Erosion of Immigrant Protections Began With Trump Inauguration

The Trump administration’s move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has grabbed attention around the world, drawn scorn from human-rights organizations and overtaken the immigration debate in Congress.

It’s also a situation that has been brewing since the week President Donald Trump took office, when he issued his first order signaling a tougher approach to asylum-seekers. Since then, the administration has been steadily eroding protections for immigrant children and families.

“They’re willing to risk harm to a child being traumatized, separated from a parent and sitting in federal detention by themselves, in order to reach a larger policy goal of deterrence,” said Jennifer Podkul, director of policy at Kids in Need of Defense, which represents children in immigration court.

To those who work with immigrants, the parents’ plight was heralded by a series of measures making it harder for kids arriving on the border to get released from government custody and to seek legal status here.


The administration says the changes are necessary to deter immigrants from coming here illegally. But a backlash is mounting, fueled by reports of children being taken from mothers and distraught toddlers and elementary school age children asking, through tears, when they can see their parents.

About 2,000 children had been separated from their families over a six-week period ending in May, administration officials said Friday.

Among the parents caught up in the new rules is 29-year-old Vilma Aracely Lopez Juc de Coc, who fled her home in a remote Guatemalan village after her husband was beaten to death in February, according to advocates. When she reached the Texas border with her 11-year-old son in May, he was taken from her by border agents, she said.

Her eyes swollen, she cried when she asked a paralegal what she most wanted to know: When could she see her son again?

“She did not know what was going on,” said paralegal Georgina Guzman, recalling their conversation at a federal courthouse in McAllen, Texas.

Similar scenarios play out on a daily basis in federal courtrooms in Texas and Arizona, where dozens of immigrant parents appear on charges of entering the country illegally after traveling up from Central America. More than the legal outcome of their cases, their advocates say, they’re worried about their children.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the administration has issued at least half a dozen orders and changes affecting immigrant children, many of them obscure revisions. The cumulative effect is a dramatic alteration of immigration policy and practice.

The measures require a senior government official to sign off on the release of children from secure shelters and allow immigration enforcement agents access to information about sponsors who sign up to take the children out of government custody and care for them.

The crackdown expanded in April, when the administration announced a “zero tolerance” policy on the border to prosecute immigrants for entering the country illegally in the hopes they could be quickly deported and that the swift deportations would prevent more people from coming.

Parents are now being arrested and placed in quick federal court proceedings near the border. Since children cannot be jailed in federal prisons, they’re placed in shelters that have long existed for unaccompanied immigrant children arriving on the border alone.

The administration insists the new rules are necessary to send a message to immigrants.

“Look, I hope that we don’t have to separate any more children from any more adults,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week. “But there’s only one way to ensure that is the case: It’s for people to stop smuggling children illegally. Stop crossing the border illegally with your children. Apply to enter lawfully. Wait your turn.”

Immigration on the southwest border has remained high since the zero-tolerance policies took effect. Border agents made more than 50,000 arrests in May, up slightly from a month earlier and more than twice the number in May 2017. About a quarter of arrests were families traveling with children.

Asylum seekers

In addition to those trying to cross on their own, large crowds of immigrants are gathered at border crossings each day to seek asylum. Some wait days or weeks for a chance to speak with U.S. authorities. On a Texas border bridge, parents and children have been sleeping in sweltering heat for several days awaiting their turn.

Under U.S. law, most Mexican children are sent back across the border. Central American and other minors are taken into government custody before they are mostly released to sponsors in the United States.

The arrival of children fleeing violence in Central America is not new. President Barack Obama faced an even larger surge in border crossings that overflowed shelters and prompted the authorities to release many families. Nearly 60,000 children were placed in government-contracted shelters in the 2014 fiscal year.

Obama administration lawyers argued in federal court in Los Angeles against the separation of parents and children and in favor of keeping in family detention facilities those deemed ineligible for release.

Immigrant and children’s advocates said the new measures are not only cruel but costly. They argued that children fleeing violence and persecution in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will continue to come to the United States and remain in government custody longer, costing taxpayers more money.

The government pays more than $1 billion a year to care for unaccompanied immigrant children, Sessions has said.

In May 2014, the average length of stay for children in custody was 35 days. So far this fiscal year, it’s taking 56 days for children to be released to sponsors — in most cases, their own relatives.

Many children were released to sponsors who did not have legal immigration status. That’s yet another concern child advocates now have since the Trump administration is requiring fingerprints of sponsors and their household members and will turn that data over to the immigration agency in charge of deportations.

Advocates say the new information sharing might lead some parents to shy away from sponsoring their own children and ask others to do so, a situation that can lead to cases of trafficking or neglect.

Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg, legal director of the immigrant advocacy program at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Virginia, said he’s never worked with immigrants who said U.S. policies influenced their decision to move. They are fleeing violence and persecution, and he doesn’t see that changing even if the government deports parents.

“Look six months out from now,” he said. “Are these moms going to stay in Guatemala? Hell no, they’re going to come back looking for their kids.” 

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Німці вшанували пам’ять жертв повстання, придушеного радянськими військами

17 червня в Німеччині вшанували пам’ять жертв повстання, яке відбулося в НДР 65 років тому. У заходах у Берліні узяли участь бургомістр німецької столиці Міхаель Мюллер і уповноважена уряду ФРН з питань культури і ЗМІ Моніка Ґрюттерс.

Народне повстання в НДР відбувалося 17 червня 1953 року одразу в кількох містах країни. Спочатку робітники промислових підприємств виступали проти збільшення виробничих норм, потім на демонстрації з вимогою проведення вільних виборів вийшли кілька сотень тисяч східних німців.

Повстання було придушене радянськими військами, які перебували на території Східної Німеччини.

Точне число жертв цього придушеного повстання в НДР не відоме. Загинули понад 50 людей, сотні людей отримали поранення. Не менше 15 тисяч осіб були арештовані.

«Ми зобов’язані донести до молодого покоління, наскільки важко було досягнуто наші демократичні свободи, і які загрози тоталітарні ідеології несуть для демократії і прав людини», – заявила уповноважена уряду ФРН з питань культури і ЗМІ Моніка Ґрюттерс, промовляючи біля братської могили загиблих берлінців на Зеештрассе. За її словами, 17 червня залишиться важливим днем в історії свободи Німеччини і Європи.

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Жінку, яка напала на відвідувачів супермаркету у Франції, вигукуючи «Аллаху Акбар», заарештували

На півдні Франції заарештували жінку, яка поранила двох осіб канцелярським ножем у супермаркеті, вигукуючи при цьому «Аллаху Акбар».

Відвідувач супермаркету в приморському місті Ла-Сен-сюр-Мер був поранений у груди і госпіталізований. Жінка-касир отримала менш серйозні поранення, повідомляє французька радіостанція Europe 1 із посиланням на прокурора сусіднього Тулона.

Прокурор Бернар Маршал припустив, що підозрювана має психічне захворювання. Її ім’я не повідомляють. Поліція обшукала її будинок.

«Судячи з усього, це ізольований випадок, пов’язаний із людиною, яка  страждає психічним розладом», – наводить слова прокурора газета Le Monde.

Однак, за словами прокурора, «можна припускати замах на вбивство і злочин із терористичними мотивами».

Регіональна газета Nice-Matin, яка першою повідомила про напад, який трапився о 10:30 ранку в неділю за місцевим часом, цитує неназваного очевидця, який повідомив, що люди в супермаркеті зупинили жінку, не давши їй порізати когось іще.

У Франції посилені заходи безпеки діють протягом останніх трьох років через напади, відповідальність за які брало на себе екстремістське угруповання «Ісламська держава».

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Trump Lawyer’s Advice to President: Don’t Pardon Russia Probe Figures

One of U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyers said Sunday he is advising him to not pardon anyone linked to the year-long investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election because it would “just cloud” the perception that there was wrong-doing.  

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York mayor and part of Trump’s legal team, told CNN, “You’re not going to get a pardon because you’re involved” in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. But he said that in the months to come pardons were “certainly not excluded” if Trump concluded “you’ve been treated unfairly.”

“The president has issued no pardons in this investigation,” Giuliani said. “The president is not going to issue pardons in this investigation.”

“And my advice to him, as long as I’m his lawyer, is not to do it,” he said. “Because you just cloud what is becoming now a very clear picture of an extremely unfair investigation with no criminality involved of any kind. I want that to come out loud and clear and not get clouded by anybody being fired or anybody being pardoned.”

Trump has pardoned several conservative icons in recent weeks, but Giuliani said no one being investigated by Mueller “should rely on it.”

Even so, he said, “When it’s over, hey, he’s the president of the United States. He retains his pardon power. Nobody’s taking that away from him. He can pardon in his judgment based on the Justice Department, counsel’s office, not me. I’m out of it. And I shouldn’t be involved in that process because I’m probably too rooted in his defense, but I couldn’t and I don’t want to take prerogatives away from him.“

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was jailed last week, prompting new questions whether Trump might pardon him. Manafort is accused of witness tampering in a criminal case that stems from his lobbying efforts for Ukraine years before he was a top Trump aide for nearly five months during the 2016 campaign.

Trump attacked Manafort’s jailing, saying on Twitter, “Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort …. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob…. Very unfair!”

There is no indication when Mueller’s investigation might end. He is probing whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian interests to help him win and whether Trump obstructed justice by firing former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey when he was leading the agency’s Russia investigation before Mueller, over Trump’s objections, was appointed to take over the probe.

In a new broadside against the investigation, Trump tweeted, “WITCH HUNT! There was no Russian Collusion. Oh, I see, there was no Russian Collusion, so now they look for obstruction on the no Russian Collusion. The phony Russian Collusion was a made up Hoax. Too bad they didn’t look at Crooked Hillary like this. Double Standard!” His reference to “Crooked Hillary” is his oft-repeated pejorative for his 2016 challenger, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani called for investigation of the origins of the Mueller investigation, contending it was “premised on Comey’s illegally leaked memo” about the FBI’s director’s private conversations with Trump.

“There’s a lot of unfairness out there, but we don’t know the scope of it,” Giuliani said.












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UN Special Envoy Jolie Visits Syrian Refugees in Iraq

The world is failing to properly invest in the Syrian refugee crisis and families, women, and children are suffering terribly as a result, U.N. refugee agency special envoy Angelina Jolie said on Sunday.

The Hollywood actress was visiting the Domiz Camp, in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which is home to 33,000 Syrian refugees displaced by seven years of civil war.

Funding received by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help refugees from the Syrian conflict fell sharply this year from 2017 when the agency received only 50 percent of the funds it needed, Jolie told a news conference.

“There are terrible human consequences. When there is even not the bare minimum of aid, refuge families cannot receive adequate medical treatment. Women and girls are left vulnerable to sexual violence, many children cannot go to school, and we squander the opportunity to invest in refugees,” she said.

UNCHR will publish figures on Tuesday that show that the number of displaced people globally, and the duration of their exiles, are “the highest they have ever been”, she said.

“At the same time political solutions seem to be completely lacking leaving a void that humanitarian aid cannot fill. Words like ‘unsustainable’ don’t really paint a picture of how desperate the situation really is,” said Jolie.

She met families at the camp, including two mothers who are now widows caring for young children after their husbands died from conditions that could have been treated under normal conditions, Jolie said.

In 2011, Domiz was a small camp housing tents. Now it is a town complete with concrete houses, shops and fast food stalls.

Ahmed Hussein, a refugee father of nine children, one of whom died and five of whom are handicapped, said he and other refugees lacked access to basic treatment and could not find jobs.

“I wish Angelina had come to my house to meet my handicapped children who need medical treatment,” he said in his makeshift house where he has been living since 2015 when he fled the Syrian town of Qamishli with his family.

Mosul devastated

On Saturday Jolie visited Mosul, the biggest city in northern Iraq, which Iraqi forces took back last year from Islamic State militants, who had occupied the city for three years, forcing 900,000 residents to flee.

Jolie met families from western Mosul and walked through bombed out streets, video footage and photos provided by the UNHCR showed.

Normality has returned to many parts of Mosul, with displaced residents leaving camps nearby to return home, but reconstruction in the Old City in West Mosul has been slow.

It was largely destroyed during a campaign by a 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shi’ite militias backed by air support from a U.S.-led coalition.

“This is the worst devastation I have seen in all my years working with UNHCR. People here have lost everything,” Jolie said in a U.N. statement.

“They are destitute. They have no medicine for their children, and many have no running water or basic services,” she said. “I hope there will be a continued commitment to rebuilding and stabilizing the whole of the city. And I call on the international community not to forget Mosul.”

Jolie has worked for UNHCR since 2001, visiting uprooted civilians from Iraq to Cambodia and Kenya. This was her fifth visit to Iraq, UNHCR said.


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Спецпосланець ООН Анджеліна Джолі відвідала Ірак

Спецпосланець ООН у справах біженців Анджеліна Джолі в неділю відвідала табір сирійських біженців на півночі Іраку. Агентство «Ройтерз» повідомляє, що голлівудська актриса прагнула надати підтримку тим, хто змушений був залишити свої будинки в результаті громадянської війни. Джолі відвідала табір Доміні, де перебувають 33 000 біженців із Сирії. Актриса прибула в табір вранці і зустрілася з сім’ями біженців.

Напередодні вона відвідала Мосул, головне місто на півночі Іраку, яке іракські війська відбили у екстремістів. Джихаддисти окупували місто протягом трьох років і перетворили його в цитадель так званого «халіфату». В результаті військових дій загинули 900 000 жителів.

Джолі познайомилася з сім’ями з західного Мосула і пройшлася розбомбленими вулицями, подивилася відеоматеріали і фотографії, надані Верховним комісаром у справах біженців (УВКБ ООН).

Нормальне життя повернулася в багато частин Мосула, куди також повернулися з таборів деякі місцеві жителі. Старе місто в Західному Мосулі було значною мірою зруйноване під час бойових дій, які вели проти ісламістів іракські урядові підрозділи, іракські курди і шиїтська міліція, підтримувані авіацією, під керівництвом США.

Джолі заявила, що її очам відкрилися гірші руйнування, ніж ті, які вона коли-небудь бачила за всі роки роботи з УВКБ ООН. «Люди тут все втратили», – сказала сецпосланець Джолі. «Вони знедолені, у них немає ліків і у багатьох немає проточної води або елементарних зручностей», – сказала вона, закликавши міжнародну спільноту «не забувати про Мосул».

Джолі була призначена спеціальним посланцем Верховного комісара Організації Об’єднаних Націй у справах біженців (УВКБ) в 2012 році, після багатьох років залучення до діяльності УВКБ ООН. В Управлінні ООН у справах біженців вона працює з 2001 року, відвідуючи цивільних осіб, які постраждали від війни в Іраку, Камбоджі і Кенії. Це її п’ятий візит в Ірак і шістдесят перша місія в рамках УВКБ ООН.


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Trump Renews Defense of North Korea Agreement

U.S. President Donald Trump renewed his defense Sunday of the agreement he reached with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, saying it already has led to an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear tests and “rockets flying all over the place.”

Trump has voiced his irritation at U.S. critics’ assessment that the brief pact he and Kim signed at their Singapore summit was not specific enough to ensure an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development. The accord said Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but set no timetable for the disarmament or terms for independent inspections of North Korean nuclear sites.

Trump, on Twitter, said, “Funny how the Fake News” – Trump’s term for news stories he doesn’t like – “in a coordinated effort with each other, likes to say I gave sooo much to North Korea because I ‘met.’ That’s because that’s all they have to disparage! We got so much for peace in the world, & more is being added in finals. Even got our hostages/remains!”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said late last week the United States and North Korea will soon resume negotiations, possibly this week, and the U.S. “most definitely” is expecting verifiable North Korean action to denuclearize the Korean peninsula by the end of Trump’s first term in the White House in January 2021.

Trump also defended his decision to end military exercises with South Korea, long an irritant to North Korea, as Washington and Pyongyang attempt to finalize terms of the denuclearization.

“Holding back the ‘war games’ during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation. Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!” he said.

While en route home from the summit, Trump tweeted, “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea,” an assessment both Democratic and Republican lawmakers in Congress said amounted to hyperbole or wishful thinking, even as they as they mostly praised Trump’s effort in meeting with Kim.

One Trump critic, Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, mangled an American idiom and inadvertently praised Trump, saying that the summit was “all cattle and no hat,” meaning substantive and no talk, instead of the opposite, correct phrasing, he meant to say, “all hat and no cattle.”

Trump tweaked his political rival Sunday, saying, “Chuck Schumer said ‘the Summit was what the Texans call all cattle and no hat.’ Thank you Chuck, but are you sure you got that right? No more nuclear testing or rockets flying all over the place, blew up launch sites. Hostages already back, hero remains coming home & much more!”







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Trump Taps Kraninger for Consumer Protection Post

U.S. President Donald Trump plans to nominate Kathy Kraninger, associate director of the Office of Management and Budget, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which seeks to prevent financial abuses to consumers.

In a statement Saturday, the White House said Kraninger would continue the efforts of the current CFPB chief, Mick Mulvaney, to scale back the agency’s regulatory ambitions while continuing efforts to keep financial fraud in check.

Mulvaney, who is the president’s budget director, had filled the role in an acting capacity, replacing Richard Cordray, an appointee of former President Barack Obama who had led the agency from 2012 until his retirement last year.

The CFPB was formed in the wake of the U.S. financial crisis of 2007-08, authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Its duties are to protect consumers from fraud by banks, credit unions, securities firms, payday lenders, foreclosure relief services and other financial companies. 

Kraninger is currently associate director for general government programs with the Office of Management and Budget, which oversees government spending.

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New Orleans Entertains Spanish Royalty

Following a red carpet arrival Saturday at the New Orleans Museum of Art, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain enjoyed music by a jazz group and a cultural performance by Mardi Gras Indians as they ended a visit to the city celebrating its tricentennial.

After a private lunch with New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell, Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and other dignitaries and officials, the royals departed New Orleans for San Antonio, Texas, which is also celebrating 300 years of existence.

“It was a great and amazing weekend for the city, our residents and the king and queen for them to come back to a former Spanish colony,” said Trey Caruso, a spokesman for Cantrell’s office.

Musical connections

Clarinetist, music historian and Xavier University Spanish professor Michael White said he and his Original Liberty Brass Band played two pieces with a connection to Europe and New Orleans at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

The first piece was Panama, a march in the traditional European style.

“It was published in 1911, and all over the country it was played by and read by brass bands,” White said prior to the performance. “But in New Orleans they kind of threw away the sheet music and improvised, and therefore made it personal. I think it’s a good way to show the interaction between European culture and New Orleans culture.”

The second piece, Andalusian Strut, was one of White’s compositions. It combines a common flamenco structure and flamenco-type rhythms and melodies with classic New Orleans jazz style and improvisation, he said.

“That one went over really, really well,” White said after the event. “The king and all of the people there really loved it.”

White said their third song was When the Saints Go Marching In, which White described as “probably the most famous song in New Orleans history.”

“We surprised them by singing the chorus in Spanish,” he said.

The Mardi Gras Indians, groups of African-Americans who create elaborate feathered and beaded costumes in which they strut and dance through the streets on Mardi Gras, performed as well.

“Though the program was relatively short, I think overall it gave a good idea of New Orleans’ culture,” White said.

Arrived Thursday

Felipe and Letizia flew in Thursday evening to Louisiana, which was a Spanish colony from 1763 to 1802. They arrived at New Orleans’ airport at sunset and were greeted by several officials, including Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Cantrell.

They saluted New Orleans’ centuries-old Spanish heritage at an event Friday at Gallier Hall, a former City Hall opened in 1853 and renovated for the city’s 300th anniversary. That evening, they visited two buildings erected under Spanish rule: St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo, the Spanish government seat in Louisiana.

On Monday they’ll go to Washington for a White House visit Tuesday with President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

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Congressman: Youth Shelter Reflects Flawed US Immigration Plan

A Republican congressman from Texas who toured a tent-like shelter for hundreds of minors who had entered the country illegally said Saturday that the facility was a byproduct of a flawed immigration strategy.

U.S. Representative Will Hurd said the shelter near the Tornillo port of entry in far West Texas would house about 360 boys who are 16 and 17.

The teens began arriving Friday, the same day Hurd toured the shelter, he said, noting that they were being moved from other shelters to make way for younger immigrant children taken into custody at the border.

Federal authorities are separating children from their parents as families arrive at the border.

Hurd, however, said the treatment of minors shouldn’t be used as a threatening means to prevent others from entering the U.S.

“This is a symptom of a flawed strategy, and in the land of the free and home of the brave we shouldn’t use kids as deterrence,” said Hurd, who represents a vast border district that includes the port of entry.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced earlier in the week that it intended to open the shelter.

The port is located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of El Paso, in an area that’s mostly desert and where temperatures routinely approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius). The tent-like structures that comprise the shelter have air conditioning.

Federal figures show nearly 2,000 children were separated from adults from April 19 to May 31 as part of President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.

The administration’s decision to separate children, combined with the flow of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the border illegally, has prompted a surge in the number of children in U.S. shelters.

“How do these kids know where their parents are going, and how do the parents know where their children went?” Hurd asked.

A smarter immigration strategy would address root problems such as economic instability and a breakdown in the rule of law in Central America, he said, while noting the need to use advanced technology and manpower to guard the border.

“Building a 30-foot-high wall is a fourth-century solution to a 21st-century problem,” he said, referring to Trump’s call to build a wall along every mile of the border with Mexico.

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