Former first Lady Laura Bush, Melania Trump Speak out against Donald Trump’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy That Tears Immigrant Families Apart

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“The thought that they are going to be putting such little kids in an institutional setting? I mean it is hard for me to even wrap my mind around it,” said Kay Bellor, vice president for programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, “Toddlers are being detained.”

By Crimson Tazvinzwa

Former first lady of the United States, Laura Bush, spoke out on the separation of families on the U.S. border on Sunday night.

Bush wrote, “I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

“Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso,” she added.

According to Bush, “These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”

“We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place,” she said adding that Americans pride on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to devastated places.

Melania Trump also spoke out about the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents.

“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart,” said Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, on behalf of the first lady, CNN reported.

Former First Lady Laura Bush gives a speech during the 2017 Asia Game Changer Awards and Gala Dinner in Manhattan, New York, Nov. 1, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

However, top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway rejected the idea that Donald Trump was using children as leverage to force Democrats to negotiate on immigration and said “Nobody likes” breaking up families and “seeing babies ripped from their mothers’ arms.”

“The president is ready to get meaningful immigration reform across the board,” she said when asked if the president was willing to end the policy.

“If people really cared about them, we would figure out a way to get the funding to expand the centers and to close the loopholes, these loopholes are allowing open border policies,” she added, Business Insiderreported.

Read More: Trump Threatens To Cut Foreign Aid To Stop Illegal Immigration At U.S. Border

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had earlier quoted the Bible to justify the policy saying, “Illegal entry into the United States is a crime — as it should be. Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

On Sunday, Jesuit priest James Martin tweeted, “Like many, I’ve resisted using this word but it’s time: the deliberate and unnecessary separation of innocent children from their parents is pure evil. It does not come from God or from any genuinely moral impulse. It is wantonly cruel and targets the most vulnerable.”

Stephen Miller, a Trump aide, was the man behind the tough “zero tolerance” policy enforcing the separation of undocumented immigrants from their children at the U.S. border.

“No nation can have the policy that whole classes of people are immune from immigration law or enforcement. … The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law,” he said.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC disagrees; “Decades after the nation’s child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents..

Child: “I don’t want them to stop my father. I don’t want them to deport him”

The audio of 10 Central American children, sobbing and freshly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, spans just seven minutes, and yet it’s difficult to listen through to the end.

“I don’t want them to stop my father,” one child cries in Spanish at the U.S.-Mexico border. “I don’t want them to deport him.”

WATCH: Get an inside look at a U.S. border detention facility

An audio recording recently obtained by ProPublica depicts children from several countries crying desperately for their parents as consular workers and border agents attempt to calm them down.

Pleas for “Mami” and “Papi” can be heard between the sobs, interjected with the voice of a border patrol agent and fellow consular workers.

“Well, we have an orchestra here, right?” the border agent says. “What we’re missing is a conductor.”

WATCH: Trump responds to illegal immigration policy criticism: U.S. “will not be a migrant camp”

A much-contested Trump administration policy, which mandates taking undocumented immigrant children from their parents at the border and putting them in U.S. government facilities, has sparked outrage from Trump’s opponents in recent weeks, though Trump loyalists remain steadfast in their support.

ProPublica states in its reporting that the audio was taken at a US Customs and Border Protection detention facility. The individual who made the recording gave the clip to civil rights attorney Jennifer Harbury, who then reportedly gave it to ProPublica.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton calls Trump’s immigration policy a ‘humanitarian crisis’

One Salvadorian girl can be heard clearly on the recording, insisting that the consular worker call her aunt, and even proceeds to recite part of her aunt’s phone number — which she has memorized.

“At least can I go with my aunt? I want her to come. I want my aunt to come so she can take me to her house. I have her number,” the six-year-old girl said.

WATCH: Trump tweets creating confusion around controversial border policy

“Are you going to call my aunt, so that when I’m done eating she can pick me up?” she attempted a second time.

READ MORE: Trump’s immigration crackdown: Why children are being separated from their parents at U.S. border

The consular worker begins to respond, saying that once the girl had finished her food, they would come back. However, the worker is cut off by the girl rattling off her aunt’s phone number.

“I have her number memorized. 3-4-7-2-,” she began.

“My mommy says I’ll go with my aunt and that she’ll pick me up there, as quickly as possible, so I can go with her,” she added one last time.

Over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the border since Trump administration officials launched a zero-tolerance U.S. immigration policy, announced in recent weeks by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The policy calls for prosecuting everyone who attempts to enter the country illegally and separating them from any children they may have brought with them.

WATCH: Protest at U.S. border processing centre over child separations

According to ProPublica, more than 100 of those children are under the age of four.

Later on in the audio clip, border agents ask where each child is from, who then begin listing a variety of countries. Some of these include Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The policy has attracted swift condemnation in the media, as well as from both fellow and former politicians. Hillary Clinton called the policy a “moral and humanitarian crisis.” Former first lady Laura Bush called the administration’s practices “cruel” and “immoral.”

WATCH: White House answers questions about separating families at the border

Democrats and Republicans alike have spoken out against these practices, though the Trump administration has maintained that it’s simply enforcing the laws already in existence.

Sessions said Monday that “We cannot and will not encourage people to bring children by giving them blanket immunity from our laws.” This sentiment was echoed in a statement released by a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson in a statement to ProPublica.

According to a recent poll conducted by CNN, two thirds of Americans disapprove of the Trump administration immigration policy, whereas only 28 per cent of Americans approve.

Why Trump is wrong (again) on migrants and crime in Germany

Why Trump is wrong (again) on migrants and crime in Germany
Donald Trump. Photo: DPA
Donald Trump took to Twitter on Monday to fire off two tweets about the “tenuous” state of politics in Germany. Not for the first time, he showed his ignorance of developments in German society.

Trump waded into the political crisis facing Chancellor Angela Merkel, declaring that the German people were “turning against their leadership” over immigration.

“We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!” he said in a pair of tweets.

“The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” he said, adding that “crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

Trump’s comments came as Merkel was fighting to save her coalition government amid demands by her interior minister to turn back immigrants at the border.

Is crime ‘way up’?

Whether it is appropriate for him to say so or not, Trump is right in his claim that a fight over asylum laws is rocking the German government. Merkel’s future as Chancellor has never looked so uncertain after Interior Minister Horst Seehofer reportedly said he couldn’t work with her any more.

The US President is also right when he says the German population has turned against Merkel on this issue. Opinion polling shows that a majority of the public support Seehofer, who wants to turn back asylum seekers at the border who have already been registered in other EU countries.

But his assertion that “crime in Germany is way up” is simply not true. Crime figures for last year show a drastic drop in reported crime. Most types of crime – including violent crime – fell in 2017, meaning it was actually the year with the least reported crime in three decades.

While reported crime is a far from reliable way of calculating actual crime, it is also the only method that currently exists of tracking nationwide crime trends.

Trump also asserts that refugees have “strongly and violently” changed German culture. What exactly he means by this is not clear. German beer consumption has dropped in recent years but we haven’t seen any refugees ripping Maßes from their hands at Oktoberfest. Last time we checked they were also still fans of Bratwurst and bad pop music.

There is a serious debate to be had on crime linked to asylum seekers. Several politicians from moderate parties such as the Greens and the Christian Democrats have stuck their heads above the parapet and pointed out that asylum seekers are over-represented in crime statistics.

SEE ALSO: Why are refugees disproportionately likely to be suspects in sexual assault cases?

Meanwhile German newspapers have started to tentatively talk about the prevalence of refugees as suspects in sexual assault cases.

A serious question to ask is whether Germany takes the connection between asylum seekers and certain types of crime seriously enough. But stating that crime is “way up” due to refugees in a highly irresponsible distortion, especially when it comes from the President of the US.

This also isn’t the first time Trump has been guilty of exaggerating the crime rate in Germany.

In 2016 he said that “you know what a disaster this massive immigration has been to Germany and the people of Germany. Crime has risen to levels that no one thought they would ever, ever see. It is a catastrophe.”

He made that statement when the latest crimes figures (those for 2015) showed that recorded crime per head in Germany had dropped from 7,337 crimes per 100,000 resident to 7,301 per 100,000 residents.

READ ALSO: What we learned from this year’s crime statistics… and what we didn’t

 

Donald Trump: refugees and migrants “strongly and violently” changed European culture

Heads of state attend G7 meeting© Getty Heads of state attend G7 meeting
Donald Trump has criticised his European allies over the refugee crisis, claiming that the people of Germany are “turning against” Angela Merkel’s leadership.
The US president claimed refugees and migrants has “strongly and violently” changed European culture and said the continent had made a “big mistake” in giving sanctuary to those fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.
Without specifically naming the German chancellor but instead pointing the blame at Germany’s “leadership” he said: “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition.

“Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”

Mr Trump is wrong to say that crime in Germany has increased: the latest figures released last month show it has now reached a 30-year low.

Ms Merkel is embroiled in a domestic political row with her conservative allies over how to handle new refugee arrivals, with one of her most senior ministers calling for a more restrictive policy.

The chancellor bought time on Monday by getting her interior minister Horst Seehofer to agree to pause the rollout of a harsher policy until after a meeting of European leaders in Brussels later this month.

Mr Seehofer, a Bavarian conservative who has the backing of his local state government, wants refugees who have already registered in another country to be turned away at Germany’s borders.

The chancellor, however, reportedly wants any change in refugee or migration policy to be conducted at a European level, fearing that Germany going it alone could result in a free-for-all of countries enacting a patchwork of contradictory approaches.

Migration is set to be a major discussion point at the European Council meeting on 28 and 29 June, with the issue a major priority of Austria’s right-wing government, which holds the rotating presidency of the pan-EU body.

Ms Merkel’s Bavarian allies are generally more right-wing than other Germany conservatives, but the party also has regional elections coming up in the autumn, and fears losing ground to the far-right AfD party which had MPs elected to the Bundestag for the first time in 2017.

Bavaria is also in the south east of Germany and is thus one of the main entry points for refugees arriving overland in the country through the Balkans.

The US president’s intervention could be useful domestically for Ms Merkel because of his unpopularity; just 11 per cent of Germany has a favourable view of Mr Trump, according to research by pollster Pew for the Germany public broadcaster DW.

Earlier this month German MPs called for the US ambassador to their country, Richard Grenell, to be expelled, after he said he told a far-right news website he wanted to “strengthen” right-wing movements in his host country.

After last week’s G7 summit in Canada Ms Merkel’s office released a photograph the chancellor squaring off against an embattled-looking Mr Trump, backed by other world leaders.

Mr Trump’s intervention in European politics comes as he faces criticism at home for a hardline immigration policy.Long an advocate of building a wall along the entire US-Mexican border, pictures have recently emerged of US officials keeping undocumented migrants in cages, with questions also being raised over the apparently routine separation of children from their parents at the border.

READ RELATED: Trump: the US will not turn into a “migrant camp”

Sweden: Shooting in Malmo leaves two dead, several wounded

At least five people were injured in a shooting in the city of Malmo, according to police. The authorities have ruled out terrorism as a motive for the incident. by Crimson Tazvinzwa    

Market in Malmo (picture alliance/dpa/J. Wäschenbach)

Two people were killed and four injured in a shooting in the southern Swedish city of Malmo on Monday evening.

The 18-year-old and 29-year-old died of their injuries shortly after they arrived at a local hospital, according to local media.

A police spokesman told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper that the shooter could have fired from within a car on the group, which was standing outside an internet cafe in Malmo’s downtown Drottninggatan area.

One witness told the Aftonbladet newspaper that he heard 15-20 shots near the internet cafe.

Police have urged the public to remain calm and established a perimeter in Drottninggatan. They said they had no information on who the shooter or shooters might be and had no reason to think the incident was terrorism-related.

“It is probably a shooting between criminals,” police spokesman Fredrik Bratt said.

The Sydsvenskan newspaper reported that victims were known to police.

Feuds between rival gangs fighting over territory have taken place in major Swedish cities in recent years.

amp, es/aw (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

Stock markets on downward spiral amid trade fears between US and the world

Paris market traderImage copyrightAFP

Stock markets have fallen amid fears of a further deterioration in US-Chinese trade relations.

Tensions in Germany’s coalition government over migration policy added to investors’ uncertainty.

Wall Street’s Dow Jones and S&P 500 were 0.4% and 0.2% down, although shares pulled back from steeper losses.

Earlier, Frankfurt’s Dax fell 1.4%, while Paris’ Cac fell 0.9%, and Madrid shares slipped 0.8%. The FTSE 100 recovered from early falls to end flat.

It followed a fall on Asian stock markets after US President Donald Trump’s decision on Friday to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods.

China retaliated, saying it would impose an additional 25% tariff on more than 600 US products worth $50bn.

There were no signs of the trade row easing on Monday, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling China’s trade practices “predatory economics 101”.

In remarks to the Detroit Economic Club, he said statements by Beijing in recent weeks that it was moving to open its economy were “a joke”.

Earlier, Japan’s Nikkei had closed 0.8% lower on Monday, while South Korean shares fell 1.1% and other Asian markets also declined.

However, stock markets in China and Hong Kong were closed for a public holiday.

“Tensions between the US and China are escalating, and we are not any closer to an agreement being reached. With neither side willing to back down, investors are caught in the middle,” said David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR in New York, said: “The trade war is definitely on the front burner right now, and will continue to be in the absence of news catalysts and unless something substantially changes.”

European investors are also wary of political factors in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel has clashed with leaders of her coalition ally in Bavaria, the CSU, over her refugee policy.

“With the US-China trade war already creating an uncomfortable trading atmosphere, the brewing political tension between long-time allies the CDU and CSU in Germany has caused some bloody losses in the eurozone,” said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at SpreadEx.

Sterling continued to struggle, trading against the dollar at $1.3241 – close to the seven-month low of $1.3205 hit late last month.

The pound has fallen 8% since mid-April as traders become less confident that the Bank of England will follow the US Federal Reserve by raising interest rates in August.

Oil pumpImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Oil prices gained ground after earlier falls, with Brent crude up more than $1 to $74.50 a barrel despite suggestions that Opec would increase production later this year.

Countries in the oil-producing cartel led by Saudi Arabia – along with other big producers including Russia – will meet in Vienna later this week. Both countries want to boost output.

Commerzbank commodities analyst Carsten Fritsch said: “That production will be increased in the second half of the year is considered certain – the only question is by how much.”

Goldman Sachs expected Opec and Russian output to rise by 1 million barrels a day by the end of 2018.

Livid Emmanuel Macron lectures teenager for calling him ‘Manu’

A teenager sang a few lines of a Socialist song before asking the French president: “How’s it going, Manu?” Monsieur Macron was not amused

French President Emmanuel Macron attends the OECD ministerial council meeting on Refounding Multilateralism, in Paris, France, Wednesday, May 30, 2018 (picture-alliance/AP Images/P. Wojazer)

French President Emmanuel Macron scolded a teenage boy on Monday after he addressed the 40-year-old leader as “Manu,” a common French nickname for Macron’s first name.

The incident occurred during an event north of Paris commemorating former president General Charles De Gaulle’s call for popular resistance against Nazi German occupation during World War II.

As Macron shook hands with bystanders, the boy sang several lines from the Socialist anthem “The Internationale” before asking the president: “How’s it going, Manu?”

Read more: Macron needs to shed his image as president of the rich

Don’t mess with ‘Manu’

“No,” Macron snapped back. “You can’t do that. No, no, no, no.”

“Sorry, Mr President,” the boy said.

“You’re here, at an official ceremony and you should behave,” Macron said. “You can play the fool, but today it’s the Marseillaise, the Chant des Partisans [French Resistance song].

“So you call me ‘Mister President’ or ‘Sir’. Ok?”

“Yes, Sir.”

Macron, appearing to respond to the boy’s rendition of The Internationale, ended the lecture with some revolutionary advice.

“You need to do things the right way,” he said. “Even if you want to lead a revolution one day, you’ve first got to earn a diploma and learn how to put food on the table.”

Read more: Emmanuel Macron — French savior or tormentor?

M6info

@m6info

“Tu m’appelles Monsieur le président”: Emmanuel recadre un collégien qui l’appelle “Manu” https://bit.ly/2JVU4nr 

‘Crazy amount of dough’

Critics have denounced the centrist president for occasionally using blunt and condescending language and failing to show compassion for the poor.

Last week, his office shared a video in which he said the French were spending a “crazy amount of dough” on social welfare programs.

In the run up to the 2017 presidential election, Macron told a factory worker who had accused him of being a man in a suit that the “best way to pay for suit is to get a job.”

Read more: Opinion: Macron the Messiah is still learning to be president

amp/kl  (AFP, Reuters)