Trump says illegal immigrants should be deported with 'no judges or court cases'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that people who enter the United States illegally should be sent back immediately to where they came from without any judicial process, likening them to invaders who are trying to “break into” the country.

His proposal drew immediate criticism from legal analysts and immigrant rights advocates who said it would violate the U.S. Constitution’s due process provision, which applies to citizens and non-citizens alike.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”

“Cannot accept all of the people trying to break into our Country. Strong Borders, No Crime!”

It was unclear if Trump was advocating an expansion of the provision that allows expedited removals of illegal immigrants at or near the U.S. border, a policy his administration has embraced since he took office. Nor did Trump differentiate between illegal immigrants and people who entered the United States to seek asylum protection.

The White House did not return a call seeking clarification.

“The president of the United States has just forcefully proposed the end of political asylum and no due process for migrants,” Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, wrote on Twitter.

Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, told Reuters: “The administration cannot simply get rid of all process for immigrants. The due process clause absolutely applies. It’s not a choice.”

Authorities can bypass due process protections with the expedited removals policy that allows quick deportations if an immigrant is apprehended within 100 miles (160 km) of the border and has been in the country less than 14 days. Those seeking asylum must be granted a hearing.

Trump’s tweets on Sunday came after a week of global outcry over images and video of crying children and their distraught parents separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Critics in Trump’s Republican Party, as well as his wife and daughter, urged him to abandon the policy.

The president buckled to the pressure on Wednesday, issuing an executive order that ended the separations. But the government has yet to reunite more than 2,000 children with their parents.

TRUMP FUMES OVER IMMIGRATION

But Trump’s frustration over the issue only grew. He has issued a drumbeat of criticism of the immigration system and Democrats in Congress, while using increasingly harsh terms such as “invasion” and “infestation” to describe illegal immigration.

“Here, I think he is making it clear, he just doesn’t want anybody here. He wants people to just be sent back, no matter what,” said Jorge Baron, executive director for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, who compared Sunday’s tweets with comments Trump was reported to have made in January about immigrants from “shithole” countries.

While some who advocate for stricter immigration rules have argued that people are making fraudulent asylum claims or abusing the loopholes in U.S. immigration laws, Baron said Trump’s views went way beyond those arguments.

Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting adults for entering the country illegally entails a process that typically takes many months. That required children to be separated from parents because they are not legally allowed to be kept in detention for more than 20 days.

Keeping the children with their migrant parents as they await court proceedings faces obstacles, however, including the lack of sufficient housing, a paucity of immigration judges and a daunting backlog of cases.

Under expedited removal proceedings, which are used most commonly at ports of entry, an immigration official can evaluate an immigrant’s claim and reject it with no involvement by an immigration judge or review board.

The Trump administration called last year for the expansion of the expedited removals program to immigrants who have been in the country illegally for up to two years.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Nevada Republican Party Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., June 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

There is an exception from expedited removal for those with a credible fear of returning home.

Lindsay Harris, an assistant professor of law at the University of the District of Columbia, said those with no credible fear could still see a judge, while those with such a fear could begin a long legal process that eventually could result in asylum and applying for a work permit.

“It’s already an extremely truncated process,” the ACLU’s Gelernt said. “The president’s suggestion that there is a ton of process for these individuals is simply wrong. There are already people being removed with a truncated process.”

Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Sarah N. Lynch; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney

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"I'd Like To Ask You To Leave," Restaurateur Told Trump's Spokesperson

LEXINGTON, Va.:  Stephanie Wilkinson was at home Friday evening - nearly 200 miles from the White House - when the choice presented itself.

Her phone rang about 8 p.m. It was the chef at the Red Hen, the tiny farm-to-table restaurant that she co-owned just off Main Street in this small city in the western part of the state.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders had just walked in and sat down, the chef informed her.

"He said the staff is a little concerned. What should we do?" Wilkinson told The Washington Post. "I said I'd be down to see if it's true."

It seemed unlikely to her that President Donald Trump's press secretary should be dining at a 26-seat restaurant in rural Virginia. But then, it was unlikely that her entire staff would have misidentified Sanders, who had arrived last to a table of eight booked under her husband's name.

stephanie wilkinsonStephanie Wilkinson is owner of The Red Hen who asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave.

As she made the short drive to the Red Hen, Wilkinson knew only this:

She knew Lexington, population 7,000, had voted overwhelmingly against Trump in a county that voted overwhelmingly for him. She knew the community was deeply divided over such issues as Confederate flags. She knew, she said, that her restaurant and its half-dozen servers and cooks had managed to stay in business for 10 years by keeping politics off the menu.

And she knew - she believed - that Sarah Huckabee Sanders worked in the service of an "inhumane and unethical" administration. That she publicly defended the president's cruelest policies, and that that could not stand.

"I'm not a huge fan of confrontation," Wilkinson said. "I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals."

When she walked into the restaurant, Wilkinson saw that there had been no mistake. The Red Hen is no bigger than some apartments, and the group table was impossible to miss: Sanders in a black dress, her husband, three or four men and women of roughly similar ages, and an older couple.

"They had cheese boards in front of them," Wilkinson said. Like any other family. The kitchen was already preparing the party's main course. Wilkinson interrupted to huddle with her workers.

Several Red Hen employees are gay, she said. They knew Sanders had defended Trump's desire to bar transgender people from the military. This month, they had all watched her evade questions and defend a Trump policy that caused migrant children to be separated from their parents.

"Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave," Wilkinson told her staff, she said. "They said 'yes.' "

It was important to Wilkinson, she said, that Sanders had already been served - that her staff had not simply refused her on sight. And it was important to her that Sanders was a public official, not just a customer with whom she disagreed, many of whom were included in her regular clientele.

All the same, she was tense as she walked up to the press secretary's chair.

"I said, 'I'm the owner,' " she recalled, " 'I'd like you to come out to the patio with me for a word.' "

They stepped outside, into another small enclosure, but at least out of the crowded restaurant.

"I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion," Wilkinson said. "I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.

"I said, 'I'd like to ask you to leave.' "

Wilkinson didn't know how Sanders would react, or whether Trump's chief spokeswoman had been called out in a restaurant before - as the president's homeland security secretary had been days earlier.

Sanders' response was immediate, Wilkinson said: " 'That's fine. I'll go.' "

Sanders went back to the table, picked up her things and walked out. The others at her table had been welcome to stay, Wilkinson said. But they didn't, so the servers cleared away the cheese plates and glasses.

"They offered to pay," Wilkinson said. "I said, 'No. It's on the house.' "

At the end of the shift, Wilkinson said, staff members left the usual overnight note in the kitchen for the morning manager: a problem with the credit card machine. Restock vodka and tequila.

If you've ever heard the term "to 86 someone," it comes from the restaurant industry - code to refuse service, or alternatively to take an item off the menu.

"86 - Sara Huckabee Sanders," read the note, below the reminder to buy more Pellegrino.

One of the servers photographed the whiteboard before going home Friday. He had posted it to his public Facebook wall by the time Wilkinson woke up Saturday. For all the angst that evening, Wilkinson said, everything had taken place with decorum. She had been polite; Sanders had been polite; the press secretary's family had been polite as they followed her out the door.

Not so much the rest of the world, as it discovered Red Hen waiter Jaike Foley-Schultz's Facebook post: "I just served Sarah huckabee sanders for a total of 2 minutes before my owner asked her to leave."

red hen
Jaike Foley-Schultz, a waiter at the Red Hen said the White House Press Secretary lasted just 2 minutes in the restaurant.
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US Government Reunites 522 Children Removed Under 'Zero Tolerance'

WASHINGTON: The US Homeland Security Department said late Saturday the government has reunited 522 children separated from adults as part of a "Zero Tolerance" initiative and plans to reunite another 16 children over the next 24 hours.

The department said in a statement U.S. Customs and Border Protection expects a small number of children separated for reasons other than zero tolerance would remain separated, including if the familial relationship cannot be confirmed.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to end his policy of separating immigrant children from their families on the U.S.-Mexico border, after images of youngsters in cages sparked outrage at home and abroad.

The department also said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has 2,053 separated minors in HHS-funded facilities "and is working with relevant agency partners to foster communications and work towards reuniting every minor and every parent or guardian via well-established reunification processes."

Currently, 17 percent of minors in HHS funded facilities were placed there as a result of the Zero Tolerance enforcement effort, and the remaining 83 percent arrived in the United States without a parent or guardian, it said.

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Trump tries to defuse immigrant crisis, but policy hit by confusion

WASHINGTON/MCALLEN, Texas (Reuters) - President Donald Trump ordered federal agencies on Thursday to begin reuniting immigrant families recently separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, but his efforts to roll back a policy that drew global condemnation were beset by confusion.

Despite Trump’s order, it remained unclear how and when more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents in the past few weeks would be reunited with them, and where the families would be held while the parents face criminal charges.

It was also not clear if the government would keep prosecuting cases against people caught crossing the border illegally.

While prosecutors said they were not dismissing any cases, some hearings on Thursday did not proceed as scheduled. In McAllen, Texas, 17 immigrants were told by their public defenders that their cases were not proceeding for now.

Separately, the U.S. military was asked by the government to get ready to house up to 20,000 unaccompanied immigrant children at military bases, Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Davis said.

Video footage of children who had been separated from parents sitting in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked worldwide anger over Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies.

The fierce criticism forced Trump to backtrack and sign an executive order on Wednesday to keep families together in detention during immigration proceedings.

First lady Melania Trump on Thursday visited children displaced by the immigration crisis .

But the olive green jacket she wore as she boarded the plane for Texas - daubed with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on the back - appeared to undercut the message of compassion.

The White House responded to criticism by saying there was no hidden message. “It’s a jacket,” said Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman. “After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”

LEGAL BATTLES

In a filing in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the Justice Department asked a judge to modify a 1997 settlement that has been interpreted as setting a 20-day limit on detaining children who entered the country illegally, regardless of whether they entered with a parent.

It also sought an exemption from state licensing requirements for federal facilities that house the children.

The Justice Department said the recent surge in the number of illegal border crossings by families had created a “destabilizing migratory crisis” that put those families at risk and threatened public safety.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“Under current law and legal rulings,” the Justice Department said, “it is not possible for the U.S. government to detain families together during the pendency of their immigration proceedings. It cannot be done.”

During a Cabinet meeting at the White House, Trump said he did not want to separate children from their parents and had directed the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services “to work together to keep illegal immigrant families together during the immigration process and to reunite these previously separated groups.”

The executive order was an unusual retreat for Trump, who made cracking down on illegal immigration a key part of his presidential campaign.

It moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings, but the Trump administration said it did not end the 10-week-old zero tolerance policy that calls for prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally under the country’s criminal entry statute.

The U.S. Border Patrol will continue to refer for prosecution adults who are caught crossing the border illegally, a spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection said on Thursday.

“Family unity will be maintained for families apprehended crossing the border illegally, and they will be transferred together to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The administration also has sought a permanent legislative fix on the issue, but the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a bill favored by conservatives that would have halted the practice of splitting up families and addressed a range of other immigration issues.

The House rejected the conservative bill on a 193-231 vote, with 41 Republicans joining the opposition. It also postponed until Friday a vote on a compromise bill in order to try to drum up more support.

Both House bills, backed by Trump but opposed by Democrats and immigration advocacy groups, would fund the wall Trump has proposed along the U.S. border with Mexico and reduce legal migration, in part by denying visas for some relatives of U.S. residents and citizens living abroad.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Tim Ahmann, Amanda Becker, James Oliphant and Yeganeh Torbati in Washington and Mitchell Ferman in McAllen, Texas; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney.

  • Published in World

US Detention Centers 'Force Migrant Children To Take Drugs'

Some children said they had been held down and given injections when they refused to take the medication voluntary, the new lawsuit says.

Immigrant children are being routinely and forcibly given a range of psychotropic drugs at U.S. government-funded youth shelters to manage their trauma after being detained and in some cases separated from parents, according to a lawsuit.

RELATED: World Refugee Day: End Wars to Halt Refugee Crisis

Children held at facilities such as the Shiloh Treatment Center in Texas are almost certain to be administered the drugs, irrespective of their condition and without their parents' consent, according to the lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.

The Shiloh center, which specializes in services for children and youths with behavioral and emotional problems, did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The lawsuit was filed on April 16, days after the introduction of the Trump Administration's 'zero tolerance' policy separating children from parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Trump abandoned the policy on Wednesday.

"If you're in Shiloh then it's almost certain you are on these medications, so if any child were placed in Shiloh after being separated from a parent then they're almost certainly on psychotropics," said Carlos Holguin, a lawyer representing the Center for Human Rights & Constitutional Law.

Officials at the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which oversees such centers, were not immediately available for comment.

Taking multiple psychotropic drugs at the same time can seriously injure children, according to the filing, which highlights the need for oversight to prevent medications being used as "chemical straight jackets" rather than treating actual mental health needs.

ORR-run centers unilaterally administer the drugs to children in disregard of laws in Texas and other states that require either a parent's consent or a court order, the filing said.

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Jeff Flake threatens to block Trump's appellate court nominees over Cuba travel, tariffs

Sen. Jeff Flake is warning that he may block votes on the nominations of all of President Donald Trump's pending appellate court nominees unless he gets favorable action on two issues unrelated to the judiciary.

According to one source, Flake wants to spur discussions on travel restrictions to Cuba as well as issues related to tariffs.

"We're discussing it," the Arizona Republican said in a brief interview with CNN as he came out of an immigration negotiation.

Flake sits on the Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have a slim 11-10 advantage over Democrats. If he does not relent, he could bring the work of the powerful committee to a halt as it applies to appellate court nominees, who are often voted out on party lines.

Confirming these influential circuit court nominees has been a top priority and bragging point for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump.

So far, the Senate has pushed through an unprecedented number of appeals court nominees. Indeed, McConnell tweeted publicly in January: "@potus was able to seat more Circuit Court judges in the 1st year of his presidency than anyone in history."

On Wednesday night, Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, acknowledged that if Flake moved to block the nominees, his hands could be tied.

Grassley told CNN he will not schedule votes on these nominees until Flake's issues are resolved and he is on board.

"If it is a controversial one, we probably would have to have all 11 Republicans. So if one Republican wouldn't vote, and it's 10 to 10, then we're not going to take it up," he said.
But Grassley added that the Senate nominations calendar is so full right now he doesn't feel any pressure for the Judiciary Committee to move anyone out until September.

"I could probably wait for a month to vote any more judges out, so there is nothing immediately of concern to me as far as the work of the committee is concerned," he said.

Grassley noted he hadn't spoken directly with Flake on the matter.
"So we can just delay and delay and delay," Grassley said. "If we don't vote for any more judges that Flake doesn't want to vote for until September, we still probably got plenty to do."

Flake, who has announced he will not be seeking re-election, has been an outspoken critic of Trump. He could exercise rare leverage over the President by holding up these nominees.

In addition, GOP leaders recognize that at this point, because of the absence of Sen. John McCain, his fellow Arizona Republican, Flake has extraordinary power to affect the confirmation of nominees not just in committee but on the floor too.

Even if these nominees were voted out of committee -- or if leaders used procedural tools to move them to the floor without a vote of approval from the Judiciary Committee -- Flake could help block them on cloture, the procedural motion to end debate that needs a majority of senators.

If Flake voted with Democrats on cloture, he could defeat the motion to advance the nominee 49-50.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who is the second-ranking Republican in the Senate and a member of the Judiciary Committee, said he was not aware of Flake's specific concerns but wanted to talk to him to see if they could be resolved.

A source familiar with Flake's issues complained that it is a "bizarre situation where a senator is holding nominations hostage for his pet projects."

Kristine Lucius, a longtime Democratic staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee who is now the executive vice president for policy at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, welcomed the news of Flake's hesitation.

"Senators are supposed to be making independent decisions about the suitability of any nominee for a lifetime appointment, " she said and criticized Republicans for voting in "lockstep" for every one of the President's nominees.

"There would be nothing inappropriate for a senator to start weighing those decisions more carefully," she said.

  • Published in Cuba

Trump Orders End To Family Separations At US-Mexico Border

After global outrage over U.S. President Donald Trump's policy to separate asylum-seeking families at the Mexican border, he signs to end the practice.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to end the separation of undocumented migrant parents and children seeking to enter the United States at the Mexico border.

RELATED: US Protests Against Border Separations, How We Got Here

The Trump administration had separated 2,000 families in the past six weeks at the U.S.-Mexico border, holding children as young as four years old in cages within cold warehouses in border states. The warehouses have become known as #Trumpcamps and have been likened to the U.S. Japanese internment camps during WWII.

Social media outlets lit up this week with domestic and international backlash protesting Trump's family separation policy. A June 18 Quinnipiac poll found that U.S. residents opposed the policy 66-27.

Pope Francis and outgoing United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein called the administration's actions "unconscionable" and called for an immediate end to the policy. Even the president's wife, Melania, urged her husband to cease and desist.

Earlier this week, Trump and his Director of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen tried to blame the practice on Democrats and some unnamed law they claimed the party had passed.

By the time of the signing, Trump publicly delivered a different message: "It's about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border," he said, signing the order in a hastily arranged Oval Office gathering that many in his closest circle were unaware was happening until it was over.

"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," said the president, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. "I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don't like to see families separated."

Trump also took the opportunity to reiterate his zero-tolerance policy: "We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally."

His somber tone on Wednesday was a far cry from his tweets on Monday, in which he criticized Germany and Europe for immigration policies he claimed had "violently changed their culture."  

"Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!" tweeted Trump.

The vast majority of separated families were Central Americans trying to gain political asylum, to which they are entitled under international law.

The U.S. border patrol took up the practice of "preventing refugees from coming to ports of entry, turning them away... and making them wait for indeterminate periods of time in Mexico," Jeremy Slack, assistant professor of geography in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Texas in El Paso, told teleSUR.

Last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials told the media they couldn't receive any more asylum seekers "until space becomes available."

Such families were forced to enter 'illegally' at non-port entries, where they were then picked up by border patrol agents and adults put on the path to be tried for misdemeanors or felonies. This obliged authorities to place children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Prior administrations and even Trump had previously treated these cases administratively, which allowed families to stay together.

The order requires that immigrant families be detained together after entering the country. However, several Republican members of the House of Representatives – briefed by Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen on Wednesday about the president's decree – said they "do not know if it would prevent family separations during detentions longer than 20 days," Reuters reports.

The Families Belong Together  organization is planning a national-level U.S. protest against the president's immigration policy on June 30.

  • Published in World

Trudeau Criticizes Trump's Policy of Separating Migrant Families

Ottawa, Jun 20 (Prensa Latina) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today called ''wrong'' the migration policy of U.S. President Donald Trump, which caused the separation of more than 2,000 children from their undocumented parents.

In brief statements in this capital, the President lamented what happens in the neighboring country with these children, by saying he cannot imagine what the families living through this situation are enduring and that this is not the way they do things in Canada.

According to CBC News channel, Trudeau's affirmation constitutes a change in the tone of the Liberal Party that up to now has avoided criticizing directly the measures adopted by Trump against the children of immigrants who irregularly cross the border with Mexico.

In this regard, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Ahmed Hussen, said this week that all Canadians are upset with the images coming from the United States, but did not go into detail and described immigration agreements between Washington and Ottawa as very good.

Measures against families arriving in the country began this year after the U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, announced a new policy of zero tolerance and prosecution against those who cross borders without permission.

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