Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

Have European Leaders Lost The Will To Defend Western Civilization?

November 16, 2018

Image result for emmanuel macron, world war I centennial, photos, podium

The Western world would have succumbed over 1,000 years ago had its leaders and citizens not made a brave stand in the face of foreign invasion.

Today, no less dangerous invaders than those from the past have succeeded where their forebears could not, and without the force of arms.

The history of Western civilization has been interspersed with episodes of military conflict on such a monumental scale that any defeat would have reversed the course of history forever.

Consider the Battle of Tours. Beginning in 711 AD, a Muslim army under the Umayyad caliphate conquered a large swath of what is known today as Spain and Portugal, or the Iberian Peninsula. The tide began to recede only in 732 when the Germanic statesman and military leader, Charles Martel, with a force of some 20,000 men, emerged victorious against Muslim forces on a battlefield in southwestern France in what is known as the Battle of Tours.

Military historian Victor Davis Hanson emphasized the importance of the conflict when he wrote that“most of the 18th and 19th century historians, like [Edward] Gibbon, saw (Tours), as a landmark battle that marked the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe.”

Martel’s victory represented the first chapter in a protracted effort – known as the Reconquista – a 780-year campaign on the part of the Christian kingdoms to uproot the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. And it wasn’t until 1492, the year Columbus set sail to discover the New World, that the peninsula was fully controlled by Christian rulers.

It makes for a compelling thought experiment to consider how a powerful historic figure, like Charles Martel, one of the founding figures of the European Middle Ages, would be received by today’s mainstream media, which has a acquired a very particular way of reporting on those modern European leaders – like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – who are simply motivated by the desire to strengthen Europe’s borders from illegal aliens. For an answer, one need only consider the breathtakingly biased BBC interview where Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó was told that his government was guided by “xenophobia” in its decision to prevent illegal migrants from entering the country.

Judging by its blood-stained history, however, Hungary has good reason for being concerned about foreign invasion. That’s because the threat of foreign invasion against the European continent did not end in 1492. In fact, overlapping the defeat of the Muslim invaders in Western Europe, a concomitant development was occurring in Eastern Europe with the rise of the Ottoman Empire, which defeated the Byzantine Empire in 1453.

By 1541, the Ottoman Turks had conquered Hungary and at this time were on their way to creating one of the largest empires of all time. After declaring Hungary a vassal state, the Ottoman army marched up the Danube towards the famed ‘Gates of Vienna.’ It was here the Ottomans would meet their match, thanks to the timely intervention of King John Sobieski of Poland.

Upon reaching Vienna on September 12, 1683, with the Ottoman army about to breach the city walls, Sobieski ordered his roughly 75,000 troops to charge at the very heart of the enemy force, which numbered some 350,000. Sobieski’s plan worked and he successfully routed the Ottomans, a momentous event that began the liberation of Eastern Europe from the Turkish yoke.

To understand the significance of the victory, the Pope hailed Sobieski as the “Savior of Vienna and Western European civilization.”

Once again, we must ask: how would the Western media today treat such a historic figure, who led Europe and Western civilization to ultimate triumph against a foreign invader? After all, Sobieski didn’t merely construct a barbed-wire fence against an invading horde as Hungary’s Orban did, and too much outcry and even retribution from his European peers. Sobieski went so far as to put an intruder to the sword.

In a letter to his wife, Queen Marie-Louise, Sobieski described the sheer mayhem and bloodshed that accompanied the battle:

“Our Lord and God, Blessed of all ages, has brought unheard victory and glory to our nation. All the guns, the whole camp, untold spoils have fallen into our hands…They left behind a mass of innocent Austrian people, particularly women; but they butchered as many as they could…”

Now of course some will argue that we are talking about apples and oranges here. A marauding army simply cannot be compared to an influx of desperate migrants looking to better their lot in life.However, I would argue that the two groups, while employing radically different methods, nonetheless produce roughly the same results: both groups have a massive impact upon the native population in terms of problems with assimilation, as well as the expenses involved in playing ‘host’ to people from radically different cultures, religions and backgrounds.Most importantly, however, is that in both cases the native population suffers the risk of being completely displaced by the influx of foreigners, especially if the latter is more prolific when it comes to reproducing its numbers.

There is yet another point to consider. As the Hungarian foreign minister emphasized in his interview, much of the migrants who entered Europe arrived by ‘invitation’ of sorts in that they knew the larger European countries, namely Germany, England and France, in tandem with non-profit organizations like George Soros’ Open Society, would provide them with a relatively respectable stipend once they breach the borders of some European country(it should be no surprise that Germany is viewed as the ‘Holy Land’ as far as these economic migrants are concerned). In a report detailing the outlays provided to migrants arriving in Germany, it was reported that “a single adult receives € 408/month on average for everything but rent and health insurance, which the state pays for.” Now if that doesn’t set the conditions for a full-blown exodus into Europe I really don’t know what will. And it has. To date, millions of undocumented migrants have spread out to the four corners of Europe, the consequences of which nobody can predict.

One thing can be said with certainty, however. The great sacrifices of great European men, like John Sobieski and Charles Martel, seem to have been utterly wasted by modern leaders who simply do not have the best interest of their state, not to mention Western civilization, at heart.The site of German Chancellor Angela Merkel snatching the German flag from one of her colleagues during a political assembly, or French President Emmanuel Macron insisting that there is “no such thing as French culture” tells us everything we need to know about these so-called ‘leaders,’ who have betrayed the spirit of European fortitude that allowed Europe to survive and flourish in the first place. Europe should be thankful there are leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orban or Sebastian Kurz, 31, the new Austrian chancellor who soared to victory by campaigning on stricter border controls in Europe.

Why is common sense in such short supply these days in the Western world?

It cannot be denied that much of Europe’s problems with the migration crisis are the result of it hitching its wagon to the falling star of US foreign policy. However, that does not serve as a reasonable argument for Europe to open its doors to a migrant invasion.  If Europe, as well as some of the more notorious NGOs, really want to help migrants from the Middle East, they could start by demanding their governments stop supporting military operations abroad. This is exactly what our modern ‘social justice warriors’ should be demanding, yet they are absolutely silent on the war front. And if they insist on paying these war victims, who are certainly deserving of sympathy, then better to send the humanitarian assistance to those war-torn places instead of inviting hordes to European shores.

As things stand, or fall, Europe’s ultimate survival will come down to brave and courageous men, the Martels and Sobieskis of our times, to thwart any new foreign invasions being delivered to Europe’s doorstep inside the Trojan Horse of ‘good intentions,’ which we all know where ultimately leads.


Is Europe Falling Apart?

November 16, 2018

The EU: “No. We’re not in negotiation. We’re not in a discussion. The rules are the rules.”

Brussels is standing tough, but moderates like Theresa May are gradually being pushed out of power in Europe.

British Prime Minister Theresa May at a press conference at 10 Downing Street in London on Nov. 15. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

British Prime Minister Theresa May at a press conference at 10 Downing Street in London on Nov. 15. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, Pool)

One thing you can say: The center is holding. For now at least, Brussels is standing tough. After all, one could not always say that about Europe, where so rarely in history has there been a firm center at all. But this time the falcons can surely hear the falconer.

The falcons in this case are two major, wayward countries, the United Kingdom and Italy. The first wants to leave the European Union painlessly (and many would say delusionally) while the second simply wants to break its rules—also painlessly. Like a tag team, Britain and Italy have been trading crisis headlines day by day, while Brussels’s bemused bureaucrats hold their ground.

Late this week it was London’s turn as Prime Minister Theresa May’s Tory government all but imploded over her Brexit proposal, which both Conservatives and Labourites dismissed as too beholden to EU rules. After a five-hour cabinet meeting that followed two years of fitful negotiations with Brussels, four high-profile ministers including Brexit secretary Dominic Raab quit the cabinet on Thursday, and pundits expressed doubts May could get the deal through Parliament or even survive politically herself.

Waiting in the wings was Britain’s version of U.S. President Donald Trump (albeit a far more erudite one), MP Boris Johnson, the passionately nationalist Brexiteer who quit as foreign secretary last July, claiming in his resignation letter that the U.K. was “headed for the status of a colony” if May’s Brexit compromise plans are adopted.

Like most of May’s critics, Johnson has not offered an alternative plan. Even so, despite May’s pledge on Thursday to fight for her deal “with every fiber of my being,” speculation is rife that Johnson could take her place. If that happens, it would almost certainly mean a “hard” exit that might leave the British economy in shambles. Already the pound is plunging.

Farther south, the Italian government is pushing for greater deficit spending, which the European Commission said is not permissible because it would ostensibly violate the rigid rules laid out in the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact. Commission officials rejected Italy’s budget because it increases the deficit to 2.4 percent while Italy’s government debt is more than double the eurozone limit of 60 percent. Italy’s populist government, in a response Tuesday, made a couple of minor adjustments and then defied Brussels to fine it.

Asked last week whether a compromise might be found, EU Economy Commissioner Pierre Moscovici responded, “No. We’re not in negotiation. We’re not in a discussion. The rules are the rules.”

Which, of course, is a pretty good opening position in a negotiation (because that’s what it was). Italy may now suffer the first penalties ever imposed under the budget rules, putting all that Italian debt at risk and the eurozone’s integrity in crisis at a time when Italy has the fourth-largest sovereign debt in the world.

Fortunately, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi is Italian and has proven in the past he’s willing to buy up a lot of debt. According to Harold James, a Princeton University historian who specializes in Europe, what both the Italy and U.K. cases “really show is how absolutely impossible it is to try to leave the EU. And what bad things would happen if you try to do that.”

So perhaps these national flare-ups shouldn’t be terribly concerning to the outside world, except that it’s all happening at a time of economic slowdown and rising right-wing populism that could further fracture the EU politically. That’s especially true in Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, where it was the EU’s previous bailout of Greece, pushed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, that turned the far-right Alternative for Germany party into a major player.

According to German commentator Stephan Richter, the attitude in Berlin now is “if Britain and Italy want to commit seppuku, we can’t stop them.”

Worse, this is happening as other renewed right-wing forces are mounting while prominent moderates are leaving the stage.

Until now the far-right in power has been largely confined to Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary. That’s no longer true: One half of Italy’s coalition government is the right-wing, anti-immigration Lega. The moderates, by contrast, are embattled. Merkel recently announced she’s stepping down as party leader in Germany, May is crippled, and in France President Emmanuel Macron—who after his 2017 election was seen as Europe’s centrist, liberal antidote to Trump—is deeply unpopular while his right-wing rival, Marine Le Pen, is surging back into contention in the polls.

And of course, Donald Trump is loving it—and openly encouraging it. After Macron, speaking in Paris last week at a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, indirectly criticized Trump’s proud declaration that he is a “nationalist” by saying “nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Trump all but called on French right-wing forces to defeat the French leader.

“The problem is that Emmanuel suffers from a very low Approval Rating in France, 26%, and an unemployment rate of almost 10%,” Trump tweeted. “By the way, there is no country more Nationalist than France, very proud people-and rightfully so!……..”

During her failed presidential campaign in 2017, Marine Le Pen described Trump’s election as “an additional stone in the building of a new world.”

Or perhaps in a vast pile of rubble. Only the months ahead will tell.


Migrant arrivals in EU set to reach 5-year low

November 15, 2018

Illegal border crossings have continued to drop, putting this year on track to be the lowest rate since 2013, Frontex has said. Despite the trend, an EU dispute over the arrivals continues to feed anti-migrant sentiment.

Refugees and migrants sit on a rescue boat after being pulled from the sea off of Italy (Getty Images/C. McGrath)

Unauthorized migrant arrivals in the European Union are down significantly compared to last year, with 2018 likely to hit a five-year low, the EU’s border agency, Frontex, announced on Wednesday.

Frontex logged 118,900 illegal border crossings in the first 10 months of the year, which is more than 30 percent lower compared to the same period in 2017.

The agency attributed the trend to a steep drop in migrants and refugees taking the dangerous central Mediterranean route between Libya and Italy. The number of people arriving in Italy is down 87 percent compared to last year.

Italy’s populist government has taken a hard-line stance on immigration, with Interior Minister Matteo Salvini vowing to stop arrivals and banishing migrant rescue boats from the country’s ports.

Rise in Spain arrivals

While Italy’s stance may have helped dissuade some from taking the dangerous crossing, Frontex noted there has been a rise in the number of people crossing the Mediterranean to enter Spain.

In October, almost 60 percent of all unauthorized migrant arrivals in the EU took place along the route between Morocco and Spain.

Some 9,400 people used the western Mediterranean route this October — over double the number at the same time last year.

Despite the steady drop in arrivals, EU member states continue to fiercely disagree over how to handle migration in the bloc. The dispute has continued to stoke anti-migrant sentiment across Europe.

Last month, the UN’s refugee agency and the International Organization for Migration warned that the “political discourse concerning refugees and migrants, particularly those arriving by boat, has become dangerously toxic.”

They added that although the rates of boat arrivals had fallen, the number of deaths at sea had risen.

rs/aw (AP, dpa)

Theresa May seeks support for draft Brexit treaty

November 14, 2018

Divided cabinet faces crucial showdown at 2pm meeting

Theresa May

The cabinet meeting and subsequent parliamentary battle represent the most dangerous moments in Theresa May’s premiership © PA

By George Parker and Jim Pickard in London and Alex Barker in Brussels

Prime Minister Theresa May will on Wednesday challenge her divided cabinet to back a draft Brexit treaty, as Tory Eurosceptic MPs warned that they could try to topple her if she presses ahead with her plan. The historic cabinet meeting comes after negotiators in Brussels ended months of talks by agreeing Britain’s terms for leaving the EU.

Mrs May now has to sell it to her cabinet and parliament. Cabinet ministers were given their first sight of the draft withdrawal treaty and an accompanying outline of a political declaration on the future EU/UK relationship on Tuesday evening; Number 10 was relieved that none of them resigned overnight. Mrs May also took comfort from an unexpectedly warm welcome for her deal from some Tory newspapers.

“This Brexit deal is best for Britain,” said the Daily Express headline on Wednesday morning. The Daily Mail’s leader said: “A deal at last! Now give it a chance.”

Yet the cabinet meeting, beginning at 2pm, and the subsequent parliamentary battle to approve the Brexit deal represent the most dangerous moments in Theresa May’s premiership.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attacked the government’s “failure” to bring back an acceptable deal from Brussels as his opposition Labour party geared up to vote against the agreement in the coming weeks. Mr Corbyn said during Wednesday’s prime minister’s question time that the “shambolic mess” of a deal breached the government’s own lines and failed to deliver a “Brexit for the whole country”.

“From what we know of the government’s deal it’s a failure in its own terms,” he told the House of Commons. But Mrs May insisted that the text would allow the country to take control of its borders, its laws and its money while protecting jobs and the integrity of the UK.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg

“We are significantly closer to agreeing on what the British people voted for in the referendum,” she said. On Tuesday night, Jacob Rees-Mogg, leader of the pro-Brexit European Research Group, said he was considering joining other Tory MPs in calling for a vote of no-confidence in Mrs May.

Boris Johnson, former foreign secretary, claimed Mrs May would leave Britain “a vassal state” to the EU.

The Brexit Files: How will Brexit affect immigration?

The Democratic Unionist party, which props up Mrs May’s government, also warned it could vote against the deal, raising the prospect that the deal could be defeated when it goes before the House of Commons, probably next month. The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson told BBC Radio 4’s Today on Wednesday that from “what we have heard . . . this deal has the potential to lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom and that is not something we can support”.

But Mrs May was confident she could cross her first hurdle — this afternoon’s cabinet meeting — without a significant number of resignations, although Downing Street feared that Eurosceptic ministers Penny Mordaunt and Esther McVey may quit.

Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary who was sidelined in the final stages of negotiations in Brussels, declined to say on Wednesday if he would support the deal. If he or other high-profile Eurosceptic ministers resigned, Mrs May would be in serious trouble.

What we need now is calm and we need a proper look at this and my gut feeling is we need to get behind this deal and make it work Jürgen Maier, Siemens UK chief While Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Johnson were cranking up pressure on Eurosceptic cabinet ministers to mutiny, William Hague, former Tory leader, said that Mrs May had secured the best possible deal in the circumstances.

“They have to stick together above all,” he said. “Unless this cabinet sticks together, there is no alternative government sitting there.”

Lord Hague said the alternative to Mrs May’s deal could be no Brexit at all. If the cabinet approves the agreement, Mrs May and the EU are expected to publish the full draft withdrawal treaty, which runs to more than 400 pages, and the accompanying statement on future relations running to about 15 pages on Wednesday afternoon.

Ratification of the accord would allow the UK to make a smooth departure from the EU on March 29, avoiding a disruptive “no-deal” exit and paving the way for further negotiations on the final relationship during a 20-month transition period. Business leaders were also being invited to Downing Street on Wednesday, as Mrs May prepared to unleash an intensive lobbying operation in support of the deal.

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday morning, Jürgen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK, said: “What we need now is calm and we need a proper look at this and my gut feeling is we need to get behind this deal and make it work.

“What we need is certainty that we can continue to invest . . . this looks like the only deal in town, we should get behind it and maybe fine-tune it.” Eurosceptic ministers have been warned by Mrs May that unless a deal is approved this month, the government would have to start actively preparing for a potentially economically disastrous “no-deal” exit.

The draft exit treaty includes a UK-wide customs backstop plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland, keeping Britain in a customs union with the EU until a more permanent solution is agreed. In what one negotiator called “an honourable compromise”, this would replace the EU’s original demand that the treaty include a special arrangement specific to Northern Ireland, the so-called “backstop to the backstop”.

Recommended Instant Insight Sebastian Payne May faces a fight to seal Brexit deal

Brussels agreed the proposal in a concession to London, but in exchange the EU would have a say over when Britain left such a UK-wide customs union. Officials in Brussels said a meeting of EU ambassadors was expected on Wednesday to discuss the developments, with a further meeting of EU ministers scheduled for Monday if Mrs May’s government approves the text.

In a sign that EU leaders recognise Mrs May’s predicament, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar signalled a willingness to hand his British counterpart some wins, saying the bloc had to be “generous” in talks. Mr Varadkar has put Irish ministers on standby for an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday to consider the agreement.

One senior Irish official said: “I would emphasise that the Irish government is very keen for the British government to have time and space to consider the proposal.”

While a text of the agreement is settled, negotiations could continue over coming days if political objections are raised by London or EU member states.

Additional reporting by Arthur Beesley in Dublin

See also:

UK significantly closer to delivering Brexit, says May

Czech Republic to say “no” U.N. migration pact: report

November 14, 2018

The Czech Republic will not join a United Nations pact that aims to regulate the treatment of migrants worldwide, the CTK news agency said on Wednesday, quoting Czech Prime Minster Andrej Babis.

Migration (picture-alliance/Zuma Press/London News Pictures/P. Hackett)

The Czech government had signaled its opposition to the pact earlier this month. It joins the growing ranks of European Union nations opposed to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Trump to Replace Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

November 13, 2018

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen may be the next cabinet member to be ousted from the Trump administration, according to a new report.

The Washington Post reports that President Trump has shared with advisers that he will boot Nielsen as early as this week, despite opposition from White House chief of staff John Kelly. Kelly is advocating for Nielsen to remain at her post or to delay her departure.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visits the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., last week. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump, who has expressed dissatisfaction with Nielsen’s performance for months, has told aides he is ready for Nielsen to depart the administration as soon as possible, five current and former White House officials told the Post. The officials also said Trump canceled a trip with Nielsen to South Texas this week.

Nielsen, who first assumed her position Dec. 6, has been dissatisfied with her job the past several months, but has been hesitant to leave her post, colleagues said.

But a press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security said that Nielsen is dedicated to carrying out Trump’s priorities and will “continue to do so.”

“The Secretary is honored to lead the men and women of DHS and is committed to implementing the President’s security-focused agenda to protect Americans from all threats and will continue to do so,” Tyler Houlton told the Washington Examiner.

According to the Post, Trump is allegedly difficult to satisfy and grows impatient when Nielsen has attempted to spell out underpinnings of immigration laws after Trump has suggested dramatic action such as cutting back immigration or closing the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump has told aides he is eyeing several potential candidates to fill Nielsen’s spot, including commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Kevin McAleenan, and the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration David Pekoske.

“If I were advising the White House I’d encourage them to nominate someone with executive branch experience,” a senior DHS official told the Post. “This will be our fourth secretary in two years. The last thing we want is someone who needs hand-holding.”

Kelly previously served as the head of the agency before he moved over to his post at the White House and pushed for Nielsen to succeed him. Meanwhile, Kelly’s own role at the White House remains uncertain, the Post reports.


Trump is preparing to remove Kirstjen Nielsen as Homeland Security secretary, aides say

Central American migrant caravan continues toward US after rest

November 10, 2018

Around 5,000 Central Americans left Mexico City at dawn Saturday, brushing exhaustion and illness aside to get back on the road towards the United States as part of a migrant caravan that has drawn fury from President Donald Trump.

Between coughs and sneezes, the migrants packed up their makeshift camp in a sports park, where they had rested for six nights, and headed to the city’s metro — which opened an hour early to transport them toward neighboring Mexico State.

“We got cold sleeping out in the open, so that’s why we’re sick now. The kids have got lice, there’s not always enough water to bathe them,” Adamari Correa, a Guatemalan traveling with her sister and her sister’s children, told AFP.

© AFP | The metro in Mexico City opened an hour early to transport migrants toward neighboring Mexico State

From there, the plan was to set off once again on foot toward Queretaro in central Mexico, still hundreds of kilometers (miles) from the US border.

“I don’t want to walk, Mommy!” cried one little girl wrapped in a blanket, as her mother — a sleeping mat on her back and two large bundles in each hand — stood in an endless line waiting to board the five designated train, each carrying around 1,000 people, metro authorities estimated.

Some 1,000 police officers kept watch over the operation.

The caravan left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on October 13 and has covered more than 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) so far.

At least two other caravans have since been established, defying threats from Trump — who has decried what he describes as an “invasion” and ordered thousands of soldiers to the US-Mexico border.

On Friday, his administration unveiled a controversial new crackdown, announcing it would no longer allow people who enter the US illegally to claim asylum. Instead, those seeking political or other kinds of asylum will be heard exclusively at the border crossings.

Also on Friday, a group of 1,300 Central American migrants fragmented from the caravan to embark on the same path from Mexico City.

They quickly amassed on the sides of the wide high-speed road that snakes around the capital, leading to the exit toward Queretaro.

– Taking the risk –

“We’re sick from the temperature changes,” said Wilson Alexander Mejia, a 27-year-old laborer traveling alone.

“But we’re determined to reach the border and beyond.”

On the highway, truck drivers stopped to offer rides. Some migrants clung to vehicles; others found a seat perched on the hood, above the engine.

“Thank you Mexico! We go forward!” they yelled to passers-by, waving.

Other caravan members following behind trekked on foot or took public buses to reach the Queretaro exit, where trucks slowed to pick them up.

Under already intense sun, transport police were also seen helping migrants into one cargo vehicle’s two trailers — but they lacked any ventilation system.

“When you want something, you have to take risks and not care what happens,” said Lucas Rocha, a 31-year-old on his second journey to the border. He said if he doesn’t make it this time, he’ll try again.

Years ago, he rode the notoriously dangerous cargo train route through Mexico known as “La Bestia” — “the beast.”

Along that route, migrants are routinely robbed and assaulted by organized criminals — while scrambling onto moving trains sees many get dragged underneath and lose limbs.


US immigration officials move to curb asylum claims

November 9, 2018

The Trump administration has unveiled new rules barring individuals who illegally cross the United States-Mexico border from seeking asylum. The move comes as thousands of migrants are making their way north.

Aerial view of a Honduran migrant caravan heading to the US

The United States will no longer allow people who enter the country illegally to claim asylum, according to a new proclamation expected to be issued by President Donald Trump on Friday.

The measures released by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are meant to funnel asylum seekers through official border crossings along the nearly 2,000-mile-long (3,200-kilometer-long) US-Mexico border.

Under current rules a migrant is allowed to make a claim up to a year after arriving in the US, whether if they crossed the border illegally or not. But the new regulations would effectively ban migrants who illegally cross the border from qualifying for asylum.

“Those who enter the country between ports are knowingly and voluntarily breaking the law,” the Justice Department said Thursday.

Trump will invoke the same extraordinary presidential national security powers he used to justify a version of the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court in June, senior administration officials told The Associated Press.

The move comes as caravans of Central American migrants, estimated to be around 7,000 strong, make their way north through Mexico toward the United States.

‘Illegal’ to deny asylum

Much like the travel ban, the new changes are likely to be met with legal challenges. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Thursday that the right to request asylum must be granted to everyone entering the country, whether illegally or through a border crossing, as stated in the asylum section of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“US law specifically allows individuals to apply for asylum whether or not they are at a port of entry. It is illegal to circumvent that by agency or presidential decree,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Other critics of the new regulations have pointed out that points of entry along the border are overcrowded and already have long lines and waits. Immigration officials are often forced to tell some migrants to come back to make their claims.

More difficult to qualify

The new regulations would largely affect migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who are fleeing violence and poverty at home.

“The vast majority of aliens who enter illegally today come from the Northern Triangle countries,” the legislation text said. “Channeling those aliens to ports of entry would encourage these aliens to first avail themselves of offers of asylum from Mexico.”

Asylum claims in the US have spiked in recent years — there were more than 330,000 claims in the US in 2017 — and there are more than 800,000 asylum cases pending in immigration court. Generally, only about 20 percent of cases get approved.

The Trump administration has already made it more difficult for migrants to qualify for asylum in the US. In June, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was pushed out by Trump earlier this week, issued a decision that narrowed the spectrum of circumstances under which immigrants can use violence in their home country as basis for US asylum.

On Thursday, the Justice Department, now headed by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, justified the new regulations by saying the US asylum system “is overwhelmed with too many meritless asylum claims” which prevent the system from being able to handle legitimate ones.

Hard line on immigration

Trump made immigration a key issue leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, where his Republican Party lost control of the House of Representatives but maintained its majority in the Senate. He repeatedly drew attention to the caravan through provocative tweets, brash campaign speeches and a controversial campaign ad.

Read more: What do the midterm election results mean for Trump?

Trump has also sent US troops to the border in anticipation of the migrant arrivals. As of Thursday, there are more than 5,600 troops deployed at the border and the military is expected to have more than 7,000 troops for the mission by Monday.

The soldiers are mostly doctors and engineers providing logistical support. US law prohibits active-duty service members from being involved in law enforcement activities on US soil unless specifically authorized by Congress. The president is authorized under some specific statues to deploy troops for riot control or relief efforts after natural disasters.

dv/cmk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Democrats should think of themselves as Trump’s corporate board — Here’s why

November 9, 2018

Trump suffered a loss but not a repudiation. This country could use some deals. So do something big with the House. Don’t just devote yourselves to two years of a fruitless fight.


Image result for u,s, capitol, photos


I don’t see it as everyone does. To me the headline is that for the first time since the election of the most polarizing president in modern memory, the American people yielded a national verdict on his first two years of his governance. And it was not a sweeping rebuke.

A record 114 million Americans went to the polls and did what they tend to do in normal presidencies. Since World War II, the average loss for the president’s party in a midterm is 30 House seats. Mr. Trump’s party appears to have lost 35. (Barack Obama’s Democrats lost 63 in 2010.) This wasn’t the registering of a national rejection, more like business as usual.

For an outlandish president, business as usual is a bit of a boost.

Democrats threw everything they had into the battle—money, organization, passion. They got more votes than Republicans, but the election was also a test of what a friend calls the Democrats’ Death Star—the unprecedented mobilizing of the entire culture industry on their behalf. The “go vote” messaging was a tremendous effort, from the commanding heights of the culture, to make voting cool to Democratic-leaning groups, to make it a sign of existential goodness. And it did goose millennial turnout, but not enough to save Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum in Florida, Richard Cordray in Ohio, Beto O’Rourke in Texas, Stacey Abrams in Georgia.

Barack Obama took to the stump to no apparent effect. Oprah dazzled but couldn’t pull Ms. Abrams over the line. Taylor Swift informed her 112 million Instagram followers that Marsha Blackburn was the enemy. Everyone cheered. Mrs. Blackburn won by 11.

Showbiz ain’t what it used to be. America isn’t as simple as it seems.

What now? What will the Democrats do with the House?

We saw the mood of the moment in the Jacksonian melee of Wednesday’s news conference. The president was conciliatory until the mood passed. He’d “like to see bipartisanship,” but if Democrats come at him with new investigations, he will take a “warlike posture.”

The Democrats will launch new probes, in part because they can’t help themselves. It’s in their DNA, and they’re all jacked up on Watergate retrospectives in which the heroic congressman finds the searing truth and lectures the dart-eyed White House staffer.

A priority is said to be reinvestigating Justice Brett Kavanaugh. It still hurts so much. But several Democratic senators who voted against him lost.

Democrats, for your own good and the good of the nation, suck it up. America has fought that battle. It ended how it ended. Grown-ups know when it’s over.

Two years of fruitless fighting seems inevitable, doesn’t it? But it will be hard on America, another demoralizing mess.

There is a better way. It begins with the idea that deals are good, not bad. America would benefit from legislative agreements on health care, immigration, infrastructure.

First Democrats need to change their style. They have spent the past two years, since the beginning of the post-Clintonian era, hissing at hearings and wearing pink hats. They looked like fools. Sen. Claire McCaskill acknowledged it in the closing argument of her losing campaign: “I’m not one of those crazy Democrats.” They should try to present themselves now as a serious governing party, as people of stature.

They should wait for Robert Mueller’s findings, which will come soon enough. Until then any new probes should be few and orderly. A smarter way to operate would be for Democrats to move on legislation while holding the threat of investigations over the president’s head. The new speaker could confide to him in the Oval Office that he or she has personally stopped 16 probes this week, at some personal political cost.

Tuesday night gave party leaders new room to maneuver. For two years established Democrats have been freaked out by the rising progressives of their base. Those progressives are an angry lot, and demanding. But they just had a bad election. Their darlings fell. At the moment—just the moment—they should be tended to, but not feared.

Democrats should understand the president wants a deal. He’s in another circus phase; he needs to show he can roll with history’s punches. And there’s a sense he actually yearns for greatness. When he talks about deal-making he sounds almost wistful. He wants to do something big.

Do it with him. Newt Gingrich wasn’t the friend of the calculating, louche Bill Clinton, and Mr. Clinton didn’t like those mean-minded, selfish right-wingers. Yet together they made pretty good music—balanced budgets, welfare reform. It served their interests, but they also had a sense of historical responsibility. Democratic leaders in the House have to be equal to Newt in impulse control. It’s not a high bar!

They have the president at a disadvantage. He is a businessman who’s never had to answer to a board. His whole professional life it was him and his whims and his hunger and a series of organizations of which he was sole or principal owner. Democratic leaders should see themselves as his board. They’ve got a CEO they don’t like, but they’ve got some power and they’re using it to save the company. A united board can scare a CEO. Donald Trump up against a board will not be so sure-footed. He will agree to a lot of what you want.

Progress on illegal immigration and controlling the border would please the working class, show Democrats as capable, hearten the nation. And when the caravan walking north (and future caravans) know both major parties are against what they’re doing, they’ll stop it or slow down. They’re a caravan only because they know the American parties are divided, and they see an opening in that division.

Progress on immigration would require concessions from the Democrats, and might take a major issue away from the Republicans. But progress on health care would take concessions from Republicans and take a major issue away from Democrats. A deal there would almost certainly give Democrats a lot of what they want. But the president has signaled flexibility.

Image result for doctors, healthcare, photos

And it’s not as if such deal making would wound his political soul. He’s a moderate New York Democrat anyway. The play he should have made early on, as a unique political figure with a populist base, was always Chuck and Nancy, not Paul Ryan. Why not do it now?

Throughout the election it was clear Democrats couldn’t tell you who they are, and Republicans didn’t tell you what they’d do. They didn’t know; the president hadn’t told them. But sometimes when things are unclear, new possibilities emerge.

What politicians forget in the day to day, chest-deep in the fray, is the reason they are there. It’s not to serve themselves and their party. If you’re a member of Congress, it’s to represent a portion of America, a little sliver of the country, to see to its realities and interests while keeping an eye, first, on the nation as a whole.

This country could use some deals.

This is actually a time of promise and possibility because it’s a time of movement. Nancy Pelosi loves her country. So, I think, does Donald Trump. They should do something big for it, and not just devote themselves to two years of a fruitless fight.

Favoured Merkel successor vows to pursue chancellor’s path

November 7, 2018

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s favoured successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Wednesday presented herself as a moderate continuity candidate, refraining from criticism or bold new vision statements.

The 56-year-old usually dubbed “AKK” — or “mini-Merkel” — is running in December to take over as head of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) while Merkel hopes to serve out her government term as chancellor through to 2021.

While two other top candidates have criticised Merkel’s liberal immigration policy of years past and vowed to return the CDU to its conservative roots, AKK has signalled she will stick with a centrist stance.

At a press conference in Berlin, the former state premier of tiny Saarland said that new leaders “stand on the shoulders of those who came before them”.

She said “an era is ending and a new chapter is beginning” but was careful to refrain from signalling any bold policy changes.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is congratulated by Angela Merkel (Reuters/H. Hanschke)

A poll published on Monday showed more than 60 percent of CDU members favour sticking to Merkel’s centrist line.

Sounding much like the incumbent, AKK said her priorities were to maintain “prosperity and the good life”, to safeguard public security, and to boost social inclusion so that all citizens can “feel at home”.

She also refrained from challenging the other top candidates — corporate lawyer Friedrich Merz and Health Minister Jens Spahn — saying: “I am not campaigning but rather presenting an offer” and pledging to include them in her team if she wins.

The biggest change AKK, currently the CDU’s general secretary, promised was to improve the internal dynamics of a party that has been mocked for its lack of debate and internal democracy under “Mutti” (Mummy) Merkel.

At the height of Merkel’s power, when she regularly won support in the high 90 percent range at party congresses, the CDU was sometimes mocked as “the association for the reelection of the chancellor”.

Kramp-Karrenbauer promised that in future the CDU’s big decisions would trickle up from the party base via its block of lawmakers and into the government, rather than the other way around.


See also:

Merkel taps possible successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as next CDU secretary general