Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Impending age of calamity: The world’s best hopes could rest on China

January 19, 2019

Richard Heydarian writes that China is uniquely positioned to help mitigate climate change and provide humanitarian relief during the coming anarchy

South China Morning Post

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2019, 4:32pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2019, 4:33pm

The greatest cost of the ongoing Sino-American cold war – better described as a “frozen conflict” – is a shortsighted distraction from the coming anarchy.

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With the twin meta-challenges of climate change and hyper-disruptive technology lurking on the horizon, China remains immeasurably central to the preservation of global order.

This is especially true in the Indo-Pacific, where much of humanity’s population, economic activity, conflicts and natural disasters are tenuously concentrated.

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Yellow Vest protests in France

The region’s future will be less about struggle for mastery than managing one cataclysmic calamity after the other, as individual states find themselves inundated by myriad evolving disasters

The magnitude of non-traditional security challenges facing humanity far surpasses the management capacity of a single power, whether that is the US or China. Thus, cooperation among great powers will increasingly become the only game in town, the default geopolitical option in decades to come.

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In Roland Emmerich’s epic 2012, the science fiction movie that drove countless people to the edge of apocalyptic despair, China emerges as the unlikely savior. After all, it’s the Asian powerhouse that builds the 21st century Noah’s Ark, carrying in its steely bosom humanity’s best, brightest and billionaires as the world drowns in a biblical storm.

The year 2012 didn’t mark apocalypse, as topnotch physicists reassured us with tenacity, but the movie correctly highlighted the vicissitudes of nature as well as the emerging geopolitics of our times with the arrival of a new agent of history.

Sudanese demonstrators gather as they participate in anti-government protests in Khartoum [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

Sudan Riots started as a protest for bread and food …. Sudanese demonstrators gather as they participate in anti-government protests in Khartoum [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]

It underscored as much the fragility of human civilisation as the centrality of modern China to humanity’s future. China, along with the West, has become a major source of as well as a possible solution to the rapid emaciation of nature and the intensifying climate change conundrum.

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Polluted Air Blankets Bangkok as Government Urges People Indoors – Bloomberg Credit Brent Lewin

According to a major report by the World Wide Fund for Nature drafted by nearly 60 of the world’s leading scientists, the past half-century saw the extinction of 60 per cent of all global fauna and of a dizzying variety of birds, mammals, fishes and reptiles that had been around for millions of years.

We are facing what scientists call the “sixth extinction”, a mass annihilation that would be driven by human activities rather than geological disasters such as those that wiped out the dinosaurs, for instance. Another major study showed that humans, constituting 0.01 per cent of life on earth, have been responsible for the extinction of 83 per cent of all wild mammals and up to half of all plants.

Climate change: How 1.5C could change the world

The rapid, widespread destruction of non-human life on earth was accelerated with the Industrial Revolution in the West, and exacerbated by the rapid industrialisation of the East in recent decades. China’s appetite for exotic animals and its increasingly meaty diet has been a major contributor.

To put things into perspective, the US, China, India, Russia and Japan are the world’s top five sources of greenhouse emissions, the primary precursor of climate change.

China can immensely contribute to the Noah’s Ark of regional cooperation that will increasingly become indispensable to preserving a semblance of order and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific

Rising global temperature and extreme weather conditions brought about by climate change will only exacerbate the ongoing natural cataclysm, placing tens of millions of people at risk.

Of the top 10 countries most vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change, according to an HSBC study, seven are from the Indo-Pacific region – namely India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Oman and Kenya.

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Global migration is about order, jobs and food.

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Worryingly, most of these countries rate poorly on the Fragile State Index and other measurements of state capacity to mitigate and adapt to disasters, both manmade and natural.

While untrammeled economic expansion is supposed to be the defining story of the Indo-Pacific, the region is also highly susceptible to uneven development with potentially devastating socio-political consequences.

Asia is home to almost a billion workers with “vulnerable” jobs bereft of proper compensation, benefits and security of tenure, according to the International Labour Organisation. The Fourth Industrial Revolution and advancement in Artificial Intelligence directly threaten lower-skilled as well as white-collar jobs in the future.

Chinese-supported coal plant at Kostolac in SerbiaThe plant will not be fitted with carbon capture technology

AI gurus such as Kai Ful Lee expect the impact on jobs to be felt within less than two decades. The labour organisation estimates that in the Southeastern Asian countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, up to 137 million jobs (56 per cent) are at risk of being lost to automation.

While new waves of innovation will likely create new employment opportunities, what is certain is the prospect of employment insecurity, which, in turn, can deepen societal fissures and grievances over rising inequality, fuel radicalisation and extremist ideologies, and push a growing number of people into the underground economy.

Thus, what the Indo-Pacific could face is a dangerous cocktail of profound economic anxieties, extreme weather conditions and the emaciation of natural resources, which will imperil our civilisation like never before.

And this is precisely where Sino-American tensions are a dangerous distraction, since China’s buy-in is crucial. China is not only a source of the problem; it is also a source of solutions.

With its strides in green technology, tightening environmental regulations, large reserve of capital and technology, infrastructure development capacity, and growing naval capability, the Asian powerhouse is uniquely positioned to help mitigate climate change, provide humanitarian and disaster relief operations, and help other countries cope with the coming anarchy.

In short, China can immensely contribute to the Noah’s Ark of regional cooperation that will increasingly become indispensable to preserving a semblance of order and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

Richard Heydarian is a Manila-based academic and author



To End the Shutdown, Try Thinking Big on Immigration

January 19, 2019

Thinking Only Wall is Thinking Small

Both parties are to blame for this embarrassing impasse. Yet a sensible longer-term immigration solution may be possible.

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As the U.S. government shutdown approaches the one-month mark, one thing has become abundantly clear: Few politicians in Washington—Republican or Democrat, in Congress or the White House—consider the best interest of the country a priority. The fight is all about politics, partisanship and power.

To win the day, both sides are willing to upend the lives of 800,000 government employees and their families—and countless others who depend on the spending of those families for their own livelihoods. Some surely have to deal with unpaid mortgages and rent, medical bills, car payments and even a shortage of money for food. What do the politicians have to say for themselves for imposing such hardships?

Robert M. Gates, far left

The Democrats oppose funding for a border wall or barrier, calling it “immoral.” But that didn’t prevent them from voting to build hundreds of miles of such barriers along the border in the recent past. It seems they oppose extending the barrier only because President Trump proposed it. And apart from increased spending on technology and additional Border Patrol agents, Democrats have been mum on how they would deal with the thousands of families approaching the border and seeking refuge in the U.S. from crime and deprivation back home—much less the broader immigration problem.

For his part, Mr. Trump has stoked fear, distorted facts, and exploited the immigration issue to create a false sense of crisis for political benefit. His policies have produced photographs of thousands of children separated from their parents, held in holding pens that look more like Syrian refugee camps than what we would expect in America. The country does face a serious problem with illegal immigration, and has for many years now, but the president has offered no proposals on how to deal with it comprehensively. Only a wall.

Mr. Trump insists on $5.7 billion for a wall, and the Democrats refuse to give him any money at all. As a result, major elements of the government remain shut down.

Put aside the polls on who is getting more blame for the shutdown. All those involved share responsibility for the fiasco and its lamentable consequences for millions of Americans. For too long hyperpartisanship has prevented the American government from addressing the immigration problem.

Yet perhaps the crisis—in Washington, not at the border—could yield an opportunity. Instead of thinking small—trading some money for a wall in exchange for taking care of the “Dreamers”—couldn’t Congress and the president think big? The 2006 immigration-reform legislation supported by President George W. Bush provided a comprehensive plan to harden security along the border and provide legal status for the 11 million or so aliens already living in America illegally. The U.S. cannot send them all home, yet need not necessarily give them a path to citizenship. But the government could legitimize their presence to ensure that they pay taxes and no longer live in fear. Give the president all the money he seeks—and more, if necessary—to secure the border in exchange for a longer-term immigration solution.

Such a win-win outcome might seem naive. But it looks a lot better than the situation we’re in now. Mr. Bush’s proposal passed the Senate in 2006 by 62-36. Perhaps the way out of today’s impasse is to enlarge the problem, not shrink it, and proceed strategically instead of adopting another short-term fix.

The American government’s longest shutdown ever makes the country—or at least its leaders—look ridiculous. It’s past time for leaders in Washington, at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, to place the interests of the country above their power struggles and political mud-wrestling. Surprise all Americans and end this disgraceful shutdown with a sensible compromise that actually addresses the immigration problem.

Mr. Gates has served in eight U.S. administrations, mostly recently as defense secretary for George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Donald Trump, the ‘Unprecedented President’ and The Rudderless West

January 19, 2019

Remember the hope that Donald Trump would be mostly tough talk, but little action? At the halfway-mark of his first term it is time to acknowledge the huge impact he’s already had — and wonder how much more could come.

US President Donald Trump at a press conference in the White House (REUTERS)

In his first two years in office, US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the landmark international nuclear arms agreement with Iran, out of the signature global climate accord and out of the historic trade pact with Asia, the so called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

He launched a bruising trade war with China, slapped tariffs on America’s European allies and ordered a speedy withdrawal of all US forces from Syria.

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He signed into law one of the largest tax overhauls in recent history, instituted a sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants and triggered the longest government shutdown in US history.

Read moreCounting the cost of the US government shutdown

And he is in the process of remaking US courts by appointing more federal judges to the bench than any of his recent predecessors at the same time.

‘Very negative effect on American soft power’

These are only some of the most striking examples of the tangible impact Trump has had. And it is important to note that all of these moves, while often rolled out erratically, should not have come as a surprise to anyone as all of them were campaign promises made by then-candidate Trump.

Taken together they have already changed how the US is viewed abroad.

“I think Trump has had a very negative effect on American foreign policy and certainly on American soft power around the world,” saidJoseph Nye, the eminent Harvard University international relations scholar who coined the term soft power.

Because of its potential long-term negative consequences for international efforts to combat global warming, Nye ranks the US withdrawal from the Paris climate compact among Trump’s most damaging political decisions yet.

Read moreHow right-wing nationalism fuels climate denial

Meanwhile Washington’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, which has poisoned relations with America’s European allies, and the Trump administration’s increasingly tough stance versus Teheran are among the most pernicious short-term decisions so far, said Nye.

Read moreUS policy spreads gloom in Iran

A man carrying the Iranian and US flags (Getty Images/AFP/C. Barria)Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal could still backfire badly

‘Nobody as unpredictable as Trump’

Add to Trump’s controversial policy decisions his mercurial style and his penchant for speaking falsehoods and he truly is a president in a league of his own, said Nye.

“We have had dangerous and difficult presidents — there is Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson. But nobody who has been as unpredictable or as untruthful as Trump.”

Trump’s first two years in office have proven that he really is an outlier among American presidents, concurred Barbara Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“I would just say he is the unprecedented president. He is completely off the grid,” she said. “He is not like anything we have ever seen.”

While the US has seen its share of demagogues, noted Perry, they never made it into the White House, but were prevented to rise to the highest office through the help of the US electoral system, which by design is not a direct democracy.

System failure led to demagogue in the White House

She added that Trump’s election — he won the Electoral College tally, not the popular vote — was a worrying sign of system failure.

“The founders wanted the Electoral College to be a check exactly against this kind of person — a demagogue in the White House, in the presidency.”

What distinguishes Trump from earlier rabble rousers is his access to and affinity for the internet and social media which allows him to communicate his messages unfiltered to millions of his followers, said Perry who argues that Trump’s rhetoric bears parallels to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

Read moreThe Donald Trump effect: Core supporters hungry for more

Protests in Washington against the shutdown (picture alliance/AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)Can the country survive another four years of Donald Trump?

‘Not sure we can survive eight years of this’

“He borrows a page from Joseph Goebbels about telling the big lie over and over again in a very effective way,” said Perry.

Asked what to expect for the second half — plus another four years of Trump should he get reelected — Nye advised to brace for even more unpredictability and unpleasant surprises.

Perry was even more unequivocal. “My fear is we can survive four years, but I am not sure we can survive eight years of this.”

The Rudderless West — Failing to effectively govern undermines democracy, freedom

January 18, 2019
Preserving the foundations of free government is difficult, necessary work

We are drifting, in the absence of mind and will, toward a moment of civilizational self-negation.

By Bret Stephens

Opinion Columnist

In August 1990, George H.W. Bush met Margaret Thatcher in Aspen right after Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The pair resolved not to allow Iraq’s “naked aggression” to stand, and it did not. This was how the West was supposed to work — and how, sometimes, it did.

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Today the U.S. and Great Britain scarcely govern themselves, never mind shape world order. Theresa May, who as prime minister resembles Thatcher in no respect other than gender and party, just suffered the worst parliamentary defeat in nearly a century over her Brexit deal. Donald Trump, who as president resembles Bush in no respect other than gender and party, presides over a shuttered government, a revolving-door administration, a furiously divided nation, and a mistrusted and mocked superpower.

The West is now rudderless. To be rudderless puts you at the mercy of elements. The elemental forces of politics today are tribalism, populism, authoritarianism and the sewage pipes of social media. Each contradicts the West’s foundational commitments to universalism, representation, unalienable rights, and an epistemology built on fact and reason, not clicks and feelings. We are drifting, in the absence of mind and will, toward a moment of civilizational self-negation.

When did the drift begin? Probably in 1989, when Francis Fukuyama published his landmark essay “The End of History?” and a decade of democratic complacency took hold. Why worry about the health and fate of liberal democracy when its triumph was inevitable and irreversible? Why teach the benefits of free markets and immigration — or the dangers of socialism and nativism — when history had already rendered a verdict?

And why do the tedious work of preserving the foundations of free government when it is so much more interesting to reinvent it?

Complacency breeds heedlessness. Liberals were heedless when they wrote off moral character as an essential trait of a good presidency. Conservatives (like me) were heedless when we became more concerned about the state of democracy in Iraq than in Iowa. Liberals were heedless when they embraced identity politics without ever thinking it could also be used against them. Conservatives (again, like me) were heedless when we downplayed the significance of the populism and scaremongering infecting the movement via talk radio and Fox News.

The heedlessness occurred on the other side of the Atlantic, too. European integration is a blessing; integration without genuine democratic accountability and consent isn’t. Similarly, immigration is a blessing; immigration without assimilation is a curse. Two generations of European leaders allowed the former without requiring the latter, and then airily dismissed public discontent as politically insignificant and morally illegitimate. Now they are living with the consequences.

From left, Reps. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., and Katie Hill, D-Calif, after delivering a letter to the Russell Building office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.Getty Images

As for Brexit, the 2016 decision by 52 percent of the British electorate to leave the European Union over the vehement objections of the 48 percent (details to be hashed out later, if ever), must surely count as one of the worst considered in the island’s storied history. But not as foolish as the decision by former Prime Minister David Cameron to put a foundational question up for a popular vote — just as he had put another foundational question, the independence of Scotland, to a vote two years earlier — without seriously considering the consequences of things going the wrong way.


The problem here wasn’t a failure by Cameron and the “Remain” camp to make a stronger case for staying in the European Union, or to read the polls better. It was a philosophical failure — a failure to understand that the purpose of representative government is to save democracy from itself. I now find myself vaguely rooting for a hard Brexit, on the theory that lasting lessons are only learned the hard way.

Or not. Bad typically begets worse, and a hard Brexit will most likely accelerate every other fissiparous and dangerous trend in British politics: a new push for independence by Scotland and possibly Northern Ireland and Wales; a greater chance of NATO-skeptical, anti-Semitic Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister; Britain’s extended absence as a meaningful and active presence on the world stage.

What about the United States? Among many conservatives I know, the view of Trump is that chaotic management, clownish behavior and ideological apostasies are irritants, not calamities, and prices worth paying for deregulation, tax cuts, and conservative courts.

Really? These same conservatives spent the past 30 years preaching the importance of judgment, good character, and respect for institutions in the person of the president. They were right. What will they say when they find these attributes missing in the person of a president whose policy preferences and political affiliation they don’t share?

The West is not adrift in placid waters. With limited resources but ruthless methods, Vladimir Putin has gone about undermining democracy from Kiev to Kansas. With equally ruthless means and far greater resources, Xi Jinping has raised the banner of efficient authoritarianism as the preferred model of 21st century governance.

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What does the West have to say in its own defense? Who does it have to say it? And who will fix the rigging and reset the rudder in time for the next squall?

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Bret L. Stephens has been an Opinion columnist with The Times since April 2017. He won a Pulitzer Prize for commentary at The Wall Street Journal in 2013 and was previously editor in chief of The Jerusalem Post.


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Yellow Vest protest in France.  Photographer: Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images


Gridlock Is the New Normal — Brext Has UK Tied Up, U.S. in Govt Shutdown, France Battles Yellow Vests

January 17, 2019

We can now stop anything we don’t want, but can’t enable anything we need.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May (picture-alliance/PA Wire/House of Commons)
The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament  PHOTO: REUTERS

In the United States and the United Kingdom—two of the world’s oldest democracies—national governments are at a standstill. This, for better or worse, could be the future of politics. It will be a system in which things have to get worse before they can get . . . worse. Perpetual political gridlock. It won’t be pretty, and for many it may be painful.

Historic Defeat Sees U.K. Parliament “Take Back Control” of Brexit

Historic Defeat Sees U.K. Parliament “Take Back Control” of Brexit
U.K. lawmakers have rejected the Prime Minister’s terms for leaving the European Union. Options left include leaving the EU without a deal or a second referendum. Image: Parliament TV

Both the U.S. government’s shutdown and the U.K.’s Brexit have become problems with no exit. Every strategy offered fails for lack of legislative support or national leadership. The American and British political classes look intellectually exhausted and clueless about a path forward.

Something more substantial than routine political frustration may be happening here. Public-policy efforts, such as Brexit or revisions to the U.S. immigration and health-care systems, look like they have become too big to accomplish.

Critics of these failures conventionally say they reflect a lack of political will or courage. Still, we are left with the reality of political structures that are dead in the water. If they lack will, it may be because political willfulness has become a stronger force.

Media has proliferated, so that objectors to any policy’s details have multiple platforms they can use to block settlements. We have the political tools to stop anything we don’t want, but we can’t enable anything we need.

Prime Minister Theresa May overwhelmingly lost the vote Tuesday on her Brexit plan to separate the U.K. from the European Union. No space will be wasted here describing the morass of imagined scenarios: no-Brexit, hard Brexit or a Brexit vote redo. Attempts by journalists to compose flowcharts of all the Brexit possibilities and contingencies resemble Rube Goldberg drawings.

The most likely scenario is that the parties will stumble and grope forward, as they did with the Greek debt crisis 10 years ago. The EU is starting to look like Bluebeard’s Castle, a complex edifice of nightmares and delights from which there is no escape after entry.

The U.S. government shutdown is nominally a fight between President Trump and the Democratic Party over building a wall at the border with Mexico. But the wall, whatever its merits, is a proxy for the broader issue of immigration into the U.S.

Immigration has been an unavoidable factor in the life of the U.S. for centuries. But Congress hasn’t passed a big immigration bill in more than 30 years. All subsequent efforts have broken down because some faction has had the ability to block them. Recognizing the impossibility, Congress today has walked away from the subject.

Minimalist answers like the border wall also may represent the future—a conscious act of self-delusion that sates the emotional needs of contemporary politics but lets the realities fester.

Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic governor of Virginia and possible contender for the party’s presidential nomination, recently said, “We all support Medicare for all.” Mission accomplished, notwithstanding that Medicare for all has next to no chance of becoming a daily reality in the U.S.

Congress’s intention to take on infrastructure legislation this year likely will repeat its wheel-spinning experiences with immigration and health care to become the next case study of mega-gridlock.

Any infrastructure effort will have to pass through a tangled thicket of environmental objections, Nimby activists who oppose anything, union work rules, public-versus-private financing schemes, the needs of local political actors, the conflicted interests of cities and rural areas or the nation’s competing regional demands.

In August, the huge Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, collapsed, killing 43 people. The slow disintegration of something important, such as a bridge, may be the controlling image for aging political systems that fall down on the job. Their default will be to let responsibilities like Brexit, immigration or Nafta collapse, and then, under duress, rebuild from whatever is left.

Genoa bridge collapse: The mafia's role
The collapsed Morandi Bridge in Genoa. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

That won’t be pain-free. This is the Trump model on trade: Tear it down, accept the inevitable casualties, and hope for the best with whatever comes next.

It’s fashionable to deride Mr. Trump’s crude, tanklike strategy of grinding across broken glass. Look past the Trump personality, though, and you may soon see more conventional politicians, out of options, resorting to his political model.

One reason this is happening is that politicians and external factions foment dramatic projects like Brexit without possessing any idea how to execute them. They gave British voters a lot of emotion but no game plan. More than two years later, they still don’t have one.

Another reason is the rise in power of the inconsolables. Political factions are eternal. The new element is that their social-media bullhorn makes them seem larger and more intimidating than they are. Twitter really is the mouse that roars. Unable to figure it out, the politicians have turned themselves into twittering mice on the floors of Parliament and Congress. They look trapped. So do we.


Appeared in the January 17, 2019, print edition.

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Hundreds in new U.S.-bound migrant caravan cross into Guatemala

January 16, 2019

Several hundred Honduran migrants in a new U.S.-bound caravan crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump seized on news of the advancing group to try to build support for a wall along his country’s border with Mexico.

About 360 Hondurans presented documents to pass legally through the Agua Caliente border crossing separating the two Central American nations. The group included entire families and young men, as well as parents carrying small children.

An additional 350 Hondurans crossed into Guatemalan territory, but were being detained by migration officials checking their documents, according to pro-migrant activists traveling with them.

Some migrants ran toward the port of entry where they were met by a large group of Guatemalan police, and nearly 150 were turned away because they lacked proper documents, police said.

“Those who (lack documents) will be turned back,” said Alejandra Mena, a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s migration authority.

A second group of about 300 Honduran migrants walked along a highway and expected to reach the same border crossing on Tuesday night, activists said, while a smaller group of about 50 migrants had gathered in at a plaza in the capital of El Salvador with the intention of joining up with the caravan.

Earlier on Tuesday, Honduran Deputy Foreign Minister Nelly Jerez told reporters that the caravan at the Agua Caliente crossing numbered between 800 and 1,000 people.

Central American caravans heading toward the United States have inflamed the debate over U.S. immigration policy, with Trump drawing attention to the bedraggled migrants to try to win backing for his plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

As a partial U.S. government shutdown reached its 25th day, Trump invoked the new caravan on Twitter to pressure U.S. lawmakers. Democrats have resisted Trump’s insistence that Congress provide $5.7 billion for wall funding.

“A big new Caravan is heading up to our Southern Border from Honduras,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Only a Wall, or Steel Barrier, will keep our Country safe! Stop playing political games and end the Shutdown!”


Trump has described the migrants as an invading force and he sent troops to reinforce the border last year. On Monday, the Pentagon announced it would extend the deployment of about 2,350 troops to the U.S. border through to the end of September.

Television footage on Tuesday showed mainly younger migrants leaving the notoriously violent Honduran city of San Pedro Sula. Some flagged down rides, aiming to catch up with the caravan that left the same city on Monday.

“We’re asking them to let us cross on our way to Mexico,” said Honduran migrant Josue Hernandez ahead of the checkpoint guarded by Guatemalan police.

The group will likely face weeks of travel to get to the U.S. border, and many of those persuaded to join the caravan have been misinformed about the likelihood of being able to enter U.S. territory, said the head of Mexico’s migration authority.

“They are uninformed about what is happening,” Tonatiuh Guillen told broadcaster Radio Formula.

“In this context of vulnerability, there are opportunists and a great distortion of reality.”

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a post on Twitter that her agency was closely monitoring the caravan.

“To be clear – participation in a caravan does not grant you a special status or provide you special treatment,” she said.

About 2,500 migrants from a previous wave of Central Americans who crossed Mexico have been camping in shelters in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.

Additional reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa, Sofia Menchu in Guatemala City, Nelson Renteria in San Salvador and Lizbeth Diaz in Mexico City; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Peter Cooney


‘Angel mom’ demands Trump’s wall: ‘We’ve become collateral damage’

January 15, 2019

Fed up that little has been done to thwart illegal immigration since her son was killed in a car wreck with an undocumented alien in 2014, an “angel mom” is joining President Trump’s efforts to build a border wall.

“I want to have the border wall funded. We need to have border security,” Mary Ann Mendoza said in an online ad posted by the pro-Trump group America First Policies.

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Holding a picture of her son Brandon, killed when a car driven by an intoxicated driver who was in the U.S. illegally hit his Mesa, Ariz. police car, she said, “The system absolutely failed Brandon, failed myself, and is failing America. I just feel like we’ve become collateral damage.”

America First Policies is airing the ad on digital platforms and websites in several swing states that are expected to be critical to Trump’s re-election and Senate Democrats up for election in 2020. It is expected to air until a funding deal for the wall is brokered in Washington.

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It will be running in the areas around Columbus, Ohio; Orlando and Tampa, Florida; Georgia; Detroit, Mich.; Philadelphia, Pa.; and Birmingham, Al.

At the end of the ad is a link for supporters to click that will steer them to a petition to back wall funding.

It says, “Show Mary Ann that you stand with her in her call to BUILD THE WALL. Proudly add your name to the petition below, in memory of her son, Police Sergeant Brandon Mendoza, and the thousands of other Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of illegal aliens. We cannot wait another day to secure our border!”

See also:

Claim about 63,000 Americans being killed by illegal immigrants is still wrong


Examples of Serious Crimes By Illegal Aliens

Kate Steinle, 32, was killed in July 2015.

Spain stops migrant rescue boat Open Arms from setting sail

January 14, 2019

Spanish migrant rescue charity Proactiva Open Arms said Monday that the authorities were preventing its ship from setting sail from Barcelona to save migrants.

“We are blocked in a port once again. Port Authority in Barcelona denied permission to Open Arms to sail #Med Central,” the charity based near the Catalan capital wrote in a tweet.

“Preventing us from saving lives is irresponsible and cruel,” said Proactiva Open Arms founder Oscar Camps in a separate tweet, accusing “cowardly politicians” of putting migrants’ lives at risk.

Proactiva Open Arms operates in between Libya and southern Europe, coming to the aid of migrants who get into difficulties during the sea crossing from northern Africa.

The vessel operated by Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms sails off Libya and southern Europe, coming to the aid of migrants who get into difficulty during the sea crossing from northern Africa

The vessel operated by Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms, sails off Libya and southern Europe, coming to the aid of migrants who get into difficulty during the sea crossing from northern Africa.  AFP/File

The charity’s rescue ship, Open Arms, docked in southern Spain on December 28 with 311 mainly African migrants it had rescued a week earlier off the coast of Libya after both Italy and Malta denied it entry.

After stocking up with provisions in Barcelona, the ship had been due to set sail again on January 8 but Barcelona’s Port Authority prohibited it from leaving, a Proactiva Open Arms spokeswoman told AFP.

The charity appealed the decision two days later, requesting that it be allowed to put out to sea to carry out “observation and surveillance tasks in the central Mediterranean”.

In a statement, Spain’s public works ministry, which controls the Port Authority, said Spain has no maritime rescue jurisdiction off the Libyan coast where Open Arms operates and had violated maritime regulations on past rescue missions.

Since the boat lacks permission to dock in countries near where it operates, “it has had to cross the Mediterranean for several days to disembark rescued migrants, putting the safety of the ship, its crew and the people on board at risk,” the statement added.

Shortly after he came to power in June, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez allowed the Aquarius, a boat chartered by the aid groups SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders, to dock in Spain with more than 600 migrants on board.

His Socialist government also allowed the Open Arms to dock in Spain but in August refused once again to receive the Aquarius.

Spain became Europe’s main entry point for migrants last year, overtaking Greece and Italy, which have taken measures to prevent rescued migrants from landing at its ports.

More than 55,000 migrants arrived in Spain by sea in 2018, according to the UN refugee agency.


Macron responds to ‘yellow vests’ with call for national ‘debate’

January 14, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron penned a letter calling on citizens to turn “anger into solutions.” Far-right politician Marine Le Pen accused Macron of “blindness” in his handling of the “yellow vest” rallies.

Macron gestures with both hands during a January speech in Paris (picture-alliance/dpa/O. Corsan)

In a lengthy letter to the nation, French President Emmanuel Macron has asked citizens to give their opinions on government policies as part of a nation-wide debate after months of “yellow vest” protests.

Citizens of France would be asked to discuss issues such as cutting taxes and public spending, the use of referendums and immigration quotas.

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Marine Le Pen accused Macron of “blindness” in his handling of the “yellow vest” rallies

“I intend to transform anger into solutions,” Macron said in the letter published late on Sunday.

Police use tear gas on protesters at the Place de l'Opera in Paris on December 15.

‘Yellow Vest’ protesters gather in Bercy, in front of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, in Paris, on January 12, 2019. AFP photo

“Your proposals will help build a new contract for the nation, organizing the actions of the government and parliament, but also France’s positions at the European and international levels,” he said.

Read moreEmmanuel Macron and the ‘yellow vests’: Can they cooperate?

The document also says that Macron would attend town hall meetings across the country, with the first one set for Tuesday in the northwest town of Bourgtheroulde. He vowed to report on the results after the consultations end on March 15.

Protesters gather December 15 at Place de l'Opera in Paris.

While he said that no issues are “forbidden” in the debate, Macron also said he would not backtrack on some of his government’s unpopular measures, such as scrapping a wealth tax.

Le Pen: Time to beat Macron

For the last nine weeks, “yellow vest” protesters have rallied against Macron’s perceived elitism and government policies that they say favor the rich. In response, Macron approved a €10 billion ($11.5 billion) package of welfare increases in an attempt to appease the protesters.

On Sunday, Macron’s far-right rival, National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen, accused him of “blindness” and “intransigence” in his handling of the unrest.

“The moment of the big political changeover has come,” Le Pen said while launching her party’s campaign for the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Emmanuel Macron

Mr Macron has faced intense criticism in recent months (Image: GETTY)

Speaking at a RN conference in Paris, she urged some 2,000 supporters to seize the chance to “beat” Macron at the May vote.

dj/amp (dpa, AFP, Reuters, AP)

Support for Trump’s border wall reaches all-time high: Poll

January 13, 2019

Support for President Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is at an all-time high weeks into a partial government shutdown which began over a border security dispute for funding.

According to the results of an ABC News and Washington Post poll released Sunday morning, 42 percent of Americans support a wall. That is up from 34 percent one year ago and a previous high of 37 percent in 2017.

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US President Donald Trump visits the US-Mexico border with border patrol agents in Texas, January 10, 2019.

With 54 percent, the majority poll still oppose building a border wall. However, that opposition is shrinking, as 63 percent opposed the wall a year ago and the previous low was 60 percent two years ago.

Trump’s demand for roughly $5.6 billion in border security funding led to what is now the longest government shutdown in history as Democrats in Congress reject any spending bills that include money for a wall. Last week, the fight escalated when Trump delivered a prime-time address to the nation to make his case for a physical barrier along the southern border, calling the situation a crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., delivered a rebuttal, arguing Trump was propagating a “manufactured crisis.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), left, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — AP photo

According to the poll, only about a quarter of Americans — 24 percent — believe there is a crisis-level situation in regards to immigration at the border.

While support for Trump’s wall has risen, most Americans blame Trump and his fellow Republicans for the shutdown: 53 percent say Trump and the GOP are mainly responsible, while only 29 percent point to congressional Democrats. Thirteen percent of respondents blame both sides equally.

The survey, conducted by phone from Jan. 8-11, of 788 adults has a margin of error of 4.5 points. The survey was produced by Langer Research Associates. Sampling, data collection, and tabulation were run by SSRS.


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