Trump Claims ‘USA has the Absolute Legal Right’ to Send Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

President Donald Trump tweeted out on Saturday night that “the USA has the absolute legal right” to send migrants to sanctuary cities.

“Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!” Trump wrote.

Trump’s tweet comes just following a segment on Fox News where his deputy Press Secretary defended the plan.

Speaking with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro on Saturday, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley praised Trump’s proposal.

He claimed, though, that the actual transport hasn’t started yet because Trump is still considering all of his options and they are still working on the legality of the issue.

In defense of Trump’s proposal, Gidley said this:

“They are telling us you cannot keep family units who come here illegally and unlawfully at the southern border. You can’t keep them at detention facilities. You can’t deport them. The only thing you can do is as an administration is release them into American communities…So, the president said listen, there are sanctuary cities out there where Democrats have said we welcome any and all whether they criminals, whether they are here illegally, seeking asylum, regardless. Anybody who disagrees with us is racist. So the president said fine, I’ve got a great idea. We’d love to work with you guys to figure out exactly the best way to transport these people were here illegally and unlawfully and into your communities and your districts and your states.”

Gidley then added that not a single Democrat has signed up for the plan.

Pirro next asked when all this was going to start.

“He’s looking at any and all options right now,” Gidley said, referring to Trump. “We’re going through the process, reviewing everything we can do lawfully.”

Pirro then asked if it had started already.

“Not yet, we’re trying to figure out if we can do that Legally,” Gidley replied.

A few minutes later, Trump tweeted out that the “USA has the absolute legal right” to what he wants and send migrants to sanctuary cities.

[Mediaite]

Trump threatens to send ‘gang members’ and ‘human traffickers’ to sanctuary cities in latest immigration meltdown

President Donald Trump again threatened to send asylum seekers to sanctuary cities.

“Democrats must change the immigration laws fast,” Trump demanded, despite nothing being done during the two years of his presidency that Republicans controlled both houses of Congress.

Trump then branded immigrants as “criminals of all shapes.”

“If not, sanctuary cities must immediately act to take care of the illegal immigrants – and this includes gang members, drug dealers, human traffickers, and criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds,” Trump continued.

“Change the laws now,” he demanded.

[Raw Story]

Trump told CBP head he’d pardon him if he were sent to jail for violating immigration law

During President Donald Trump’s visit to the border at Calexico, California, a week ago, where he told border agents to block asylum seekers from entering the US contrary to US law, the President also told the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that if he were sent to jail as a result of blocking those migrants from entering the US, the President would grant him a pardon, senior administration officials tell CNN.

Two officials briefed on the exchange say the President told McAleenan, since named the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, that he “would pardon him if he ever went to jail for denying US entry to migrants,” as one of the officials paraphrased.

It was not clear if the comment was a joke; the official was not given any further context on the exchange.The White House referred CNN to the Department of Homeland Security. A DHS spokesman told CNN, “

At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the Acting Secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”

[CNN]

Trump Says He Is Considering Releasing Migrants in ‘Sanctuary Cities’

President Trump said on Friday that his administration was “strongly” considering releasing migrants detained at the border into mostly Democratic “sanctuary cities,” suggesting that the idea should make liberals “very happy” because of their immigration policies.

“We are looking at the possibility, strongly looking at it to be honest with you,” he said on Friday in response to a question about the proposal.

“We might as well do what they always say they want,” Mr. Trump said if Democrats do not agree to new immigration policies. “We’ll bring them to sanctuary city areas and let that particular area take care of it,” he said, adding that California welcomed the idea of more people coming to the state.

“We can give them a lot. We can give them an unlimited supply,” he said.

The comments came a day after the administration said the policy proposal was never seriously considered. But after the president’s Twitter posts on Friday, a White House spokesman said Democrats should work with the administration to welcome migrants into their districts.

“Democrats say we must have open borders and that illegal immigrants have a right to be in this country at all costs,” the spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said, adding, “so they should be working with the administration to find the best ways to transport those illegal aliens that are already set for release, into communities in their districts and states.”

Democratic lawmakers do not want “open borders,” as the president has suggested. They favor improving border security, but they do not support many of Mr. Trump’s hard-line immigration policy proposals, such as building a wall along the southwestern border.

Last year, Trump administration officials had floated the idea of transporting migrants to sanctuary cities, which do not strictly adhere to federal immigration laws, as a way to address the influx of migrants crossing the border with Mexico.

One of the highest-profile sanctuary cities is San Francisco, home to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is one of the president’s top political rivals and a thorn in his efforts to change American immigration laws. The White House raised the proposal again in February, suggesting it could punish Democrats for rejecting budget requests for border security.

Ms. Pelosi’s office condemned the Trump administration for the idea, which the Department of Homeland Security said on Thursday was ultimately rejected.

But Mr. Trump’s tweets on Friday indicated it was not off the table, and the president appeared to revel in the Democratic outrage, saying, “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy – so this should make them very happy!”

Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, a state with several sanctuary cities, criticized the president’s proposal.

“Trump’s plan to release migrants into ‘enemy’ cities as if they are some kind of contagion is reprehensible,” Mr. Markey tweeted. “Trump is obsessed with the border and sanctuary cities because he only wins by dividing people.”

There has been an influx of migrant families crossing the southern border into the United States, exceeding the staffing and resources available for immigration enforcement. And with a shortage of space in shelters and detention centers, immigration officials have been releasing migrants into the country as they wait to appear before an immigration court. Those courts are so backlogged with cases that it can be months or years before the migrants are called to appear before a judge.

[The New York Times]

Trump tells Legal Hispanic immigrants seeking asylum: ‘Our country is full’

Donald Trump had a unwelcoming message to those seeking political asylum in the United States: Don’t bother.

“Our country is full,” Trump said at an event in Calexico, Calif., to promote construction of a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. “Our area is full. The sector is full. Can’t take you anymore, I’m sorry. Can’t happen. So turn around, that’s the way it is.”

Trump described his remarks as “our new statement,” and said it applied to asylum seekers as well as immigrants crossing the border illegally.

“If you look at our southern border, the number of people and the amount of drugs, human trafficking — the human trafficking is something that nobody used to talk about, I talk about it. It’s a terrible thing. It’s ancient and it’s never been bigger than it is modern, right now, today. All over the world, by the way, not just here. All over the world, human trafficking, a terrible thing.”

According to figures provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials the number of people arrested for illegally crossing the border rose from 47,986 in January to 66,450 in February. Families, many traveling from Central American countries, made up more than half of those numbers, CBP said.

While arrests of criminal aliens have continued to fall the past two years, Trump assured his audience that “there is indeed an emergency on our southern border.”

“It’s a colossal surge,” Trump said of the migrant caravans from Central America, “and it’s overwhelming our immigration system. We can’t take you anymore.”

Specifically, Trump singled out those seeking asylum, saying that a large number of them were gang members.

“It’s a scam. It’s a hoax,” Trump said. “I know about hoaxes. I just went through a hoax,” which is how he refers to special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of his campaign’s ties to the Russian government.

At the same time, Trump proclaimed that Mexico “has been absolutely terrific for the last four days,” arresting “thousands” of Central American migrants before they could reach the U.S. border. But then the president issued another warning.

“If for any reason Mexico stops apprehending and bringing the illegals back to where they came from, the U.S. will be forced to tariff at 25 percent all cars made in Mexico and shipped over the border to us. If that doesn’t work, I will close the border,” Trump vowed.

Trump had backed off from that threat earlier in the week after lawmakers from both parties threw cold water on the idea.

“Closing down the border would have potentially catastrophic economic impact on our country, and I would hope we would not be doing that,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned.

As for the country being “full,” the United States, with a population density of 35 people per square kilometer, ranks 175th of 240 countries, between Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan.

Trump’s rolling up the welcome mat for immigrants stands in opposition to the long-standing American tradition of welcoming immigrants summed up by the lines in Emma Lazarus’s poem “The New Colossus,” inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

In February, Trump painted a very different picture regarding the country’s need for new immigrants.

“I need people coming in because we need people to run the factories and plants and companies that are moving back in,” Trump told reporters in February. “We need people.”

[AOL]

President Trump Ranted About ‘Getting Rid of Judges’

Apparently, we had something of an “episode” in the Oval Office Tuesday afternoon.

“Sure, it’s going to have a negative impact on the economy,” the president jovially admitted of his proposed shutdown. “It is one of the biggest trade deals in the world that we’ve just done with the USMCA. It is a very big trading partner. Trading is very important, the borders are very important, but security is what most important. I have to have security. And we’re going to have security in this country. That is more important than trade. Let me just give you a little secret, security is more important to me than trade, so we’re going to have a strong border, or we’re going to have a closed border. I’m totally prepared to do it.”

“Well I haven’t made that intention known and I’m ready to close it if I have to close it. Mexico has the strongest immigration laws in the world. Nobody has stronger. I guess some have the same but you can’t get any stronger than what Mexico has and we don’t want people coming up on this dangerous journey and coming in. And what we have to do is Congress has to meet quickly and make a deal. I could do it in 45 minutes. We need to get rid of chain migration, we need to get rid of catch and release and visa lottery and we have to do something about asylum and to be honest with you, I have to get rid of judges.”

Oh. And there were some pronunciation issues.

Meanwhile, those “rural voters” who, evidently, are the only voters that truly matter, are getting hammered all over the midwest. From NBC News:

Farmers will have to destroy any grains that were contaminated by floodwater, which could also prevent some growers from planting oversaturated fields. Near Crescent, Iowa, farmer Don Rief said the flood damaged more than 60,000 bushels of his grain, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He tried to move the crops before the flood, but dirt roads were too soft from the storm to support trucks. “We were just hurrying like hell,” Rief said. “Hopefully USDA will come in and minimize some of the damage.” The USDA does not have a program that covers flood-damaged grain because farmers have typically received more advance notice of rising waters, allowing them to move crops and limit losses, said Tom Vilsack, who ran the agency under former President Barack Obama.

That’s going to have to change, it seems. We don’t get many warnings about sudden calamities anymore and, the ones we get, we don’t listen to anyway.

[Esquire]

Trump cuts all direct assistance to Northern Triangle countries Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala

In a stunning about-face, State Department officials said that President Donald Trump is cutting off all direct assistance to the so-called Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

“At the Secretary’s instruction, we are carrying out the President’s direction and ending FY [fiscal year] 2017 and FY 2018 foreign assistance programs for the Northern Triangle,” a State Department spokesperson told ABC News, referring to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “We will be engaging Congress as part of this process.”

These three countries are the primary source of migrants to the U.S., but for years the U.S. has worked with them to stabilize their political environments and economies and end violence and corruption so that migrants wouldn’t leave in the first place.

Trump hinted at the cuts earlier on Friday, telling reporters,”I’ve ended payments to Guatemala, to Honduras, and to El Salvador. No money goes there anymore.”

While the president has threatened these cuts before, this time the administration is actually following through.

Trump said the funds totaled $500 million, but it wasn’t clear Friday if that figure was accurate. The State Department announced in December that the U.S. would mobilize $5.8 billion in public and private american investment to these three countries.

“We’re not paying them anymore because they haven’t done a thing for us,” he added.

[ABC]

Trump administration doubles down on opposition to Puerto Rico funding

The White House doubled down Wednesday on President Donald Trump’s comments opposing disaster funding for Puerto Rico, drawing outrage from Democratic members of Congress and raising questions about the administration’s rationale.

On Tuesday, Trump told Republican legislators at a closed-door Capitol Hill meeting that Puerto Rico had gotten too much money to rebuild after Hurricane Maria. The amount “is way out of proportion to what Texas and Florida and others have gotten,” Trump said, according to Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who was in the room.

On Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere told NBC News that while Puerto Rico is on track to receive tens of billions of dollars in unprecedented aid, “the Trump administration will not put taxpayers on the hook to correct a decades-old spending crisis that has left the island with deep-rooted economic problems.”

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., who is Puerto Rican, blasted the administration’s comments in a statement.

“The President’s remarks as reported in the media have at long last laid bare the central reason for his Administration’s callous response to Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico,” said Velázquez, “namely that he does not value the lives of millions of American citizens who reside there.”

“For the President to vocally oppose and target aid to the most vulnerable in Puerto Rico is shameful, heartless and inexcusable,” the congresswoman added.

In September of 2017, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico; its aftermath led to the deaths of at least 2,975 people and made it the deadliest U.S. natural disaster in a century. Trump has not yet publicly acknowledged or mourned the victims of the catastrophe following the revised figures.

On Wednesday, a White House official told NBC News on background some of the reasons why the administration was opposed to more spending.

But in doing so, the administration got some facts wrong.

The official said that the Puerto Rican government had not yet submitted a plan to fix the island’s power grid. However, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced on Tuesday that he’s ready to sign into law a bill approved by the Puerto Rican legislature that would determine how the island plans to privatize its public power authority, known as PREPA, and expand renewable energy.

The bill has been in the works for over a year, when the island’s government first announced its plans to privatize at least part of its power authority.

An official also said that Puerto Rican officials have mismanaged disaster funds that have been received.

The claim is not new; since last yearTrump has repeatedly asked Congress to stop providing relief and reconstruction money to Puerto Rico.

[NBC News]

Trump again swipes at Puerto Rico in closed door lunch with Republicans

President Donald Trump, in a closed door meeting Tuesday with Senate Republicans, again took a swipe at Puerto Rico’s fiscal management and the size of its disaster relief in the wake of damaging storms last week — and he brought a visual aid to try and back up his point, according to senators in the room.

Trump, as part of broader remarks that touched on everything from special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and health care to trade and North Korea, went out of his way to point out the totals of disaster relief aid that has been distributed in the wake of a series of storms and hurricanes in 2017. It is an issue Trump has had for months — mentioning Puerto Rico’s finances and total disaster relief in negative terms repeatedly in meetings with lawmakers and staff as they’ve worked through iterations of the next disaster relief bill.

“The point was — are we spending the money wisely?” Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican asked. “I have nothing against helping the people of Puerto Rico, but we have got to spend the money wisely.”

Trump, senators said, then utilized a chart to showed the difference between what Puerto Rico has received compared to other states like Texas and Florida. At one point, Trump noted that Puerto Rico has received more than $90 billion in aid. Congressional officials asked about the total mentioned by Trump that didn’t track with what Congress has provided in aid up to this point.

“He just talked about the sum total of it,” Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, told reporters of Trump’s Puerto Rico riff.

“I agree that you should always be accounting for how money is spent, but Puerto Rico certainly has needs that were different than some of these other places,” Rubio added, noting the island had been hit by multiple storms and was already in dire financial straits before that damage occurred.

Asked for comment on the senators’ description of Trump’s remarks, the White House responded in a statement.

“The Trump Administration is committed to the complete recovery of Puerto Rico. The island has received unprecedented support and is on pace to receive tens of billions of dollars from taxpayers. However, the Trump Administration will not put taxpayers on the hook to correct a decades old spending crisis that has left the island with deep-rooted economic problems.”

Sen. Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said Trump was “making the point that Puerto Rico has gotten a lot of money before and a lot of it hadn’t been spent wisely, and I think that’s a given.”

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló blasted Trump’s reported comments in a lengthy statement, saying they “are below the dignity of a sitting President of the United States. They continue to lack empathy, are irresponsible, regrettable and, above all, unjustified.”

He said Puerto Rico has spent disaster aid responsibly and suggested that “Trump is receiving misleading information from his own staff.”

“I invite the President to stop listening to ignorant and completely wrong advice,” Rosselló said. “Instead he should come to Puerto Rico to hear firsthand from the people on the ground. I invite him to put all of the resources at his disposal to help Americans in Puerto Rico, like he did for Texas and Alabama. No more, no less.”

The issue of Puerto Rico — and the President’s stated frustration with what the island has received up to this point — is coming to a head now as lawmakers work to reach a deal on a disaster relief package. Senate Republicans, who unveiled their own $13.4 billion version Tuesday, include $600 million for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, for the island. The Senate voted Tuesday to begin consideration of the bill.

But the GOP effort falls short of what House Democrats are pushing for regarding aid to Puerto Rico.

“House Democrats oppose this bill because it does not adequately address disaster relief and recovery in Puerto Rico and the territories,” Evan Hollander, spokesman for House Appropriations Committee, said of the Senate bill. “If the Senate passes this bill, we will insist on going to conference to ensure that we meet the needs of all Americans.”

A spokesperson for Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida said that the topic of funding for Puerto Rico is an “ongoing conversation” between Trump and Scott.

“His view is that we need to get this bill done now since both Florida and Puerto Rico need this funding now,” spokesman Chris Hartline said. “The senator is committed to fighting for the people of Puerto Rico in the US Senate. It’s why his first floor speech and his first amendment filed was on nutrition assistance funding for Puerto Rico.”

[CNN]

Trump Warns of ‘Invasion’ on U.S. Border After Condemning New Zealand Mosque Shooting

President Donald Trump railed against illegal immigration on the southern border on Friday, after condemning the mass shooting at a New Zealand Mosque.

Speaking to reporters at the signing for his first veto, which struck down an attempt to reject his national emergency declaration, Trump spoke about the shooting carried out at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The gunman, who killed 49 worshipers in his attack, decried Muslims as “invaders” in a manifesto posted online.

Trump called the shooting a “horrible, horrible thing,” and said he offered support to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, before pivoting to his immigration veto.

“We’re on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders,” Trump said. “People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is. It’s an invasion of drugs and criminals and people. We have no idea who they are.”

Trump has frequently compared illegal immigration into the United States to an “invasion.” He ramped up use of the term before the midterm elections in November 2018, when he warned of a migrant caravan approaching the southern border from Central America.

The Australian gunman, who killed 49 and wounded dozens more at two mosques in Christchurch, posted on fringe message board 8chan before launching his attack. He wrote that he planned to carry out “an attack against the invaders.”

[Mediaite]

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