Trump chief of staff John Kelly suggests some Dreamers ‘too lazy’ and ‘too afraid’ to sign up for DACA

Some immigrants may have been “too afraid” or “too lazy” to sign up for the Obama-era program that offered protection from deportation, White House chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday as he defended President Donald Trump’s proposal aimed at breaking the impasse on immigration.

In remarks to reporters, Kelly described Trump’s plan, which would provide a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people — more than Democrats had sought. He noted extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was “beyond what anyone could have imagined.”

“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” he said.

“The difference between (690,000) and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up,” Kelly said.

Kelly spoke as lawmakers have deadlocked in an effort to reach a bipartisan deal on protecting from deportation recipients of the program, known as “Dreamers.”

Barring a last-minute agreement — which seems unlikely — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said his chamber will begin considering the issue, a debate that GOP leaders expect to start next week.

Kelly said Trump would likely reject an effort to pass a short-term extension for the program, which is set to expire on March 5.

But he also noted the March 5 deadline may not have immediate impact. He said immigrants currently protected won’t be priorities for deportation as long as they do not commit crimes.

Kelly said lawmakers need a deadline to force action.

“What makes them act is pressure,” he said.

Kelly in remarks to reporters later Tuesday seemed to double down on his earlier comments about those eligible for DACA, saying “some of them just should’ve probably gotten off the couch and signed up.”

But Kelly added, “But that doesn’t really matter now because President Trump has given them the status,” referring to Trump’s proposal.

In exchange for making citizenship a possibility, Trump wants $25 billion for border security, including money to build parts of his coveted wall along the U.S.-Mexico boundary. He also wants to curb legal immigration, restricting the relatives that legal immigrants could sponsor for citizenship and ending a lottery that distributes visas to people from diverse places like Africa.

“I can’t imagine men and women of good will who begged this president to solve the problem of DACA” would oppose Trump’s proposal, said Kelly, using the program’s acronym. He added, “Right now, the champion of all people who are DACA is Donald Trump.”

A court ruling earlier this month also has blunted the deadline. A federal judge has indefinitely blocked Trump from terminating DACA’s protections for the so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and are living here illegally. The program shields them from deportation and gives them the right to hold jobs.

Still, many lawmakers are uneasy about what might happen to the Dreamers after March 5, and Democrats — and Trump himself — are using that uncertainty as leverage to help force a deal. Kelly’s remarks seemed aimed at easing worries that major deportations of Dreamers could begin right away — a scenario that could be damaging to members of both parties.

“They are not a priority for deportation,” Kelly said of Dreamers who’ve not accumulated criminal records.

[NBC News]

Trump referred to Haiti and African countries as ‘shithole’ nations

President Donald Trump on Thursday referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of senators at the White House, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting told NBC News.

Trump’s comments were first reported by The Washington Post, which said the group of nations referred to also included El Salvador.

The comments came as senators huddled in the Oval Office with the president to discuss a path forward on an immigration deal. Trump questioned why the United States would want people from nations such as Haiti while he was being briefed on changes to the visa lottery system.

According to the aide, when the group came to discussing immigration from Africa, Trump asked why America would want immigrants from “all these shithole countries” and that the U.S. should have more people coming in from places like Norway. Thursday’s meeting came one day after Trump met with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House.

A source familiar with Thursday’s meeting told NBC News the president was particularly frustrated during discussions about the visa lottery system — a program Trump has railed against repeatedly in recent months.

The White House issued a statement that did not deny the remarks.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told NBC Thursday, as part of a lengthy statement that did not directly dispute the language reportedly used in the meeting.

“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”

It’s not the first time reports have surfaced of Trump speaking unfavorably about immigrants, and Haitians in particular. The New York Times reported in December that Trump said Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS,” during a summer 2017 meeting about immigration.

According to the Times, Trump also targeted Nigerian immigrants during that meeting, complaining that once they came the United States they would never “go back to their huts.” The White House vigorously denied the claims in the story at the time.

[NBC News]

Trump said Haitian immigrants ‘all have AIDS’

The White House strongly pushed back on a report that President Donald Trump spoke about immigrants in a dismissive and demeaning fashion during a June meeting with top administration officials.

The denial came in response to explosive reporting from the New York Times, which wrote that, according to two unnamed officials, Trump said during a meeting in June that people coming from Haiti “all have AIDS,” that recent Nigerian immigrants would never “go back to their huts” in Africa and that Afghanistan is a terrorist haven.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement blasting the paper and denying that Trump had made the comments.

“General Kelly, General McMaster, Secretary Tillerson, Secretary Nielsen, and all other senior staff actually in the meeting deny these outrageous claims and it’s both sad and telling the New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous ‘sources’ anyway,” Sanders said.

The report said the Oval Office meeting during the summer included Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and senior officials, including White House adviser Stephen Miller, who the Times said had provided Trump with a list of how many immigrants received visas to enter the United States in 2017.

he Times report said Kelly and Tillerson tried to respond by saying many of the visas were for short-term travelers, but that as Trump continued, Kelly and Miller “turned their ire” against Tillerson, who threw his arms up and retorted that perhaps he should stop issuing visas altogether.

The Times said its report was the product of more than three dozen interviews. The explosive and disparaging remarks about immigrants attributed to the president were sourced to a pair of unnamed officials, one who the Times said was present in the meeting, and another who was briefed about the comments by a second attendee. But the Times says several other participants told them they “did not recall” the President using those words.

[CNN]

After border agent is killed and partner injured in Texas, Trump renews call for wall

Authorities were searching southwest Texas for suspects or witnesses after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed and his partner injured Sunday while on patrol in the state’s Big Bend area, officials said.

Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were “responding to activity” near Interstate 10 in Van Horn, Tex., when both were seriously injured, according to a Customs and Border Protection news release.

Martinez’s partner called for help. Other agents arrived, provided medical care and took them to a hospital.

Martinez died of his injuries; his partner, who was not identified, remained in the hospital in serious condition, officials said.

Martinez, a 36-year-old from El Paso, had been a border agent since August 2013.

Jeannette Harper of the FBI’s El Paso field office told the San Antonio Express-News that authorities were still gathering evidence. She said reports that the agents were shot were not true, but that a full account of what happened wouldn’t be released until Monday.

“They were not fired upon,” Harper said.

A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to offer any further details about what happened.

But a National Border Patrol Council labor union official said Martinez may have been killed in a rock attack.

Art Del Cueto, the union’s vice president, said he has heard from other Border Patrol agents that Martinez and his partner were believed to be responding to an electronic sensor that had been activated.

Del Cueto said he was told that Martinez and his partner apparently did not sustain bullet or stab wounds — so he suspects the pair may have been attacked with rocks, which are commonly thrown at agents working in that area.

“It’s heartbreaking; it’s truly heartbreaking,” he told The Washington Post on Monday in a phone interview.

President Trump appeared to connect Martinez’s death to border security and plugged his plans for a border wall Sunday night on Twitter.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said, without explanation, that Martinez and his partner were “attacked” and also linked the incident to security on the border with Mexico.

“This is a stark reminder of the ongoing threat that an unsecure border poses to the safety of our communities and those charged with defending them,” Cruz tweeted. “I remain fully committed to working with the Border Patrol to provide them with all the resources they need to safeguard our nation.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) offered his condolences to the victims’ families.

“Our prayers are with the families of this Border Patrol Agent who was killed & the other who was injured in this attack in Texas,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our resources must be increased to prevent these attacks in the future.”

The FBI in El Paso is leading an investigation into the incident, along with the Culberson County Sheriff’s Department and Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

The acting secretary of homeland security, Elaine Duke, said in a statement that she learned of Martinez’s death Sunday morning, and offered her agency’s full support to “determine the cause of this tragic event.”

“On behalf of the quarter of a million front line officers and agents of DHS, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Agent Martinez and to the agent who is in serious condition,” Duke said.

The area where the agents were injured is a dusty stretch of highway about 100 miles east of El Paso.

It is part of Customs and Border Protection’s vast Big Bend Sector, which covers 135,000 square miles in Texas and Oklahoma and 510 miles of river border. The sector’s Van Horn Station, near where Martinez died, covers 15 miles of the Mexico border.

The Big Bend Sector accounted for 1 percent of the roughly 61,000 apprehensions Border Patrol agents made along Texas’s southwest border between fall 2016 and spring 2017, as the Associated Press reported.

Local media photos from the scene showed Border Patrol trucks and about a dozen other unmarked vehicles parked along the side of the road, and a group of law enforcement agents huddled together.

Thirty-eight Customs and Border Protection agents have died in the line of duty since 2003, according to the agency’s memorial page.

Before Martinez, the only other agent to die in 2017 was Isaac Morales, who was stabbed in a bar parking lot in El Paso. Three agents died in 2016, two of them in car accidents, one of a heart attack while on bike patrol.

[Washington Post]

Reality

Trump had jumped to conclusions without available evidence, fanning the flames of racism by blaming Mexicans when we don’t know what happened yet.

For example, in Culberson County, where the two officers were injured, the local sheriff painted a different picture, suggesting to the Dallas Morning News that investigators are considering the possibility that the agents fell into the culvert in a nighttime accident.

“The evidence is not obvious as to what happened out there,” Sheriff Oscar Carrillo told the paper.

Trump says military should not have to help with food, water distribution in Puerto Rico

President Donald Trump said the military shouldn’t have to distribute the “massive amounts” of food and water that have been delivered to storm-battered Puerto Rico.

When a reporter asked Trump about disaster relief on the island, the president said that food and water had been brought to Puerto Rico, but it wasn’t being distributed by local people.

“They have to distribute the food to the people of the island. So, what we’ve done is, we now actually have military distributing food, something that really they shouldn’t have to be doing,” he said in a wide-ranging, hastily scheduled press conference on Monday.

The remark follows comments Trump made last week, where he partly blamed the island for the devastation and said emergency responders can’t stay in Puerto Rico “forever.”

Puerto Rico has been reeling in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which left most of the U.S. territory without power or access to clean drinking water. Over the weekend, local authorities raised the death toll to 48 after reviewing medical records.

A local economist projected that the wreckage may have set back Puerto Rico’s economy so much that it will now take more than a decade to recover.

Trump said Monday that aid operations in Puerto Rico are “very tough” because the island “was in very poor shape before the hurricanes ever hit.” The island had more than $70 billion in debt before Maria landed.

The president has faced criticism for an apparent lack of empathy for Puerto Rico amid the disaster response.

During a trip to the island earlier this month, Trump said the hurricane destruction had thrown his administration’s budget “a little out of whack.” Later that day, he tossed packages of paper towels to hurricane victims.

While Trump has said his administration has done a great job responding to the crisis on the island, a recent poll found that most voters disagreed. Fifty-five percent of American voters say the Trump administration has not done enough to help the U.S. territory after Hurricane Maria struck, according to a Quinnipiac poll released last week.

[NBC News]

Reality

Donald Trump is continuing his racist reasoning that the people or Puerto Rico are too lazy to help themselves.

Trump contrasts Puerto Rico death toll to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’

President Donald Trump told Puerto Rican officials Tuesday they should be “very proud” that hundreds of people haven’t died after Hurricane Maria as they did in “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”

“Every death is a horror,” Trump said, “but if you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous — hundreds and hundreds of people that died — and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering … no one has ever seen anything like this.”

“What is your death count?” he asked as he turned to Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. “17?”

“16,” Rosselló answered.

“16 people certified,” Trump said. “Sixteen people versus in the thousands. You can be very proud of all of your people and all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud. Everybody watching can really be very proud of what’s taken place in Puerto Rico.”

According to FEMA, 1,833 people died in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Before Trump arrived Tuesday, Rosselló said he expected the death count to rise.

“I’ve established from the get-go that due to the magnitude of this event it is likely that that number is going to go up,” Rosselló told reporters at a news conference Tuesday.

The White House has pushed back on the notion that Maria is this administration’s version of Katrina, and the President praised relief efforts in Puerto Rico as he departed Washington Tuesday.

“I think we’ve done just as good in Puerto Rico and it’s actually a much tougher situation,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. “But now the roads are clear, communications starting to come back.”

On the ground in Puerto Rico, Trump also appeared to blame the island and its 3.5 million residents for throwing the federal budget “a little out of whack.”

“I hate to tell you Puerto Rico, but you’ve thrown our budget a little out of whack,” Trump said with a grin. “Because we’ve spent a lot of money on Puerto Rico and that’s fine, we’ve saved a lot of lives.”

But the bulk of Trump’s remarks on Tuesday focused on praising his administration’s response to the destructive hurricane, even as more than half of the island’s roughly 3.5 million residents still lack access to potable water and as nearly all of the island remains without power.

[CNN]

Trump slams Puerto Ricans: ‘They want everything to be done for them’

President Trump on Saturday criticized Puerto Rico’s “poor leadership” and defended his administration’s response to the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation on the island in an early morning series of tweets that earned immediate backlash from Democrats and other critics.

Following a plea for aid on Friday by San Juan’s mayor, Trump said the mayor was being “nasty.”

“The mayor of San Juan, who was very complimentary only a few days ago, has now been told by the Democrats that you must be nasty to Trump,” Trump tweeted. “Such poor leadership ability by the mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help.”

“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” he continued. “10,000 Federal workers now on Island doing a fantastic job.”

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/353216-trump-criticizes-san-juan-mayors-poor-leadership-during-puerto-rico

Trump: Many Immigrants are ‘Animals’ Who ‘Slice and Dice Young, Beautiful Girls’

Donald Trump marked Tuesday with another campaign-style rally in Ohio, using his platform to grab praise from his supporters and return to the glory of his campaign. There were plenty of pro-Trump folks in attendance, with some anti-Trump protestors tossed into the mix, giving the entire event a nostalgic 2016 feel that’s bolstered by Trump once again taking aim at illegal immigrants.

Trump hasn’t resorted to this type of language in a while, but Tuesday night’s rally touted ICE raids that were “doing it rough” and not “in a politically correct fashion,” while referring to those being deported as violent gang members and “animals.” While data has shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes according to The New York Times and ICE Raids aren’t always targeting the worst of the worst, Trump’s comments would have you believe that they’re going block by block as they “liberate” cities from violent foreigners:

One by one, we are finding the illegal gang members, drug dealers, thieves, robbers, criminals, and killers. And we are sending them the hell back home where they came from. [applause]

And once they are gone, we will never let them back in, believe me. [applause]

The predators and criminal aliens who poison our communities with drugs and prey on innocent young people — these beautiful, beautiful, innocent young people — will find no safe haven anywhere in our country. [applause]

And you’ve seen the stories about some of these animals. They don’t want to use guns, because it’s too fast and it’s not painful enough. So they’ll take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15, and others, and they slice them and dice them with a knife, because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die. And these are the animals that we’ve been protecting for so long. Well, they’re not being protected any longer, folks.

There’s nobody to question this comments at the rally, sites like Shareblue point out that Trump’s rant was less about actually dealing with violent criminals and more about “building up the anger and suspicion” with his supporters. He’s campaigning six months into his presidency and shows no signs of stopping. He’s even gone back to saying he’s more presidential than any president before — setting aside an exception for Lincoln.

Being presidential clearly includes telling a crowd of Boy Scouts about your friend’s sex yacht. This is Trump’s America now.

[Uproxx]

Media

Jeff Sessions Was Prepared to Call Illegal Immigrants ‘Filth’

During a speech at the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reiterated his and President Donald Trump’s commitment to cracking down on undocumented immigrants. But one thing was missing from his speech as it was delivered: a phrase referring to criminals who cross the border as “filth,” which appeared in his prepared remarks.

In the text that was published on the Department of Justice website, Sessions told a grim tale of immigrant hordes crossing the border and wreaking havoc on U.S. citizens — a myth that has been debunked time and time again.

“We mean criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into warzones, that rape and kill innocent citizens and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders,” the speech says. “Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings. It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”

But according to Catherine Thompson of Talking Points Memo, Sessions dropped “against this filth” while delivering the speech to border agents in Nogales, Arizona.

In the past, Sessions, like Trump, has enthusiastically expressed discontentwith immigrants and vowed to deport thousands of undocumented immigrants who he’s repeatedly painted as hostile and violent.

As an Alabama Senator, Sessions opposed immigration reform by arguing that immigration “takes jobs from Americans and can, in fact, create cultural problems.” He was one of the most vocal Trump supporters during the 2016 presidential campaign, and supported him after he described Mexicans as bad hombres, rapists, and criminals. And during his first speech as the U.S. Attorney General in February, Sessions said, “We need to end this lawlessness that threatens Americans’ safety and pulls down wages of ordinary Americans.”

Based on the glaring omission on Tuesday, it appears as though Sessions thought the term “filth” would’ve been a step too far.

(h/t ThinkProgress)

AG Sessions Says DOJ to ‘Pull Back’ on Police Department Civil Rights Suits

Donald Trump’s attorney general said Tuesday the Justice Department will limit its use of a tactic employed aggressively under President Obama — suing police departments for violating the civil rights of minorities.

“We need, so far as we can, to help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness. And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“So we’re going to try to pull back on this,” he told a meeting of the nation’s state attorneys general in Washington.

Sessions said such a move would not be “wrong or insensitive to civil rights or human rights.” Instead, he said people in poor and minority communities must feel free from the threat of violent crime, which will require more effective policing with help from the federal government.

While crime rates are half of what they were a few decades ago, recent increases in violent crimes do not appear to be “an aberration, a one-time blip. I’m afraid it represents the beginning of a trend.”

Sessions said he will encourage federal prosecutors to bring charges when crimes are committed using guns. Referring local drug violations that involve the use of a firearm, for example, to federal court can result is often a stiffer sentence than would be imposed by state courts.

“We need to return to the ideas that got us here, the ideas that reduce crime and stay on it. Maybe we got a bit overconfident when we’ve seen the crime rate decline so steadily for so long,” he said.

Under the Obama Administration, the Justice Department opened 25 investigations into police departments and sheriff’s offices and was enforcing 19 agreements at the end of 2016, resolving civil rights lawsuits filed against police departments in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, New Orleans, Cleveland and 15 other cities.

On Monday, Sessions said he is reviewing the Justice Department’s current policy toward enforcing federal law that prohibits possession of marijuana, but has made no decision about whether to get tougher.

His opposition to legalization is well known, and he emphasized it during an informal gathering of reporters . “I don’t think America will be a better place when more people, especially young people, smoke pot.”

States, he said, can pass their own laws on possession as they choose, “but it remains a violation of federal law.”

The current policy, spelled out in a 2013 memo from former deputy attorney general James Cole, said federal prosecutions would focus on distribution to minors, involvement of gangs or organized crime, sales beyond a state border, and growing marijuana plants on federal land.

(h/t NBC News)

1 2 3 5