Trump Falsely Claims Violent Crime Plummeted After Border Wall Went Up In El Paso

President Donald Trump on Monday presented the border wall as a work in progress, hailing the start of a “big, big portion” with much more coming soon. That’s a hefty exaggeration from a president who has yet to see an extra mile of barrier completed since he took office.

With another possible government shutdown looming, and illegal immigration still at the heart of the budget dispute, Trump is pulling out the stops to portray his proposed wall as essential to public safety, including stemming crime. As he’s done repeatedly, Trump also defied the record in claiming that the wall that Congress has refused to pay for is rapidly coming together anyway.

Trump addressed the subjects at an El Paso, Texas, rally Monday night and an earlier White House meeting with sheriffs. A look at some of his comments:

TRUMP, on the effect of a border wall on crime in El Paso: “When that wall went up, it’s a whole different ball game. … I don’t care whether a mayor is a Republican or a Democrat. They’re full of crap when they say it hasn’t made a big difference. I heard the same thing from the fake news. They said, ‘Oh crime, it actually stayed the same.’ It didn’t stay the same. It went way down. … Thanks to a powerful border wall in El Paso, Texas, it’s one of America’s safest cities now.” — rally remarks.

Reality

Trump falsely suggests a dramatic drop in crime in El Paso due to a border wall. In fact, the city’s murder rate was less than half the national average in 2005, the year before the start of its border fence. It’s true that the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that El Paso’s annual number of reported violent crimes dropped from nearly 5,000 in 1995 to around 2,700 in 2016. But that corresponded with similar declines in violent crime nationwide and included periods when the city’s crime rates increased year over year, despite new fencing and walls.

Before the wall project started, El Paso had been rated one of the three safest major U.S. cities going back to 1997.

‘KEEP OUT!’: Trump tells non-Americans to stay out of the country in border tweet

President Donald Trump’s latest tweet about the border outright told all foreigners to “KEEP OUT!”

“With Caravans marching through Mexico and toward our Country, Republicans must be prepared to do whatever is necessary for STRONG Border Security. Dems do nothing. If there is no Wall, there is no Security. Human Trafficking, Drugs and Criminals of all dimensions – KEEP OUT!” He wrote in a corrected tweet after misspelling “dimensions.”

[Raw Story]

Trump Tweets Out Intense Doomsday Video Warning of Border Crisis: ‘We Will Build the Wall!’

President Donald Trump is preparing Americans for the world ending.

In an intense video he tweeted out this afternoon, he promises to “build the wall,” as crowds of people are heard chanting,  “Build the wall! Build the wall!” in the background:

The President’s video decries the “crisis on the border,” which is causing an uptick in “crime, drugs, and lawlessness” across the border and includes a clip of Senator Chuck Schumer denouncing illegal immigration.

[Mediaite]

All Of The Made-Up, Nonsensical, Hypocritical Highlights From Trump’s Cabinet Meeting

President Donald Trump ranted about immigrants, attractive generals, the difficulty of being president and more on Wednesday in his first televised appearance of the year.

In a rambling and often disjointed conversation, the president led reporters and members of his Cabinet through his thinking on issues ranging from immigration to military strategy to the very role of the presidency.

Here are some of the standout moments from the over 90-minute meeting:

Trump claimed there are more than 30 million undocumented immigrants.

That number is about three times greater than experts’ estimates. Pew Research Center estimated there were 10.7 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. as of 2016.

He said Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, then said he would have been a good general.

In one extended rant, Trump put forth his theory that Afghanistan was responsible for turning the Soviet Union into Russia, shared his thoughts on military strategy to fight terrorism and then claimed he would have been a good general. Trump avoided the draft five times.

Trump said he works too hard, despite taking more vacation days than any other president in recent history.

Former President Barack Obama was harshly criticized for taking vacation days ― including by Trump. But Trump has far surpassed Obama in the number of days he’s spent golfing during his presidency.

He repeated a number he made up for what unauthorized immigration costs the U.S.

Trump has a long history of spouting greatly inflated or invented numbers for how much illegal immigration costs the U.S. During his presidential campaign, he often claimed it cost $100 billion. That number has risen steadily over the years, unattached to any apparent research or reports, as The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has documented.

Trump summed up the deadly, devastating and years-long conflict in Syria with a minimizing statement.

After abruptly announcing plans in December to withdraw all American troops from war-torn Syria, Trump backpedaled somewhat on Wednesday, saying it might take longer than previously expected. “We’re talking about sand and death,” he said. “That’s what we’re talking about.”

The president commented on the physical attractiveness of a group of generals he once met with at the Pentagon.

This one pretty much speaks for itself, but “computer boards,” anyone?

He complained about being ‘all alone’ over the holidays, ‘except for all of the guys out on the lawn with machine guns.’

Trump threatened to take unilateral action on a number of his top priorities and then seemed to taunt, ‘Wouldn’t that be scary?’

[Huffington Post]

Trump Wrongly Says Democrats Are Responsible for Children’s Deaths at the Border

As Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen travels to the border in the wake of two children dying in Customs and Border Patrol’s custody, President Donald Trump is tweeting from the White House that Democrats are to blame for the deaths. (True to form, he is also blaming Democrats and Nancy Pelosi for the shutdown.)

His tweets are the president’s first public comment about the deaths of two children, an eight-year-old boy named Felipe Gomez Alonzo and a seven-year-old girl named Jakelin Caal, who were taken into custody with their parents after attempting a dangerous crossing into the United States at the Mexico border. “Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!” the president tweeted.

But that claim is absurd. It is Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy and restrictions on asylum seekers that is necessitating these children be held at government facilities that are not prepared to hold so many people, especially young children. And because they implemented these policies, the administration should have anticipated a need for medical services for migrants coming across. But only after two children have died is the administration even talking about making changes.

Earlier this week, Nielsen said that the agency “is considering options for surge medical assistance,” which is what it should have done as soon as the policy was implemented. But the Dr. Colleen Kract, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics says that physicians who have visited the facilities where children are held are disturbed by the conditions. “These children are not given the basic needs of food and water and medical care,” she told TIME.

Even Trump’s CPB Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told CBS This Morning that a child had not died in CPB custody in “more than a decade” and that the agency needs to take “a different approach” to how it manages children in its care.

Democrats, however, are refusing to take the blame and plan to hold hearings investigating the children’s deaths. “[Trump is] just making stuff up again. In January the House of Representatives will hold hearings with witnesses under oath and find out what happened,” Representative Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) tweeted in response to the president.

[Rolling Stone]

Trump: I may be forced to seal southern border, cut off aid to Central America

President Donald Trump threatened on Friday to close the nation’s southern border if Congress doesn’t fund his border wall.

“We build the wall or,” Trump wrote in a string of tweets. ” … close the southern border.”

Mick Mulvaney, the incoming White House chief of staff, told reporters on Friday the president is “absolutely” willing to shut down the southern border, despite the enormous cost to the country.

“All options are on the table,” Mulvaney said. “Listen, it’s the only way we can get the Democrats’ attention.”

Trump also said he would cut off aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, where violence and crime have motivated thousands of people to flee and seek asylum in the United States. He also said another migrant caravan is heading toward the U.S.

Trump’s string of tweeted threats comes as the partial government shutdown reaches its first full week amid a spending bill feud between Congress and the president.

Trump refused to sign a short-term funding bill last week that would have pushed the spending fight to February, insisting that Congress allocate billions for the border wall.

In a second tweet, the president claimed that building the wall would be a “profit making operation.” The president also complained about Mexico stealing American jobs and undermining the auto industry and said Central America’s violence-riddled Northern Triangle countries were “taking advantage of the U.S. for years.”

The San Diego Union Tribune reported on Thursday that another caravan of migrants from Honduras was forming, with as many as 15,000 migrants undergoing the lengthy asylum request process, potentially adding to the backlog of asylum-seekers who are currently in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said Friday on CBS that the president was willing to negotiate the amount of border funding Congress gives him.

“I’m not going to negotiate in the press, but the president has been willing to negotiate on this point,” she said. “And the Democrats have not been willing to do anything. And that’s the sad part, they care more about keeping our borders open than keeping our government open.”

On Fox News, Mulvaney said the administration had already offered Democrats a number “less than” $5 billion in negotiation, but Democrats had held firm to their offer of $1.3 billion dollars in border funding.

[NBC News]

Trump tweeted a design for ‘steel slats’ along the border with spikes on top — and called it ‘totally effective while at the same time beautiful’

President Donald Trump on Friday tweeted an image of what he said was a design of his administration’s “Steel Slat Barrier” intended for the US-Mexico border, complete with metal spikes at the top.

The tweet came amid turmoil within Congress as lawmakers struggled to reach a funding deal, hours before a partial government shutdown was set to begin.

In the last two days, Trump has begun demanding that Congress approve $5 billion in funding for his long-promised border wall, though he has pivoted in recent days to demanding “steel slats.”

He speculated on Thursday that doing so would give Democratic lawmakers “a little bit of an out” to pass his requested funding.

“We don’t use the word ‘wall’ necessarily, but it has to be something special to do the job – steel slats,” he said.

The Republican-controlled House passed a continuing resolution on Thursday evening that included $5.7 billion for border security. The resolution will now go to the Senate, where it is almost certain to fail.

A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told Business Insider that the design is the same that has been used in Calexico:

The fencing in Calexico, however, doesn’t appear to feature the same sharply spiked tips as the design Trump tweeted.

The Trump administration has also been working on similar fencing projects throughout the last year, using “bollards” – spaced-out, hollow steel rods – as a barrier, usually with metal anti-climbing plates at the top.

[Business Insider]

Trump Administration Will Send Asylum-Seekers To Mexico While Claims Are Processed

Migrants who cross the U.S. southern border and seek asylum will be forced to wait in Mexico while their claims are being processed, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Thursday.

Currently, people claiming asylum are allowed to stay in the U.S. — sometimes in detention — while their claim is pending in immigration court. The new policy will send such migrants to Mexico for the duration of that process.

That’s true regardless of the migrants’ country of origin: Many people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border are not Mexican, but are fleeing violence in Central America.

The immigrants will still “be interviewed by a U.S. asylum officer, but they will no longer be released into the interior with a notice to appear in immigration court,” NPR’s John Burnett reports. “DHS has long complained that many applicants simply disappear and never show up for their hearing.”

Speaking before lawmakers on Thursday, Nielsen also emphasized that DHS cannot detain families with children for more than a few weeks under U.S. law, which is not enough time for an asylum claim to be processed.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration began separating children from parents who were being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, a policy which horrified many Americans and was ultimately found to be illegal. Sending families back to Mexico would provide an alternate method for the administration to avoid releasing such families into the U.S.

The Mexican government, while affirming its own sovereign rights to determine who enters the country, said it would allow the practice. Mexico also said it would extend some rights and protections to the non-Mexican asylum-seekers on Mexican soil who await immigration hearings in the U.S.

The migrants will receive humanitarian visas, have the opportunity to apply for work permits and have access to legal services, Mexico said.

Last month, The Washington Post reported that the Trump administration had reached a deal with Mexico to allow asylum-seekers to remain south of the border while their claims were processed. However, governments of both countries would not publicly confirm that a plan was in place, in part because the Mexican government was days away from a transition of power.

The announcement on Thursday appears to confirm those early reports.

In late November, Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said there were questions about the legality of such a proposal.

“One thing we know right off the bat is that it cannot be legal unless they can assure all the asylum seekers who will be stranded in Mexico … will be safe — not only from persecution by state actors in Mexico, but by criminal gangs,” Gelernt told NPR. “And from what we know about what’s going on, we see no likelihood that that is going to be true.”

The news comes during a time of close national attention to issues of immigration and asylum, as President Trump continues to denounce migration as a national security threat, and critics of the administration’s actions accuse the White House of inhumane policies.

The recent arrival of a caravan of Central American migrants at the U.S. southern border brought fresh attention to asylum-seekers, particularly after a clash between protesters and Border Patrol agents.

The Trump administration has been setting limits on the number of people allowed to claim asylum at those ports of entry per day. The result has been a massive backlog of migrants waiting to claim asylum — in addition to a backlog of migrants who have claimed asylum and are awaiting processing.

The death of a 7-year-old migrant girl in Border Patrol custody this month has brought fresh outrage to the debate.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to seek funding for his border wall — which he had originally claimed would be paid for by Mexico. He recently said that Mexico is essentially paying for the wall through the new deal to replace NAFTA, a claim which is not true.

[NPR]

Trump Goes Off on Rant, Claims He’s the Only Reason Dems Are Opposed to Wall: ‘Absolute Hypocrites’

President Donald Trump bashed Democrats Thursday night — arguing that their personal animus against him is the only reason for their opposition to a Southern border wall.

In a wild video rant posted to Twitter, the president railed against the Left — accusing them of being disingenuous in their stance on the wall.

“The Democrats are absolute hypocrites!” Trump said. “All along, they’ve been supporting walls and supporting fences, and supporting all sorts of border security.

The video then cut to old clips of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former President Barack Obama making various statements against illegal immigration. None has ever voiced support for a Southern border wall anywhere near the scale Trump has proposed — although Clinton came the closest by saying she has previously backed construction of a “barrier.”

Trump, however, regards Democrats as flip-flopping on the issue. And the reason for their supposed 180? Him.

“The fact is they’ve always supported fences, and walls, and partitions,” Trump said. “But you know what? They only don’t want to do it because of me. They have to put the people ahead of politics.”

[Mediaite]

Media

Trump Moves to Deport Vietnam War Refugees

The Trump administration is resuming its efforts to deport certain protected Vietnamese immigrants who have lived in the United States for decades—many of them having fled the country during the Vietnam War.

This is the latest move in the president’s long record of prioritizing harsh immigration and asylum restrictions, and one that’s sure to raise eyebrows—the White House had hesitantly backed off the plan in August before reversing course. In essence, the administration has now decided that Vietnamese immigrants who arrived in the country before the establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Vietnam are subject to standard immigration law—meaning they are all eligible for deportation.

The new stance mirrors White House efforts to clamp down on immigration writ large, a frequent complaint of the president’s on the campaign trail and one he links to a litany of ills in the United States.

The administration last year began pursuing the deportation of many long-term immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and other countries who the administration alleges are “violent criminal aliens.” But Washington and Hanoi have a unique 2008 agreement that specifically bars the deportation of Vietnamese people who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995—the date the two former foes reestablished diplomatic relations following the Vietnam War.

The White House unilaterally reinterpreted the agreement in the spring of 2017 to exempt people convicted of crimes from its protections, allowing the administration to send back a small number of pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants, a policy it retreated from this past August. Last week, however, James Thrower, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, said the American government was again reversing course.

Washington now believes that the 2008 agreement fails to protect pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants from deportation, Thrower told The Atlantic. This would apply to such migrants who are either undocumented or have committed crimes, and this interpretation would not apply to those who have become American citizens.

“The United States and Vietnam signed a bilateral agreement on removals in 2008 that establishes procedures for deporting Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States after July 12, 1995, and are subject to final orders of removal,” Thrower said. “While the procedures associated with this specific agreement do not apply to Vietnamese citizens who arrived in the United States before July 12, 1995, it does not explicitly preclude the removal of pre-1995 cases.”

The about-turn came as a State Department spokesperson confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security had met with representatives of the Vietnamese embassy in Washington, D.C., but declined to provide details of when the talks took place or what was discussed.

Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for DHS said: “We have 5,000 convicted criminal aliens from Vietnam with final orders of removal—these are non-citizens who during previous administrations were arrested, convicted, and ultimately ordered removed by a federal immigration judge. It’s a priority of this administration to remove criminal aliens to their home country.”

Spokespeople for the Vietnamese embassy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group, said in a statement that the purpose of the meeting was to change the 2008 agreement. That deal had initially been set to last for five years, and was to be automatically extended every three years unless either party opted out. Under those rules, it was set to renew next month. Since 1998, final removal orders have been issued for more than 9,000 Vietnamese nationals.

When it first decided to reinterpret the 2008 deal, Donald Trump’s administration argued that only pre-1995 arrivals with criminal convictions were exempt from the agreement’s protection and eligible for deportation. Vietnam initially conceded and accepted some of those immigrants before stiffening its resistance; about a dozen Vietnamese immigrants ended up being deported from the United States. The August decision to change course, reported to a California court in October, appeared to put such moves at least temporarily on ice, but the latest shift leaves the fate of a larger number of Vietnamese immigrants in doubt. Now all pre-1995 arrivals are exempt from the 2008 agreement’s protection.

Many pre-1995 arrivals, all of whom were previously protected under the 2008 agreement by both the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were refugees from the Vietnam War. Some are the children of those who once allied with American and South Vietnamese forces, an attribute that renders them undesirable to the current regime in Hanoi, which imputes anti-regime beliefs to the children of those who opposed North Vietnam. This anti-Communist constituency includes minorities such as the children of the American-allied Montagnards, who are persecuted in Vietnamfor both their ethnicity and Christian religion.

The Trump administration’s move reflects an entirely new reading of the agreement, according to Ted Osius, who served as the United States ambassador to Vietnam from December 2014 through November 2017.* Osius said that while he was in office, the 2008 agreement was accepted by all involved parties as banning the deportation of all pre-1995 Vietnamese immigrants.

“We understood that the agreement barred the deportation of pre-1995 Vietnamese. Both governments—and the Vietnamese-American community—interpreted it that way,” Osius told The Atlantic in an email. The State Department, he added, had explained this to both the White House and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

News of the Trump administration’s renewed hard line quickly made the rounds on Vietnamese American social media, with advocacy groups warning of potentially increased deportations.

“Forty-three years ago, a lot of the Southeast Asian communities and Vietnamese communities fled their countries and their homeland due to the war, which the U.S. was involved in, fleeing for their safety and the safety of their families,” said Kevin Lam, the organizing director of the Asian American Resource Workshop, an advocacy group. “The U.S. would do well to remember that.”

[The Atlantic]

1 2 3 20