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By Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff

WASHINGTON — In defending the use of tear gas, troop deployment and other crowd control measures on the border, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said last week that 600 of the 8,500 migrants waiting to enter California from Mexico as part of the Honduran caravan were confirmed as convicted criminals.

NBC News has learned that more than three-quarters of those 600 have been charged with illegal entry into the United States, illegal re-entry after a deportation order, and drunk driving, according to two sources. The remainder have been charged with more serious crimes.

Kirstjen Nielsen, from center, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, tours the border area with San Diego Section Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott, from left, at Borderfield State Park along the United States-Mexico Border fence in San Ysidro, California on November 20, 2018.Sandy Huffaker / AFP – Getty Images file

The breakdown of charges provides context over what has become a fraught political issue. President Donald Trump repeatedly warned of dangers posed by the caravan ahead of the midterm election, even saying there could be terrorists from the Middle East among them

Immigrants routinely cross between ports of entry illegally because they are forced to wait for long periods in dangerous border towns if they attempt to cross at legal ports, and doing so does not make them a public safety threat, said Greg Chen, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“Many people who cross the border between ports of entry have valid asylum claims and have previously attempted to cross at ports of entry. People we have talked to have been blocked from entering and forced to return in weeks, or even months,” Chen said.

Still, some of the convictions are for more serious crimes. Those include at least one case each of murder, assault and sexual exploitation of a minor.

“I’d push back on the notion that because the crimes aren’t heinous they are not criminals,” said one official on the condition of anonymity.

Under U.S. law, it is a felony to re-enter the United States after being ordered deported. The Obama administration included these immigrants who attempted reentry as priorities for deportation when it focused Immigration and Customs Enforcement resources on criminals.

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recently used his authority to review an immigration court case that could set precedent for whether multiple convictions of driving under the influence should be taken into account in determining whether someone has “good moral character” and should be ruled ineligible for asylum.

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Theresa May no confidence results: What time will vote of no confidence results be in?

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THERESA MAY will be facing a vote of no confidence after Conservative MPs turned their backs on the Prime Minister amid her negotiated Brexit deal. So what time will results on the no confidence vote be in?

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Nikki Haley says she leveraged Trump’s outbursts to get things done at the U.N.

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By Alex Johnson

Nikki Haley, who is leaving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year, told NBC’s “Today” that she got things done by using President Donald Trump’s “unpredictable” nature to her advantage.

“He would ratchet up the rhetoric, and then I’d go back to the ambassadors and say: ‘You know, he’s pretty upset. I can’t promise you what he’s going to do or not, but I can tell you if we do these sanctions, it will keep him from going too far,'” Haley said in an exclusive interview which aired Wednesday morning.

“I know all of it,” she said in response to a question about the president’s bombastic, sometimes false statements in public and on Twitter. “But I’m disciplined enough to know not to get into the drama.”

At the United Nations, “I was trying to get the job done,” she said. “And I got the job done by being truthful, but also by letting him be unpredictable and not showing our cards.”

On one of the more delicate diplomatic issues on her watch, Haley said the United States must be careful in confronting Saudi Arabia over the brutal killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Haley made it clear that she blamed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi government for Khashoggi’s death, even as the president has said repeatedly that the United States has reached no final conclusion about the prince’s involvement.

“It was the Saudi government, and MBS is the head of the Saudi government,” Haley said Tuesday, referring to the prince by his initials. “So they are all responsible, and they don’t get a pass, not an individual, not the government — they don’t get a pass.”

At the same time, Haley stopped short of recommending giving Saudi Arabia anything more than stern talking-to, saying the Saudis were helping the United States defeat Houthi insurgents in Yemen, Hezbollah militants in Lebanon and “Iranian proxies” around the world.

“We do have to work with them in that case,” she said of the Saudis, adding: “I think we need to have a serious hard talk with the Saudis to let them know we won’t condone this. We won’t give you a pass. And don’t do this again.

“And then I think that the administrations have to talk about where we go from here. What I can tell you that’s so important is that the Saudis have been our partner in defeating and dealing with Iran. And that has been hugely important.”

Haley said that, in general, she was aware that some people believe that she and Trump aren’t always on the same page, but she said that’s only because “our styles are very different.”

“And, you know, I’ve always found that funny,” she said. “But the truth at the end of the day is I may be harder on some things or I may be tougher in some ways, but I’ve never strayed from where the president was or never strayed from where his policy wants to go.”

As for Heather Nauert, the State Department spokeswoman whom Trump has said he will nominate to succeed Haley at the United Nations, Haley said that while “I want her to be successful,” only time will tell whether her appointment was a good one.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the Foreign Relations Committee whom Haley endorsed for president in 2016, has questioned Nauert’s qualifications for the sensitive post, asking whether she “has the detailed knowledge of foreign policy to be successful at the United Nations.”

But Haley noted, “a lot of people said that about me.”

“I think that we should give her the opportunity to prove to the American public what she can do,” she said. “I think that she has been working at the State Department on multiple issues for a long time.

“You know, time will tell how this works out, but I can tell you I’m going to support and help in her transition and her ability to move forward and be successful,” Haley said.



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May's ROCK: Husband Philip appears in Commons gallery for heartwarming moral support

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THERESA May’s husband Philip made a rare appearance in the pubic gallery of the House of Commons today in a show of support for the embattled Prime Minister.

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