Ex-ethics chief calls on Trump to end ‘monstrous’ migrant policies

By Julia Manchester – 06/17/18 10:42 PM EDT 2,615
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Former federal ethics chief Walter Shaub called on President Trump to end the administration’s migrant policies on Sunday, referring to the policies as “monstrous” in a tweet.

“Dry your eyes and focus. Your problems are nothing compared to the problems you’re creating for the terrified children you’re ripping from the arms of desperate parents at the border. This is monstrous. Stop it. Stop it now!” Shaub said in a tweet directed at Trump.

The former ethics chief was referring to the administration’s “zero tolerance” migrant policy at the U.S. border, which has resulted in the separation of families who have crossed into the U.S. illegally. Shaub was responding to a tweet from the president, who was lashing out at FBI agent Peter Strzok over his text messages with then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page in the lead-up to the 2016 election.

“Why was the FBI’s sick loser, Peter Strzok, working on the totally discredited Mueller team of 13 Angry & Conflicted Democrats, when Strzok was giving Crooked Hillary a free pass yet telling his lover, lawyer Lisa Page, that ‘we’ll stop’ Trump from becoming President? Witch Hunt!” Trump said in a tweet on Sunday.

Shaub earlier in the day blasted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, calling her a liar after she defended the Trump administration’s migrant policies on Twitter.

“Sorry, @SecNielsen, that was probably confusing. I don’t mean to be unfair. Let me try to put it in terms you’ll understand: Liar. Period,” Shaub said.

Nielsen denied in a series of tweets on Sunday that the administration had a policy of separating families at the border.

“This misreporting by Members, press & advocacy groups must stop. It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry,” Nielsen said.

“You are not breaking the law by seeking asylum at a port of entry,” she continued. “For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between ‘family’ members, or if the adult has broken a law.”

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period,” she added.”

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Rosalynn Carter: Separating families at border is ‘a shame to our country’

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Rosalynn Carter: Separating families at border is ‘a shame to our country'
© Getty Images

Former first lady Rosalyn Carter ripped the Trump administration for separating migrant families at the border, calling the “zero tolerance” policy “disgraceful” and “a shame to our country.”

“When I was first lady, I worked to call attention to the plight of refugees fleeing Cambodia for Thailand, I visited Thailand and witnessed firsthand the trauma of parents and children separated by circumstance beyond their control,” Carter said in a statement obtained by ABC News.

“The practice and policy today of removing children from their parents’ care at our border with Mexico is disgraceful and a shame to our country,” the statement continued.

The former first lady’s remarks come as more visuals and second-hand accounts from inside immigrant detention centers emerge, drawing a considerable backlash from both sides of the aisle.

Carter’s commentary makes her the last living first lady to express disapproval of the controversial policy, including current first lady Melania Trump, who said on Sunday that she “hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform.”

Former first ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama on Monday both called for the practice to stop. Laura Bush also called for the Trump administration to end the policy in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Sunday night.

The policy, which seeks prosecution for any adult crossing the southern border illegally, has resulted in the separation of hundreds of migrant families.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy last month, stating that the changes would help deter future immigrants from attempting the journey to the United States.

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Trump accidentally admits everything he’s been saying about North Korea’s nukes is a lie

Days ago, Trump said the North Korean threat was “no longer.” Now, he’s worried that talks could “break down.”

CREDIT: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images
CREDIT: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday morning, President Trump explained why he agreed to halt joint military exercises with South Korea during his meeting in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“Holding back the ‘war games’ during the negotiations was my request because they are VERY EXPENSIVE and set a bad light during a good faith negotiation,” Trump wrote. “Also, quite provocative. Can start up immediately if talks break down, which I hope will not happen!”

But Trump’s acknowledgement that talks with North Korea could “break down” conflicts with the line he’s been pushing since he returned from Singapore — that he’s already solved the problem.

On Wednesday, Trump tweeted, categorically, that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” He sought to reassure Americans that as a result, they could now “sleep well.”

But if it truly were the case that North Korea’s nuclear threat had ended once and for all, then there would be no need to worry that talks could “break down.”

In reality, the work of trying to solve the problem posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons has just begun. As ThinkProgress detailed, Trump’s tweets indicating otherwise represented a brazen attempt to gaslight the American public. North Korea maintains its nuclear capabilities and the agreement he signed with Kim doesn’t detail any sort of verifiable denuclearization process.

Instead, the agreement merely says, “Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” It does not detail how North Korea will “work toward complete denuclearization” or any sort of inspection process other countries can rely on to verify it is actually doing so, nor does it require the Kim regime to give up any of his nukes at any particular time.

Nonetheless, in interviews immediately after the summit with George Stephanopoulos and Sean Hannity, Trump insisted that Kim — whom he praised as “a strong guy” with “a very good personality” who is “very strategic” and “very impressive” — could be trusted.

During the Hannity interview, Trump claimed that Kim agreed to terms that, for some reason, didn’t make it into the actual written agreement.

And when Stephanopoulos pressed Trump how how “he is going to know that [Kim] is keeping his word,” all Trump could say is “we’re going to be following things, we’re going to be monitoring things.”

 

 

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Cruz announces bill to end separation of immigrant families

By Jordain Carney – 06/18/18 06:30 PM EDT
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GOP Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) said on Monday that he will introduce legislation aimed at preventing the controversial practice of separating immigrant families along the border.

“While these cases are pending, families should stay together. Children belong with their mothers and fathers,” Cruz, who is up for reelection in November, said in a statement.

Cruz’s proposal, according to a release from his office, would require immigrant families detained along the border to remain together “absent aggravated criminal conduct or threat of harm to the children.”

It would also require that asylum cases are adjudicated within 14 days, approve new temporary shelters for immigrant families and increase the number of immigration judges.

“All Americans are rightly horrified by the images we are seeing on the news, children in tears pulled away from their mothers and fathers. This must stop. Now. We can end this crisis by passing the legislation I am introducing this week,” Cruz added. Cruz is favored to win reelection in bright-red Texas, but is facing an unexpectedly lively challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who has made immigration a key part of his campaign, including calling for the family-dividing policy to end and holding a protest Sunday at the site of one of the tent cities housing children separated from their parents.

“We decided there wouldn’t be a more powerful way to spend Father’s Day than with children who have just been taken from their fathers, children who have been taken from their mothers, children who won’t be able to be with their family,” O’Rourke reportedly said.

Cruz’s legislation comes as the Trump administration is facing increasingly bipartisan backlash over its policies resulting in the separation of immigrant families.

Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy earlier this year for immigrants illegally crossing the southern border.

“If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Sessions said last month at a press conference at the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you. And that child may be separated from you, as required by law.”

He added in a statement: “To those who wish to challenge the Trump Administration’s commitment to public safety, national security, and the rule of law, I warn you: illegally entering this country will not be rewarded, but will instead be met with the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice.”

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the practice at the White House press briefing on Monday, saying “Congress alone can fix it,” despite the policy only recently being enacted by the administration.

“This entire crisis, just to be clear, is not new,” Nielsen said. “Currently, it is the exclusive product of loopholes in our federal immigration laws that prevent illegal immigrant minors and family members from being detained and removed to their home countries.”

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