U.S. says it will separate families crossing border illegally

admin   •   May 8, 2018   •   2419

FILE PHOTO: A four-year-old boy weeps in the arms of a family member as he and others were apprehended by the border partrol agents after illegally crossing into the U.S. border from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, U.S., May 2, 2018. REUTERS/ Adrees Latif

SAN DIEGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump administration will increase criminal prosecutions of parents entering the United States illegally and place their children in protective custody, stepping up efforts to tighten immigration enforcement, U.S. officials said on Monday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Thomas Homan, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the policy was not new and that the government was expanding procedures already in place. They were speaking at Friendship Park, San Diego, at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We have always separated families under two situations, one when we can’t establish them as a parent and that child is being trafficked,” Homan said, adding that migrant smugglers sometimes pose as parents to children that are not theirs. “The second situation when we separate is when we prosecute.”

“People are dying trying to enter this country. There is a right way to do and a wrong way to do it,” Homan said, who has announced that he would retire this year.

In April, Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy in which illegal entrants to the United States would be prosecuted in federal court.

Previously, people apprehended crossing the border illegally were often deported without being criminally charged.

A person stopped by the border patrol and referred to a federal court to face charges is taken to jail by the U.S. Marshals Service and any of their children traveling with them are placed in government custody, with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, Sessions said.

“If we do our duty to prosecute most cases, then children inevitably for a period of time might be held,” Sessions said, speaking over shouts from a protestor with a bull-horn and mariachi music played by a band on the Mexico side.

Reuters first reported the government’s idea to separate parents and children apprehended at the border in March 2017.

In April, the administration said it was no longer considering such action because of a decline in apprehensions of families at the U.S. border with Mexico.

Apprehensions have now risen to levels seen during the administration of former President Barack Obama, frustrating President Donald Trump, who has made illegal immigration a focal point of his administration.

“Illegal immigration must end!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

Immigration advocates have said that separations of children from parents have been happening for months. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in February to challenge the practice.

An official with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that the agency had signed onto the policy on Friday.

Families seeking asylum should turn themselves into authorities so their petitions can be processed instead of attempting to cross illegally, the official said.

The DHS said on Monday that there had been about 30,000 prosecution referrals since the start of the 2018 fiscal year in October, up from 18,642 prosecutions for the entire 2017 fiscal year.

Sessions was scheduled to speak earlier on Monday in Arizona. In prepared remarks, he said the United States would also prosecute immigrants who pay smugglers to bring children across the border.

Reporting by Jennifer McEntee in San Diego and Mica Rosenberg in New York; additional reporting David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Sue Horton and Rosalba O’Brien

Trump acknowledges election defeat, prepares transition for new admin

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 8, 2021

Outgoing United States President Donald Trump has acknowledged his election defeat after the US Congress formally certified the victory of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the 2020 November elections.

“A new administration will be inaugurated on January 20th, my focus now turns into ensuring a smooth and orderly transition of power, this moment calls for healing ang reconciliation,” he said.

He also condemned the violence that occurred after several pro-Trump protesters breached the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

“Demonstrators who infiltrated the capital had defiled the seat of the democracy, to those who engage in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law, you will pay,” he said.

Meanwhile, Facebook and Instagram imposed an indefinite suspension on Trump’s social media accounts. The ban will remain in place for at least two weeks or after the inauguration of Biden.

“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.

President Trump and first lady Melania test positive for COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 2, 2020

United States President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump

United States President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have tested positive for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Trump confirmed their health situation on his twitter account where he also announced they will immediately begin a quarantine and recovery process.

The president’s physician in a statement said the president and the first lady are both well at this time but did not confirm if the two are experiencing symptoms. He added that the first couple will remain in isolation at the White House. AAC

Status still unclear as Trump announces ease of trade ban vs Huawei

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 5, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

The status of Huawei in the United States market remains unclear after President Donald Trump announced plans to ease the trade ban against the Chinese company.

President Trump made the statement last week during the G20 Summit in Japan.

“We mentioned Huawei, I said we have to save that till the very end, we’ll have to see….One of the things I will allow however is, a lot of people are surprised, we send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that go into the various things that they make, and I said that, that’s okay that we will keep selling those products,” he said.

However, despite the announcement, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow said Huawei will remain blacklisted.

“Remember, Huawei remains on the enemy list, which is fundamentally a national security issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, trade talks between the US and China will continue next week to resolve a year-long trade war.—AAC (with reports from Mon Jocson)

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