Trump tightens US borders
LATEST UPDATE: September 27, 2019 - 8:57am
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September 27, 2019

The United States plans to dramatically lower the ceiling on a decades-old refugee resettlement program to 18,000 people, officials say Thursday, blaming the influx of migrants along the country's southern border for imposing too great a burden.

It represents a reduction of 40 percent from its current level of 30,000 people, already a record low, threatening America's historic position as the most generous destination for those fleeing war and persecution.

"A responsible approach to refugees is one that seeks the eventual return of refugees to their home countries so that they can help to rebuild their own nations," says US President Donald Trump in a statement announcing the move.

It adds that under a new order, refugees would only be resettled in jurisdictions where state and local authorities consent.  -- Agence France-Presse

August 28, 2019

An Italian charity ship rescues around 100 migrants in the Mediterranean, bringing the total number of migrants saved to over 200 this week.

The Mare Jonio vessel, run by Italian NGO Mediterranea, says on its Twitter page that those rescued included 22 women and 28 children, most of them under the age of 10.

The charity says it is awaiting instructions from the Italian Maritime Coordination Centre for it to try to dock. 

Italy has taken a hard line on immigration and has in the past turned away charity rescue ships.

August 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump's administration announces Wednesday that it would remove tough legal limits on how long migrant children can be detained as part of its broader crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security says it is terminating the 1997 Flores Settlement Agreement, a binding legal ruling that said the government could not hold migrant children in detention for more than 20 days.

A new policy, to be implemented in 60 days, will not limit how long children or their families can be detained.

The move is aimed at deterring migrant expectations that they will be released after being arrested by the US border authorities and able to disappear into the US population.

"To protect these children from abuse, and stop this illegal flow, we must close these loopholes. This is an urgent humanitarian necessity," Trump says in a statement. — Agence France-Presse

August 14, 2019

Acting US immigration chief Ken Cuccinelli came under fire Tuesday for twisting the words of a famed poem that appears on a plaque at the Statue of Liberty.

"Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge," Cuccinelli said on National Public Radio when asked if Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus" is "part of the American ethos."

The original poem makes no mention of economic self-sufficiency, saying: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore."

Cuccinelli made the remark as he discussed new rules by President Donald Trump's administration that aim to deny permanent residency and citizenship to migrants who receive food stamps, public health care and other welfare benefits.

Democratic presidential candidates were among those who took issue with Cuccinelli's comment. —Agence France-Presse

August 9, 2019

Mexico says that 122 of its citizens were among the 680 undocumented immigrants detained in a major series of raids at food processing plants in the United States.

Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard says the government would provide consular assistance and "guarantee the adequate legal defense of all Mexican nationals" detained in Wednesday's raids in the southeastern state of Mississippi.

Those who are deported will have the government's support to access employment, education and health care in Mexico, he says in a press briefing.

The raids came after President Donald Trump promised to round up "millions of illegal aliens."

They left tearful family members, including children, rushing to say goodbye as immigrants lined up to board busses to be driven to detention centers. -- Agence France-Presse

August 8, 2019

US officials say some 680 undocumented migrants were detained in a major series of raids Wednesday at food processing plants in the southeastern United States, part of US President Donald Trump's announced crackdown on illegal immigration.

Most of those detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were Hispanic migrants, officials say.

TV footage showed lines of arrested migrants heading to buses parked outside the processing plants with their hands behind their backs under the watchful eyes of ICE agents.

Those who were not detained, including some children, stood by waving at their friends and relatives. Several wiped away tears as they gave their farewells.

"Special agents executed administrative and criminal search warrants resulting in the detention of approximately 680 illegal aliens," says Mike Hurst, US Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. — Agence France-Presse

July 15, 2019

The White House moves to ban asylum for migrants who cross the US southern border after passing through Mexico, in the latest attempt to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country.

"The United States is a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of aliens along the southern border," says Attorney General Bill Barr in a statement.

"This rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States," Barr adds. — AFP

June 20, 2019

Mexico ratifies the new North American trade agreement, making the country the first to give it final approval despite recent tension with the US.

The deal passes in the Mexican Senate with 114 votes in favor and just four against, sending what the economy ministry calls "a clear message in favor of an open economy and deepening economic integration in the region."


June 6, 2019

US and Mexican officials have made progress in talks on efforts to curb migration at the common border, but much more is needed to avert looming punitive tariffs, President Donald Trump says.

"Immigration discussions at the White House with representatives of Mexico have ended for the day," he says on Twitter during a visit to Europe.

"Progress is being made, but not nearly enough!" 



He says talks with Mexico will resume Thursday "with the understanding that, if no agreement is reached, Tariffs at the 5% level will begin on Monday, with monthly increases as per schedule."




May 31, 2019

Washington will impose a 5% tariff on all goods from Mexico starting June 10, a measure that will last until "illegal migrants" stop coming through the country into the US, President Donald Trump says.

"On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP," Trump tweets.

"The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, at which time the Tariffs will be removed," he writes.



— Agence France-Presse

June 21, 2018

US President Donald Trump signs an executive order aimed at putting an end to the controversial separation of migrant families at the border, reversing a harsh practice that had earned international scorn.

"It's about keeping families together," Trump says at the signing ceremony.

"I did not like the sight of families being separated," he adds.

— Agence France-Presse

June 20, 2018

Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border to at least three "tender age" shelters in South Texas, The Associated Press has learned.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

June 18, 2018

The emotional US policy of separating children from their parents is also starting to divide Republicans and their allies as Democrats turn up the pressure, the Associated Press reports.

Former US first lady Laura Bush called the policy "cruel" and "immoral" while Republican Sen. Susan Collins expressed concern about it and a former adviser to President Donald Trump said he thought the issue was going to hurt the president at some point. Religious groups, including some conservative ones, are protesting.

Mrs. Bush made some of the strongest comments yet about the policy from the Republican side of the aisle.

January 26, 2017

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says he regrets and rejects the US decision to build a border wall.

US President Donald Trumo has signed executive papers to start construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, the Associated Press reports.

He has also cut federal grants for immigrant-protecting "sanctuary cities" and is considering barring refugees from Syria from entering the US.

"Beginning today the United States of America gets back control of its borders," Trump declared during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security, AP quoted him saying. "We are going to save lives on both sides of the border."

Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, said the president's desire to construct a border wall was "driven by racial and ethnic bias that disgraces America's proud tradition of protecting vulnerable migrants."

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