Occasionally, O’Rourke showed self-awareness of his status as a wealthy, white male, telling crowds that he had been given opportunities denied to minorities and describing the U.S. economic system as imperfect and racist.

He also found that despite the media attention he has received, he was not a household name in Iowa. “I didn’t even know who he was until two days ago,” said Sam Jennison, the owner of the bar in Mount Vernon where O’Rourke held his event.

But for the most part, those who attended his events spoke of him glowingly and dismissed concerns about whether he was progressive enough. “Issues are very important,” said Cathryn Layer, 65, of New London, Iowa. “Winnability is another thing.”

“We need a moderate Democrat, and we probably need a white male because that is not threatening to a lot of people,” said Holly Manon Moore, 65, of Fairfield, Iowa, who said she is undecided in the race and would want a person of color to be the vice-presidential nominee. “If we go too far left, we’re going to lose.”

At the close of his Iowa trip, it remained unclear how O’Rourke’s entrance would reshape the Democratic race. He notably declined to reveal how much money he raised in his first few days as a candidate.

But he did have an impact. At the same time O’Rourke was in eastern Iowa, so was one of his competitors, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. And while the size of the crowd that came to see her on Saturday was comparable to those at O’Rourke’s events, there were far fewer journalists present.

(Reporting by James Oliphant; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Source: OANN

Australian Senator Fraser Anning has an egg smashed on his head while talking to the media in Victoria
Australian Senator Fraser Anning has an egg smashed on his head while talking to the media in Victoria, Australia March 16, 2019 in this still image taken from a video obtained from social media. THE UNSHACKLED/via REUTERS

March 17, 2019

By Will Ziebell

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australian police said they were investigating after a teenager smashed an egg on a controversial right-wing lawmaker who had blamed New Zealand’s mass mosque shootings on the country’s immigration program.

The footage, shared widely on social media, showed Senator Fraser Anning being approached from behind at a political event on Saturday, before having an egg cracked on the back of his head.

The footage showed Anning appearing to try to hit the person, before that person was dragged to the ground.

Victoria Police released a statement saying the incident was being investigated “in its entirety” and that it involved a 17-year-old boy.

Anning has received widespread condemnation following comments he made that saying cause of New Zealand’s worst peace time shooting was letting “Muslim fanatics” migrate to the country.

“(Anning’s) conflation of this horrendous terrorist attack with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically, these comments are appalling and they’re ugly and they have no place in Australia,” Australia’s Prime Minister Morrison told journalists on Saturday.

Calls to Anning’s electoral and parliamentary offices went unanswered on Sunday.

A GoFundMe campaign had raised more than A$19,000 ($13,500) for the teenager to cover the cost of legal fees and so he could “buy more eggs” by Sunday and the hashtag #EggBoy was trending on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Australia’s immigration minister announced on Saturday that controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos would not be allowed to enter Australia following Yiannopoulos describing Islam as a “barbaric” and “alien” religion.

“Mr Yiannopoulos’ comments on social media regarding the Christchurch terror attack are appalling and foment hatred and division,” immigration minister David Coleman said in a statement.

Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in mass shootings at two New Zealand mosques.

(Reporting by Will Ziebell; Editing by Lincoln Feast)

Source: OANN


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