Author

Adam Shaw

Browsing

In November of last year, when a caravan of hundreds of migrants approached the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego, they faced old landing mat barriers erected decades ago. Border agents say the migrants simply trampled over it as they sought entry into the United States to claim asylum.

The situation on the ground is much different now.

As part of President Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border, 14 miles of 18-foot primary steel bollard fencing has been built in San Diego, with a secondary 30-foot steel bollard barrier behind that which is approximately 80 percent complete.

They replace the 8-foot landing mats, which were often supported by a steel mesh behind that. The difference is dramatic.

“It’s incredibly different…I’m able to see the old landing mat right next to the bollard and I’m able to see the old mesh right next to the new bollard and the difference is startling,” Douglas Harrison, Chief Patrol Agent of U.S. Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector, told Fox News.

Harrison explained that it’s not a barrier that can be easily scaled: “It’s an intimidating barrier. I’m an old Army guy, I was in the 101st Airborne and I would not try to cross that.”

The two barriers in San Diego sector (U.S. Border Patrol)

The project to install 14 miles of replacement barriers began in May 2018 and is now complete. The secondary project began in February this year and it includes two miles of wall that did not exist before, officials say.

It’s part of a project that has, across the whole border, seen 71 miles completed, with an additional 162 currently under construction and an additional 276 miles in the “pre-construction” phase. It’s part of an ambitious plan to get somewhere close to 450-500 miles completed by the end of 2020.

Trump visited the San Diego project in September and spoke of it in glowing terms — even signing his name on the barrier.

“So it’s a very powerful, very powerful wall, the likes of which, probably, to this extent, has not been built before,” he said.

“But the numbers now are way down,” he later added. “And as the wall goes up — literally, as the wall goes up, the numbers go down.”

How effective the new barrier is being, in terms of both deterring migrants and stopping crossings, is tough to calculate. One thing that is clear is that its erection is coinciding with a sharp decline in apprehensions, although correlation does not necessarily equate to causation. In August, there were 3,326 apprehensions in the San Diego sector, down from 6,880 in March and 5,884 in May.

That reflects a borderwide trend that has seen apprehensions along the border as a whole drop almost 65 percent since May, as part of a multi-faceted strategy from the administration that has included not only barrier construction, but also agreements such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — by which tens of thousands of migrants have been returned to Mexico while they await their immigration hearings.

Harrison said that while the wall makes a significant difference, it is hard to state categorically how much of the decline can be attributed to the wall alone.

“Apprehensions are down in the area, some of that reduction is I believe attributable to the barrier, but…at the same time as erecting that wall, we’re using tools like MPP to reduce entries, we got the Mexican government stepping up their enforcement on their northern and southern borders reducing the number of people coming to the area,” he said. “So it’s a very difficult question.”

But the barrier not only lowers apprehensions, it allows officers to make apprehensions more safely and closer to the border — rather than within border communities. Harrison says that, as a result, there has been a surge of construction taking place as better barriers go up, with construction of warehouses, housing, shopping outlets and restaurants.

“Even with the old wall system we had here in San Diego, we’ve got multimillion-dollar developments going up within sight of the border that could not have existed in the environment prior to starting to put that barrier out there,” he said. “There was too much crime, too many people running through.”

But he pushed back on concerns from some Trump supporters who have said that the administration has merely been replacing barrier rather than expanding it. Administration officials have said previously that the timely process of purchasing land has delayed that construction, but there will be more new linear mileage being built in the coming year.

Harrison says this is not merely replacement. It is a completely new system with not only significantly better barriers but with better access and technology to boot that helps agents track down illegal immigrants attempting to enter the U.S.

“In between, we’ve got all-weather roads that allow our guys to move laterally along the border and these didn’t exist until these last few years, so we’re able to move laterally across the border very efficiently,” he said, noting that cameras and sensors have also been added to the barrier.

The project in San Diego is not yet fully complete. After the 14 miles of secondary wall is completed, officials say that they are looking at additional measures, including sealing a gap further back between existing fence and nearby mountains.

The San Diego projects, along with others across the border, are likely to be watched closely by Trump, who will need to assure his base that the “Build the Wall” chant is being delivered upon by his administration.

“It’s going up fast and we’re putting it where the Border Patrol most wants it,” Trump said in a video message last month that likely previews his 2020 campaign message on the subject. “We’re taking money from all over because, as you know, the Democrats don’t want us to build the wall — they’re fighting us at every step.”

Trump fended off another effort against the barriers on Tuesday when he vetoed a resolution, passed by both chambers of Congress, that pushed to end his declaration of a national emergency on the border. Trump declared the emergency earlier this year, allowing him to re-direct money to the wall amid a congressional stalemate on the issue.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: In San Diego, officials say new wall is helping bring border numbers down

In the span of just a few months, the idea of providing health care to illegal immigrants has morphed from a fringe, left-wing fancy to a plank of many 2020 Democrats’ presidential campaigns — but it’s a proposal that one study predicts would cost American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year.

A standout moment of the June 27 Democratic primary debate was that of all the candidates on the stage raising their hands, signifying support for government health care plans including “undocumented” immigrants.

Republicans and the White House have seized on that moment, with President Trump declaring it “the end of the race.”

But with the campaign definitely not over, and a number of frontrunners now backing the policy, more attention is turning to how much it could cost to give millions of illegal immigrants health insurance. On Thursday, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a policy group that advocates for lower levels of immigration overall, published a study finding that the cost could be up to $23 billion a year.

While candidates have not necessarily gone into detail about their plans, CIS cites an Atlantic survey that found that Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and former Housing Secretary Julian Castro would all provide “full benefits” to those in the country illegally.

The CIS study estimated that 4.9 million illegal immigrants have incomes below 400 percent of the poverty line and also do not have insurance — meaning they have incomes low enough to receive coverage via either Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act — also known to many, particularly critics, as ObamaCare.

The study estimates that if all income-eligible, uninsured illegal immigrants received subsidies under the ACA, then the cost to insure would be $22.6 billion, but with “likely enrollment” of 46 percent, the total cost would be perhaps $10.4 billion a year. It predicts that the average cost of a subsidized premium would be $4,637.

If a mixed approach of ACA subsidies and Medicaid enrollment were used, the cost would dip to $19.6 billion with 100 percent enrollment, and $10.7 billion assuming “likely enrollment.”

These numbers could change significantly if a more overarching health care overhaul is passed by a future Democratic White House and Congress.

“Numbers aside, the fact that presidential candidates are advocating spending billions of dollars on people who are in the country illegally is significant in its own right,” the report concludes. “It suggests that allowing in large numbers of less-educated workers will inevitably generate significant political pressure to provide them access to social programs.”

Extending health care to illegal immigrants could, however, be only one part of the cost to taxpayers of more generous social policies being pushed by Democrats.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who was an early champion of left-favored policies now finding their way into 2020 Democratic platforms, recently introduced a new package of policies known as the “Just Society.”

Among those bills is “The Embrace Act,” which would allow illegal immigrants to claim the same welfare benefits as U.S. citizens and those in the country legally.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law … an individual who is an alien (without regard to the immigration status of that alien) may not be denied any federal public benefit solely on the basis of the individual’s immigration status,” the bill reads.

The bill defines a federal public benefit as: “any grant, contract, loan, professional license or commercial license provided by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States; and … any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, post-secondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit,or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of the United States or by appropriated funds of the United States.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Providing health insurance to illegal immigrants could cost up to $23 billion a year, study finds

The United Nations is facing its worst cash crisis in nearly a decade and is warning that it may be unable to pay its bills by the end of the month, while urging member states to pay their contributions to the world body immediately.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote to member states this week, saying that as of the end of September, they have only paid 70 percent of budget contributions, compared with 78 percent at this time last year.

“The Organization runs the risk of depleting its liquidity reserves by the end of the month and defaulting on payments to staff and vendors,” a statement by Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Stressing the Charter obligation of Member States, the Secretary-General thanked the Member States who have paid their regular budget assessments, which is now 129, and urged those who have not paid to do so urgently and in full,” the statement said. “This is the only way to avoid a default that could risk disrupting operations globally. The Secretary-General further asked governments to address the underlying reasons for the crisis and agree on measures to put the United Nations on a sound financial footing.”

While the U.S. is one of the countries that have not paid its contribution in full, an official from the U.S. Mission to the U.N. told Fox News that is in part because of differences in U.S. and U.N. fiscal years.

“To date this year, we have contributed over $600 million to UN peacekeeping operations, and will be providing the vast majority of the $674 million we owe to the 2019 regular budget this fall, as we have in past years,” the official said. “Overall the United States, as the largest contributor to the UN, contributes roughly $10 billion annually in assessed and voluntary contributions across the United Nations system.”

The official also said the U.S. has been clear that no single member should pay for more than a quarter of the U.N. budget. (The U.S. currently pays approximately 22 percent of the U.N.’s operating budget.)

President Trump echoed this sentiment on Wednesday morning, tweeting in reference to reports about the U.N. budget woes: “So make all Member Countries pay, not just the United States!”

Guterres, meanwhile, says he has requested other measures, including reductions in travel, postponement of spending, and postponing conferences and other meetings.

The U.S. is unlikely to step in to help solve the problem anytime soon. The Trump administration has pushed for a re-evaluation of the U.N. budget and has been skeptical of the U.N.’s alignment with U.S. interests.

A recent State Department report found that the U.N. General Assembly is out of sync with U.S. interests in more than two-thirds of votes taken in 2018.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw, Ben Evansky

Source: Fox News: UN sounds alarm on cash crisis, warns it may default on bills by month’s end

President Trump called Friday for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to resign for “fraudulently” reading out a hyperbolic account of Trump’s controversial July phone call with the Ukrainian president.

“Rep. Adam Schiff fraudulently read to Congress, with millions of people watching, a version of my conversation with the President of Ukraine that doesn’t exist. He was supposedly reading the exact transcribed version of the call, but he completely changed the words to make it sound horrible, and me sound guilty,” he tweeted.

He continued, “Adam Schiff therefore lied to Congress and attempted to defraud the American Public. He has been doing this for two years. I am calling for him to immediately resign from Congress based on this fraud!”

The dramatic reading happened Thursday when Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was on Capitol Hill to defend his handling of the whistleblower complaint about the call that touched off a formal impeachment inquiry this week.

The complaint and the transcript of that call, both released this week, detailed how Trump urged President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great,” Trump said in the phone call, according to the transcript. “Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it…It sounds horrible to me.”

But at the hearing, Schiff, D-Calif., offered an exaggerated version of the call.

“I have a favor I want from you,” Schiff said while appearing to read from a piece of paper. “And I’m going to say this only seven times, so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand? Lots of it, on this and on that.”

Schiff later chalked up his fictional summary of the phone call to a joke as he came under fire from conservatives for making up quotes.

“My summary of the president’s call was meant to be at least, part, in parody,” Schiff said. “The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself. Of course, the president never said, ‘If you don’t understand me I’m going to say it seven more times,’ my point is, that’s the message that the Ukraine president was receiving in not so many words.”

Trump on Friday was not buying that claim, however.

“HE WAS DESPERATE AND HE GOT CAUGHT,” he tweeted.

Schiff quickly responded to Trump’s tweet with one of his own, accusing him of trying to cover up a “shakedown.”

“But you’re right about one thing — your words need no mockery,” Schiff said. “Your own words and deeds mock themselves.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Trump demands Schiff resign over ‘parody’ reading of Ukraine call: ‘HE GOT CAUGHT’

Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Matthew Albence on Thursday revealed a recent ICE operation nabbed dozens of illegal immigrants with a record of child sex offenses, as he railed against the dangers of “sanctuary cities” he said put public safety at risk.

“It’s time to publicly call out those who have put politics over public safety, those who make our communities less secure, who create safe havens in which criminal aliens and gangs are allowed to flourish and can victimize innocent people with impunity,” he said in a White House briefing, surrounded by sheriffs and other law enforcement officials.

The briefing was part of a coordinated push by the Trump administration to again highlight the dangers of “sanctuary” jurisdictions that refuse to comply with detainers from immigration enforcement authorities. Senior ICE officials will be holding briefings across the country to warn of the dangers of sanctuary policies.

Those detainers request that local law enforcement notify immigration authorities when an illegal immigrant who has been arrested is due to be released from jail, so that they can be picked up by ICE and placed in deportation proceedings. Albence said that last year they deported more than 145,000 criminal illegal immigrants, including 10,000 gang members, and that about 70 percent of arrests ICE conducts occur via a detainer from a local or state jail or prison.

But with anti-ICE and open-border sentiments taking a growing hold among Democratic lawmakers and left-wing activists, a number of cities and states — including New Jersey, California, Chicago and New York City — have implemented sanctuary policies and refused to cooperate with law enforcement.

Albence pointed to a national ICE operation this week in which officers made 1,300 arrests. He said that of those, officers arrested nearly 200 who could have been arrested in jail if detainers had been honored.

Of those arrested, three had convictions for murder or manslaughter and 100 had convictions for sexual crimes — with nearly half of those crimes involving children. Meanwhile, 70 had convictions for drug crimes and 328 had convictions for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Albence gave the example of a man in Mecklenburg County, N.C., who was arrested for driving while intoxicated earlier this year. ICE filed a detainer but he was released. In June he was then arrested for two counts of assault on a female, assault by strangulation, assault with a deadly weapon and a DWI. He was again released, despite an ICE detainer.

“Hopefully we will find him before he hurts or kills another innocent victim,” he said.

He added that ICE could prevent numerous crimes if local law enforcement complied with detainers, and asked what those jurisdictions to say to the family of a victim of a crime committed by an illegal immigrant.

“For those who support victims’ rights, and who among us doesn’t, how do we tell a grieving victim that the person who hurt you or your loved one that the crime was preventable if local law enforcement had merely honored a detainer or given us a phone call?” he said. “Who are these sanctuary cities really protecting?”

Law enforcement who joined Albence at the podium echoed those sentiments.

“We know that too often in the wake of these criminal aliens are left nothing but a trail of victims,” said Sheriff Jim Skinner of Collin County, Texas.

Albence’s questioning of whether liberal immigration policies are as compassionate as activists claim comes on the heels of Trump making a similar argument at the United Nations, where he slammed the “cruel” policies of open-border activists.

“Today, I have a message for those open border activists who cloak themselves in the rhetoric of social justice: Your policies are not just, your policies are cruel and evil,” he said Tuesday, accusing them of promoting human smuggling and the “erasure of national borders.”

“You are empowering criminal organizations that prey on innocent men, women and children. You put your own false sense of virtue before the lives and well-being of countless innocent people,” he said. “When you undermine border security, you are undermining human rights and human dignity.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: ICE nabs dozens of illegal immigrants with record of child sex offenses, as director slams sanctuary cities

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., told a Minneapolis audience this week that the United Nations should be brought in to oversee the migration crisis at the southern border.

“We should do what any other country does, by dealing with this situation in a serious way,” she told the audience on Tuesday. “So we have to bring in the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees – an agency that has the expertise and the training to handle massive flows of refugees humanely.”

Earlier, she declared that the U.S. is “losing our moral high ground” on the question of immigration and asylum. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that she made the remarks at a town hall on immigration in south Minneapolis.

“We are treating people like criminals when they have not committed a crime,” she said.

“It doesn’t make any sense for us to be committing these kinds of human rights violations, to have these policies in the way we interact with migrants and asylum seekers if we want to continue to be the kind of country that condemns countries in Africa, in Asia or Latin American countries for its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers,” she said.

Omar is one of the four freshman congresswomen, known as “The Squad,” who have played a prominent role in pushing the Democratic Party increasingly to the left on the question of illegal immigration and asylum. Many of the party’s 2020 hopefuls now embrace policies such as health care for illegal immigrants, the decriminalizing of illegal border crossings and abolishing or overhauling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In response to the migration crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants flooding to the border in recent months, the Trump administration has set out to tighten immigration law and increase enforcement at the border — including closing loopholes in the law, and building new barriers at the border in places such as Arizona and Texas.

It has also been securing agreements with countries south of the border, including Mexico and Guatemala — something that officials at the border recently told Fox News is having an effect in dissuading migrants from making the trip north.

Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, has advocated for a number of those extreme proposals. In May, she criticized Trump’s immigration plan and laid out a list of counter-proposals that would curb enforcement and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already in the country.

“We need to abolish ICE and end all inhumane deportation and detention programs. We need to fight back against the criminalization of immigrants and those crossing the border,” she said. “We need to create a fair and accessible path to legal status and citizenship for all undocumented people in the United States.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Omar calls for UN to handle migration crisis at the southern border

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has claimed that President Trump is “scared” of her and her fellow “Squad” members in the wake of her canceled trip to Israel and the subsequent feud with the president.

“It’s been very clear to me, especially this last week, that he’s scared of us,” Tlaib said in an interview with The Guardian that was published Saturday. “He’s afraid of women of color … because we’re not afraid of him and we’re not afraid to speak up and say that we have a white supremacist in the White House who has a hate agenda.”

“He’s afraid because we have a real agenda for the American people,” she said.

Trump has frequently scrapped with the four progressive congresswomen – Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. – since they entered Congress in January.

The most recent battle came last week when Omar and Tlaib, known for their strong criticisms of Israel, were blocked from traveling to the country. Israel later granted permission to Tlaib to visit her Palestinian grandmother, but Tlaib decided she did not want to abide by the restrictions placed on her about promoting boycotts of Israel.

“She said I’m her dream manifested,” Tlaib said of her grandmother at a press conference. “I’m her free bird so why would I come back and be caged and bow down?”

Trump suggested the moment was not genuine.

“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” the president tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”

In her interview with the left-wing outlet, Tlaib said that the Squad’s radical ideas – such as Medicare-for-all, a Green New Deal, and higher taxes on the rich — are more popular with Americans than Trump’s policies.

“He can bring it,” she said, “because we actually have policies that came from the people. What he’s doing by choosing us four as his target is trying to distract folks from the fact that more people are living in poverty than ever, because he has failed as a president.”

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Rashida Tlaib says Trump is ‘scared’ of her and the ‘Squad’

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workers are facing a rapidly escalating series of threats, including protesters menacing their children and shots being fired at their offices, amid a rising tide of anti-ICE rhetoric from the left fueled by congressional Democrats, media voices and presidential hopefuls.

Footage published Tuesday by Breitbart News shows protesters in Florida from groups such as Never Again Action and Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward County threatening workers and former employees of the GEO Group, a private contractor used by ICE.

One protester threatened the family of GEO Group’s former general counsel, John Bulfin.

“We know where all your children live throughout the country … John Bulfin you have kids in [bleeped out], you have kids in [bleeped out],” the protester yelled. “We know everything about you and you won’t just be seeing us here.”

“We know where you sleep at night,” another protester shouted. “We know what kind of dog food you buy your dogs.”

“We’re not actually joking,” the protester said before shouting the location of where Bulfin lives. “John Bulfin you go to [bleeped out], you go to church on [bleeped out], you live on [bleeped out] the road. We are not joking.”

Another can be heard yelling: “When immigrant bodies are under attack, what do we do?”

“Fight back,” other protesters responded.

Breitbart reports that the footage was taken a day before shots were fired early Tuesday at an ICE office and GEO Group office in San Antonio, Texas, in what the FBI has called a “targeted attack.”

The shooting occurred around 3 a.m. at an ICE building where two floors house administrative and executive offices, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The outlet reported another shooting occurred at a separate facility where an ICE contractor is located.

“All of the shots that we have found are on the floors where ICE had offices,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Combs said. “This is no question a very targeted attack. It’s not a secret facility, you can go online, it’s [the address is] out there. So they did some research, they knew what floors ICE was on, they knew what buildings they were and they hit those.”

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli tweeted out pictures of the bullet holes.

The incidents are the latest escalation in anti-ICE sentiment that has shifted from calls to abolish the agency and claims that it is “caging children” to threats and violence within the space of a year.

Last month, a man was killed by Washington state authorities when he threw incendiary devices at both an immigration center and nearby propane tanks. In Colorado, protesters demonstrating outside an ICE facility replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag. Also last month, protesters were arrested after trying to storm an ICE building in Washington, D.C.

Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday that people need to tone down “dangerous” rhetoric that demonizes ICE officials.

“The environment where we’re demonizing our law enforcement for doing their jobs and enforcing the law on the books is concerning,” he said. “It can be dangerous and it can result in people taking action that are not supported by facts that are not in response to anything inappropriate that the men and women of ICE are doing and we’ve got to tone that down.”

In an op-ed for Fox News Wednesday, former ICE Director Thomas Homan said that he had to deal with death threats when he was in charge of the agency and had to receive round-the-clock armed protection for weeks.

He also noted increasingly heated rhetoric from elected Democrats and presidential hopefuls about the work ICE does.

“In addition to the threats of violence, we see elected officials at the local, state and national level calling the Border Patrol, ICE and anyone that enforces our immigration law Nazis, racists, and obscene names,” he wrote.

He also asked where the outrage was from Democrats, who recently have partly blamed President Trump for creating anti-immigrant sentiment that encouraged the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.

“Here’s the bottom line: Hate is hate, terrorism is terrorism, and murder is murder. Politicians who condemn attacks on themselves and institutions and policies they support have an obligation to condemn such attacks on their opponents just as vigorously.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: ICE offices, workers hit by wave of violence and threats: ‘We know where all your children live’

President Trump arrived at the University Medical Center of El Paso to meet with first responders, medical personnel, and victims on Wednesday afternoon, just four days after 22 people were killed by gunman Patrick Crusius at a Texas Walmart.

The president was greeted at the airport by the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, as well as Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo — who bucked Democrats’ calls on Monday to turn the president away.

As happened earlier Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, scene of another lethal mass shooting this weekend, Trump was greeted by protesters demanding gun control reform and an end to caustic rhetoric — including some from the president — that they believed to be contributing to a culture of violence in America.

On the whole, however, reaction to Trump’s visit was welcoming — and, according to MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff, “surprisingly positive.”

Raul Melendez, an El Paso resident whose father-in-law, David Johnson, was killed in Saturday’s shooting, said the most appropriate thing Trump could do was to meet with relatives of the victims.

President Trump and the first lady with a victim and medical personnel at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. [WHITE HOUSE PHOTO]

“It shows that he actually cares, if he talks to individual families,” said Melendez, who credits Johnson with helping his 9-year-old daughter survive the attack by pushing her under a counter. Melendez, an Army veteran and the son of Mexican immigrants, said he holds only the shooter responsible for the attack.

“That person had the intent to hurt people, he already had it,” he said. “No one’s words would have triggered that.”

WHITE HOUSE PHOTO

Reporters were not given access to Trump’s visits to the hospitals in either El Paso or Dayton. Instead, the White House released its own photos, tweeted by the president and his staff. The photos did not come from the press pool.

Also in opposition to protests, Vibora Anchondo, the sister of a couple shot to death in El Paso, reportedly wrote on Facebook: “It’s such a shame that two of our local politicians (I refuse to say their names as they don’t deserve it) are saying that our President is not welcome on Wednesday. …I cannot believe how these monsters are using the tragic event to push their political agenda.”

WHITE HOUSE PHOTO

During the flight from Dayton to El Paso, Trump posted photos of himself and first lady Melania Trump visiting wounded patients at a hospital. Trump posed for photos with medical staff and spoke with law enforcement officials, giving a “thumbs up” in one.

Trump tweeted, “The people I met in Dayton are the finest anywhere!”

President Trump greets Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, second from left, and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, watch, as first lady Melania Trump greets Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Trump was kept out of view of reporters at the Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio as he spoke with families and victims of the shootings. Nine people were killed when police say gunman Connor Betts opened fire outside a crowded bar on Sunday.

Outside the hospital, at least 200 protesters, as well as Trump supporters, gathered.

“Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders,” Trump wrote on Twitter, as Air Force One made its way to El Paso. “It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love.”

The president then slammed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and “failed presidential candidate” Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, saying they had used a press conference to misrepresent what occurred during his hospital visit. Brown told reporters that he had rejected Trump’s suggestion of giving awards to police officers, and told the president that “assault weapons” should instead be removed from the streets to protect them.

“It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with,” Trump said, referring to Whaley and Brown’s comments.

Later, in El Paso, Trump told reporters, “I get on Air Force One, turn on the TV, they said: ‘I don’t know if it was appropriate for [the president] to be there. They are very dishonest.”

Referring to Brown, Trump said, “That’s why he failed as a presidential candidate.”

At the same time, Brown remarked during the press conference, “[Trump] was comforting. He did the right things, Melania did the right things. And it’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it in those hospital rooms.”

Demonstrators chant as they protest the arrival of President Trump in Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

“I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the president of the United States came to Dayton,” Whaley said.

Trump aide Dan Scavino said that Trump spent almost two hours with survivors and first responders in Dayton, calling the visit “truly special moments for everyone that was present.”

Scavino also attacked Whaley and Brown, saying they were “completely mischaracterizing what took place w/ the President’s visit to Miami Valley Hospital today” and are “disgraceful politicians, doing nothing but politicizing a mass shooting, at every turn they can.”

In all, the shootings in Ohio and Texas left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured.

Trump said before departing the White House that the visits are an opportunity to meet with those affected by the shootings and “to congratulate some of the police and law enforcement, the job they’ve done is incredible, really incredible.”

Demonstrators at the Dayton hospital. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

As the motorcade arrived at the hospital in Ohio, one protester held a sign, “End This Terror,” and gave the motorcade a middle finger. Protesters also gathered in front of a “Trump baby” balloon.

Trump has come under intense criticism from Democrats and media pundits in the wake of the shooting for both his alleged inaction on gun control and incendiary rhetoric on immigration — which critics have linked to the El Paso shooting.

Those critics have cited reports that Crusius was a white nationalist who penned a manifesto against Hispanic immigrants, and said he described the migrants coming across the southern border as an “invasion” of Texas. Trump has used similar rhetoric in his remarks about the migration crisis at the border.

But, speaking to reporters as he boarded Marine One at the White House earlier Wednesday, Trump countered those criticisms by citing reports that Betts — the shooter in Dayton — supported Antifa, along with Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

The Associated Press reported that a Twitter account believed to be from gunman Connor Betts showed tweets labeling himself a “leftist,” bemoaning the election of Trump, supporting Warren and encouraging people to cut fences of immigrant detention centers.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. (Ty Greenlees/Dayton Daily News via AP, Pool)

He has also sparred with El Paso native and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday night — he told him to “be quiet” after O’Rourke compared his rhetoric to that found in Nazi Germany — and former Vice President Joe Biden, who compared Trump’s rhetoric to that of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace. On Wednesday, Trump called Biden “incompetent.”

However, he also insisted he was trying to stay out of the political fray.

“My critics are political people, they’re trying to make points in many cases they’re running for president and are very low in the polls,” he said. “These are people looking for political gain, and I don’t think they’re getting it and, as much as possible, I’ve tried to stay out of it.”

Criticism over too-easy access to guns followed Trump to Ohio, with both protesters and Sen.Brown, D-Ohio, taking Trump to task for what they see as inaction from him and fellow Republicans in Congress.

“We can’t get anything done in the Senate because [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the president of the United States are in bed with the gun lobby,” Brown told reporters.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump said that there is a “strong appetite” for legislation on background checks in Congress and he had had “plenty of talks” with members of congressional leadership.

“I’m looking to do background checks, I think background checks are important, I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate, sick people. … I’m all for it,” he said.

A White House spokesman said that the White House has invited Internet and technology companies for a staff-led discussion on violent extremism online on Friday. The meeting is to include senior administration officials from the White House.

Fox News’ Blake Burman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.

Author: Adam Shaw, Gregg Re

Source: Fox News: Mass shootings bring Trump to Dayton, El Paso amid protests

President Trump’s push to limit the number of asylum seekers flooding across the border suffered another defeat in the courts on Friday, when a federal judge ruled that the government cannot stop migrants from claiming asylum in the U.S., even if they have crossed the border illegally.

The decision concerned a policy announced by Trump in November that bars migrants who entered the U.S. across the southern border from being eligible for asylum unless they presented themselves at a port of entry. Trump has said he was acting in response to caravans of migrants making their way to the border.

But the policy was temporarily blocked last year by a federal appeals court, which said it was inconsistent with federal law and was an attempt to bypass Congress. The Supreme Court later blocked the immediate enforcement of the policy in a 5-4 decision in December.

On Friday, Judge Randolph Moss said that the president had determined that the influx of migrants across the border poses a “particular problem for the national interest,” but Moss ruled that the assessment “is neither sufficient to override a statutory mandate permitting all aliens present in the United States to apply for asylum” whether or not they arrived at a designated port of entry.

The judge was referring to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which defines who may apply for asylum, and says that any one physically present in the U.S. may do so regardless of whether or not they entered via a designated port of entry.

The case was brought by 19 asylum seekers from Central America, who entered the U.S. between ports of entry and claimed that the president’s restrictions were illegal on a number of counts — including that it is inconsistent with the INA.

According to the ruling, the government argued that while the INA says that illegal immigrants may “apply” for asylum, the rule does not stop them from applying but instead makes them “ineligible” for asylum. Judge Moss dismissed this argument as a distinction without a difference.

“As a matter of common usage, no one would draw a meaningful distinction, for example, between a rule providing that children may not apply for a driver’s license and one providing that children are not eligible to receive a driver’s license,” he wrote. “Both locutions mean the same thing.”

“The Rule’s direction that ‘an alien shall be ineligible for asylum’ if the alien entered the United States outside a designated port of entry is not ‘compatible’ with the congressional mandate that all aliens present in the United States may ‘apply’ for asylum, regardless of whether they entered the United States at a designated port of entry,” he said.

The case is one of a number of challenges to the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on migrants coming across the border and claiming asylum. The administration has said it is trying to cut down on magnets that act as a pull force for migrants, including rules that limit how long family units can be held in detention.

Last month Trump announced a “safe third country” deal with Guatemala that would requires migrants who cross into the country to apply for asylum there instead of at the U.S. border. However, that too faces court challenges in both Guatemala and the U.S.

Also last month, a California federal judge blocked a rule that would require migrants to first apply in one of the countries they cross on their way to the U.S. — with certain exceptions. The rule is targeted at tens of thousands of Central Americans who cross Mexico each month trying to enter the U.S.

The policy follows the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly referred to as the “remain in Mexico” policy. Under that policy, asylum seekers were often told to go back to Mexico to await hearings, rather than be allowed to remain in the U.S.

But those restrictions have seen fierce opposition not only in the courts, but in Congress, where Democrats have decried the efforts as cruel and inhumane.

Fox News’ Bill Mears, Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Adam Shaw

Source: Fox News: Federal judge strikes down Trump asylum ban on migrants who illegally cross border

Ad Blocker Detected!

Advertisements fund this website. Please disable your adblocking software or whitelist our website.
Thank You!