Venting on Immigration, Trump Vows “No More DACA Deal” and Threatens NAFTA
President Trump, blaming Democrats and the Mexican government for an increasingly “dangerous” flow of illegal immigrants, unleashed a series of fiery tweets on Sunday in which he vowed “NO MORE DACA DEAL” and threatened to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Minutes after wishing the nation a happy Easter Sunday, Mr. Trump denounced “liberal” laws that he said were preventing Border Patrol agents from doing their jobs. He said that Republicans should use the “nuclear option” to sidestep Democratic opposition in the Senate and enact “tough laws NOW.”
It was unclear whether the president’s tweets represented any change in his immigration policy, or were just the sort of venting he is known to do. Trump did not respond to a question from reporters about whether his tweets meant that he would no longer support any deal for the young immigrants protected by the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In his tweets, Mr. Trump also referred to “caravans” of immigrants heading north toward the United States-Mexico border, a subject that was addressed on the Fox program.
Immigrant “Caravan” Heading to U. S.-Mexico Border Sparks Trump’s Concern
On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump referenced an impending series of immigrant ‘caravans’ moving through Mexico to spark his call for Congress to pass strict border laws.
Trump appears to be referring to a migrant caravan assembled by the group Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People without Borders), which was discussed on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” shortly before he published his tweet. It’s not known if the President watched the specific segment, but he indirectly referenced claims mentioned in an on-air interview with a Border Patrol union representative.
White House Says New Immigration Push Coming After Trump Tweets
White House officials said Monday that the Trump administration is pursuing another legislative push on immigration, but when pressed said the effort would largely be the same as it has been trying unsuccessfully since last fall.
The comments came in a call on Monday with reporters organized to back up a string of tweets from President Donald Trump over the weekend and into Monday pushing a hard line on immigration, sounding off on the DACA policy, illegal immigration and Mexico.
A senior White House official said that Trump and allies will continue to push for a laundry list of aggressive policies the administration has been asking Congress for since releasing its priorities list in October. “DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is working on another legislative package, obviously we’ve been talking about this for many months now, including when we sent the immigration priorities over to Congress back in October that would basically close these loopholes so we can have a lawful immigration system and save a lot of lives on both sides of the border,” the official said.
Trump Claims Mexico Is Laughing at U. S. Immigration Laws, Reiterates Call for Border Wall
President Trump on Sunday again reiterated his call for a wall along the country’s southern border and said Mexico is laughing at U. S. immigration laws.
“Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U. S.,” Trump tweeted.
“They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). NEED WALL!”
In recent days, the president has reportedly said privately that funding for the border wall could come from the military if the wall is cited as a national security necessity. Trump also referenced NAFTA, which the U. S., Canada and Mexico are in the process of renegotiating, as a “cash cow.” Trump has repeatedly criticized the agreement.
Mexico Pushes Back On Trump Claims Over Immigration
Mexico’s foreign minister pushed back Sunday against President Trump’s claims that Mexico is “laughing” at the U.S.’s immigration laws and doing “NOTHING” to stop people from crossing the border into the United States.
“Every day Mexico and the US work together on migration throughout the region,” Luis Videgaray Caso tweeted. “Facts clearly reflect this. An inaccurate news report should not serve to question this strong cooperation. Upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law. Happy Easter.”
Trump Administration Sets Quotas for Immigration Judges
The Justice Department has notified immigration judges that it will begin evaluating their job performance based on how quickly they close cases, setting quotas for the first time. Under the new quotas, judges will be required to complete 700 cases a year and to see fewer than 15% of their decisions sent back by a higher court.
The new rules, laid out in a message sent Friday to immigration judges, aim to speed up the handling of cases and reduce the significant backlog in the immigration courts. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other Justice Department officials say the backlog at the immigration courts delays the processing of individual subjects to removal from the U. S.
Immigration Busts Include 19 From Spring Valley
Federal immigration officials said 19 alleged gang members from Spring Valley are among the hundreds arrested as part of an ongoing, multi-agency law enforcement initiative.
Operation Matador, an effort launched in May, has led to the arrests of 475 individuals, more than half of them identified as members of MS-13, a violent gang with roots in Central America.
“Operation Matador sends a clear message to violent street gangs that there are consequences for their actions,” Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) Deputy Director Thomas Homan said in a statement. “Since this operation began last year, we have seen a decrease in the amount of violent crime directly related to MS-13 and other transnational gangs.”
Illegal Immigration a Focus of Georgia GOP Governor’s Race
During a recent Georgia GOP gubernatorial forum, moderators never brought up the topic of illegal immigration, but that didn’t stop Secretary of State Brian Kemp from referring to “criminal illegal aliens” four times while on stage.
“These people are killing our children, either with drugs or with guns or with deadly assaults,” Kemp said during the March 10 gathering in Norcross. “It’s time that we put a stop to that.” Kemp, whose first TV ad of the campaign begins with him invoking the names of Americans killed by people living in the country illegally, is hardly alone in highlighting the issue.
Georgia may have some of the toughest laws targeting illegal immigration in the country, but it needs to do more, they say. Critics, however, argue that deportation is a federal issue, and tougher laws create an environment in which immigrants are hesitant to report crimes.
Trump Lashes Out After California Gov. Jerry Brown Pardons 5 Immigrants Under Threat of Deportation
On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown granted 56 pardons and 14 commutations. President Donald Trump lashed out at the Democratic governor the next day, continuing a longstanding feud between his administration and the Golden State over immigration.
“Governor Jerry ‘Moonbeam’ Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs. Is this really what the great people of California want?” the President tweeted, along with a tag to Fox News.
Trump’s Twitter attack on Brown is the latest in a developing standoff over immigration policy.