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Home | Tag Archives: trump’s wall

Tag Archives: trump’s wall

Video+Info: Trump declares national emergency to build border wall

President Donald Trump made the national emergency announcement from the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday.

Watch the president’s remarks in the player above, video stream courtesy PBS News Hour.

To read about the announcement, click here; to read about the lawsuit opposing the declaration, click here.

To read the actual “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019” click here.

For in-depth coverage/streaming visit:   CNN   |   Fox News   |   cSpan

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Congresswoman Escobar Statement on President Trump’s Unlawful National Emergency Declaration

Today, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16) issued the following statement on President Donald Trump’s unlawful national emergency declaration:

“President Trump’s national emergency declaration is a political stunt in order to further his administrations’ anti-immigrant agenda and deliver on a campaign promise to build a wasteful and hateful border wall.

“This attack on our democracy not only undermines Congressional and constitutional authority, it hurts the training, readiness, and quality of life of our service members and their families by potentially taking away more than $275 million from our Ft. Bliss Army Base. Furthermore, this promotes an erroneous narrative that portrays all border communities, including El Paso – a safe and vibrant border community – as a problem.

“El Pasoans and fronterizos across the country know that there is no national emergency. Instead, this administration has manufactured a crisis that has used their communities as ground-zero to implement President Trump’s cruel policies towards immigrants and asylum-seeking children and families.

“President Trump’s abuse of power and lies against our southern border will be challenged in Congress and in the courts. I urge my Republican colleagues to end this complicity, stand for what is right, and work towards understanding and addressing the root causes of our nation’s challenges.”

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Texas Border Caucus Chair Rep. Blanco Responds to Trump’s National Emergency Declaration

“Trump’s national emergency declaration for his border wall is dangerous and radical. There is no national security crisis on the border. The only crisis we have is a humanitarian crisis.

“Trump and the Republicans had control of the Presidency, the House, and the Senate for two years and could not get his border wall funded.  This declaration is a dangerous step into dark territory for a president that acts on his worst political impulses. He has trampled on the rule of law and disregarded accepted facts, even from military Generals, the F.B.I., and the U.S. intelligence community. This declaration is purely political.”

Facts:

  • According to Customs and Border Protection, arrests along the southwest border — the standard metric used to calculate illegal border crossings — numbered 396,579 in fiscal year 2018, which ended Oct. 1. That’s lower than the average over the previous decade (400,751). It’s also lower than the number of border arrests in fiscal 2016, 2014 and 2013.
  • Violent crime has been dropping in El Paso since its modern-day peak in 1993 and was at historic lows before a fence was authorized by Congress in 2006. Violent crime actually ticked up during the border fence’s construction and after its completion, according to police data collected by the FBI.
  • For the third straight year, the city of El Paso was ranked as the safest of its size in the country…Congressional Quarterly ranks the border town as the safest of cities with a population greater than 500,000.

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Senator Rodriguez statement in response to the President’s false declaration of a national emergency

State Sen. José Rodríguez, released the following statement after the President declared a false state of national emergency:

It is difficult to fathom an emergency declaration after having had two years to work with a compliant Congress to get done what the President thinks ought to be done. The fact that he was not able to convince his own party of the need when they had control and has openly stated that this is the issue upon which he is staking his re-election campaign should be enough for any self-proclaimed constitutionalist to look askance at his proposed actions.  

More importantly, in my opinion, is that the entire premise is a lie. There is no definition of “border security,” any more than there is “open borders.” Those are simply buzzwords meant to trigger people who know little to nothing about the realities of border enforcement and have unwarranted fears about immigrants.

El Pasoans know the reality of the border first-hand. While I, and frankly, the government’s own security agencies, categorically reject the notion that the border poses an unmet national security threat, we also all recognize the very real issue of smuggling of people and contraband that must be met with smart, focused law enforcement and adequate judiciary.  El Paso meets this challenge every day without demonizing immigrants or border communities.  

The last thing the country needs is an out-of-control president who cannot work with Congress or be trusted to honor an agreement – as happened when he shut down the government for 35 days, hurting millions of people – then attempts unilateral actions in response to criticism from talk show hosts who know or care little for the facts.  

Trump announces national emergency at U.S.-Mexico border

President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency as a means to circumvent Congress and build additional border barriers. He is seeking to secure about $6.5 billion more in funding than Congress has approved.

Trump also plans to sign spending legislation to avert a government shutdown, his acting chief of staff said.

Many of Trump’s Republican allies have called a national emergency ill-advised, and Democrats immediately called the move unconstitutional on Friday. The declaration is expected to face an array of legal challenges.

Friday’s announcement follows passage of a 1,169-page spending bill that provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new fences along the border in Texas, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought for 234 miles of steel walls.

Trump wrapped up a Rose Garden news conference that stretched about 50 minutes without saying he would sign the spending bill. Speaking to reporters earlier, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Trump intends to sign the spending bill on Friday or possibly Saturday.

In a statement issued as Trump continued to speak in the Rose Garden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer called Trump’s emergency declaration “unlawful.”

“The President’s actions clearly violate the Congress’s exclusive power of the purse, which our Founders enshrined in the Constitution,” the two Democratic leaders said. “The Congress will defend our constitutional authorities in the Congress, in the Courts, and in the public, using every remedy available.”

“The President is not above the law,” Pelosi and Schumer added. “The Congress cannot let the President shred the Constitution.”

Authors: DAMIAN PALETTA, JOHN WAGNER AND JOSH DAWSEY, THE WASHINGTON POST

Trump to sign border deal averting shutdown, declare emergency in pursuit of wall funding

President Donald Trump is prepared to sign a massive spending and border security deal, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to get more money to build his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday.

McConnell made the announcement on the Senate floor, and told senators to prepare to vote shortly on the legislation that would stave off a government shutdown Friday at midnight.

“The president will sign the bill. We’ll be voting on it shortly,” McConnell said.

McConnell also said he’d told the president he would support the emergency declaration, which would allow the president to circumvent Congress and use the military to build his wall. McConnell has voiced opposition for weeks to the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency.

McConnell’s announcement came after hours of limbo in the Senate as GOP leaders waited for a sign from the White House that Trump would support their hard-fought compromise even though it offers just a fraction of the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for his wall.

McConnell was determined to avoid a repeat of what happened in December just before the government shut down for what turned into a record-long 35-day funding lapse.

Shortly before Christmas the Senate unanimously passed legislation to keep the government open without funding Trump’s border wall, believing the president supported the bill. But Trump turned against the bill amid an intense conservative backlash, and the government shut down a short time later after Democrats refused to support the money Trump wanted for his border wall.

McConnell voiced confidence the legislation would pass the Senate, telling reporters earlier that he has the votes.

His sudden appearance on the floor to announce the president’s assent came in dramatic fashion, as he interrupted Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who was speaking about biofuels at the time, and snapped at the majority leader over the interruption. But McConnell wanted to move quickly as soon as he got assurances from the president.

After the Senate votes on the 1,159-page bill, the House is expected to follow Thursday evening. The legislation would fund nine Cabinet departments and dozens of other agencies through Sept. 30, removing — for now — the threat of another government shutdown and political brinkmanship over Trump’s demands to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The compromise provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new fences along the border in Texas, far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought for 234 miles of steel walls. The final number for border barriers is also less than deals that were on the table last year before Trump pushed the government into a record-long 35-day shutdown in an unsuccessful attempt to get all the wall money he wants.

Trump has long threatened a national emergency declaration to make good on his promise of building walls along the U.S.-Mexico border. Pentagon leaders have begun searching accounts that the president could tap to redirect funding for the wall.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said an emergency declaration would be the wrong move. It’s expected to face legal challenges and the House could pass a disapproval resolution that McConnell would be forced to put on the Senate floor, an outcome McConnell had hoped to avoid. McConnell had cautioned Trump privately about the scenario.

Although few were enthused about the concessions both sides made in search of a compromise, lawmakers of both parties were eager to see the package pass so they can move on from months of wrangling over shutdown politics and Trump’s wall.

The legislation was released just before midnight Wednesday, giving lawmakers and the White House very little time to review it before it’s put to a vote. Lawmakers defended the rushed timeline because of the impending deadline they face Friday night at midnight, when funding will expire for the Homeland Security Department and other agencies comprising about a quarter of the federal government — unless Congress and Trump act first.

Some liberals were unhappy with the bill, arguing that no money at all should go to border barriers. They’re also unhappy that overall funding for the Homeland Security Department increases under the bill, and that the legislation does not do more to limit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency’s detention authority.

Democratic negotiators included language they said should limit ICE’s detention numbers over time, but Republicans say ICE will still have the flexibility to detain as many immigrants as agency officials deem appropriate. Some liberals and immigrant advocates agreed with the GOP assessment.

In a joint statement Thursday, freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan announced their opposition to the legislation, citing Trump’s “weaponization” of federal immigration agencies.

“The Department of Homeland Security does not deserve an increase in funding and that is why we intend to vote no on this funding package,” the four lawmakers wrote.

Liberal opposition did not appear widespread enough to threaten passage of the legislation, and Democratic leaders argued lawmakers should support it as the best deal available under the circumstances.

“The agreement is a reasonable compromise. It provides additional funding for smart, effective border security. It does not fund the president’s wall, but it does fund smart border security initiatives that both parties have always supported,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “Most importantly, it will keep our government open.”

Some House Republicans, too, had been waiting for a solid assurance from Trump before they would agree to vote for the bill.

“I’m still reviewing and awaiting the president’s response,” Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said Thursday. “I need to see enthusiastic support.”

John Wagner contributed to this report

Authors: ERICA WERNER, DAMIAN PALETTA AND SEUNG MIN KIM, THE WASHINGTON POST

Gallery+Story: Thousands ‘March for Truth’ in Response to President Trump’s Visit

Dressed in warm winter gear, and fighting wind and cold temperatures thousands drove, Ubered, Lyfted, and walked to gather next to Bowie High School, for the March for Truth -in protest of President Donald Trump’s visit to the borderland on Monday.

Many in the crowd held colorful signs that varied from Basta Trump (Stop Trump), to We Don’t Need a Border Wall. Others illustrated Trump’s hair disheveled by wind; and at the rendezvous point, at Chalio Acosta Park, a large inflated balloon showcased the president dressed in a clansman outfit.

The March for Truth, led by the El Paso Women’s March, in conjunction with the Border Network for Human Rights and 45 more organizations, began just a mile east from the El Paso County Coliseum, where President Donald Trump would make his appearance.

With the backdrop of the U.S. Border behind them; and the sunset of the Franklin Mountains in front former U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke and newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Veronica Escobar spoke to the crowd.

“We have had a difficult two years El Paso,” Escobar said. “We have been at the center of the politics of cruelty. Politics that have ripped children from the arms of their mothers. Politics that have been preventing asylum seekers from seeking refuge on this very soil. Politics of cruelty that have imprisoned children in Tornillo. And are we angry? You’re damn right we are angry.”

Cheers and applause erupted.

Additional speakers at the March included former State Senator Wendy Davis; Fernando Garcia, Executive Director of the Border Network for Human Rights; Ruben Garcia, Director of the Annunciation House; Linda Rivas, and Claudia Yoli Ferla, a DACA Dreamer who was brought here illegally as a child by her mother in the hopes of seeking a better life.

“In El Paso she was a waitress, a cook, a dishwasher a caregiver, a school crossing guard – you name it,” Ferla said. “She was everything and anything she needed to be proudly so that I could be provided with a normal childhood despite being undocumented. […]So when this man (Trump), comes into mine, yours and our community, to tell us everything like lies and hate – I am reminded of the root of my power – my mother’s love. My mother’s dreams. And together in comunidad we have the power to also fight back – because when they hurt one of us – they hurt all of us.”

With the crowd pumped, event speakers led the march down Delta Drive, and into Chalio Acosta Park where mariachis and several other musicians welcomed the large crowd.  Then, O’Rourke took the stage.

“The city has been one of the safest in the United States of America,” He said. “For 20 years and counting it was safe long before a wall was built here in 2008. In fact, a little less safe after the wall was built. We can show, as we make our stand here together tonight, that walls do not make us safer. Walls will require us to take someone’s property – their house, their farm, their ranch. We know that walls do not save lives. Walls end lives.”

In his speech, O’Rourke mentioned the history of El Paso, including the story of Thelma White, who was denied admission into Texas Western University in 1954 because she was black. White hired attorney Thurgood Marshall, and in 1955 U.S. District Judge R.E. Thomason ruled in favor or white, allowing her and in turn – other black students admission to higher education in El Paso.

O’Rouke told the story of the 1949 Bowie Bears Baseball Team who won the championship in Austin after witnessing racism at the hotels and restaurants; He told the story of World War I Veteran Marcelino Serna, a U.S. Army Pvt, who became a U.S. citizen in 1924.

Serna was the first Hispanic to be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The port of entry between Tornillo and Guadalupe Mexico was named in his honor. O’Rourke then pointed to the park across the way, named after the World War II Veterans Company E – many of them who were seniors from Bowie High school who served in France, Italy and North Africa.

“Here in the largest bi-national community, in the western hemisphere, 2.5 million people; two countries; speaking two languages and two cultures and two histories – who come together and are joined – not separated – by the Rio Grande River. We are forming something far greater and more powerful than the sum of people; or the sum of our parts. We have so much to give and so much to show the rest of the country and we are doing it right now.”

Just after 7 p.m., through gusts of wind, President Trump’s introductory song, the Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil,” could be heard. It was followed by Trump’s voice that echoed and the cheers and shouts could be heard from the inside the El Paso County Coliseum just a short distance away.

O’Rourke and march supporters were not deterred as they cheered and chanted, “Si se Puede,” and “Beto! Beto!” and “USA! USA!” O’Rourke then called for immigration reform to include safety for asylum seekers, citizenship for Dreamers and their parents, investment in better infrastructure for the personnel and the ports of entry.

Both the march and the rally come days after President Trump incorrectly claimed during the State of the Union on February 7, after it was delayed a week due to the Government shutdown, that El Paso was considered at one point, “one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities” and that the Border Wall El Paso was now one of the safest cities in nation.

The border wall that Trump referred to as a recent barrier in his State of the Union, was a bipartisan decision made in 2006, during the George W. Bush Administration.

The Secure Fence Act of 2006 replaced wired fencing along Tecate and Calexico, California; Douglas, Ariz., Columbus, New Mexico to ten miles east of El Paso, Texas; and Del Rio, Texas to five miles southeast of Eagle Pass, Texas; and 15 miles northwest of Laredo, Texas to Brownsville Texas.

The act also called for ground-sensors, satellites, radar coverage and additional means of technology with the use of more effective personnel along the southern border.

Additionally, El Paso was considered among the safest cities in the nation prior to the implementation of the Secure Fence Act according to FBI crime statistics.

Photos by author & Steven Cottingham – El Paso Herald Post

Gallery+Video+Info: President Trump’s Rally, March for Truth, O’Rourke’s Speech

As President Donald J. Trump visited El Paso for a rally at the County Coliseum and 40+ groups, Veronica Escobar, Beto O’Rourke held a march in response; we here at the El Paso Herald Post provided coverage of both events.

Archived streams for both President Trump’s remarks, as well as those by the invited guests of the rally are available below.

A full gallery of both events is updated and live as well.

Crew: Darren Hunt & Andres Acosta
Crew: Alex Hinojosa and Steven Cottingham

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of 135p: El Paso Trump supporters chanting ‘USA!’ while waiting in line.

Mariachis performing at ‘March for Truth’

Slideshow of O’Rouke speaking at “March for Truth” Rally

Op-Ed: Critics of Trump’s rally wouldn’t dare tell us to tear down our own wall

The politicians obstructing the construction of the wall along our southern border ought to come down to El Paso for President Trump’s rally Monday night and try to tell people here that we should tear down our wall with Juarez.

Democrats in Washington are fighting tooth and nail to stop even one inch of a new wall, insisting that border walls are “ineffective” and “immoral.” Democrat politicians have decided that they know better than our Border Patrol agents, who say physical barriers are necessary for border security, and proclaim that all we need to secure the border is a few new surveillance drones.

So why don’t they just take their reasoning to its logical conclusion and tell us to tear down our wall?

The answer is that they wouldn’t dare because they know full well we’d tell them to get lost. Unlike them, we’ve seen with our own eyes just how effective border walls really are.

El Paso remains one of the safest big cities in America despite being only walking distance from violence-plagued Juarez. In the last decade, our sister city endured the brunt of one of the greatest humanitarian disasters in the history of this continent, the still-simmering Mexican Drug War. Media outlets have called Juarez “the most dangerous place on earth.”

Luckily for us in El Paso, this explosion of violence came at the same time that the 2006 Secure Fence Act was passed. Murder rates in Juarez rose to levels more typical of Middle Eastern warzones than North American cities, and in 2010, as our wall was being completed, Juarez was awash with blood. More than 3,000 people were killed in a city of just over 1.3 million inhabitants.

El Paso, conversely, only had five murders that year. Five.

That number represents a decrease of more than 90 percent from the peak of violence in the early 90’s. While decades of outstanding police work and good public policy were the key to making our city one of the safest in America, the border wall has been crucial for securing that painstaking progress.

The wall allows our Customs and Border Patrol agents to maintain an effective barrier against the horrific violence on our doorstep, which would negate all of our hard-won gains if the criminals responsible for it were allowed to enter our city unimpeded. While Juarez has made progress in recent years, it still remainstragically violent.

No one in their right mind would suggest that El Paso should become more like Juarez, but that’s exactly what would happen if we were to tear down the barrier that allows us to control who is coming into our city from one of the continent’s most violent places, and intercept the drugs that fuel that violence.

Yet, the groups planning to protest the President’s rally Monday night are blithely parroting the Democrats’ position on border security, which essentially demands that we leave America’s entire border as porous as El Paso’s once was before our wall went up.

The President is visiting El Paso because it showcases a perfect example of how a simple construction project has been incredibly effective in making a once-lawless border very secure, with apprehensions for illegal crossings down more than 90 percent. He’s coming here to propose replicating the same proven solution along 234 carefully-selected miles along the border where law enforcement professionals tell us barriers will be most effective.

Tickets are first-come, first-served, so if any obstructionist Democrats feel like coming out here and telling the people of El Paso that walls don’t work, we’ll be happy to set them straight.

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Rick Seeberger was a candidate for Texas Congressional District 16 which represents the majority of El Paso County. Now founder of El Pasoans United, an Initiative standing up for truth; educating El Pasoans; and taking civic action for government accountability, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

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The El Paso Herald-Post welcomes guest columns, open letters, letters to the Editor and analysis pieces for publication, to submit a piece or for questions regarding guidelines, please email us at news@epheraldpost.com

Beto O’Rourke to march, speak against border wall during Trump rally in El Paso

Beto O’Rourke is not shying away from the spotlight as President Donald Trump prepares to hold a rally in the El Paso hometown of the former congressman and potential presidential candidate.

On Monday evening, O’Rourke will lead a march through the city and then speak at a “Celebration of El Paso” event at 7 p.m. local time — across the street from Trump’s rally and at the same time it is set to begin, according to O’Rourke’s team. The events, which will feature music and other speakers, are intended to highlight El Paso’s strength as a binational community — and push back against Trump’s long-sought border wall.

The rally comes as O’Rourke nears a decision on whether to join the Democratic race to challenge Trump in 2020 following a closer-than-expected loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in November. On Tuesday, O’Rourke promised a 2020 decision by the end of the month.

Earlier Monday, O’Rourke will join his successor in Congress, Rep. Veronica Escobar, for a conference call to “denounce Trump’s campaign rally in El Paso and his fixation on a racist and useless border wall,” organizers said. And on Friday evening, O’Rourke returned to his favorite blogging platform — Medium — to offer a prebuttal to Trump’s trip.

“Monday we will welcome the president to one of the safest cities in the United States,” O’Rourke wrote. “Safe not because of walls, and not in spite of the fact that we are a city of immigrants. Safe because we are a city of immigrants and because we treat each other with dignity and respect.”

Author:  PATRICK SVITEK – The Texas Tribune

Audio+Gallery+Story: Redrawing the Border, Dividing History and Nature

As stories and coverage of  border security have dominated the media landscape lately; pundits, politicians and the public alike are all seemingly divided over the proposals.

Regardless of the media outlet, debate over the the proposed wall or – more specifically – the of financing and placement for the border wall, is inescapable.

Although the government has temporarily reopened after a 35-day-shutdown—the longest in history—over lack of funding for this barrier. With no monies granted as requested by the President for this “new” border security measure, there is a side to this story that many do not know.

As reported by our partners at the Texas Tribune, the 2018 Omnibus Spending Bill was initially slated for veto by the President for failure to meet the amount he requested. However, after the government reopened on Friday, President Trump gave the go-ahead on the Bill that allocated $1 billion total for construction of new sections, and repairs of existing parts of the border wall.

According to Lorri Burnette, CEO of We are the Wall, some of that money has already been allocated for the wall in the Mission, Texas area.   Lorri, a native El Pasoan, sat down with Steven Cottingham and myself for an interview on Saturday evening. That audio is available above.

She had been down in the Rio Grande Valley region since December, on a 3 month contract with the Defenders of Wildlife.

Returning to the Sun City specifically to attend Veronica Escobar’s Town Hall with the hopes of getting answers from legislators, she also joined up with Border Network for Human Rights in their march against the border wall that was held here in El Paso on Saturday afternoon.

What Lorri wants everyone to understand is that the wall construction is slated to run through land that belongs to the National Butterfly Center, Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the Historic La Lomita Mission, as well as the Jackson Family Cemetery that dates back to a time before the Civil War.

“The border between Mexico and the United States runs right through the center of the river,” says Lorri, “But the wall needs to be straight.” In order to accomplish this, the government has decided that it will begin wall construction two miles north of the river, on American soil. This grants the rest of the land, extending from the wall to the river, itself, to no one, making it a veritable “No-Man’s Land.”

‘The Enforcement Zones’ as drawn up by Homeland Security, and used in a CBP Briefing from 2017 | Graphics courtesy HSI/CBP

*

How will this specifically affect those properties?

The wall will run through the 100 acres of the Butterfly Center, dividing it into two separate areas. The first 30 acres will remain on the United States side of the wall, and the remaining 70 acres will now be on the other side.

In order to continue to access the entirety of this Center, the wall will have gates that will be accessible via key code. A visitor to the Center needs only to go in and sign a paper, pay $5, and the code is given to them with no further check into their identity or citizenship status.

The same code is then used to return to the American side of the barrier. Of course, to many people, this not only seems an odd use of funding, but may also prove less secure than the Border Patrol boats, helicopters, and trucks that already constantly survey and secure the river.

For the Bensten-Rio Grande Valley State Park, things are about to change. This includes land that is used by the Girl and Boy Scout troops for camping and earning badges. The land will now end right behind the main office building of the site, with the remainder of the Park sitting in “No-Man’s Land.”

La Lomita Mission is due to be completely demolished. Built in 1889, La Lomita Chapel is named for the hillock upon which is was built. Originally, this mission served as a home base to the Oblate Missionaries that rode horseback through the Rio Grande Valley in the mid-1800s, and is the cornerstone of Mission, Texas.

Today, the chapel stands as a religious shrine and a reminder of the region’s past.

Paul Navarro, Senior Representative for Texas with the Defenders of Wildlife, was able to later verify what many are alleging: the government has bypassed or ignored laws set in place regarding construction and eminent domain.

According to Paul, studies of an area’s ecology and historical significance need to be done prior to the start of construction of any government project.

Paul alleges that no such studies have yet been done.

This leaves protected species, like the Ocelot, with no way to reach higher ground during times of massive flooding that happen during heavy monsoon months because of the new barrier. With some town’s location right next to the river, a border wall could potentially cause the runoff from yearly storms to back up into those towns, causing flooding and potential massive damage to homes and businesses.

Local residents and others say that another fact that hasn’t been taken into consideration is the land as Native America burial grounds.

If work begins in a particular area known to have once been inhabited by Native Americans and bones are found, digging is supposed to cease until it can be determined if those bones are that of Native Americans.

At that point, the bones must be carefully excavated and presented to the First Nations for proper relocation onto Native Lands.

Because these lands are considered sacred by the Native Americans, especially since bones have indeed been found, they believe many of their ancestors are buried in the Jackson Family Cemetery that is also scheduled for demolition.

In order to try to defend and protect the environment – as well as the sacred lands – the Carrizo-Comecrudo tribe of Texas, among other Native Nations, have joined in to do all they can to stop this destruction.

Currently, many other First Nations tribesmen and women are on their way from Tucson, Arizona. They will join with those already in the Rio Grande Valley at a camp that is being set up on land owned by the Jackson family, near the cemetery.

According to Lorri, many tribes from the Dakota Pipeline protest are due to arrive, as well.

“It’s history in the making, and no one is reporting about it,” she says. Between 28-30 tribes are due to arrive in the next week or so, perhaps more.

To reinforce the significance and importance of protecting the land better than Native Americans. They have created a video, shared on their Facebook page, to bring more attention to the current situation.

Retired Army Veteran Sam Williams, Chairman of the El Paso Grassroots Coalition and Independent Candidate for the 16th Congressional District, has stated that he doesn’t understand why the government wants to build a wall in an area that already has a natural barrier.

The Rio Grande river is more than 200 feet across in this area, and the water runs wild and deep. In fact, he has started a GoFundMe to raise money in order to save the La Lomita Mission.

Sam explains other ways he intends to help, “The El Paso Grassroots Coalition, in conjunction with the Defenders of Wildlife, propose to file an injunction in Federal Court to stop all construction activities until studies of the historical and ecological impact can be done.”

He is currently in touch with Paul Navarro to do just that.

All of this brings to mind places within driving distance to the Borderland.

An entire area that holds both cultural and historical value – Native American village sites, natural habitats spanning the rio and the Chihuahuan Desert as well, and countless other sites as yet unknown.

A quick drive eastward to Fort Hancock, where the river alone marks the border, through near-identical farms and small towns on both sides of the river.

The same goes for locations west of El Paso, from Mount Cristo Rey all the way to Columbus and beyond; areas that have had literally decades of unfettered access – and security – all under threat of division, destruction and disappearance due to ‘the wall.’

This is why so many are making the journey to the Rio Grande Valley area near Mission: to have their voices heard, and to increase the volume of voices already there.

Author – Amy Cooley |  Audio: Steven Cottingham – El Paso Herald Post  |   Photos: Lorri Burnette

President Trump Proposes Compromise to End Government Shutdown over Border Wall Standoff

In a rare Saturday afternoon address to the nation, President Donald Trump announced a possible deal to end the stalemate that’s resulted in the longest government shutdown in the country’s history.

As part of his speech, the President offered temporary and partial DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival) or Dreamer’s protection in exchange for funding for his wall.  President Trump bluntly stated, “I will fix this crisis, one way or the other.’

During the speech, President Trump referenced the ‘crisis on the border,’ noting the perilous journey migrants undertake from their home countries to the US border.  He also mention the border as being a ‘wide-open gateway’ allowing drugs and criminals into the country.

President Trump added,  “the Radical Left will never control our borders.”

According to the Washington Post, the president’s proposal offers “a reprieve on his attempts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) for immigrants from some Latin American and African nations.”

Via the White House website, the President’s proposal includes:

  • Administration has requested $5.7 billion for construction of approximately 234 miles of new steel barrier on the Southern Border, a $4.1 billion increase over the Senate bill.
  • To protect our communities, the Administration requested $675 million to deter and detect narcotics, weapons, and other materials crossing our borders.
  • Among the Administration’s requests for more resources are:
    • $211 million to hire 750 additional Border Patrol agents
    • $571 million for 2,000 additional ICE personnel
    • $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, personnel, transportation, and detention alternatives
    • $563 million for 75 additional immigration judges and support staff

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to President Trump’s proposal as a “Non-Starter” and a rehashing of previously presented ideas.

To review the President’s plan, click here.

Op-Ed: A Card Game and the Border Wall

With the issue of border security and border wall funding flooding just about every media outlet, the topic of the wall, and just how and where it will be built has been popular fodder for many.

And while the government could use eminent domain to just take land from private owners who are otherwise unwilling – should funding become available – to build the wall; the company that’s behind a popular, risque card game has taken matters into their own hands.

Cards Against Humanity has recently asked patrons to donate a mere $15 each. As many as 150,000 donations have been received, thus far, and a portion of the money has already been used for purchasing land along the southern border.

Aside from this, CAH has also retained the legal services of Graves, Hearon, Dougherty, and Moody, a team that specializes in eminent domain cases, which has released a statement.

In a humorous (maybe not) statement on their website, the card game said, “Since the Trump Administration is committed to using 12th century technology to protect our country from Mexican invaders, we have responded in kind by building a 30-foot trebuchet, a medieval catapult designed to destroy walls.”

While they admit that the government is more powerful than a comedy card game, they assure their followers that they intend to do everything possible to protest the wall and slow down the process of eminent domain.

And though they have also stated that they are not actually threatening to use their trebuchet to destroy government property with their glorious medieval machine, they are only saying that it would be possible if they actually wanted to do such a thing.

With all joking aside, the President has shut down parts of the government over lack of wall funding, a shut down that could continue for months or even years, by his own words.

Meanwhile, over 800,000 federal workers are going without pay. Included in these are TSA staff.

And as was recently brought to light in a Fox News interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, most suspected terrorists are not apprehended at the southern border, but rather at airports. And now those points of entry are at risk with shortened staffing as workers have been calling out to work, so they can try to earn much needed money elsewhere.

In the meantime, Cards Against Humanity listed several organizations that can be contacted if you want to do your legal part to help:
The ACLU, the ICIRR. Texas Civil Rights ProjectRefugee OneMoveOn.org, and National Immigrant Justice Center

EP State Legislative Delegation Releases Statement on Gov’t Shutdown, Border Wall

On Tuesday, the following joint statement was released by the El Paso State Legislative Delegation, comprised of  State Sen. José Rodríguez who represents Texas Senate District 29; State Rep. Joseph Moody who represents Texas House District 78; State Rep. Mary Gonzalez who represents Texas House District 75; State Rep. Cesar Blanco who represents Texas House District 76; and State Rep. Lina Ortega who represents Texas House District 77.

***

Austin – The President will be on live television this evening to explain why he shuttered the government – and may declare a state of emergency – over a border wall. But there is no good explanation.

The federal government shutdown is unacceptable and must end. The purported reason for the shutdown does not meet any basic test of sound public policy.

The President is equating the wall, variously, with “national security” and with “border security,” sometimes using the terms interchangeably. Immigrants are not a security threat, and we find efforts to paint them in those terms irresponsible and reprehensible.

Simply put, the southern border is not a significant entry point for international terrorist organizations.

As far as street crime, the Cato Institute found that unauthorized immigrants are 44 percent less likely than natives to be incarcerated, and legal immigrants 69 percent less likely. The federal government has poured unprecedented resources into staffing and equipment at the southern border.

In 1992, the Border Patrol had 3,500 agents on the southern border. In 2000, that number was more than doubled to 8,500. Now there are about 20,000 agents. The budget for border enforcement, at more than $20 billion, is more than the combined budgets of the FBI, Secret Service, US Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF, the law enforcement agencies primarily tasked with fighting national and transnational crime. Meanwhile, apprehensions are at historic lows.

The migrants seeking refuge in the United States are not a danger to us. The rhetoric, sometimes implicit and sometimes explicit, that they bring crime and disease simply has to stop.

These lies, said about every wave of immigrants the country has known – said about the Irish, Germans, Italians, Polish, Jewish, Catholics, Chinese, Muslims, and now Mexicans and Central Americans – has led to criminalizing people who we need in this country – risk-takers like the immigrants before them, tough and brave men, women, and children who make the difficult decision to leave their homes and travel thousands of miles across harsh territory for the opportunity to live safe, productive lives.

We need to stop the hysteria about “border security,” which has led to militarization of the border and criminalization of unauthorized migrants, and look at the facts. According to a spring 2018 White House fact sheet, ICE was budgeted for $7.6 billion and CBP for $13.9 billion, yet the Executive Office for Immigration Review was budgeted at only $500 million.

The hysteria has skewed our national priorities for far too long, predating even this administration, which has raised it to new levels. It’s long past time for a sober look at the topic of “border security” and immigration, and for comprehensive immigration reform that rebalances our approach to conform with reality.

Elements of that approach would be:

  • To focus less on “boots on the ground” and walls, and more on law enforcement that targets true threats such as cartels that traffic people against their will and use extreme violence to maintain a grip on the illegal trade of drugs and other commodities;
  • A path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants who are here, usually as part of a “blended” family that includes citizens;
  • More guest worker visas for agriculture and other labor-intensive fields;
  • More resources to 1) vet immigrants to reduce backlog and wait time for citizenship applications and 2) to humanely process the current influx of asylum seekers;
  • A hemispheric strategy to reduce the “push factors” that are leading migrants, currently mostly from
    Central America, to seek sanctuary in the United States;
  • Investment in our ports of entry, to increase safe and efficient passage of the 1 million daily travelers and $536 billion in annual trade with Mexico that supports millions of U.S. jobs.

A wall will violate the private property rights of Americans, be prohibitively expensive, and be ineffective. The only return on investment is political, and it sends a signal to the rest of the world that America is no longer the beacon of hope for the tired and poor, who given the opportunity in our country become exceptional, as did our parents and grandparents.

There is a crisis, but it originates in Washington D.C. The President and those who are enabling him are doing great damage. End this now.

Trump Says He Could Declare National Emergency to Build Border Wall

President Trump on Friday threatened to use emergency powers to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a move that would defy a Congress that — amid Democratic opposition — has thus far refused to allocate any new money for a border wall.

Asked Friday if he would declare a national emergency to get the wall built, Trump responded: “We can do it. I haven’t done it. I may do it. I may do it.”

The government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22, as Trump has demanded any budget deal include more than $5 billion in wall funding.

Trump told congressional leaders Friday he would keep the federal government closed for “months or even years” amid a dispute over border wall funding, as the White House scrambled to unify the GOP behind Trump while some Republicans showed impatience with the now two-week old shutdown.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that during a contentious and nearly two-hour meeting inside the White House situation room, Democrats told Trump: “We needed the government open.”

“He resisted,” Schumer said. “In fact, he said he’d keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years.”

Addressing reporters a short time later in the Rose Garden, Trump confirmed that he’d suggested the shutdown could last for years — although he said he hoped it wouldn’t.

Trump said that, despite the Democrats’ characterization of the meeting as contentious, in his view it had been productive. “I thought it was really a very, very good meeting,” Trump said. “We’re all on the same path in terms of wanting to get government open.”

But Trump strengthened his rhetoric in his demands for more than $5 billion to build a wall along the southern border, saying it must be built out of concrete or steel. Democrats have rejected providing any new funding for a border wall.

“The southern border is a dangerous horrible disaster,” Trump said. And contrary to Democrats’ demands, he said the government would stay shut down until the issue was resolved.

“We won’t be opening it until it’s solved,” Trump said.

Trump promised during his campaign and earlier in his presidency that Mexico would pay for the wall. That has not happened.

Trump said he’d designated a working group led by Vice President Pence that would be meeting with congressional staff over the weekend to come up with a solution to the impasse.

The developments came as the administration worked behind the scenes to shore up support for Trump’s wall demand.

Pence called about a half-dozen House Republicans late Thursday to urge them to vote against measures that would reopen the government without new wall funding, amid White House worries that broad GOP defections would give the Democratic effort bipartisan backing.

Two Republican officials confirmed the calls, speaking on the condition of anonymity to divulge the private communications.

Ultimately, just five House GOP lawmakers voted with Democrats on a spending bill that would operate the Department of Homeland Security until Feb. 8, and seven Republicans supported separate legislation that would reopen the rest of the federal government through Sept. 30. GOP officials feared the defections could have been much higher had the administration not gotten directly involved.

Pence’s efforts reflect a growing anxiety among congressional Republicans over the two-week shutdown that has halted paychecks for 800,000 federal workers but shown no signs of ending anytime soon — trapping GOP lawmakers between the president’s push to fund his signature campaign promise and the shutdown’s spreading consequences.

Congress also adjourned until Tuesday, making Wednesday the earliest the federal government can reopen — barring a major breakthrough between the administration and Congress. At that point, the partial shutdown would have lasted 18 days, which would make it the second-longest shutdown in history.

Pence’s outreach centered primarily on moderate members and those who hail from the northeast — some who ended up voting for the bills, and others who didn’t. The vice president’s pitch to Republicans centered on two main points: The country needs funding for a wall, and Congress shouldn’t kick the can to February, when the stopgap funding for DHS would have expired under the Democratic strategy.

The vice president also pointed to language in the funding bill passed late Thursday that would reverse the so-called Mexico City policy, which denies U.S. assistance to foreign groups that offer or promote abortions. That provision was included in the version of the spending bill passed unanimously by the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee last year, which Democrats are now using to try to end the partial shutdown.

Before the leadership arrived at the White House, Trump sent a letter to all members of Congress urging them to pass not just legislation funding a border wall — or a “physical barrier” — but revisions to statutes and legal settlements that restrict detention of migrant children.

“Americans have endured decades of broken promises on illegal immigration,” Trump wrote in the letter to lawmakers. “Now, is the time for both parties to rise above the partisan discord, to set aside political convenience, and to put the national interest first.”

Yet Republicans have struggled to stay unified in the face of the shutdown, provoked by a clash between Trump and congressional Democrats over the amount of border wall funding the president has demanded from Congress.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who is up for reelection next year in a state Hillary Clinton won in 2016, has called on Congress to pass spending bills to reopen the government, even if they don’t contain Trump’s desired level of border wall money. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a moderate who herself is on the ballot in November 2020 in a blue state, has also argued that legislation that would fund other parts of the government such as the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development shouldn’t be held hostage to disputes over the wall.

Meanwhile, their leader, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), has largely stayed on the sidelines, leaving it to Pelosi and Schumer to resolve the wall dispute with Trump.

McConnell was not present when Trump and other Republican lawmakers appeared outside the White House following Friday’s meeting. Aides to McConnell insisted they were not aware of the news conference.

McConnell was frustrated about Trump reversing himself on a short-term funding bill last month — legislation Republicans thought the president would sign — that would have kept the government open. And the top Senate Republican complained to allies about how unreliable the president was to negotiate with, as well as how the president listened to what McConnell deemed as unproductive forces.

Schumer has sought to involve McConnell more, telling White House senior adviser Jared Kushner in a recent meeting that McConnell needed to be a more active participant. But McConnell has told advisers and other senators that he does not feel the pressure or the heat to get more involved, and that his members are not currently itching for the shutdown to end.

“He’s the leader of the Senate. Part of this shutdown,” Schumer told The Washington Post in a brief interview Thursday. “When he just tosses the ball over to Trump, he’s somewhat complicit in the shutdown because Trump is organizing it, Trump is the impetus for it and McConnell is going along.”

Josh Holmes, a McConnell adviser, said he saw his main role as keeping the caucus together.

“He knows exactly where the leverage points are on negotiations like this. He’s certainly not going to provide Democrats with an opportunity to exploit Republican divisions,” Holmes said. “So he’s going to provide a unified front here to get the president the best deal he can.”

Authors: BY ERICA WERNER, JOSH DAWSEY AND SEUNG MIN KIM, THE WASHINGTON POST / The Texas Tribune

With Contract Set to Expire, Still No Word on What’s Next for Immigration Center at Tornillo

With just weeks before a federal contract to operate a West Texas detention center for undocumented immigrant minors is set to expire, there is still no word whether the Trump administration plans to keep the site open into 2019.

But the shelter operators maintain that another contract extension would be just one more short-term solution to a larger problem that needs a permanent fix.

The contract between the federal Health and Human Services’ Offices of Refugee Resettlement and San Antonio nonprofit BCFS to operate the controversial detention camp at Tornillo is due to expire at the end of this month after being extended several times since the original 30-day contract in June.

“The ball is in their court,” said BCFS spokeswoman Evy Ramos. “We have said to them just recently this week, we can’t just keep extending this, this is not a permanent solution. Something else has to be figured out.”

The facility — a collection of dozens of military-grade tents on the grounds of a federal port of entry surrounded by acres of farmland — has swelled from a few hundred immigrants in June to about 2,300. Its capacity was expanded to about 3,800 after the administration realized the flow of unauthorized minors seeking asylum in the United States did not dwindle despite efforts to deter asylum seekers by turning them away at the international ports of entry and urging the Mexican government to block Central Americans from traveling through that country.

If the government didn’t extend the contract for Tornillo, it would have to build or find another facility that’s designed for long-term detention, Ramos said. But that decision is ultimately up to ORR officials. She said the company, which as of Nov. 30 had received just over $144 million from the government to run the facility, doesn’t know what the government plans to do. But it “will not just abandon the children in Tornillo,” Ramos said.

HHS spokesman Mark Weber said late Wednesday that children in the agency’s care would continue to be “provided critical services in a safe and compassionate matter,” no matter where they are placed.

“Just like we have in the past, we will make a public announcement when/if operation at Tornillo are extended,” he said.

Ramos isn’t the first BCFS employee to question the Trump administration’s handling of undocumented immigrant children. In June, the incident commander at the facility said the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy — which resulted in thousands of immigrant children being separated from their parents — was a mistake that prompted building the makeshift shelter in Tornillo. The president ended the policy about two months after it was initiated after a public outcry over the family separations.

“It was an incredibly dumb, stupid decision,” the incident commander said at the time, adding that he hoped to never again conduct a similar operation. He added that he thought the facility wouldn’t be needed past the middle of July, when the first contract was set to expire.

That was almost six months ago.

When the facility first opened, a small number of children at the facility had been separated from their parents under zero tolerance. Ramos said Wednesday that all the children currently in the facility are minors who arrived to the country without a parent or guardian, and the large majority are from Central America.

Tornillo holds youths age 17 or younger. Before they can be released to a U.S. sponsor, those adults need to be vetted. Ramos said that process has slowed considerably since the summer, when minors were released after only a few weeks in the facility.

“I support the fact that they need to do fingerprinting and background checks on every adult in the [sponsor’s] home in order to ensure the safety of the children,” she said. “It’s just the speed at which they’re doing it, it’s just taking too long.”

Last week, a report from the Office of the Inspector General confirmed media reports that employees at the facility did not undergo FBI background checks. The issue was first reported by VICE News last month.

Ramos said that at BCFS’s long-term care facilities that are licensed by the state, access to the FBI database is allowed because the state acts as BCFS’s government sponsor. But because Tornillo is a federal project on federal land, that access hasn’t been granted.

“We’re wondering why ORR couldn’t have been our sponsoring agency in order to be able to process those FBI fingerprint background checks,” she said. “It’s not that we don’t want to, or wanted to go around it. We could not do it.”

After the OIG report was released, U.S. Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif. and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., called for HHS and the Department of Homeland Security to immediately close the facility.

“It is clear the administration’s actions are putting thousands of children in danger,” they wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar.

Weber said the Office of Refugee Resettlement is working with the FBI and Texas Department of Public Safety “to conduct FBI fingerprint background checks as quickly as possible for current and future employees at Tornillo.” He added that BCFS has conducted other pre-employment background checks, including standard state felony and misdemeanor checks and multi-state sex offender registry checks.

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Asylum Ban for Migrants who Enter Illegally from Mexico

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration from denying asylum to migrants who illegally cross the southern border into the United States, saying the policy likely violated federal law on asylum eligibility.

In a ruling late Monday, Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary nationwide restraining order barring enforcement of the policy. President Donald Trump’s action was announced on Nov. 9, though the White House had as early as last month floated drastic changes to the way the United States affords sanctuary to people fleeing persecution in their home countries.

The judge’s order remains in effect until Dec. 19, at which point the court will consider arguments for a permanent order. The administration offered no immediate comment overnight but has routinely appealed adverse decisions.

The president’s decree, now blocked, came just after the midterm election campaign, in which Trump made immigration and national security the GOP’s closing argument. He and his allies spread fear about the “Caravan heading to the Southern Border,” which, as he asserted without evidence in one pre-election tweet, included “criminals and unknown Middle Easterners.” In another, he warned of “some very bad thugs and gang members.” Labeling the movements of Central American migrants a “national emergency,” Trump last month deployed active-duty troops to the border.

But the federal judge said the president could not shift asylum policy on his own.

“Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” wrote the judge, nominated to the federal bench in 2012 by President Barack Obama. He reasoned that the “failure to comply with entry requirements such as arriving at a designated port of entry should bear little, if any, weight in the asylum process.”

The ruling was the latest in a string of court decisions blocking the administration’s hard-line immigration policies, including its efforts to crack down on so-called sanctuary cities and to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that affords legal protections for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. The net effect, barring Supreme Court reversals, has been to substantially weaken the hand of presidents in an area where their authority has in the past been expansive.

Still, the administration has not been without victories. In June, the Supreme Court, by a 5-to-4 vote, upheld a revised version of the travel ban that aimed to keep foreigners from several Muslim-majority nations from entering the country.

The asylum case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups on behalf of East Bay Sanctuary Covenant. The order reflects the judge’s view that the plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits, and would suffer irreparable injury from the executive action.

The rule pursued by the Trump administration would allow only people who cross at legal checkpoints on the southern border to request asylum, while those entering elsewhere would be able to seek a temporary form of protection that is harder to win and doesn’t yield full citizenship. The changes would amount to a transformation of long-established asylum procedures, codified both at the international level and by Congress.

In his proclamation, Trump said the changes were necessary to prepare for the caravan’s arrival, arguing that asylum seekers had no “lawful basis for admission into our country.” In justifying the policy, the administration relied on the same emergency authority invoked as grounds for the “travel ban.”

In a hearing Monday, Scott Stewart, a lawyer for the Justice Department, spoke of a “crushing strain” of migrants attempting to cross the border illegally. He alleged that most asylum claims were “ultimately meritless.”

But the judge seemed skeptical, observing that border apprehensions are near historic lows and that, regardless, federal law says all people on U.S. soil can apply for asylum, no matter how they arrived.

“If this rule stays in effect, people are going to die,” Melissa Crow, senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said after the hearing. “There are going to be people who fall through the cracks in our system.”

Tigar voiced concern for the fate of asylum seekers under the changes. The administration’s rule, he observed, would force individuals “to choose between violence at the border, violence at home, or giving up a pathway to refugee status.”

And in his decision, he wrote that the government’s argument that the manner of entry can be the lone factor rendering a migrant ineligible for asylum “strains credulity.”

“To say that one may apply for something that one has no right to receive is to render the right to apply a dead letter,” he argued. “There simply is no reasonable way to harmonize the two.”

The judge pointedly denied the claim that the president, by fiat, could give the manner of entry added legal weight as a determinant of asylum. He reasoned that the “interpretive guide” of United Nations compacts on asylum lent extra force to congressional requirements. The intent of Congress, Tigar wrote, was “unambiguous.”

“And if what Defendants intend to say is that the President by proclamation can override Congress’s clearly expressed legislative intent, simply because a statute conflicts with the President’s policy goals, the Court rejects that argument also,” the judge found.

Lee Gelernt, the ACLU attorney who argued the case, welcomed the ruling in a news release.

“This ban is illegal, will put people’s lives in danger, and raises the alarm about President Trump’s disregard for separation of powers,” he said. “There is no justifiable reason to flatly deny people the right to apply for asylum, and we cannot send them back to danger based on the manner of their entry. Congress has been clear on this point for decades.”

Elise Ackerman contributed to this report from San Francisco.

Authors: ISAAC STANLEY-BECKER AND MARIA SACCHETTI, THE WASHINGTON POST

Op-Ed: Video – Senator Cornyn Discusses the Migrant Crisis in Mexico

WASHINGTON – On Thursday on the floor, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed the migrant crisis at our Southern border. Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s floor remarks are below, and video can be found above.

“Coming from Texas, with a 1,200 mile common border with Mexico, caravans are not unheard of. In fact, we have many caravans showing up on a daily basis at border patrol stations: unaccompanied children, families. What has happened is that the cartels – these transnational criminal organizations that have figured out as part of their business model that they can make money by shipping migrants up through Mexico into the United States, or ship drugs up from Mexico into the United States, or traffic in children and women for sex slavery – they figured out they can make money because of the gaps in our border security, because of the characteristics of our law that make it impossible for us to deter many of the immigrants coming from Central America.”

“This is a phenomenon that has been occurring on a daily basis for the foreseeable past, and it’s because of a glitch in our laws that our Democratic colleagues are well aware of, that we’ve tried to fix. But they simply will not cooperate with us in order to fix them.”

“About 40 percent of my constituents in Texas are of a Hispanic origin, many of whom live along that international border, who understand that the cartels that traffic in people, and drugs, and contraband are criminal organizations that threaten their security and safety. So I feel very strongly about this issue.”

“We can’t forget that our border communities are critically important, and any solution we find must somehow balance our normal compassion for people who are vulnerable and people who are seeking a better life, balancing that compassion with the rule of law and our ability to protect our own sovereignty by securing our borders and controlling illegal immigration into the United States.”

“In the coming weeks, I hope we can work with the Administration to determine a course of action that addresses the real needs of legitimate asylum seekers without rewarding illegal activity.”

“We need to send a message that the United States alone cannot bear the burden of this mass migration, and we need to ensure that those who seek to enter the United States do so legally.”

***

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

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