Posts Tagged ‘immigration’

America Has a Foreign Tourist Problem — Trump scared off the snowflakes (and everyone else)

January 18, 2018

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Donal Trump (JONATHAN ERNST, REUTERS)

Bloomberg

A new travel industry coalition is urging the Trump administration to help stem a drop in international visitors.
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ByJustin Bachman
Updated on 

As more international travelers decide to skip the United States, 10 business associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Restaurant Association, have created a travel industry group aimed at reversing the growing unpopularity of the U.S. as a vacation destination.

Historically, the U.S. had only to sit back and let foreign tourists and their money roll in. Over the past few years, though, that gravy train has begun to dry up, a trend that accelerated as President Donald Trump began to make good on campaign promises to restrict immigration. As a result, businesses that make up the multibillion-dollar industry relying on that revenue have grown increasingly nervous.

So on Tuesday, some of its biggest players unveiled the “Visit U.S. Coalition” to spur the Trump administration into enacting friendlier visa and border-security policies at a time when federal agencies are doing the opposite.

Since 2015, the U.S. and Turkey have been the only places among the top dozen global travel destinations to experience a decline in inbound visitors, a time when other nations such as Australia, Canada, China and the United Kingdom have marked sizable gains. A strong U.S. dollar has also contributed to this dynamic.

Last week, the Commerce Department reported a 3.3 percent drop in traveler spending for last year, through November, the equivalent of $4.6 billion in losses and 40,000 jobs. The U.S. share of international long-haul travel fell to 11.9 percent last year, from 13.6 percent in 2015, according to the U.S. Travel Association, a slippage the group said equates to 7.4 million visitors and $32.2 billion in spending. (The average “long-haul” visitor to the states spends 18 nights and $4,400, according to U.S. Travel.)

“America isn’t winning when we’re falling behind our global competitors,” Roger Dow, U.S. Travel’s president, said on a conference call to announce the new organization. He added that the group sees its initiative as complementary to increased border and travel security. “Our goal is to make America the most secure and the most visited country on Earth—and we can do both.”

Industry groups weren’t silent as America’s desirability among travelers began to decline, but the coalition represents a new determination to reverse the trend. The inclusion of broader business lobbies is “an attempt to graduate to a new level of urgency” for policymakers to arrest the problem, said Jonathan Grella, a U.S. Travel executive vice president. The coalition plans to present specific policy changes to the administration, including efforts to speed visa processing times, that it expects will help boost tourism.

Ashley Garrigus, a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, said in an email that the government is always working to “support legitimate travel and immigration to the U.S.”

Coalition organizers said the U.S. remains a vital draw for foreign travelers and that only modest policy changes would be required. As an example, they noted how the U.S. successfully corrected a steep decline of inbound travel in the decade following the 2001 terrorist attacks.

But in the past year, the U.S. travel industry has grappled with an administration that made border security and tougher immigration laws its signature policies. One of Trump’s first initiatives was to ban travelers from seven nations with Muslim-majority populations, a move that ran into judicial roadblocks until it was revised.

The 10 groups in the Visit U.S. Coalition are: American Gaming Association, American Hotel & Lodging Association; American Society of Association Executives; Asian American Hotel Owners Association;  International Association of Exhibitions and Events; National Restaurant Association; National Retail Federation; Society of Independent Show Organizers; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; and U.S. Travel Association.

Last week, the coalition’s mission was made significantly harder. Trump’s reported vulgarity with regard to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries earned him international condemnation. “It isn’t so much about the offending comment as the distraction that the incident creates,” Grella said of the continuing fallout. “Every minute we’ve spent talking about [Trump’s] comment is time we’re not talking about visa policy.”

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-17/how-to-reverse-america-s-foreign-tourist-problem

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May agrees to extra £44.5 mn for Calais before Macron summit

January 18, 2018

AFP

© AFP / by Dario THUBURN | Macron hosted May at the Elysee palace last month

LONDON (AFP) – Britain said it would pay an extra £44.5 million (50 million euros, $62 million) to boost security around Calais following a demand for more money from President Emmanuel Macron ahead of a key summit on Thursday.”This is about investing in and enhancing the security of the UK border,” a government spokeswoman said.

The funding will go towards fencing, CCTV and detection technology in the northern French port city as well as at other points along the Channel from which migrants regularly attempt to reach British shores by ferry or train.

The money would be on top of more than £100 million already paid by Britain following a border deal between the two countries that has now been renegotiated and is due to be signed on Thursday.

British and French leaders also aim to deepen cooperation in tackling terrorism at the meeting, as Britain tries to strengthen ties before leaving the European Union next year.

Macron, who is on his first official trip across the Channel, will meet May at an army base near the British capital.

In a piece of diplomatic theatre, Macron is expected to confirm that France will agree in principle to loan London the Bayeux Tapestry, the famed 941-year-old embroidery that recounts the Norman conquest of Britain in 1066.

“Today’s summit will underline that we remain committed to defending our people and upholding our values as liberal democracies in the face of any threat, whether at home or abroad,” May said in a statement ahead of the talks.

“Our friendship has always gone far beyond defence and security and the scope of today’s discussions represents its broad and unique nature,” she added.

– A new treaty –

The leaders are expected to focus on the sensitive issue of immigration.

Hundreds of people continue to camp out in the northern French town, hoping to stow away on trucks heading to Britain, a destination seen as an El Dorado by some migrants from Afghanistan and parts of Africa.

The two countries currently abide by the 15-year-old Treaty of Le Touquet, which permits immigration checks within each other’s borders.

A new treaty will be signed at Thursday’s summit to complement the 2003 deal, according to French officials.

May is also expected to agree to welcome more young refugees stuck in Calais, a government spokesman said.

May and Macron will also announce enhanced police cooperation to control the border.

– Tackling jihadis –

The British prime minister is also set to commit to sending Royal Air Force (RAF) helicopters to a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali.

The deployment of three RAF Chinook helicopters to provide logistic support to French troops tackling jihadis across Africa’s Sahel region is part of broader counter-terrorism and military efforts there by the UN, the EU and the African Union.

“Recent terrorist attacks across Europe underline the scale of the cross-border challenge we face in keeping our citizens safe,” the UK government spokesman said.

France in turn has agreed to commit troops to the British-led NATO battlegroup in Estonia in 2019.

Officials said it would build on the joint deployment of soldiers to the Baltic country whom the two leaders visited together last year.

At the summit the pair will also discuss their joint crackdown on online extremism “to ensure that the internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals,” according to the spokesman.

Britain is also expected to allocate £50 million in additional aid for those affected by epidemics, natural disasters and conflict across Mali, Niger, Chad, North Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The government hopes the cash will help provide 320,000 people with emergency food and provide protection for 255,000 refugees.

Thursday’s gathering at Sandhurst military academy — the 35th UK-France summit — comes as Britain seeks to develop stronger bilateral ties with its continental partners ahead of leaving the EU in March 2019.

The issue of Brexit is not scheduled for formal discussion but will likely be touched upon in talks on other topics, the British official said.

Summits in previous years have focussed on defence and security, foreign policy and nuclear energy, but the 2018 agenda was broadened to cover “the full spectrum of the UK-France bilateral relationship including prosperity, innovation, science and education” he added.

by Dario THUBURN
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Emmanuel Macron’s EU vision meets Theresa May’s search for the exit

January 18, 2018

An “amour fou” it is not. Thursday’s meeting between French President Macron and UK Prime Minister May will pit EU fervor against Euroskepticism. How will Brexit affect ties between the two countries?

Theresa May and Emmanuel Macron at an EU summit

“A Frenchman must be always talking, whether he knows anything of the matter or not; an Englishman is content to say nothing when he has nothing to say.”

That quote by 18th-century author and poet Samuel Johnson is a good marker to define the love-hate relationship between France and Britain over the centuries.

Georges Clemenceau, who had two stints as French prime minister during the Third Republic, also did his best to ensure there was little love lost when he remarked that “English is just badly pronounced French.”

Current French President Emmanuel Macron would probably beg to differ with Johnson’s assessment, especially given the mostly positive feedback he’s received for his EU “reset” plans, while UK Prime Minister Theresa May seems to have a lot to say without actually saying anything.

And while Macron’s gesture to loan the famed Bayeux Tapestry to Britain will be welcomed in the art scene, it might also raise a few hackles, depicting, as it does, the Battle of Hastings when William the Conqueror from France defeated English forces in southern England.

Traditionally, France and Britain have worked closely on defense and security issues within NATO and the EU and globally as Europe’s only members of the UN Security Council.

Will Britain’s exit from the EU curtail that cooperation? And what impact will Brexit have on their border and economic ties?

Defense/Security 

In 2010, the two countries signed a landmark Defense and Security Cooperation Treaty, known as the Lancaster House Treaties. Under this deal, cooperation increased between British and French Armed Forces in terms of sharing and pooling materials and equipment. It has also provided mutual access to each other’s defense markets and allowed for the exchange and development of industrial and technological projects.

British tanks on a roadThe UK will have to reassess its defense and security ties in a post-Brexit world

According to Nicholas Startin, Head of Department and Senior Lecturer in French and European Politics at the University of Bath, this is one area that could remain unaffected by Brexit. “I think both countries’ leaders are sufficiently pragmatic that they will want these arrangements and the relatively close ties that they have on security-based issues to continue.”

Still, in the wake of Brexit and with waning influence, the British will have the painful task of developing new alliances if they want to achieve their foreign policy objectives. Alongside all these bilateral agreements, the crucial one will be negotiating a new “special relationship” on defense and security with the EU.

Border issues

In 2003, the two countries signed an agreement known as the Le Touquet accord which effectively saw Britain’s border extend into France. Since then British border guards have been stationed in northern France, while French officials carry out immigration checks in the Port of Dover, a win-win situation.

“Within the context of the EU this arrangement seemed to work quite well from a British perspective. What that has done irrespective of the Brexit situation is that it has put huge pressure on the Calais area and the Pas de Calais region as a whole as it has led to a blockage of refugees trying to get to the UK and an unfolding humanitarian crisis,” Startin told DW.

A man standing in front of a gate at the Eurotunnel terminalOn the outside looking in: France wants more financial commitment from the UK on the border issue

But now France is putting pressure on the UK to take in more refugees and to pay more for border security if the current arrangement is to be maintained. From the French perspective, says Startin, that’s reasonable. “I think it’s understandable that the French president questions how the treaty operates in a post-Brexit environment because it seems to me that it is putting an enormous burden on France as many refugees continue to attempt to reach the UK.”

And it seems that the cards are in Macron’s hands on this particular issue. “The ultimate dilemma for the UK government is that Macron could say ‘we want to park this treaty in the long grass’ and imply that Dover becomes the border rather than Calais and that’s something that given the political context, the UK the government will be very keen to avoid even as a veiled threat.”

Economy/Brexit

In the event of a “hard” Brexit in which the UK leaves the Single Market, the most immediate impact would be on customs-free, cross-Channel trade.

“Obviously the prospect of imposing customs controls and possibly tariffs between the UK and France, in particular those between Calais and Dover where a huge amount of goods travel back and forth completely unhindered by border controls at the moment, is a big issue,” Jonathan Portes, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at King’s College London and a Senior Fellow of the Economic and Social Research Council’s “UK in a Changing Europe” initiative, told DW.

Read moreBrexit: What’s the ‘no deal’ fallout for the UK and EU?

Notwithstanding the nature of Brexit, Portes thinks that “the French will continue to be one of the largest single trading partners [of the UK] under almost any conceivable circumstances.”

Crane removing containers from a shipCustoms controls and tariffs could really hurt the British economy

Nick Startin is not so sure. “It’s going to be difficult for the UK to negotiate a meaningful trading relationship with individual EU 27 states in the context of a hard Brexit. At the same time it’s also not clear that bilateral economic relationships are going to be that easy to set up in the short term with other countries outside the EU in the shadow of the uncertainties caused by Brexit.”

Macron has said repeatedly that he’s not aiming to “punish” the UK, but by the same token he remains a passionate European who will seek the best deal for both France and the EU for which he needs help from Europe’s leading economy, Germany.

Avid conspiracy theorists may see this as proof that the Paris and Berlin are ganging up on the UK which in turn is trying to prevent that axis.

“It is probably true to say that the French are somewhat more hard-line than other countries or more purist in terms of Brexit,” says Portes. “On the other hand, so far at least, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that Germany under Angela Merkel is any less purist on the question of the integrity of the Single Market. The idea that the UK either can somehow try to split France off of Germany or isolate France is not a strategy which has any serious prospect of success and one would hope that our government is not foolish enough to attempt it.”

The Trump Paradox — Everything You Need To Know About Politics in 2018

January 18, 2018

This era’s most disliked president has produced a successful first year in office.

Sen. Dick Durbin and President Trump during the Jan. 9 meeting on immigration reform at the White House.
Sen. Dick Durbin and President Trump during the Jan. 9 meeting on immigration reform at the White House. PHOTO: JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
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What’s the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Donald Trump ?

Mr. Zuckerberg saw that the destructive political forces set loose by social media were threatening the core of Facebook and made adjustments last week to protect his crown jewel.

Twitter account and the tides of media are undermining Mr. Trump’s presidency, but he’ll never adjust.

Which leads us to the Trump Paradox: Donald Trump may be the most disliked president in the postwar era, even as he presides over one of the most solid first-year policy performances of that era, most notably a strengthening economy.

(A colleague asked if by “postwar,” I meant World War II or the American Revolution.)

For most of the first year, the Trump paradox didn’t matter much beyond the altered psychological state of his audience. Reacting to “Trump” became, like uncontrollable weather, a daily routine.

But in Year Two, the story line is about to change. Everything in 2018 will be defined in terms of its effect on the November midterm election. Including any meeting with Dick Durbin.

The phrase “political animal” was invented for people like Sen. Durbin. Lost down the Trump-Durbin you-know-what hole is a question: Why did Dick Durbin do it?

The answer is inescapable: Sen. Durbin poisoned the well of the immigration negotiations. He instantly recognized that Democrats would gain more politically from public exposure of Mr. Trump’s private words than they would from any DACA deal.

For Democrats, every waking moment has telescoped down to one thing: gaining control of the House in November. They have concluded, not without reason, that success at the polls will correlate directly to public dislike of Mr. Trump personally. For Sen. Durbin, the Trump expletive was a gift from the gods. As to the 800,000 dreamers who had a deal in sight at last Tuesday’s White House meeting, well, they can wait.

If the Trump economic record was pouring out of a different, more agreeable vessel, the Democrats would be floating out to sea. Instead, Democrats and the nonsectarian Trump opposition are billing him as the apotheosis of evil, arguing that his personality and words discredit all his policy accomplishments—whether the historically low black unemployment rate of 6.8% that eluded Barack Obama or the defeat of an Islamic State that beheaded journalists on camera and sold Yazidi girls into sexual bondage.

Teeing up Donald Trump as a cartoon villain is preposterous—but rational. Normally, politicians strive to enlarge the circles of empathy between themselves and the public. The empathy may be fake, but it’s necessary. Mr. Trump is uniquely content to limit his personal appeal.

The Democratic “resistance,” which looked pathetic and irresponsible in Year One, suddenly makes sense in Year Two. The generic-ballot numbers, which show the public preferring a Democratic Congress by an astounding 11-point average, are suddenly relevant. Suddenly it matters that Mr. Trump’s approval in Georgia, which he carried in 2016 with 51.3%, is now 38%.

This one-man meltdown is occurring almost entirely among women, driven by a relentlessly smirking, I-could-care-less demeanor. The beer-and-shot base loves it. Women? They just don’t. Women came out of the woodwork to vote against Mr. Trump in the Virginia gubernatorial election that Ed Gillespie lost.

The bedrock Trump base, always around 35%, carried him through the presidential competition. But the 2016 victory was made possible by adding the topsoil of wealthier suburban voters. The Trump topsoil is eroding. Men who voted for Mr. Trump in these suburban towns won’t bother trying to talk their wives out of turning their 2018 vote into an anti-Trump statement. Donald Trump never had a bad day in his life. His supporters have one every week.

It will be a remarkable accomplishment if the Democrats pull this off—a victory not linked to an opposition’s major policy failure, an unpopular war or economic downturn. Beyond the Trump persona, the policy substance of the Democratic case is approximately zero. But running every candidate on the ballot against Donald Trump relieves them of having to think much.

Post-2018, the Pelosi-resurrected House would use the threat of impeachment, however baseless, to make Mr. Trump do deals with them on issues like infrastructure, while poking him just enough to keep him in a snarling rage until a professional empathizer like Joe Biden arrives in 2020. Tempting and taunting Donald Trump will be the capstone to Nancy Pelosi’s career.

The Democrats, now dominated by street-theater progressives, could blow it by making their return to public view more annoying than Mr. Trump’s tweets. They are planning to attend the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday dressed in black, like Hollywood stars, and carrying #HandsOff signs. That would be the people whose eight years of hands on the American economy put Donald Trump in the White House.

Write henninger@wsj.com.

Appeared in the January 18, 2018, print edition as ‘The Trump Paradox.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-trump-paradox-1516234165

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Terrorism, migration top the agenda of UK summit with Macron and May

January 18, 2018

AFP

.Image result for may and macron, photos

Latest update : 2018-01-18

British and French leaders aim to deepen cooperation in addressing terrorism and the migration crisis at a bilateral summit near London Thursday, as Britain tries to strengthen ties before leaving the European Union next year.

Prime Minister Theresa May will meet President Emmanuel Macron on his first official trip across the Channel at an army base close to the capital, with an agenda intended to “reflect the broadness of the UK-France relationship,” British officials said.

Either side of the summit, the leaders are expected to have a private lunch and attend a reception at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

In a piece of diplomatic theatre, Macron is expected to confirm that France will agree in principle to loan London the Bayeux Tapestry, the famed 941-year-old embroidery that recounts the 1066 Norman conquest of Britain.

“Today’s summit will underline that we remain committed to defending our people and upholding our values as liberal democracies in the face of any threat, whether at home or abroad,” May said in a statement ahead of the talks.

“Our friendship has always gone far beyond defence and security and the scope of today’s discussions represents its broad and unique nature,” she added.

A new treaty

The leaders will address the sensitive issue of immigration, with Britain’s arrangement with France over policing the border in Calais likely to be scrutinised.

Hundreds of people continue to camp out in the northern French town, hoping to stow away on trucks heading to Britain, a destination seen as an El Dorado by some migrants from Afghanistan and East Africa.

The two countries currently abide by the 15-year-old Treaty of Le Touquet, which permits immigration checks within each other’s borders.

A new treaty will be signed at Thursday’s summit to complement the 2003 deal, according to French officials.

May is set to agree to welcome more young refugees stuck in Calais and increase financial aid, a British government spokesman said.

Media reports Thursday suggest she is willing to offer an extra ­€51 million to improve border security, but Macron will demand extra funds for Calais.

“We have in the past contributed to security and if there are requests for further help we would look at those,” said a May government spokesman.

“We’ve given clear commitment to child refugees.”

May and Macron are also due to announce enhanced police cooperation to control the border.

Tackling jihadis

The British prime minister is also set to commit to sending Royal Air Force (RAF) helicopters to a key French counter-terrorism operation in Mali.

The deployment of three RAF Chinook helicopters to provide logistic support to French troops tackling jihadis across Africa’s Sahel region is part of broader counter-terrorism and military efforts there by the UN, EU and African Union.

“Recent terrorist attacks across Europe underline the scale of the cross-border challenge we face in keeping our citizens safe,” the UK government spokesman said.

France in turn has agreed to commit troops to the British-led NATO battlegroup in Estonia in 2019.

Officials said it would build on the joint deployment of soldiers to the Baltic country whom the two leaders visited together last year.

At the summit the pair will also discuss their joint crackdown on online extremism “to ensure that the internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals,” according to the spokesman.

Britain is also expected to allocate £50 million (56 million euros, $69 million) of additional aid for those affected by epidemics, natural disasters and conflict across Mali, Niger, Chad, North Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

The government hopes the cash will help provide 320,000 people with emergency food and provide protection for 255,000 refugees.

Thursday’s gathering at Sandhurst military academy the 35th UK-France summit comes as Britain is eager to develop stronger bilateral ties with its continental partners ahead of leaving the EU in March 2019.

The issue of Brexit is not scheduled for formal discussion but will likely be touched upon in talks on other topics, the British official said.

Summits in previous years have focussed on defence and security, foreign policy and nuclear energy, but the 2018 agenda was broadened to cover “the full spectrum of the UK-France bilateral relationship including prosperity, innovation, science and education” he added.

(AFP)

France and Britain’s Le Touquet Treaty on migration – key points

January 17, 2018

AFP

© AFP/File | The Le Touquet Treaty on migration was signed on February 4, 2003 at the 25th Franco-British summit in the French seaside resort of Le Touquet

PARIS (AFP) – The 15-year-old Treaty of Le Touquet between France and Britain on migration controls has resulted in massive bottlenecks of migrants stranded on the French side of the border.As the two countries prepare to announce additions to the much-criticised accord, here is some background:

– The treaty was signed on February 4, 2003, at the 25th Franco-British summit in the French seaside resort of Le Touquet. It came into force on February 1, 2004.

– It was aimed at resolving a crisis over the Red Cross’s Sangatte refugee centre on the French side of the tunnel under the English Channel.

The massively overcrowded centre, set up in 1999, was shut in 2002 under pressure from London, which saw it as a magnet for migrants trying to cross the Channel to reach Britain.

Britain, not a member of Europe’s visa-free Schengen Area that includes 26 countries, wanted new measures to stop the entry of non-EU citizens without a visa.

– The key provision of the treaty was the establishment of “juxtaposed national control bureaus” in the sea ports of both countries on the Channel and the North Sea.

This meant each country would set up immigration control points at the borders of the other, in particular the French immigration checkpoint in Dover and the British checkpoint in Calais.

– Other bilateral accords followed in 2009, 2010 and 2014 that laid out that Britain would finance and control security of the border checkpoint sites in France.

In exchange, it would be up to France to stop migrants trying to enter Britain illegally.

– The treaty does not have a time limit but it can be terminated by either side by written notification which would take two years to implement.

– By effectively moving the UK border onto French territory, the treaty has resulted in hundreds of migrants wanting to cross to England being stranded in French ports like Calais, creating shanty-camp settlements such as the “Jungle” camp of some 10,000 people that was cleared out in October 2016.

The accord has been much criticised by French politicians, while the French government’s human rights body CNCDH said in 2015 that it had made France the policeman of the British migration policy.

Disputes Threaten ‘Dreamer’ Deal and a Government Shutdown

January 17, 2018

Each political party is planning to blame the other if any disruptions in services occur

Image result for trump and dick durbin, photos

Photo: President Trump and Dick Durbin

WASHINGTON—Senators worked Tuesday to salvage a bipartisan plan to protect “Dreamers”—young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents—as the divide grew over an immigration deal seen as key to avoiding a government shutdown this weekend.

The White House complicated the negotiations by insisting that Congress allocate billions more for President Donald Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-calls-immigration-system-risky-as-funding-deadline-looms-1516126106

Emmanuel Macron visits Calais ahead of immigration talks

January 16, 2018

President Emmanuel Macron has visited the northern town of Calais, where hundreds of migrants have gathered in hopes of making it to Britain. The visit comes ahead of immigration crisis talks with the UK’s Theresa May.

Calais Räumung (picture-alliance/AP Photo/T. Camus)

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday vowed that France would not allow another migrant camp like the infamous “Jungle” to develop in Calais, during a visit to the French town and ferry port, which is an area at the center of France’s immigration crisis.

“In no case will we allow another ‘Jungle’ here,” he said in a speech in the northern city, as his government puts pressure on Britain to contribute more to dealing with migrants seeking to cross the Channel.

Macron met with migrants living in Calais and the NGOs working with them, as well as local officials, residents and security force members calling for tougher laws to prevent the emergence of another “Jungle.”

Read more: Calais migrants to be dispersed across France

The former Socialist government bulldozed the “Jungle,” — a makeshift camp in Calais — more than a year ago and moved its more than 7,000 occupants to shelters nationwide, but hundreds of migrants continue to gather in the area in hopes of making it to Britain.

Read more: Is Emmanuel Macron Europe’s new Angela Merkel?

The meeting in Calais comes ahead of a French-British summit on Thursday, which will see Macron meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, where he will ask that Britain change the 2003 Tourquet Accords and do more to help ease the migrant burden caused partly by the agreement.

The 2003 Touquet Accords moved the British border to Calais and have left France with the problem of dealing with migrants refused entry into Britain.

Some in France see the situation in Calais as one of Britain’s making, given that the most of the migrants who descend on the area are desperate to reach England.

The police in Calais routinely break up the camps of migrants who descend on the region to try and stow away on trucks crossing the Channel to Britain, a favorite destination for Afghans and east Africans.

100,000 asylum claims

France received a record 100,000 asylum claims in 2017, making it one of Europe’s most sought-after destinations.

Read more: Southern EU countries pledge to improve common migration policy

During the 2017 election, Macron campaigned for open borders and promised to speed up the waiting times for asylum applications, but he also said he would clamp down on expulsions of people who remained in France after being turned down for refugee status.

Read more: Britain to blame for Calais, says German group

NGOs, trade unions and left-wing parties take a different view, often accusing him of wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove.

In December, the Interior Minister Gerard Collomb’s ordering of ID checks in emergency shelters sparked fears of a witch hunt against failed asylum seekers, and further criticism from migrant support groups.

France to demand ‘concrete measures’ from UK

The president’s trip is a foretaste of a tough new immigration and asylum bill to be presented to the French Cabinet in February.

Read more: Calais refugees adapt to life in the UK

In an interview with Franch Le Parisien newspaper published Sunday, Collomb said he would push for changes to the 2003 Le Touquet accords allowing British border controls on French territory.

Collomb said France would specifically demand “concrete measures” from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government on taking in more unaccompanied minors seeking to join relatives or friends across the water, and on contributing more to the costs of policing the border.

Read more: Calais mayor outlaws food handouts for migrants

Natacha Bouchart, the right-wing mayor of Calais, told BFM television on Monday that the local population was “tired” of the situation and expected a lot from the president’s visit.

With 400 to 700 migrants there today, the situation is in many ways worse, said Francois Guennoc of Auberge des Migrants, a leading migrant aid group.

“It’s catastrophic,” he said, both materially and mentally because migrants have no right to pitch tents, to ensure no new camps spring up.

law/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

http://www.dw.com/en/emmanuel-macron-visits-calais-ahead-of-immigration-talks/a-42160767

Congressional Leaders Struggle to Avert Shutdown Amid Immigration Blow-Up — “It’s a S—Hole.”

January 16, 2018

Bloomberg

By Laura Litvan Anna Edgerton

  • Lawmakers face Jan. 19 deadline to keep government funded
  • Trump’s rejection of DACA compromise complicates debate
 Image may contain: night and outdoor

 

Republican congressional leaders are struggling to separate the immigration blow-up set off by President Donald Trump from a funding bill to avert a U.S. government shutdown at the end of this week.

Democrats say the burden is on Trump to help break the stalemate after he rejected a bipartisan proposal to shield young, undocumented immigrants from deportation and ignited outrage by reportedly disparaging Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” Democrats want to attach such an immigration measure to the must-pass spending bill, an idea House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reject.

“No, we’re not going to do that,” Ryan said Friday during an event in his home state of Wisconsin. “People are attaching these as far as leverage is concerned,” but Republican leaders won’t go along, he said.

Government funding runs out at the end of the day Friday, and Republican leaders are weighing another short-term measure that would extend it until Feb. 16, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

Spending Deal

Both parties have struggled for months to agree on a spending deal for the rest of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, but Congress already has had to pass three short-term funding bills. This time, Democrats, and some Republicans, want to use the next attempt to keep government operations funded as a vehicle for other bills to provide disaster-relief funds, shore up Obamacare, extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and possibly to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. A dispute over how much to allocate to defense and domestic programs is another obstacle to a broader fiscal agreement.

GOP leaders don’t expect to have enough time to reach to craft a budget agreement even if they get a breakthrough in negotiations this week, according to the person, who asked for anonymity because the talks are private.

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer will have to decide whether this is the moment to force a showdown on immigration that temporarily results in a partial government shutdown in an election year.

Republicans’ slim 51-49 Senate majority means they need at least nine Democratic votes to pass a spending bill. The GOP is counting on support from some Democrats, including from among the 10 who are up for election in November in states won by Trump.

Shutdown Prospects

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is on the ballot in November and who voted with Republicans to help keep the government operating with a stop-gap measure in December, said he has little desire to see a shutdown. He said he remains confident that some kind of deal on immigration can be worked out before it comes to that.

“Shame on any of us if we sit here and say, OK, we‘re going to let it run out for the sake of politics and shut the government down,” Manchin said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “None of us even should be representing the good states that we represent, such as West Virginia and Colorado and Arkansas, if we allow that to happen.”

Republicans have a wider majority in the House — they hold 239 seats in the chamber and 218 are needed to pass a bill. But even there, GOP leaders are working with a thin margin.

Representative Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican who faces a competitive re-election this fall in a district that is heavily Latino, said he won’t vote to extend government spending authority if there isn’t an indication that an immigration deal is near.

Republican Resistance

“If we don’t have any measurable progress towards a DACA deal I am not going to vote for a stopgap measure, and I’m asking Republicans and Democrats to take that position,” Curbelo said Monday on CNN, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump is ending. “We are in Congress and, regrettably, Congress is an institution that only acts when it’s forced to.”

Meanwhile, some House conservatives, including those in the Freedom Caucus, are threatening to withhold their votes on a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, to protest rising spending levels or to force an increase for defense.

“If it’s just a yes or a no on a CR, I would be a no,” said Representative Warren Davidson of Ohio, a Freedom Caucus member. But he said he doubts there will ultimately be a shutdown.

“I don’t know anyone who truly wants the government to shut down,” Davidson said on a conference call with reporters.

Laying Blame

Trump has preemptively sought to lay the blame on Democrats if there’s no agreement on funding and the government is forced to shutdown over the immigration standoff.

“Honestly, I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters Sunday at his golf club in Florida, where he was spending the weekend. “I think you have a lot of sticking points, but they’re all Democrat sticking points.”

The immigration talks were set back Thursday when Trump sided with Republican immigration hardlines and rejected a plan negotiated among a small group of Democratic and Republican senators. The proposal, presented by Senators Dick Durbin, a Democrat, and Lindsey Graham, a Republican, during an Oval Office meeting with a group of lawmakers, combined border security and immigration-law changes — sought mainly by Republicans — with a measure to permanently shield an estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

Hardened Positions

The furor over the president’s reported remarks about why the U.S. accepts immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and African nations rather than places like Norway, has hardened positions on both sides. Trump has denied using those exact words, which were confirmed by three people briefed on the exchange.

On Twitter Monday, Trump belittled Durbin, who said the president used “hate-filled, vile and racist” language about immigrants during the Oval Office meeting.

“Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting,” Trump tweeted. “Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.”

Durbin and Graham are seeking more sponsors for their compromise plan in an attempt to force a vote. When Congress returns Tuesday there will be additional meetings on an immigration measure among a group that includes the No. 2 Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate.

— With assistance by Anna Edgerton, and John Fitzpatrick

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-16/gop-leaders-struggle-to-avert-shutdown-amid-immmigration-blow-up

Donald Trump’s Support Among Blacks Has Doubled Since 2016, Amid Racism Claims

January 15, 2018
 blacks

Two new polls show President Donald Trump’s rising support among black voters, highlighting his political gains from pushing employers to hire Americans instead of lower-wage migrants.

The growing support from blacks — despite furious Democratic claims of racism — could become a shocking political validation in November when Trump will face millions of upper-income Democratic voters who are angry at his “Buy American, Hire American” policies.

Among black men, Trump’s “2017 average approval rating significantly exceeds his 2016 vote share,” admitted a January 11 article in the Atlantic by author Ronald Brownstein. “23 percent of black men approved of Trump’s performance versus 11 percent of black women,” said the article.

That score averages out to 17 percent, or twice the 8 percent score he was given in the 2016 exit polls.

In November 2016, Trump got 13 percent support among black men and 4 percent support among black women, according to the exit polls. That very low support was critical to his victory in the Democrats’ now-demolished “Blue Wall” states.

The poll was “a cumulative analysis of 605,172 interviews SurveyMonkey conducted with Americans in 2017,” according to the Atlantic.

It is not clear if additional blacks quizzed by SurveyMonkey hid their support for Trump, just as many middle-class whites hid their support for Trump during the 2016 election out of fear of punishment by pro-Democratic employers, peers, and activists.

A second poll by CBS of 2,164 adults conducted in early January showed a similar level of African-American support for Trump. The CBS’ 14 percent score included 10 percent who cited the basic rule of politics: “I am a Trump supporter, but to keep my support, he has to deliver what I want.”

Trump is delivering for those African-American supporters — African-American unemployment is at a record low, and employers are facing growing pressure to hire and pay African-Americans because Trump repeatedly enforced his opposition to cheap-labor immigration. For example, Trump blocked the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty which would have allowed U.S. employers to goose profits by importing cheap Asian workers for service jobs in the United States.

The New York Times admitted January 13:

As employers dip deeper into the pool of available labor, workers are coming off the economy’s sidelines. The participation rate for what economists call prime-age workers — those ages 25 to 54 — hit a seven-year high in December. Employment gains have been especially strong for groups that often face discrimination — unemployment for African-Americans fell to 6.8 percent in November, the lowest rate on record.

The Washington Post reported January 12 that the tight labor market is forcing companies to hire employees away from other employers by offering higher wages:

The unemployment rate in December was 4.1 percent, leaving employers struggling to attract and retain good workers and raising the prospect of higher wages as the United States approaches congressional elections in November.

“Employees today have lots of options in all corners of industry, whether you’re in fast food or retail or investment banking,” said Art Mazor, a principal at Deloitte Consulting. “This feels super tight.”

The CBS poll suggested Trump’s support can go higher than 14 percent. Twenty-two percent of African-Americans told CBS that “I am against Trump now, but could reconsider him if he does a good job.”

Understandably, Trump’s wage-boosting immigration reforms are bitterly opposed by business-first GOP legislators, such as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, and by immigrant-first Democrats, such as Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier. “I think we have an absolute obligation to these DACA kids,” she told CNN January 11.

Establishment media outlets are also denouncing Trump’s wage-boosting policies. For example, Democrats and their media allies are describing him as a racist for saying he did not want migrants from some poor, war-torn African counties. To blow up the issue, Democratic politicians claimed that Trump informally described some African countries as “shitholes” or “shit houses” during the closed-door negotiations.

Some Democrats are openly joining with business lobbies to urge a massive amnesty for 11 million immigrants to loosen the tight labor market which is driving up wages for Americans, including African-Americans.

1/For those covering immigration note Democrats have made massive concession by dropping decade long bipartisan agreement on need to legalize all 11m undoc immigrants.

2/Leaving full 11m out of deal not only fails to resolve issue in its entirety, but misses opportunity to reduce the deficit, close “the trap door” under min wage which would help all workers. Would provide addt economic boost, be smart policy in time of full employment.

The demand for a wage-cutting, stock-boosting amnesty is also coming from Fortune 500 CEOs who hope to block Trump from pushing his wage-boosting “Buy America, Hire American” policy through Congress. Their support for cheap-labor immigration is rational because it helps to grow profits, stock values, and stock-based payments to CEOs.

Proud to sign this letter along with the CEOs of Coca-Cola, GM, Marriott, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Starbucks, Target, Visa, AT&T, Verizon and hundreds more saying Congress must act now to . https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/01/10/hundreds-of-ceos-tell-congress-bipartisan-daca-fix-needed-immediately/?utm_term=.3fbf3dac2e55 

Hundreds of CEOs tell Congress: Bipartisan DACA fix needed ‘immediately’

The co-signers of the letter represent some of the nation’s biggest companies and best-known brands.

washingtonpost.com

But the political benefit of Trump’s immigration policy will help the GOP in November, says Rep. Raul Labrador, a GOP chairman now running or the Idaho governorship.

GOP Majority Leader Rep. “Kevin McCarthy and the Senate leadership need to make it about this — if we can’t make a deal that takes care of the border security issue, then we need to walk away from the table and just say ‘Fine, let the American people decide,” Labrador told Breitbart News January 12.

“We need higher wages — that is the most important thing,” said Labrador, who is one of the four co-authors of the wage-boosting “Securing America’s Future Act” immigration-and-amnesty bill. “I know the American people will be on the side of security and enforcement and they will not stand with the Democrats,” said Labrador, who is retiring from Congress to run for the governorship of Idaho.

Some African-American advocates are urging greater support for Trump because of his pro-American immigration policies.

Wake up black Americans!!! This black Congressman will shut down the US Government for the sake of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. How exactly does that benefit his constituents in his district? http://thehill.com/homenews/house/368951-lewis-i-wont-vote-for-government-funding-without-a-daca-deal?amp&__twitter_impression=true 

Lewis: I won’t vote for government funding without a DACA deal

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) said Sunday that he will not vote to fund the government unless lawmakers reach a deal protecting immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

thehill.com

Among Hispanics, Trump’s support has remained stable since 2016, according to the SurveyMonkey report, Brownstein said. “Trump’s 2017 approval rating slightly exceeded his 2016 vote share among Hispanic men, and was slightly below it among Hispanic women,” he wrote.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/14/donald-trump-support-from-blacks-spikes-amid-racism-claims/