Category Archives: World

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Justice Dept.: US to Reunite All Eligible Immigrant Families by Deadline

U.S. officials say they expect to reunite all eligible children who had been separated from their parents after entering the country illegally by Thursday’s court-ordered deadline (0700 UTC Friday).

The Justice Department said in a court filing Thursday afternoon in San Diego that more than 1,400 children 5 years old and older had been reunited so far. It said 378 were released in what it calls “appropriate circumstances,” meaning they were turned over to sponsors who can properly care for them.

But 700 children are still in government custody and their fates are uncertain.

Many of their parents have been deported from the United States, leaving the children in what one immigration advocacy group calls a “black hole.”

In some cases, government lawyers said the parents are criminals or unfit to care for children.

Immigration attorneys said some of the parents who returned home alone may have been led to believe by the government that going back to their own country is the only way they can see their kids again.

Lawyers for the America Civil Liberties Union say they have advocates on the ground in such places as Honduras and Guatemala and will investigate that allegation.

“The government shouldn’t be proud of the work they’re doing on reunification,” Lee Gelernt of the ACLU said Thursday. “We created this cruel, inhumane policy … now we’re trying to fix it in every way we can and make these families whole.”

Under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, families who illegally crossed into the United States from Mexico in most of April and May were automatically detained.

But because it is illegal to put children in jail, the youngsters were taken away from their parents and held separately.

Visitors to these detention centers reported seeing children held in cages in less than ideal conditions and given little to occupy their time all day.

Trump signed an executive order rescinding the family separations after a nationwide outcry, including from many fellow Republicans.

A judge gave officials two separate deadlines to reunite children younger than 5 and children 5 and older.

Many of the parents have been given ankle bracelets after being reunited with their children so they will not skip a hearing for asylum.

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Justice Dept.: US to Reunite All Eligible Immigrant Families by Deadline

U.S. officials say they expect to reunite all eligible children who had been separated from their parents after entering the country illegally by Thursday’s court-ordered deadline (0700 UTC Friday).

The Justice Department said in a court filing Thursday afternoon in San Diego that more than 1,400 children 5 years old and older had been reunited so far. It said 378 were released in what it calls “appropriate circumstances,” meaning they were turned over to sponsors who can properly care for them.

But 700 children are still in government custody and their fates are uncertain.

Many of their parents have been deported from the United States, leaving the children in what one immigration advocacy group calls a “black hole.”

In some cases, government lawyers said the parents are criminals or unfit to care for children.

Immigration attorneys said some of the parents who returned home alone may have been led to believe by the government that going back to their own country is the only way they can see their kids again.

Lawyers for the America Civil Liberties Union say they have advocates on the ground in such places as Honduras and Guatemala and will investigate that allegation.

“The government shouldn’t be proud of the work they’re doing on reunification,” Lee Gelernt of the ACLU said Thursday. “We created this cruel, inhumane policy … now we’re trying to fix it in every way we can and make these families whole.”

Under President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, families who illegally crossed into the United States from Mexico in most of April and May were automatically detained.

But because it is illegal to put children in jail, the youngsters were taken away from their parents and held separately.

Visitors to these detention centers reported seeing children held in cages in less than ideal conditions and given little to occupy their time all day.

Trump signed an executive order rescinding the family separations after a nationwide outcry, including from many fellow Republicans.

A judge gave officials two separate deadlines to reunite children younger than 5 and children 5 and older.

Many of the parents have been given ankle bracelets after being reunited with their children so they will not skip a hearing for asylum.

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Pompeo Declines to Reveal What Trump and Putin Discussed

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came under pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers to defend U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy and disclose what happened during Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, the White House announced the Trump-Putin summit would be next year, and Pompeo issued a Crimea Declaration, saying the U.S. would never accept Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports.

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Pompeo Declines to Reveal What Trump and Putin Discussed

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came under pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers to defend U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy and disclose what happened during Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, the White House announced the Trump-Putin summit would be next year, and Pompeo issued a Crimea Declaration, saying the U.S. would never accept Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. VOA’s Diplomatic Correspondent Cindy Saine reports.

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Trump Re-Election Flags Ordered Early, May Avoid Tariffs on China

The red, white and blue banners for U.S. President Donald Trump’s second-term campaign are ready to ship, emblazoned with the words “Keep America Great!”

But they are made in eastern China and soon could be hit by punitive tariffs of Trump’s own making as he ratchets up a rancorous trade dispute with Beijing.

At the Jiahao Flag Co Ltd in Anhui province, women operate sewing machines to hem the edges of “Trump 2020” flags the size of beach towels, while others fold and bundle them for delivery.

The factory has turned out about 90,000 banners since March, said manager Yao Yuanyuan, an unusually large number for what is normally the low season, and Yao believed the China-U.S. trade war was the reason.

“It’s closely related,” she said. “They are preparing in advance, they are taking advantage of the fact that the tariffs haven’t gone up yet, with lower prices now.”

Tariffs, threats of tariffs

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods from China. After Beijing retaliated in kind, Washington announced levies on an additional $200 billion worth of products and threatened more, targeting potentially all of China’s exports to America, including flags.

At about $1 apiece, the suppliers of the paraphernalia that will surround the Trump campaign can’t resist the low price offered by Yao’s factory.

She says the buyers are located in both China and abroad, and she doesn’t know if they are affiliated with Trump’s official campaign or the Republican Party.

Her factory has been making Trump banners since the time his tag line as a candidate was “Make America Great Again,” highlighting an irony of his hard-line on trade with China.

“Sales have been great ever since 2015,” she said.

Price advantage in peril

But Trump’s effort to wrest better trading conditions from China threatens Yao’s price advantage, and his hard-line stance could eventually repel suppliers like Yao.

“If he continues to demand tariff increases as he has been, or if he continues to agree with those who are against China, I definitely would not be able to accept (more orders),” she said. “Everyone can have a patriotic heart, but this won’t improve his economy.”

The Jiahao Flag Factory doesn’t only make Trump banners. It churns out American and other national flags and specialty banners, including rainbow gay pride flags.

Factory seamstress Sun Lijun is losing no sleep over the trade war, however.

“I know that Trump’s tariffs targeting China will have some effect, but we’re not worried at all, since we’re producing foreign flags every single day,” she said.

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Trump Re-Election Flags Ordered Early, May Avoid Tariffs on China

The red, white and blue banners for U.S. President Donald Trump’s second-term campaign are ready to ship, emblazoned with the words “Keep America Great!”

But they are made in eastern China and soon could be hit by punitive tariffs of Trump’s own making as he ratchets up a rancorous trade dispute with Beijing.

At the Jiahao Flag Co Ltd in Anhui province, women operate sewing machines to hem the edges of “Trump 2020” flags the size of beach towels, while others fold and bundle them for delivery.

The factory has turned out about 90,000 banners since March, said manager Yao Yuanyuan, an unusually large number for what is normally the low season, and Yao believed the China-U.S. trade war was the reason.

“It’s closely related,” she said. “They are preparing in advance, they are taking advantage of the fact that the tariffs haven’t gone up yet, with lower prices now.”

Tariffs, threats of tariffs

The Trump administration has imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of goods from China. After Beijing retaliated in kind, Washington announced levies on an additional $200 billion worth of products and threatened more, targeting potentially all of China’s exports to America, including flags.

At about $1 apiece, the suppliers of the paraphernalia that will surround the Trump campaign can’t resist the low price offered by Yao’s factory.

She says the buyers are located in both China and abroad, and she doesn’t know if they are affiliated with Trump’s official campaign or the Republican Party.

Her factory has been making Trump banners since the time his tag line as a candidate was “Make America Great Again,” highlighting an irony of his hard-line on trade with China.

“Sales have been great ever since 2015,” she said.

Price advantage in peril

But Trump’s effort to wrest better trading conditions from China threatens Yao’s price advantage, and his hard-line stance could eventually repel suppliers like Yao.

“If he continues to demand tariff increases as he has been, or if he continues to agree with those who are against China, I definitely would not be able to accept (more orders),” she said. “Everyone can have a patriotic heart, but this won’t improve his economy.”

The Jiahao Flag Factory doesn’t only make Trump banners. It churns out American and other national flags and specialty banners, including rainbow gay pride flags.

Factory seamstress Sun Lijun is losing no sleep over the trade war, however.

“I know that Trump’s tariffs targeting China will have some effect, but we’re not worried at all, since we’re producing foreign flags every single day,” she said.

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Lawmakers: DHS Chief Says Family Reunifications on Track

The chief of the Homeland Security Department has told members of Congress that the government is “on track” to meet Thursday’s court-ordered deadline of reuniting hundreds of migrant children with their families, lawmakers who met privately with her said.

Wednesday’s assertion by Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was greeted with open disbelief and anger, according to many of the roughly 20 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, all Democrats, who attended. The private, hourlong meeting seemed to achieve little toward dousing lawmakers’ criticism of how children taken from their parents are being handled.

Nielsen also told the group, “I am not a racist,” according to two of the lawmakers. One of them, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said she made the remark after he told her she worked for a “racist regime.” Gutierrez said she cited her friendship with the first lady of Honduras and other Latina women.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, tweeted that she told the lawmakers: “I am not a racist. Nobody believes families should be separated.”

A spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department was asked for comment and did not immediately provide one.

Deadline Thursday

After the meeting, lawmakers said Nielsen provided no statistics to support her assertion that the deadline for reuniting families would be met.

“She said they believe they’re on track” to meet the court deadline, said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., one of several lawmakers who said she used that phrase to describe the status of reuniting separated families.

“That’s impossible. And we all said this to her,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

Gutierrez said he told Nielsen “she is committing crimes against humanity, that she is a child abuser” and that she is “an accomplice of Donald Trump’s racist regime.”

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego set a Thursday deadline for reuniting children age 5 and older who have been held by the government since their families were caught entering the country without authorization.

As many as 2,551 children age 5 and older were separated from their families and 1,187 children have been reunited with parents, guardians or sponsors, the government has said. The exact number still separated is unclear. The government has been releasing hundreds of families to faith-based groups, which are caring for them.

​Parents deported without children

The government has said 463 migrant parents may have been deported after being separated from their children, further complicating the reunification process. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Nielsen suggested to the lawmakers Wednesday that those children were left behind in the U.S. at those parents’ requests.

“We simply do not believe that’s true,” Menendez said.

A separate deadline that Sabraw had set for reuniting around 100 children younger than age 5 with their families passed two weeks ago. Just more than half have rejoined their parents or guardians, according to the latest figures.

The separations caused a bipartisan, nationwide uproar against Trump’s policy of “zero tolerance,” in which the government prosecutes all migrants entering the U.S. illegally.

The government initially separated children from their detained parents or guardians. Under pressure, Trump abandoned the family separation policy, but hundreds of children remain apart from their parents in conditions that visitors have described as horrid.

Nielsen ignored reporters’ questions when she left the meeting.

“Very productive. Very frank,” she said.

Rising costs

The lawmakers said Nielsen also told them her agency is financing the costs of detaining families with a 1 percent across-the-board cut to its programs.

A Homeland Security spokeswoman said the added costs are due to increased numbers of people being caught entering the country, and the money is being used for additional beds and transportation expenses.

Separately, the Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee approved $5 billion for building parts of Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico after rejecting a Democratic effort to redirect that money to other immigration programs.

Trump has requested the $5 billion for next year, but the Senate version of the bill financing the Homeland Security Department has just $1.6 billion. The final amount will need to be worked out later this year.

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Lawmakers: DHS Chief Says Family Reunifications on Track

The chief of the Homeland Security Department has told members of Congress that the government is “on track” to meet Thursday’s court-ordered deadline of reuniting hundreds of migrant children with their families, lawmakers who met privately with her said.

Wednesday’s assertion by Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was greeted with open disbelief and anger, according to many of the roughly 20 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, all Democrats, who attended. The private, hourlong meeting seemed to achieve little toward dousing lawmakers’ criticism of how children taken from their parents are being handled.

Nielsen also told the group, “I am not a racist,” according to two of the lawmakers. One of them, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said she made the remark after he told her she worked for a “racist regime.” Gutierrez said she cited her friendship with the first lady of Honduras and other Latina women.

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, tweeted that she told the lawmakers: “I am not a racist. Nobody believes families should be separated.”

A spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department was asked for comment and did not immediately provide one.

Deadline Thursday

After the meeting, lawmakers said Nielsen provided no statistics to support her assertion that the deadline for reuniting families would be met.

“She said they believe they’re on track” to meet the court deadline, said Rep. Jim Costa, D-Calif., one of several lawmakers who said she used that phrase to describe the status of reuniting separated families.

“That’s impossible. And we all said this to her,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

Gutierrez said he told Nielsen “she is committing crimes against humanity, that she is a child abuser” and that she is “an accomplice of Donald Trump’s racist regime.”

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego set a Thursday deadline for reuniting children age 5 and older who have been held by the government since their families were caught entering the country without authorization.

As many as 2,551 children age 5 and older were separated from their families and 1,187 children have been reunited with parents, guardians or sponsors, the government has said. The exact number still separated is unclear. The government has been releasing hundreds of families to faith-based groups, which are caring for them.

​Parents deported without children

The government has said 463 migrant parents may have been deported after being separated from their children, further complicating the reunification process. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Nielsen suggested to the lawmakers Wednesday that those children were left behind in the U.S. at those parents’ requests.

“We simply do not believe that’s true,” Menendez said.

A separate deadline that Sabraw had set for reuniting around 100 children younger than age 5 with their families passed two weeks ago. Just more than half have rejoined their parents or guardians, according to the latest figures.

The separations caused a bipartisan, nationwide uproar against Trump’s policy of “zero tolerance,” in which the government prosecutes all migrants entering the U.S. illegally.

The government initially separated children from their detained parents or guardians. Under pressure, Trump abandoned the family separation policy, but hundreds of children remain apart from their parents in conditions that visitors have described as horrid.

Nielsen ignored reporters’ questions when she left the meeting.

“Very productive. Very frank,” she said.

Rising costs

The lawmakers said Nielsen also told them her agency is financing the costs of detaining families with a 1 percent across-the-board cut to its programs.

A Homeland Security spokeswoman said the added costs are due to increased numbers of people being caught entering the country, and the money is being used for additional beds and transportation expenses.

Separately, the Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee approved $5 billion for building parts of Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico after rejecting a Democratic effort to redirect that money to other immigration programs.

Trump has requested the $5 billion for next year, but the Senate version of the bill financing the Homeland Security Department has just $1.6 billion. The final amount will need to be worked out later this year.

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Fans Find Superheroes Relevant in US Political and Social Debate

They are arguably among the most recognizable figures in American pop culture, and by their daring exploits, capture the imaginations of fans around the world. They are the fictional characters we call superheroes. Comic book and movie fans say characters such as Superman, Spider-Man and Captain America hold values that are especially relevant in today’s social and political climate. Elizabeth Lee reports on the pop culture significance of superheroes at Comic-Con in San Diego.

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Fans Find Superheroes Relevant in US Political and Social Debate

They are arguably among the most recognizable figures in American pop culture, and by their daring exploits, capture the imaginations of fans around the world. They are the fictional characters we call superheroes. Comic book and movie fans say characters such as Superman, Spider-Man and Captain America hold values that are especially relevant in today’s social and political climate. Elizabeth Lee reports on the pop culture significance of superheroes at Comic-Con in San Diego.

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