Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

European Commission refers Hungary to ECJ for defying EU asylum laws

July 19, 2018

he European Commission’s legal request could lead to the EU’s top court imposing financial sanctions against Hungary. Brussels has also opened a new infringement procedure against Hungary’s “Stop Soros” laws.

Migrant transit center on the border between Hungary and Serbia (Getty Images/AFP/C. Segesvari)

The European Commission on Thursday stepped up legal proceedings against Hungary over its restrictive treatment of migrants and failure to comply with EU asylum rules.

The Commission announced it was turning to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over Hungary’s “non-compliance of its asylum and return legislation with EU law.”

It marks the third and final step in Brussels’ legal procedure against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, which has been ongoing since December 2015. Hungary’s could ultimately be slapped with financial sanctions should the ECJ confirm the Commission’s line.

The EU’s executive branch also opened up a new infringement procedure against Hungary over its new “Stop Soros” law, which criminalizes support for asylum-seekers.

Migrants in Hungary facing indefinite detention

In a statement, the Commission accused the Orban government of failing to provide migrants with effective access to asylum procedures.

Hungary only allows people to submit asylum applications at its “transit centers” on its border. Migrants are therefore often held and forced to wait in these special zones for significantly longer than the maximum four weeks allowed under EU rules. “The Commission considers that the indefinite detention of asylum-seekers in transit zones without respecting the applicable procedural guarantees is in breach of EU rules,” it said in a statement.

Budapest also stands accused of breaching EU guarantees for migrants sent back to their countries of origin and transit. According to the Commission, “migrants risk being returned without the appropriate safeguards” under Hungarian legislation.

Read more: Hungary joins US in refusing UN’s safe global migration compact

Hungary’s ‘Stop Soros’ laws

Brussels also denounced the Hungarian government for its “Stop Soros” law, which seeks to restrict non-governmental organizations supported by US financier George Soros.

One of the most controversial aspects of the new legislation is the criminalization of providing assistance to migrants with their asylum and residence applications. In extreme cases, activists and NGO employees face up to a year in prison for “assisting illegal migration” into Hungary.

Read more: George Soros — selfless philanthropist or liberal demagogue?

The Commission said the “Stop Soros” bill curtails asylum claimants’ rights to approach national, international and non-governmental organizations for help. It also introduces several new criteria to submit asylum applications that limit migrant’s rights and infringe on EU laws.

Budapest has two months to respond to the European Commission’s letter of notice.

dm/ng (Reuters, AP, dpa)


Philippines to expel ‘undesirable’ Australian nun who irked Duterte

July 19, 2018

The Philippines blacklisted and ordered the deportation on Thursday of an elderly Australian nun at odds with President Rodrigo Duterte, calling her an “undesirable alien” who broke terms of her missionary visa by engaging in political activism.

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FILE PHOTO: Australian missionary Patricia Fox waves to her supporters before filing a petition calling for the review of her deportation case at the Department of Justice, after the immigration bureau voided her visa following complaints from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about her participation in protest rallies, in Padre Faura, metro Manila, Philippines May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo

The resolution was the second time immigration chiefs have sought to deport Patricia Fox, 71, who two months ago had been granted a reprieve by the justice department.

Fox has worked in the Philippines since the early 1990s and is a coordinator of a congregation of Catholic nuns called Notre Dame de Sion.

The 10-page order said her continued presence in the country “poses a risk to public interest” and she would be barred from returning.

She is accused of taking part in news conferences, labor-related fact-finding missions and protests calling for political prisoners to be freed, for human rights and land rights to be respected and for martial law to be lifted on the southern island of Mindanao.

Duterte has made no secret of his annoyance at Fox and has said he personally ordered an investigation into her activities. He said he refuses to hear criticism from anyone who is not Filipino.

Thursday’s order specifically referred to Duterte’s admission that he had asked for Fox to be investigated.

Fox is the latest in a growing number of people who have challenged Duterte and found themselves investigated, detained, humiliated, and sanctioned for offences that his opponents say usually amount to technicalities or minor infringements.

“That’s the law,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said of the order to send Fox back to Australia.

Local media quoted Fox as saying she was disappointed but would challenge the order.

Constant Trump Bashing — An undercurrent of narrow-mindedness, bigotry, and snobbery that is both unintelligent and unattractive

July 15, 2018

AMERICA’S most famous lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, has been in hot water recently – an experience that tells you a lot about how Donald Trump has scrambled people’s brains.

Dershowitz once defended OJ Simpson, but the stick he got for that was nothing compared to the attacks he’s received for defending President Trump over alleged legal abuses in the ongoing Trump/Russia investigation.

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Dershowitz is a lifelong Democrat. He backed Hillary Clinton. And yet this year he has been completely ostracised by his former friends and the chattering classes at their swanky summer retreats.

So it’s with some trepidation that I write here in defence of Donald Trump. I can predict the howls of outrage: “He’s a fascist! He loves dictators! He kills babies!” (Or perhaps: “He is a baby — a giant inflatable one”). Yep, we get it: You don’t like Trump.

Bashing Trump is certainly fashionable. But there’s a narrow-mindedness and bigotry to the attacks that is both unintelligent and unattractive.

Look, I’m not a fan of everything Donald Trump has said or done. On my weekly TV show on Fox News I’ve criticised him over remarks he has made and some of his policies.

On top of that, I’ve pursued the dodgy dealings and conflicts of interest of some of Donald Trump’s cabinet members.

But is there another side to the story?

Because of the snobbery and bias of much of the British media who look down their noses at Trump because he’s a businessman not a policy wonk, because he likes McDonald’s not haute cuisine — and because he speaks in plain English instead of the highfalutin’ bureaucratic claptrap you normally get from politicians, I suspect most people in the UK get a uniformly negative presentation of the Trump presidency.

Well, I like to think of Sun readers as reasonable and open-minded, so I know you will want to see things in their proper perspective.

Back in 2016 I thought Donald Trump would make a better president than Hillary Clinton for three main reasons.

FIRST, he promised to get the economy moving, to reverse the decades-long slump in jobs and incomes that was the result of the elitist policies pursued by Democrats and Republicans. Trump promised to slash red tape and cut taxes.

He has delivered spectacularly: A massive reduction in regulations and a dramatic tax reform have led to a transformation in business confidence and investment.

That translated into the first significant pay rises for ordinary Americans for decades, and historic falls in unemployment — including the lowest unemployment rates ever recorded for black Americans.

The SECOND big argument for Trump was his pledge to control immigration. The elitists focused on his harsh rhetoric. But working Americans understood what none of the establishment politicians was prepared to admit: That uncontrolled immigration meant an uncontrolled flow of cheap, imported labour that undermined wage rates.

Again, Trump has delivered. Immigration enforcement has been stepped up and the overall numbers are down. Trump wants to go further but needs Congress to get its act together.

The THIRD key promise was to “Drain The Swamp”. By this he meant taking on the system of cronyism and corruption in Washington DC that puts the real power in the hands of big business, wealthy donors, shadowy lobbyists and faceless bureaucrats in the “Deep State”.

Here too there has been progress. There is more to do but the Trump administration has implemented the toughest ever clampdown on federal government employees leaving their jobs to lobby from the private sector.

And the biggest change of all might turn out to be Trump’s assault on the unaccountable, unelected bureaucrats of the Deep State — not just by cutting regulations but by appointing judges at every level who are committed to reining in the power of the bureaucracy.

All this go-ahead drive and energy is such a contrast with Theresa May’s lacklustre and uninspiring drift.

Yes, she is decent, hard-working and utterly sincere in her sense of duty.

But that’s not enough at this crucial moment for Britain.

What’s missing is the optimism, dynamism and leadership needed to reject the negative, defeatist view of the civil service bureaucrats who see Brexit as a threat to be minimised.

Instead, Britain needs a Prime Minister who truly believes that leaving the EU behind is a golden opportunity to make the country richer and fairer.

Obsessing about “the deal” with Brussels is a waste of time and energy. The impact of any deal is trivial compared to the difference that a positive populist policy agenda could make: Investing in skills and infrastructure to boost workers’ productivity and wages; cutting business rates and regulations to help entrepreneurs; cutting the corporate tax rate to ten per cent to make Britain the world’s most attractive business location.

And of course — the “big, beautiful trade deal” with America that Donald Trump promised but Theresa May’s disastrous anti-Brexit plan rules out.

Whether you love or loathe Donald Trump — and remember, in America he has the second highest own-party approval ratings of any president since World War Two — everyone in Britain should hope that Theresa May picks up some of his positive, pro-enterprise exuberance.

  • Steve Hilton is David Cameron’s former director of strategy.


Italy rescues migrants, asks other countries to host them

July 14, 2018

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is trying to find countries willing to take in some 450 migrants rescued from an overcrowded ship in the Mediterranean on Saturday, a source at the premier’s office said.

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FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte 

A ship operated by EU border agency Frontex and a vessel owned by Italy’s tax police picked up the migrants near the Italian island of Linosa and more than 100 nautical miles from Malta, which rejected pressure from Rome on Friday to rescue them.

Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is leading a high-profile campaign to exclude humanitarian rescue ships from Italian ports and has said the migrants will not be allowed to land in Italy.

Eight of the migrants who needed medical assistance were taken to the Italian island of Lampedusa for treatment, the source said.

The source, who asked not to be named, said Salvini had spoken with Conte on the telephone about how to resolve the situation.

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“The migrants could be distributed immediately among European countries, or Italy would contact Libya to send them back to where they came from,” the source said.

A third option would be to leave the migrants on the ships temporarily while their asylum requests are considered, the source added.

The source said Conte would write to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk and other European heads of state to urge them to apply the European principles on migrants that were restated at a summit in June.

“Italy is no longer willingly to take on, alone, a problem that affects all European countries,” the source said.

Late on Friday, Malta said the people traveling on the packed vessel were Italy’s responsibility.

In two similar stand-offs between Rome and Valletta since Italy’s new populist government took office, migrants ended up in Spain and in Malta.

According to international law, refugees cannot be returned to a place where their lives are in danger. Both the United Nations and EU have acknowledged that Libya is not safe.

Earlier this week, however, Salvini asked EU interior ministers to declare Libya a place of safety where migrants can be taken after they are picked up at sea. German, Austrian and French ministers agreed it could be done, Salvini said.

Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Helen Popper



450 migrants stranded at sea as Italy, Malta dig heels in

July 14, 2018

Another 450 migrants on board two military vessels were stranded at sea on Saturday as Italy and Malta locked horns over whose responsibility it was to offer them safe harbour.

The boats, which are currently in Italian waters, had initially set sail from Libya in a single wooden vessel which was identified early Friday while passing through waters under Malta’s jurisdiction.

But Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has authority over the country’s ports, on Friday refused to let them dock in his latest show of intransigence over migrants stranded at sea.

And on Saturday, as those on board were transferred to two other vessels, he insisted the boats be instructed to “head south, to Libya or Malta”.

© AFP | Late on Thursday, an Italian coastguard vessel carrying 67 migrants was allowed to dock in Sicily

“We need an act of justice, of respect and of courage to fight against these human traffickers and generate a European intervention,” he said in talks with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, his remarks carried by Italian news agencies.

In an exchange of messages, emails and phonecalls on Friday, Rome had tried to push Valetta to take responsibility for those on board the wooden boat.

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Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini

But Malta said the ship was much closer to the Italian island of Lampedusa, insisting that those on board only wanted to reach Italy.

On Saturday morning, they were transferred to two military vessels but where the vessels will dock remains unclear.

Eight women and children were taken to Lampedusa for medical treatment.

The new standoff kicked in just hours after 67 migrants were allowed to disembark from an Italian coast guard ship in Sicily late on Thursday.

Salvini, who took office when Italy’s new populist government came to power on June 1, wants to block any further migrant arrivals by boat and has banned charity rescue ships from docking in Italian ports, accusing them of aiding human traffickers.

Last month, the French rescue ship Aquarius and the German boat Lifeline, who between them were carrying hundreds of migrants, were forced to divert to Spain and Malta respectively after Italy turned them away.

Italy, Greece and Spain have been on the front line of the migrant crisis, with Europe deeply divided over how to share the burden of the massive influx of people seeking to create a new life in Europe.


Man suspected of attacking wife with chain saw was deported 11 times (ICE is not to blame)

July 14, 2018

A man suspected of attacking his wife with a chain saw in Whittier had been deported 11 times since 2005, immigration officials said.

Alejandro Alvarez Villegas attacked his wife in their home Wednesday, with their three children inside, according to Whittier police. The 32-year-old then fled the scene in a stolen car.

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Alejandro Alvarez Villegas, who is suspected of attacking his wife with a chain saw, had been deported from the U.S. 11 times since 2005. (Whittier Police Department)

Have even more fun with grilling this summer with Food Lion’s sangria recipe filled with a variety of grilled fruit for a drink that is easy to prepare and is absolutely delicious.

Immigration officers have lodged a detainer against Alvarez, requesting that local authorities notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement before his release to allow them to take the man into custody, ICE spokeswoman Lori Haley said.

“Department of Homeland Security databases indicate Mr. Alvarez-Villegas is a serial immigration violator who has been removed from the United States 11 times since 2005,” Haley said in a statement.

Depending on criminal history, someone in the country illegally who reenters the U.S. after having been previously removed has committed a felony punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, according to ICE.

ICE did not provide his criminal history, but a search of court records showed that Alvarez pleaded no contest in 2013 to one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance and one count of using or being under the influence of a controlled substance. Later that year, he pleaded no contest to driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.

Whittier police responded to the 7700 block of Milton Avenue about 3 p.m. Wednesday regarding an attempted murder stemming from a domestic violence incident, authorities said in a statement. When officers arrived, they found Alvarez’s wife suffering from “traumatic physical injuries, believed to have been inflicted by a chain saw.”

Alvarez fled the scene, but detectives were able to take him into custody in Chula Vista on Thursday afternoon. Police said he would be booked at the Whittier jail on suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment, hit and run, and grand theft auto.

Scoggins said that Alvarez had a few arrests for misdemeanors but that none of them were violent.

“They don’t have anything to do with domestic violence or assault and battery,” he said.

Scoggins said he is not aware of Alvarez’s immigration status or “what’s going on from that end.”


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Elizabeth Warren

Warren: Time To Abolish “Ugly And Wrong” ICE, Replace With “Something That Reflects Our Morality”

Opinion: Donald Trump’s coordinated assault on Theresa May’s Brexit plans

July 14, 2018

Nigel Farage says the British government blocked any contact between him and Donald Trump during the president’s visit. But a face-to-face meeting wasn’t necessary. Mark Hallam says they did their damage via the press.

Donald Trump welcomes Nigel Farage at a campaign rally in 2016 (picture-alliance/AP Photo/G. Herbert)

Thursday nights are a big deal for British politics buffs and television addicts. After the evening news, the late prime-time TV hours on BBC1 are dedicated to a major political panel show, Question Time, followed by a weekly politics feature roundup, This Week. If you’re a British news junkie, and especially if it’s an off night at the World Cup, the chances are you’ll be tuning in. No other evening’s programming has such a heavy political bent.

For my sins, figuring that it was a more momentous week than most, I made the mistake of watching in real time from Germany on Thursday night. What I witnessed was some of Donald Trump’s closest British allies taking the fight to the BBC’s core audience, at the exact moment that the country’s top-selling tabloid, The Sun, published a feature interview savagely undermining Theresa May’s Brexit plans. And to say that these plans were hardly strong and stable (remember that now-comical election campaign slogan?) would be an understatement — before Trump doused them in gasoline and lobbed a match.

No need to actually meet Farage, or Boris Johnson

The real man behind Brexit — forget Conservatives like Boris Johnson and David Davis — is still the former, and perhaps future, UKIP leader Nigel Farage. That’s the man who campaigned with Trump in the US at a time when politicians like Boris Johnson were still describing The Donald as “clearly out of his mind.” (Johnson would later change his tune, calling the negative British coverage of president-elect Trump a “whinge-arama” just hours after his confident US election predictions flew out of the window.)

Prior to Trump’s arrival, Farage had told anyone who would listen that the Conservative Party had issued a clear red line to Trump when negotiating the visit: Under no account was he to meet with Farage. The government has not disputed this claim, and no meeting is scheduled.

But Farage and Trump didn’t need a face-to-face meeting; a coordinated media offensive would serve their purposes far better.

Three lions on Theresa’s tail

Three hard Brexit lions went into the media fray, 24 hours after England’s semifinal defeat, hunting as a pack.

The pride’s alpha, Trump, took the fight to Britain’s best-selling “red top” tabloid paper, The Sun

Trump tore shreds out of Theresa May’s Brexit plans, hitting all of Farage’s key talking points: The deal “wasn’t what the people voted on,” it negated the chances of a bespoke US trade deal (not that one had ever been formally offered, at least not publicly), and it overlooked citizens’ concerns about “cultural changes” initiated in Europe by EU immigration policies. Like Farage, Trump managed to steer inches clear of white supremacist territory while frantically dog-whistling to any and all attuned to that wavelength. The owner of The Sun, Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch, got precisely the ammunition he wanted for his pro-Brexit paper. Even its writers expressed surprise at how far the president went.

Sky News


The political editor of The Sun @tnewtondunn who interviewed @realDonaldTrump speaks to @BethRigby about his controversial conversation with the president.

Meanwhile, two senior British hunter-gatherers within Trump’s global populist harem — Farage and former newspaper editor and The Apprentice winner Piers Morgan — spent the evening talking to BBC viewers, who might be reading a more substantive and sober newspaper on Friday morning.

Morgan was on the Question Time panel, lamenting the protests against Trump’s visit. He also spoke at length on Brexit, assuring the audience “I voted remain as well,” before elaborating on how Theresa May’s plan was unsatisfactory, and how Britain needed a Brexiteer prime minister who “believed in what they’re trying to achieve.” Perhaps it was a coincidence that Trump told The Sun how sad he was to see Brexiteer Boris Johnson go, and how he would make a great prime minister. Perhaps.

As for Farage, he appeared as the guest of honor on This Week, for the extended My Take Of The Week segmentHe told viewers what a success Trump had made of his first 18 months in office, how noteworthy it was that Italy’s new government seemed to be getting on with the White House, and that Britain was missing its chance to get in on the new world order at the ground floor. That politics show is hosted by another member of the old guard of British journalism, Andrew Neil, chairman of the company that owns The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. The Spectator supported Brexit, and was once edited by an ambitious young journalist-MP named Boris Johnson. The Telegraph supported Brexit, and once employed an ambitious even-younger Boris Johnson as its mischief-making Brussels correspondent. But again, perhaps that’s a coincidence!

A master of manipulation

For all the power of the presidency, we’ve already seen evidence that Trump can only have a limited effect on the global juggernaut that is the United States. He can moan about NATO, and perhaps prompt some changes, but he could never withdraw from it. Nevertheless, the political newcomer and longstanding self-promoter is a master of using what leverage he has, and of lobbing the right grenade into the right battleground at precisely the wrong time. The already-wounded Theresa May now has more shrapnel to dodge.

And for a Brit like myself who had resisted and disputed the cries of “BBC pro-Brexit bias” from prominent Remainers like Andrew Adonis, A.C. Grayling and Alistair Campbell in recent months, watching along last night provided some troubling food for thought.

At least it’s not like Trump’s next stop, months after the supposedly Russian poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, is a one-on-one with Vladimir Putin! (He explicitly defended that appointment in The Sun, too, by the way.)

Italy in new migrant boat standoff with Malta

July 13, 2018

Italy on Friday urged Malta to go to the aid of an overcrowded boat carrying hundreds of migrants, only hours after the Italian president intervened to end a dispute within the ruling coalition over rescued immigrants.

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 Diciotti ship of the Italian Coast Guard, with 67 migrants on board rescued 4 days ago by the Vos Thalassa freighter, enters the Sicilian port of Trapani, southern Italy, Thursday, July 12, 2018

There have been two similar stand-offs with Malta since Italy’s new populist government, which pairs the far-right League party with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, took power on June 1.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also leader of the League, said Italy would not take in the migrants because they were Malta’s responsibility. Malta, a small island nation, has generally refused to take in large numbers of boat migrants.

Italy has seen more than 650,000 arrivals on its shores since 2014.

“Since this morning a large boat with 450 illegal immigrants on board has been in waters patrolled by Malta, which has taken responsibility for it,” Salvini wrote on Facebook.

The boats also often carry refugees, as did one with some 30 Syrians who were picked up by the Italian coast guard earlier on Friday. They were taken to the island of Lampedusa.

Salvini added: “But hours later no one has moved, and the boat is again heading toward Italy … This boat cannot and must not arrive.”

Minutes later, Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who is a member of 5-Star, also urged Malta to act.

“According to the maritime law, it’s Malta that must send its own ships and open its own ports,” he said on Twitter. “Our coast guard can act, if needed, in support, but Malta should immediately do its duty.”

A spokesman said the Maltese government is following developments, but had no further comment. The large boats are particularly dangerous because they have often capsized in the past, trapping hundreds of people below deck as they sink.


Since taking office, Salvini has led a high-profile campaign to shut humanitarian rescue ships out of Italy’s ports, a move supported by 5-Star. But the League leader’s hardline immigration stance rankled his coalition allies this week.

On Thursday, Salvini had refused to allow 67 migrants brought by the country’s coast guard to a Sicilian port to disembark — even though Toninelli, who oversees the coast guard, had told them they could.

Making a rare foray into day-to-day politics, President Sergio Mattarella contacted Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte late on Thursday to express his concern about the plight of migrants on the coast guard vessel.

After receiving Mattarella’s phone call, Conte, an academic who is close to 5-Star but not a member of either party, ordered the migrants be allowed off the ship. Salvini said he had learned of the president’s move with “regret and amazement”.

Now Salvini and Toninelli, whose parties were rivals before the March national elections, appear to be on the same page again.

The League and 5-Star have pledged to crackdown on migration even though arrivals from Libya, where people smugglers operate with impunity, are down more than 85 percent this year.

Though arrivals have plummeted, people are still dying at sea. In the past four weeks, since charity boats have been locked out of Italian ports, more than 600 people, including children, have drowned or gone missing at sea, the International Organization for Migration estimates.

Additional reporting by Chris Scicluna in VALLETTA; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Catherine Evans



The Associated Press

July 13 at 1:35 PM

ROME — The Latest on the migrant crisis in Europe (all times local):

6:25 p.m.

Germany says a change to the European Union military mission in the Mediterranean should only happen after talks at the European level.

Italy’s populist government has launched a crackdown on migration and is seeking to renegotiate the mandate of Operation Sophia to prevent migrants rescued at sea from being brought to Italy.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Friday that “if there is to be a change to the Sophia mandate then it should be discussed at the European level.”

Seibert said Operation Sophia is also meant to help train the Libyan coast guard to patrol its own coastline, calling this “a very sensible mission.”

He added: “It’s important that as part of this mission innumerable lives have also been saved.”


5:50 p.m.

Italy is insisting Malta must rescue 450 migrants at sea and give them safe harbor.

Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli has tweeted that a boat with 450 persons has been navigating for hours in Malta’s search-and-rescue area in the Mediterranean. He said “under the law of the sea, it’s Malta which must dispatch its own boats and open up” its port.

Toninelli says Italy’s coast guard can help if needed but “Malta must immediately do its duty.”

Malta didn’t immediately respond to Italy’s appeal.

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Matteo Salvini

Italy’s right-wing interior minister, Matteo Salvini, says his country can no longer offer safe harbor to “fake” asylum-seekers rescued at sea.

Numbers of rescued migrants have sharply declined this year, but in recent years some 600,000 migrants arrived in Italy after rescue from smugglers’ unseaworthy boats. The majority were denied asylum.


2:15 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says that Turkish coast guard helicopters have rescued 34 migrants who were stranded on a small island in the Aegean Sea.

Anadolu Agency said the group, which included at least five children, was trapped on Bogaz Island between the Turkish coastal resort of Cesme and the Greek island of Chios on Friday.

The migrants were evacuated to a parking lot for trucks near Cesme were medical teams were on standby.

Anadolu said the coast guard was also searching for another migrant who was reported missing by the group. There was no further information on the migrants or how they got stranded.


1:30 p.m.

Italian prosecutors are investigating alleged threats by migrants against a tugboat crew who rescued them in the sea off Libya.

An Italian coast guard vessel brought back 67 migrants Thursday night to Trapani, in western Sicily.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has said a Sudanese and a Ghanaian among the migrants allegedly tried to hijack the tug so it wouldn’t return them to Libya, where migrants have been tortured in crowded detention centers.

Salvini had demanded the migrants not be allowed to disembark.

After President Sergio Mattarella expressed humanitarian concerns Thursday, authorities gave docking permission. Young children and women, including an injured woman, were among the migrants rescued on Sunday by the Italian tug.

The tug’s captain, saying the migrants were rebelling, asked Italy’s coast guard to take the migrants.

The Changing Face of Illegal Border Crossings

July 13, 2018

The nation of origin, and motivation, of people trying to enter the U.S. looks much different since 2000

A U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehended migrants who illegally crossed the border from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, in April.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent apprehended migrants who illegally crossed the border from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, in April. PHOTO: LOREN ELLIOTT/REUTERS
The Wall Street Journal


In the early 2000s, millions of undocumented Mexicans crossed the U.S. border in search of work.

Nearly two decades later, border crossings look remarkably different. The number of Mexicans has plummeted. Other countries are now the source of most undocumented immigrants. And their motivation for taking the risk is different.

The shift is largely related to changing demographics in Mexico and the levels of violence and, in some cases, poverty in Central America.

In fiscal 2000, the U.S. Border Patrol apprehended 1.6 million Mexicans at the southwest border, according to reports by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Last fiscal year, the number was 128,000, with 176,000 more coming from other countries.

“It was the lowest level of apprehensions since 1972,” said Douglas Massey, a Princeton sociologist who gathers data on the topic as co-director of the Mexican Migration Project.

It’s unclear how many undocumented immigrants manage to get into the U.S. in a given year, but in its most recent report, the Department of Homeland Security estimated that 12.1 million lived in the U.S. in 2014, including 6.6 million Mexicans.

As the number of Mexicans attempting to cross the border has declined, the number of Central Americans—most from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—has increased, with the demographics of the border crossers shifting as well.

Undocumented Hondurans and Salvadorans who travel to the U.S. tend to have more money and education than their peers, and they experience more violence, said Jonathan Hiskey, who analyzes survey data collected through the Latin American Public Opinion Project.

They also tend to arrive with other family members.

Last year, the Border Patrol apprehended 24,122 people who arrived with family members from El Salvador, 22,366 from Honduras and 24,657 from Guatemala.

Only 2,217 people from Mexico arrived as part of a family.

The number of unaccompanied Mexican children has also decreased. Last year, the Border Patrol apprehended 8,877, compared with about 32,000 from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Border CrossingsThe number of Mexicans apprehended at theborder has plummeted. The majority are nowfrom other countries.Illegal immigrant apprehensionsSource: U.S. Border PatrolNote: Fiscal years end Sept. 30.

The reason for the decline in the number of Mexican migrants may have less to do with the U.S. economy or border security than with changes in Mexico.

Immigration—especially when it involves a treacherous border crossing—is a young person’s venture, according to the experts, and Mexico is not so young any more.

“If you haven’t done it by the time you’re 35, generally speaking, you’re not going to,” Dr. Hiskey said.

A baby boom in Mexico peaked in the 1960s and 1970s, and those generations are now older than that. In addition, the country’s economy has improved, reducing the need to migrate for income, and its fertility rate has declined to 2.2 children per woman from a peak of 6.8.

A rate of 2.1 is considered the minimum to maintain a stable population without immigration. (The U.S. fertility rate dropped to 1.76 last year.)

Experts who study immigration also believe the motivation for coming to the U.S. has changed, with a yearning for safety supplanting the search for income.

“The classic illegal migrant is a young male coming to work,” Dr. Massey said. “It’s increasingly families from Central America seeking to escape threats at home.”

For Hondurans and Salvadorans in particular, the strongest predictor of an intent to emigrate, according to Dr. Hiskey’s research, is whether they have been targeted by crime.

“When we did the Honduras analysis, gender was not a significant predictor of an intent to emigrate, age was not a significant predictor and economic situation was not a significant predictor,” Dr. Hiskey said. “Among the strongest predictors was whether someone had been victimized by crime multiple times in previous 12 months.”

On the other hand, Guatemalans, he said, do appear to be driven more by economic reasons, perhaps because drought in recent years has worsened hunger there.

Notably, the Latin American survey suggests undocumented immigrants who come to the U.S. to escape crime aren’t deterred by the risk of emigrating or by the threat of deportation once they arrive.

“Deterrence will work on some people,” Dr. Hiskey said. “Deterrence does not work on people fleeing for their lives.”

If his assessment is correct, the flood of immigrants may have been stemmed. But a desperate trickle could persist.

Write to Jo Craven McGinty at

Rudy Giuliani: Peter Strzok’s testimony was a disgrace — Plus Trump and the Return of Divine Right

July 13, 2018

President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani insisted early Friday that congressional grilling of FBI agent Peter Strzok showed the investigation against his client is irreparably biased.

Giuliani called for special counsel Robert Mueller’s entire probe of the Trump campaign — and potential collusion with Russia — to be ended immediately, because Strzok once wrote text messages critical of the president.

Peter Strzok’s testimony was a disgrace,” the former New York mayor tweeted at 12:44 a.m.

“It taints the entire Mueller witchunt. President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are `fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed.”

During a marathon session of the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, Republicans accused Strzok of extreme bias.

The White House and Trump, who is away this week on a diplomatic tour in Europe, did not immediately comment on the Judiciary Committee fireworks.


Trump and the Return of Divine Right

In deploying his pardon power freely and using the Bible to justify family separation, the president is exactly the sort of ruler that Enlightenment thinkers feared.

By David Armitage

Mr. Armitage is a professor of history at Harvard.
Commentary: The New York Times

CreditIllustration by Tyler Comrie; Photographs by Bahadir Tanriover, Imran Kadir Photography, and Jason_V, via Getty Images

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The heartbreaking scenes on the southern border seem a world away from recent presidential pardons. Sobbing children and bereft parents have nothing in common with Joe Arpaio, Dinesh D’Souza and, most recently, the Oregon ranchers Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven, who had been convicted of arson in 2016 and whom President Trump pardoned on Tuesday. Yet both come down to a relationship between justice and mercy that has a long history — and a cautionary moral for the president.

Family separation shows justice without mercy. The pardon power displays mercy in the name of justice. The administration cites the biblical injunction to obey the powers that be as one explanation for their zero-tolerance policy on immigration. With regard to immigration, it seems, there can be no discretion. By contrast, presidential pardons show how extensive discretion can be, because the Constitution gives the president “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in case of impeachment.”

Most Enlightenment thinkers were uneasy about the pardoning power. The two greatest oracles for the Constitution’s framers, the French philosopher Montesquieu and the English lawyer William Blackstone, both attacked it. “Clemency is the characteristic of monarchs,” wrote Montesquieu, who thought it inappropriate in republics. Blackstone was adamant. “In democracies,” he thundered, “this power of pardon can never subsist.” Contemporary reformers like Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were just as skeptical about pardons. So was Immanuel Kant, for whom it was one of the slipperiest rights of the sovereign, a majestic encouragement to injustice.

Eighteenth-century Europeans didn’t have to look far to find examples to prove their case. At his trial for treason in January 1649, King Charles I of England had denied the authority of the court set up by Parliament on the grounds that “no earthly power can justly call me (who am your King) in question as a delinquent.” Yet the court insisted on its authority to try him and he was convicted of “a wicked design to erect and uphold in himself an unlimited and tyrannical power to rule according to his will.” In the later 17th century, Parliament proceeded to crimp the royal prerogative until little residue of an absolute monarch’s godlike capacity remained in the hands of George III.

In this sense the American Constitution actually pushed back against Europe’s anti-monarchical movement. The framers argued that “without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel,” as Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist No. 74. This was particularly true in “season of insurrection or rebellion,” Hamilton continued, “when a well-timed offer of pardon to the insurgents or rebels may restore the tranquillity of the commonwealth.”

With the ratification of the Constitution, George Washington received an array of powers many European monarchs might have envied. The president could veto legislation — something no British monarch had done since 1707. He was commander in chief of the armed forces; 1743 was the last time a British king had led an army, at the Battle of Dettingen. And after 1789, the French revolutionaries abolished the pardoning power that America’s elective monarch now retained.

Washington wielded his pardon power for the first time to reprieve insurgents in the Whiskey Rebellion in 1795, “to mingle in the operations of government every degree of moderation and tenderness which the national justice, dignity, and safety may permit.” Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson later pardoned rebels during and after the Civil War. In this way, mercy tempered justice, to justify importing kingly clemency into the republic.

“A pardon is an act of grace,” opined Chief Justice John Marshall in 1833. His view held for a century until the Supreme Court overturned this view to argue, in the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., that a “pardon in our days is not a private act of grace from an individual happening to possess power. It is a part of the Constitutional scheme.” The pardoning power may be sanctioned by the Constitution but it is now exercised by the president at his own discretion. The ability to absolve an individual of a legally mandated punishment remains a semi-divine power cloaked in constitutional dress.

Despite suggestions at the Constitutional Convention that Congress should share in the determination of pardons, the proposal did not fly. The pardoning power is absolute and unmitigated.

There is a tension here, as well. The president’s and Mr. Sessions’s claim to be bound by law to tear children apart from their parents is a lie. Not only is that a lie — the president has broad powers to set administrative policy — it is also hypocritical. The president can casually exercise his discretionary power to pardon Mr. Arpaio, who abused prisoners in his care, but then claims he is powerless to end a policy worthy of Sheriff Joe himself. As Hamilton might have said, that is not justice. It is sanguinary and cruel.

Fortunately, the founders did not leave the people powerless. Impeachable offenses — high crimes and misdemeanors, carried out in the exercise of official duties — are literally unpardonable. King Charles lost his head for claiming a divine prerogative; a president can lose only his job. No one is above the law, not even the wielder of the pardoning power himself. King Donald should beware.

David Armitage (@DavidRArmitage) is a professor of history at Harvard and the author of “Civil Wars: A History in Ideas.”

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