The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday asked a judge to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent President Donald Trump from using funds identified from his national emergency declaration to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, CNN reports.
“Defendants are moving quickly to construct the border wall, and they have awarded contracts against funds that Congress did not appropriate for that purpose,” House General Counsel Doug Letter and other lawyers wrote in a 56-page motion filed to U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden. “And more contracts are coming soon. Once made, these unconstitutional expenditures cannot be undone, and the grave institutional injury inflicted on the House cannot be remedied.”
Trump declared a national emergency in mid-February in an attempt to secure more funding to build a barrier, a move that resulted in roughly $6 billion from the Pentagon’s budget and $600 million from the Treasury Department being shifted over to use for the barrier.
Trump, House lawyers said, violated the U.S. Constitution with his decision to do so.
“The decision to spend funds ‘without Congress’ violates the Appropriations Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which mandates that ‘[n]o Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,'” they wrote.
Lawmakers earlier in the month only allocated $1.375 billion for the barrier, far less than the $5.7 billion Trump requested.
Source: NewsMax America
FILE PHOTO: A child looks through the border wall during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to Calexico, California, as seen in Mexicali, Mexico April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso
April 19, 2019
(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico on Thursday called for state authorities to investigate a small group of armed U.S. citizens who they alleged are illegally detaining migrants entering the United States.
The United Constitutional Patriots, who claim to be mainly military veterans, have been patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border near Sunland Park, New Mexico, since late February in search of illegal border crossers.
They post near daily videos showing members dressed in camouflage and armed with semi-automatic rifles holding groups of migrants, many of them Central American families seeking asylum, until U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive to arrest them.
The small volunteer group says it is helping Border Patrol deal with a surge in undocumented migrants but civil rights organizations like the ACLU say it is a “fascist militia organization” operating outside the law.
“We cannot allow racist and armed vigilantes to kidnap and detain people seeking asylum,” the ACLU said in a letter to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Hector Balderas.
“We urge you to immediately investigate this atrocious and unlawful conduct.”
The offices of Lujan Grisham and Balderas did not respond to requests for comment.
On a March 27 visit to El Paso, Texas, next to Sunland Park, then U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said his agency, which runs U.S. Border Patrol, did not need the help of citizens to police the border.
“We are not asking for civil society groups to provide border security assistance,” said McAleenan, who was recently appointed acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
U.S. CBP did not respond to a request for further comment. UCP member John Horton did not immediately return calls. Horton has previously told media that UCP members are armed for self defense, as is their right under U.S. law, and aware they cannot detain people entering the United States illegally.
U.S. armed groups have long patrolled the U.S. border, their numbers rising during upticks in migrant apprehensions, such as during the mid 2000s when the Minuteman Project was established.
The UCP says it is responding to a rise in migrant arrests to their highest monthly levels in more than a decade.
The ACLU said the group was a product of the Trump administration’s “vile racism” that “has emboldened white nationalists and fascists to flagrantly violate the law.”
(This story adds dropped words in paragraph 8)
(Reporting By Andrew Hay in Taos New Mexico; Editing by Robert Birsel)
President Donald Trump on Tuesday vetoed a bill passed by Congress to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
In a break with the president, Congress voted for the first time earlier this month to invoke the War Powers Resolution to try to stop U.S. involvement in a foreign conflict.
The veto — the second in Trump’s presidency — was expected. Congress lacks the votes to override him.
“This resolution is an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities, endangering the lives of American citizens and brave service members, both today and in the future,” Trump wrote in explaining his veto.
Congress has grown uneasy with Trump’s close relationship with Saudi Arabia as he tries to further isolate Iran, a regional rival.
Many lawmakers also criticized the president for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States and had written critically about the kingdom. Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October and never came out. Intelligence agencies said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the killing.
The U.S. provides billions of dollars of arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Members of Congress have expressed concern about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014. The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country also has left millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and has pushed the country to the brink of famine.
House approval of the resolution came earlier this month on a 247-175 vote. The Senate vote last month was 54-46.
Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, voted to end U.S. military assistance to the war, saying the humanitarian crisis in Yemen triggered “demands moral leadership.”
The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, acknowledged the dire situation in Yemen for civilians, but spoke out in opposition to the bill. McCaul said it was an abuse of the War Powers Resolution and predicted it could disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements with more than 100 countries.
Trump issued his first veto last month on legislation related to immigration. Trump had declared a national emergency so he could use more money to construct a border wall. Congress voted to block the emergency declaration and Trump vetoed that measure.
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott addresses supporters at his midterm election night party in Naples, Florida, U.S. November 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
April 14, 2019
By Michelle Price
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump may have threatened to transport illegal immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities to “make everybody crazy” and generate media attention, Republican U.S. Senator Rick Scott said on Sunday.
Trump said on Friday he was considering sending illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, prompting U.S. mayors to accept such an offer as the battle over border security rages.
Sanctuary cities are local jurisdictions that generally give undocumented immigrants safe harbor by refusing to use their resources to help enforce federal immigration laws that could lead to deportations. Many such jurisdictions are Democratic strongholds.
Speaking to CNN’s “State of the Union,” Scott said he did not know if transporting immigrants to these jurisdictions was legal or illegal, adding: “I mean maybe he’s just saying this to make everybody crazy, make everybody talk about it on their shows.”
Scott, a former Florida governor who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November, has generally kept his distance from Trump and criticized him in the past over immigration policies and other issues.
Frustrated by rising numbers of undocumented immigrants arriving at the southern border and a failure to get Congress to fully fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall, Trump taunted Democrats by dangling the possibility of an influx of illegal immigrants into their communities.
“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
On Sunday, Scott said sanctuary cities themselves were illegal and that the administration had to comply with the law in addressing the influx of migrants at the southern border.
“I’m sure the president is very frustrated because we’re not securing our border, the Democrats are stopping this. But we have to comply with every law.”
(Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
FILE PHOTO: A man plays gives children rocks to play with inside an enclosure, where they are being held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States illegally and turning themselves in to request asylum, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
April 10, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has approved a request to identify places to potentially house up to 5,000 unaccompanied migrant children, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
In March, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requested Pentagon support to identify locations to house unaccompanied migrant children through Sept. 30.
Migrant arrivals on the U.S. border with Mexico have been building steadily for months, driven by growing numbers of children and families, especially from Central America.
Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis told Reuters Shanahan approved that request on Tuesday. Davis said HHS had made no request to actually house the children so far.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he was not reviving a policy of separating children from parents who had illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, one day after media reports that his administration was considering putting it back in place.
In February Trump declared a national emergency to help build a border wall, which would allow him to spend money on it that Congress had appropriated for other purposes. Congress declined to fulfill his request for $5.7 billion to help build the wall this year.
The Republican president’s latest pronouncements, including a threat to impose auto tariffs on Mexico, are in response to the rising number of migrants.
Trump has previously turned to the military to help with his border crackdown.
Last year, the U.S. military was asked to house up to 20,000 immigrant children but the space was never used.
Last month the Pentagon said it had shifted $1 billion to plan and build a 57-mile section of “pedestrian fencing,” roads and lighting along the border with Mexico.
There are about 6,000 active duty and National Guard troops near the border.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)
President Donald Trump is getting his wall built.
At least part of it.
The Department of Defense on Tuesday said it awarded nearly $1 billion in contracts to Texas-based company SLSCO Ltd. and Montana-based Barnard Construction company to build barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
SLSCO was granted $789 million for “border replacement wall construction” in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, located in the El Paso sector of the border, while Barnard was given $187 million for design-bid-build construction project for primary pedestrian wall replacement” in Yuma, Arizona.
The funds for both projects, which are expected to be completed by fall 2020, were diverted from the $1 billion the Pentagon repurposed for its counter-narcotics program. The contracts were awarded by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, told CNN the El Paso sector contract would include the construction of “30-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate,” and the Yuma project will feature “18-foot bollard fencing and a five-foot anti-climb plate.”
The $1 billion is separate from the $3.6 billion in military construction funds the administration received in funds after Trump declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border two months ago.
Source: NewsMax America
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and U.S. President Donald Trump arrive to view a section of border wall in Calexico California, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
April 8, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Monday that President Donald Trump would replace the head of the U.S. Secret Service, a day after Trump asked for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Nielsen and Trump had long clashed over immigration issues, and her departure came amid a surge in migrants from Central America at the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
Trump announced on Twitter that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, would become acting DHS secretary.
Randolph “Tex” Alles, the outgoing head of the Secret Service, said he had not been fired but that his departure was part of a broader shake-up of the Department of Homeland Security.
The White House said James Murray, a career Secret Service agent, would take over in May.
The Secret Service came under scrutiny after a Chinese woman carrying electronic devices was charged with bluffing her way through security checks at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Trump’s White House has had the highest turnover of senior-level staff of the past five presidents, according to figures compiled by the Brookings Institution think tank.
Here are some senior figures who have been fired, quit or otherwise changed roles in the administration.
Linda McMahon – The Republican fundraiser was one of Trump’s first Cabinet picks. She served as director of the Small Business Administration until March, when she resigned to join Trump’s re-election campaign. Trump nominated U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza to the position in April.
Clete Willems – A key figure in trade talks with China and a deputy to Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, Willems said in March he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Heather Wilson – The U.S. Air Force secretary, considered a top candidate to become the next defense secretary, decided to return to academia.
Bill Shine – Eight months after being hired as the White House communications director, he resigned to work on Trump’s re-election campaign. A source close to Trump said the president had lost confidence in the former Fox News executive.
Jim Mattis – In a candid resignation letter that laid bare his growing divide with Trump over Syria and Afghanistan policies, the defense secretary abruptly quit, shocking allies and Congress. Trump named Mattis’ deputy, Patrick Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, to the role in an acting capacity soon afterward.
Ryan Zinke – Trump’s first interior secretary left at the end of 2018 amid investigations into his use of security details, chartered flights and a real estate deal.
John Kelly – A retired Marine Corps general, Kelly was hired as White House chief of staff to bring order to the chaotic Trump White House, but ultimately fell out with his boss. Trump named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, to the job on an acting basis on Dec. 14.
Jeff Sessions – The former Republican U.S. senator from Alabama was finally forced out as attorney general on Nov. 7 after months of being attacked and ridiculed by the president for recusing himself from a special counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. He was replaced briefly by Matthew Whitaker until William Barr was confirmed to the job.
Nikki Haley – The former South Carolina governor stepped down at the end of 2018 as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Trump first put forward State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert as her successor, but she later withdrew. Trump has since nominated Republican donor and U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft for the position.
Don McGahn – Trump said in August the White House counsel would leave amid strains between the two over the Russia probe.
Scott Pruitt – The Environmental Protection Agency chief quit on July 5 under fire over a series of ethics controversies.
David Shulkin – White House officials said on March 28 that the Veterans Affairs secretary would resign.
H.R. McMaster – The national security adviser was replaced on March 22 by John Bolton.
Rex Tillerson – The secretary of state was fired by Trump on March 13 after long-standing tension between them.
Gary Cohn – The National Economic Council director and former Goldman Sachs president said on March 5 he would resign. Trump picked Larry Kudlow to replace him.
Hope Hicks – The White House communications director, a long-serving and trusted Trump aide, resigned on Feb. 28.
Rob Porter – The White House staff secretary resigned in February after accusations of domestic abuse from former wives.
Omarosa Manigault Newman – The former reality TV star was fired as assistant to the president in December.
Tom Price – The Health and Human Services secretary quit under pressure from Trump on Sept. 29 over travel practices.
Stephen Bannon – Trump’s chief strategist was fired by Trump in mid-August after clashing with White House moderates.
Anthony Scaramucci – The White House communications director was fired by Trump in July after 10 days on the job.
Reince Priebus – Replaced as chief of staff by Kelly, Priebus lost Trump’s confidence after setbacks in Congress.
Sean Spicer – Resigned as White House press secretary in July, ending a turbulent tenure.
Michael Dubke – Resigned as White House communications director in May.
James Comey – The FBI director, who led the Russia probe before the special counsel was appointed, was fired by Trump in May.
Michael Flynn – Resigned in February as Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.
Sally Yates – Fired in January by Trump as acting attorney general.
(Reporting by Washington Newsroom; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney)
FILE PHOTO: Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and commissioner for Customs and Border Patrol Kevin McAleenan listen to U.S. President Donald Trump speak during a visit to a section of border wall in Calexico California, U.S., April 5, 2019. Picture taken April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
April 8, 2019
(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday issued an injunction halting the Trump administration’s policy of sending some asylum seekers back across the southern border to wait out their cases in Mexico.
The ruling is slated to take effect on Friday, according to the order by U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg in San Francisco.
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Leslie Adler)
Amid the wild politicization of immigration, infrastructure, and healthcare in a polarized Washington, there are compromises to be made on both sides, according to former Democratic Party Chair Ed Rendell.
“That’s what we need in America right now,” Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, told host John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on 970 AM-N.Y. “We need to do a bipartisan immigration bill. Which means both sides have to compromise. We need to do a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which means both sides are going to have to find a way to fund it and stick by it.
“And we need to do a bipartisan fix to Obamacare. Republicans should realize they are not going to repeal Obamacare – and try to change it and make it better. And the Democrats should pitch in and do that.”
Striking a moderate tone with host John Catsimatidis, Rendell acknowledges the need for a border wall and immigration reform, despite Democratic resistance and obstruction.
“There are some places where the wall is necessary and good – and if the professional personnel tell us there was additional wall needed to be built, we should agree to build it,” Rendell said. “But we should agree to build it only if the other side compromises, and, let’s say, fixes the Dreamers. And then what they ought to do is compromise on a really comprehensive solution to all of the problems facing us with immigration. Let’s get it done! Both sides can compromise.”
The problem with compromise in Washington is having to give in to the other side that has shown a distaste for the president and his policies, moving beyond legislation to investigation.
“It’s a fine line . . . we’re ought to legislate, and not just investigate,” Rendell said of House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s, D-N.Y., investigations of the Trump administration, presidential campaign, and private organizations. “We are there to do the people’s business. But there are some areas where investigations are appropriate. No question about it.”
Source: NewsMax Politics