The Florida House has passed a high-profile Republican bill requiring local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and banning so-called “sanctuary city” policies that shield immigrants who are arrested.
The GOP-led House voted 69-47 along party lines Wednesday for the measure, sending it over to the Senate where a similar bill is pending.
Florida doesn’t currently have any formal “sanctuary cities” like those in other states. The bill sponsored by GOP Rep. Cord Byrd of Jacksonville Beach would require local authorities to honor federal immigration detainer requests that can lead to a person’s deportation.
The bill prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to warn immigrants against traveling to Florida and triggered protests around the state. Democrats failed in attempts to weaken the bill or create exceptions.
Source: NewsMax America
Former House Speaker John Boehner has a message for former Ohio Gov. John Kasich: Don’t bother challenging President Donald Trump for the Republican ticket in 2020.
“There’s this 38 percent of America that’s very big supporters of President Trump. And you know, they’re gonna show up and vote for him,” Boehner said during an appearance on CNBC host Chuck Todd’s podcast, “Chuck Toddcast,” per The Hill.
Kasich, a CNN senior political contributor, has been a prominent critic of Trump’s on everything from tax cuts to the immigration policy of family separation.
Asked if Trump has done anything he agrees with, Kasich said border control, lower taxes, and higher financial contributions from European allies are all needed. But the president has set too negative a tone when he’s not wrong, with an overall “dismal” record, Kasich said.
“Tariffs are a bad idea. Debt is a bad idea. Family separation is a bad idea. Demonizing immigrants is a bad idea. And breaking down our alliances is bad too,” Kasich told The Associated Press in December.
He ran a failed presidential primary campaign in 2016 and is considering his options for 2020.
“If you’re not around the hoop, you can’t get a rebound,” Kasich said during an interview with the AP. “So we’re hanging around the hoop, and we’re very serious about this. How would we not be?”
“It’s not like I wouldn’t do it,” he said of a potential run. “You can’t be afraid to do it.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tajora shelter center in Tripoli, Libya April 24,2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
April 24, 2019
By Ahmed Elumami
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libyan officials have opened the doors of a detention center for illegal migrants in Tripoli, but frightened Somalis and other sub-Saharan Africans told Reuters they had decided to stay for fear of getting caught up in fighting engulfing the capital.
“We don’t want to leave…we have no place to go,” said a 20-year old migrant who gave his name as Daoud, sitting on a mattress in a warehouse where 550 migrants have been held. His pregnant wife sits in a different room.
More than 3,600 jailed migrants have been trapped in the capital since forces from the east of the country started an advance to capture it, the United Nations says.
On Tuesday, some 12 migrants were wounded when unknown gunmen opened fire on them in a detention center in a suburb fought over by both sides, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. Details remain unclear. The injured migrants are being treated in a hospital. Amnesty International called for the incident to be investigated as a war crime.
In the quieter eastern Tajoura suburb, the manager opened the gate of his detention center housing migrants from sub-Saharan countries such as Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and some Arab countries. Everyone stayed, surviving on one meal of pasta a day. On good day they get two.
Large parts of Libya have been lawless since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and the country has become the main transit point for hundreds of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East attempting the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
Officials have been accused in the past of mistreating detainees who are held by the thousands as part of European-backed efforts to curb smuggling.
At the Tajoura detention center, authorities have not supplied any food or water since before fighting started last week, said Nour Eldine Qarilti, the director.
“We have not received any assistance from all international organizations,” he told Reuters. “Some local NGOs still support us with simple needs but it’s not enough.”
Hundreds of migrants lay on mattresses. Others were using a kitchen to cook lunch for others for a small fee.
According the United Nations, Libya is now hosting more than 700,000 people who have fled their homelands, often trekking through desert in pursuit of their dream of crossing to a better life in Europe.
They then try find smugglers to put them on boats. But with Italy and France helping to beef up the Libyan Coast Guard, most now get caught before reaching Europe.
(Writing by Ahmed Elumami and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Peter Graff)
FILE PHOTO: A stroller abandoned by Central American migrants is seen after an immigration raid in their journey towards the United States, in Pijijiapan, Mexico April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo
April 24, 2019
By Anthony Esposito
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico has returned 15,000 migrants in the past 30 days, a senior government official said on Tuesday, pointing to an uptick in deportations in the face of pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to stem the flow of people north.
Speaking at a news conference, Tonatiuh Guillen, head of the National Migration Institute, did not say where those people were returned to, but the majority of migrants moving through Mexico are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Guillen said that 11,800 people had been returned in the first 22 days of April. That compares with 9,650 for all of April last year.
A third of all migrants currently arriving in Mexico are minors and there are also now more than 1,000 Cuban migrants in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and another 2,000 in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, Guillen told reporters.
Cubans are increasingly traveling to Mexico to reach the U.S. border to request asylum, many of them citing political repression and bleak economic prospects on the Communist-ruled island as their motivation.
Speaking alongside Guillen, Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said Mexico was not to blame for an “unprecedented” increase in the number of Central American migrants entering the country.
In fact, most Central American migrants say they are running away from the rampant gang violence and lack of opportunities stemming from entrenched poverty and corruption back home.
Sanchez noted Mexico had an obligation to control its southern border with Guatemala and that people entering the country must respect Mexican laws and register with authorities, after a recent clash between border agents and migrants.
Following a surge in apprehensions of Central Americans trying to enter the United States, Trump last month threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border if the Mexican government did not stop illegal immigration right away.
More than 100,000 people were apprehended or presented themselves to U.S. authorities in March, according to the White House, calling it the highest number in a decade.
The administration of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has stepped up migrant detentions and tightened access to humanitarian visas, slowing the flow of caravans north and leaving hundreds of people stuck in the south.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Dave Graham and Lisa Shumaker)
Despite evidence that millions of Hispanics and immigrants could go uncounted, the Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed ready Tuesday to uphold the Trump administration’s plan to inquire about U.S. citizenship on the 2020 census in a case that could affect American elections for the next decade.
There appeared to be a clear divide between the court’s liberal and conservative justices in arguments in a case that could affect how many seats states have in the House of Representatives and their share of federal dollars over the next 10 years. States with a large number of immigrants tend to vote Democratic.
Three lower courts have so far blocked the plan to ask every U.S. resident about citizenship in the census, finding that the question would discourage many immigrants from being counted . Two of the three judges also ruled that asking if people are citizens would violate the provision of the Constitution that calls for a count of the population, regardless of citizenship status, every 10 years. The last time the question was included on the census form sent to every American household was 1950.
Three conservative justices, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas, had expressed skepticism about the challenge to the question in earlier stages of the case, but Chief Justice John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh had been silent, possibly suggesting a willingness to disrupt the administration’s plan.
However, over 80 minutes in a packed courtroom, neither Roberts nor Kavanaugh appeared to share the concern of the lower court judges who ruled against the administration.
Kavanaugh, the court’s newest member and an appointee of President Donald Trump, suggested Congress could change the law if it so concerned that the accuracy of the once-a-decade population count will suffer. “Why doesn’t Congress prohibit the asking of the citizenship question?” Kavanaugh asked near the end of the morning session.
Kavanaugh and the other conservatives were mostly silent when Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, defended Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ decision to add the citizenship question. Ross has said the Justice Department wanted the citizenship data, the detailed information it would produce on where eligible voters live, to improve enforcement of the Voting Rights Act.
Lower courts found that Ross’ explanation was a pretext for adding the question, noting that he had consulted early in his tenure with Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former top political adviser and immigration hardliner Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state.
The liberal justices peppered Francisco with questions about the administration plan, but they would lack the votes to stop it without support from at least one conservative justice.
“This is a solution in search of a problem,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the court’s lone Hispanic member, said of Ross’ decision.
Justice Elena Kagan chimed in that “you can’t read this record without sensing that this need was a contrived one.”
Roberts appeared to have a different view of the information the citizenship question would produce.
“You think it wouldn’t help voting rights enforcement?” Roberts asked New York Solicitor General Barbara Underwood, who was representing states and cities that sued over Ross’ decision.
Underwood and American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Dale Ho said the evidence showed the data would be less accurate. Including a citizenship question would “harm the secretary’s stated purpose of Voting Rights Act enforcement,” Ho said.
Census Bureau experts have concluded that the census would produce a more accurate picture of the U.S. population without a citizenship question because people might be reluctant to say if they or others in their households are not citizens. Federal law requires people to complete the census accurately and fully.
The Supreme Court is hearing the case on a tight timeframe, even though no federal appeals court has yet to weigh in. A decision is expected by late June, in time to print census forms for the April 2020 population count.
The administration argues that the commerce secretary has wide discretion in designing the census questionnaire and that courts should not be second-guessing his action. States, cities and rights groups that sued over the issue don’t even have the right to go into federal court, the administration says. It also says the citizenship question is plainly constitutional because it has been asked on many past censuses and continues to be used on smaller, annual population surveys.
Gorsuch, also a Trump appointee, also noted that many other countries include citizenship questions on their censuses.
Douglas Letter, a lawyer representing the House of Representatives, said the census is critically important to the House, which apportions its seats among the states based on the results. “Anything that undermines the accuracy of the actual enumeration is immediately a problem,” Letter said, quoting from the provision of the Constitution that mandates a decennial census.
Letter also thanked the court on behalf of Speaker Nancy Pelosi for allowing the House to participate in the arguments.
“Tell her she’s welcome,” Roberts replied.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Spanish Prime Minister and Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) candidate Pedro Sanchez is pictured before a televised debate ahead of general election in Sebastian de los Reyes, outside Madrid, Spain, April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Juan Medina
April 23, 2019
By Belén Carreño and John Stonestreet
MADRID (Reuters) – The main contenders in Spain’s parliamentary election traded verbal blows over jobs and national identity on Tuesday, as Socialist frontrunner Pedro Sanchez said he had no plans to include center-right Ciudadanos in any governing alliance.
A day after an inconclusive first televised debate, the leaders of the four main parties represented appeared to step up efforts to grab extra votes ahead of Sunday’s ballot – and tempers frayed.
The election is the country’s most divisive in decades and, with no single party close to winning a parliamentary majority, its outcome is uncertain. Polls have showed that up to four in 10 voters have yet to decide whom to cast their ballot for.
Outgoing Prime Minister Sanchez looks best placed to form a government if his Socialist Party wins the around 30 percent of the vote that surveys have suggested.
But he would need to team up with one or more other party to form a parliamentary majority, and on Tuesday he distanced himself from one option.
“Entering an alliance with a party that has put cordon sanitaire around the Socialist Party is not part of my plans,” he said in reference to Ciudadanos at the start of the debate.
Ciudadanos has previously said it will not join any coalition led by Sanchez, and its leader Albert Rivera – together with Conservative Partido Popular’s (PP) Pablo Casado – renewed the two-pronged attack they had directed at the prime minister on Monday.
The economy made a late appearance as an election topic in a wide-ranging and at times chaotic debate that also took in immigration, housing and gender equality.
But as on Monday, one of the most emotive issues remained Catalonia and the region’s botched 2017 independence bid, which came close to triggering a constitutional crisis.
Casado called Sanchez “the favorite candidate of the enemies of Spain” and Rivera told him: “Many Socialists are disappointed with you because you want to liquidate Spain.”
Sanchez, who became prime minister in June, has been more open to dialogue with Catalan separatists than his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy.
But he reiterated on Tuesday that he was ruling out any moves toward independence by the region, and that its pro- and anti-secessionist factions needed to negotiate with each other.
‘NERVOUS’ OR LOOKING ON?
The rightist candidates also attacked Sanchez over unemployment. Casado compared Spain’s economy to thrice bailed-out Greece and Rivera called the country “the European joblessness champion”.
The Ciudadanos leader also repeatedly told Sanchez he looked “nervous.”
Spain’s jobless rate has nearly halved from its 2013 peak, and growth in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy has consistently outpaced the bloc’s average since shortly after it exited recession in the same year.
The bulk of the recovery took place under Sanchez’s PP predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, though unemployment has continued to fall since Sanchez took office almost a year ago and hit a 10-year low in the last quarter of 2018.
But the jobless rate remains above 14 percent, and a stretched pension system and the labor market are overdue for structural reform.
“This country’s problem is short-term employment,” said Pablo Iglesias of far-left Podemos Unidas.
For Pablo Simon, professor of political science at Carlos III University in Madrid, Casado and Rivera and failed to land telling blows on Sanchez.
The Socialist leader “saw the bulls and stayed behind the barrier, as he did yesterday, letting the others slug it out though he did venture into the ring a little more,” he said.
Publication of official opinion polls ended six days before the election and in Monday’s final survey, by GAD3 in ABC newspaper, the Socialists scored 31.5 percent of the vote, giving Sanchez far more leeway than others to pitch for coalition partners.
However, he may well need to bring separatist lawmakers on board, which would complicate any broader alliance.
A putative coalition of PP, Ciudadanos and the far-right Vox of Santiago Abascal scored a combined 45 percent – putting them short of a parliamentary majority.
Vox was not invited to the debate as it is not currently represented in Spain’s parliament.
(Additional reporting by Andres Gonzalez; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
Immigrants attend a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
April 23, 2019
By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top advisers to President Donald Trump will present him with a proposed immigration plan in coming days that will cover border security and immigration reform, his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on Tuesday.
The plan will cover stopping illegal immigration – one of Trump’s signature campaign issues – and will also include proposals for a merit-based immigration system, a guest worker program for agriculture and seasonal work, and measures for improving trade flow, Kushner said.
Speaking at a Time Magazine forum, Kushner said he would present what he described as a “very detailed” plan to Trump at the end of the week or early next week.
“He’ll make some changes, likely, and then he’ll decide what he wants to do with it,” Kushner said.
Trump pledged to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico in his 2016 run for office, and has since fought with Congress and in the courts for funding to pay for the barrier.
He has argued the wall is needed to prevent illegal migrants from Central America from entering the country, and has pushed to change laws to make it easier to deport immigrants.
Kushner has held about 50 listening sessions with conservative groups on immigration, a senior administration official said. He has been working with White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett and policy adviser Stephen Miller on the plan.
Any immigration overhaul would require legislation from Congress to pass – a difficult order in the time leading up to the next presidential election in November 2020, particularly since Democrats control the House of Representatives.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
The Trump administration is considering suspending or limiting entry to the U.S. for individuals from countries with high rates of short-term visa overstays — a proposal vaguely reminiscent of the controversial travel bans President Donald Trump pursued during his first year in office.
In a memo signed Monday, Trump directs officials to examine new ways to minimize the number of people overstaying their business and tourist visas as part of a renewed focus on immigration as the 2020 campaign kicks into high gear.
And it says the administration is considering developing “admission bonds” — people entering the country would pay a fee that would be reimbursed when they leave — in an effort to improve compliance.
“We have laws that need to be followed to keep Americans safe and to protect the integrity of a system where, right now, there are millions of people who are waiting in line to come to America to seek the American Dream,” Trump said in a statement.
More people are in the U.S. because they overstay visas than because they cross the border illegally, according to the nonpartisan Center for Migration Studies. Some of the countries with high overstay rates include Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Liberia, the Solomon Islands, Benin and Burkina Faso. Officials say 20 countries have rates over 10 percent.
The memo gives the secretaries of state and homeland security 120 days to come up with recommendations, including potentially limiting how long visas last.
The idea of restricting travel from high overstay countries is part of a long list of proposals being tossed around by officials as they try to appease a president who has been seething over the influx of migrants at the border as he tries to make good on his 2016 campaign promises and energize his base going into 2020.
The ideas have ranged from the extreme — including Trump’s threat to completely shut down the southern border and resume the widely denounced practice of separating children from parents — to more subtle tweaks to the legal immigration system.
Plans are also in the works to have border patrol agents, instead of asylum officers, conduct initial interviews to determine whether migrants seeking asylum have a “credible fear” of returning to their homelands. And the administration has been weighing targeting the remittance payments people living in the country illegally send home to their families and moving forward with plans to punish immigrants in the country legally for using public benefits, such as food stamps.
Source: NewsMax Politics
Pope Francis is seen after reading his “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and the World”) message from the balcony overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican April 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi
April 21, 2019
By Philip Pullella
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis, in his Easter Sunday address, condemned as “such cruel violence” the bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 100 people and were timed to coincide with the most important day in the Christian liturgical calendar.
Francis, speaking to a crowd of about 70,000 people in St. Peter’s Square, also urged politicians to shun a new arms race that was budding and to welcome refugees fleeing hunger and human rights violations.
The blasts in Sri Lanka, which hospital and police officials said killed at least 138 people and wounded more than 400 people, followed a lull in major attacks since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.
“I learned with sadness and pain of the news of the grave attacks, that precisely today, Easter, brought mourning and pain to churches and other places where people were gathered in Sri Lanka,” Francis said in his traditional Easter Sunday “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) message.
“I wish to express my affectionate closeness to the Christian community, hit while it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” the pope, who visited Sri Lanka in 2015, said.
Speaking from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, he appealed for peace in conflict areas.
“Before the many sufferings of our time, may the Lord of life not find us cold and indifferent,” he said, speaking in Italian after celebrating a Mass in the square.
“May he make us builders of bridges, not walls. May the One who gives us his peace end the roar of arms, both in areas of conflict and in our cities, and inspire the leaders of nations to work for an end to the arms race and the troubling spread of weaponry, especially in the economically more advanced countries,” he said.
Francis has made defense of migrants a key feature of his pontificate and has clashed over the immigration with politicians such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini who leads the anti-immigrant League party and has closed Italy’s ports to rescue ships operated by charities.
Easter commemorates the day Christians believe Jesus rose from the dead.
“May the Risen Christ, who flung open the doors of the tomb, open our hearts to the needs of the disadvantaged, the vulnerable, the poor, the unemployed, the marginalized, and all those who knock at our door in search of bread, refuge, and the recognition of their dignity,” Francis said.
He called for a solution to the conflict in Syria that responds to “people’s legitimate hopes for freedom, peace and justice” and favors the return of refugees.
Francis urged dialogue in order to end fighting in Libya, appealing to both sides to “choose dialogue over force and to avoid reopening wounds left by a decade of conflicts and political instability”.
He called for politicians in Venezuela “to end social injustices, abuses and acts of violence, and take the concrete
steps needed to heal divisions and offer the population the help they need”.
Francis encouraged the fragile peace process in mostly Christian South Sudan, whose leaders attended an unprecedented spiritual retreat earlier this month at the Vatican where he begged them to avoid returning to a civil war.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Susan Fenton)
Central American migrants eat mangoes for breakfast as they walk during their journey towards the United States, in Mapastepec, Mexico April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
April 20, 2019
By Jose Cortes
MAPASTEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) – So many migrants have stopped in the southern Mexican town of Mapastepec in recent months that longstanding public sympathy for Central Americans traveling northward is starting to wane.
Hundreds of migrants have been camped out for weeks in Mapastepec, where locals say six migrant caravans have arrived since last Easter. By far the biggest was a group of thousands in October that drew the anger of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Ana Gabriela Galvan, a local resident who helped to provide food to migrants in the October caravan, told Reuters the small town in the impoverished state of Chiapas, which borders Guatemala, felt overwhelmed by the number of Central Americans.
“It’s really bad, because they’re pouring onto our land,” she said, noting that some locals were reluctant to leave their homes. “They ask for money, and if you offer food, they don’t want it; they want money and sometimes you don’t have any.”
Following a surge in apprehensions of Central Americans trying to enter the United States, Trump last month threatened to close the U.S.-Mexico border if the Mexican government did not stop illegal immigration right away.
The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has stepped up migrant detentions and tightened access to humanitarian visas, slowing the flow of caravans north and leaving hundreds of people in Mapastepec.
The humanitarian visas allow migrants to stay temporarily and get jobs. The documents also make it easier for them to travel through the country or seek longer residence.
According to government social development agency Coneval, Chiapas in 2015 had the highest poverty rate of Mexico’s 32 regions, at 72.5 percent. Some 20,000 people live in Mapastepec, the seat of a municipality of the same name where poverty levels were fractionally higher than the state average in 2015.
A month ago, a large knot of migrants began forming in Mapastepec when the National Migration Institute closed its main office in the nearby city of Tapachula. The closure prompted hundreds to travel north to the sweltering town on the Pacific coast where the agency has a smaller outpost.
Since then, bedraggled groups of men, women and children have been staying in and around a local sports stadium, hoping to be issued humanitarian visas.
Central Americans today make up the bulk of undocumented migrants arrested on the U.S. border.
Southern Mexico has long sent thousands of migrants north and support for them has traditionally been strong there. Concentrations of Central American migrants on Mexico’s northern border caused tensions in the city of Tijuana when caravans arrived late last year.
Recent studies show that while Mexicans still have sympathy for migrants, many are concerned that Mexico will not be able to cope with the arrival of thousands of people from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador fleeing violence and poverty at home.
A survey of around 500 adults in February by the Center of Public Opinion at the University of the Valley of Mexico (UVM) found that 83 percent of respondents believed the Central American migrants could cause problems for Mexico.
Rising crime, increased poverty and a decline in social services were the top risks identified by the poll.
Offered a binary choice on what should be done, 62 percent of those polled said Mexico should be stricter with migrants entering its territory. The other 38 percent said Mexico should help to develop Central America, as Lopez Obrador argues.
The study did not publish a margin of error.
Jesus Salvador Quintana, a senior official at the National Human Rights Commission, said in Mapastepec the body had noticed a decrease in assistance from the public but urged people to keep helping the migrants on their often arduous journeys.
“There are children, pregnant women, whole families that sometimes need this humanitarian aid,” he told Reuters.
Anabel Quintero, a young Honduran mother in Mapastepec, said when her caravan passed through the nearby town of Huixtla some shops closed rather than sell to migrants seeking medicine for sick children.
“It’s a bad feeling,” she said. “They told us they didn’t want us sleeping in the park, and we had to leave.”
Residents of Mapastepec are also running out of patience.
Street vendor Brenda Marisol Ballesteros told Reuters it was time for authorities to move the migrants onward.
“Why?,” she said. “Because things are in a real mess.”
(Additional reporting by Roberto Ramirez in Huixtla; Editing by Dave Graham and Cynthia Osterman)