Trump tells young immigrants in US illegally to ‘rest easy’

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, in this April 13, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 22 April 2017
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Trump tells young immigrants in US illegally to ‘rest easy’

WASHINGTON: Young immigrants brought to the US as children and now here illegally can “rest easy,” President Donald Trump said Friday, telling the “dreamers” they will not be targets for deportation under his immigration policies.
Trump, in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press, said his administration is “not after the dreamers, we are after the criminals.”
The president, who took a hard line on immigration as a candidate, vowed anew to fulfill his promise to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border. But he stopped short of demanding that funding for the project be included in a spending bill Congress must pass by the end of next week in order to keep the government running.
“I want the border wall. My base definitely wants the border wall,” Trump said in the Oval Office interview. Asked whether he would sign legislation that does not include money for the project, he said, “I just don’t know yet.” Throughout the campaign, he had firmly and repeatedly guaranteed that Mexico, not US taxpayers, would pay for the wall.
Eager to start making progress on other campaign promises, Trump said he would unveil a tax overhaul package next week — “Wednesday or shortly thereafter” — that would include a “massive” tax cut for both individuals and corporations. He would not provide details of rate proposals or how he planned to pay for the package but asserted the cuts for Americans will be “bigger, I believe, than any tax cut ever.”
Congressional Republicans seemed caught off guard by Trump’s announcement and did not appear to have been briefed on the details of the White House’s forthcoming plan.
Trump spoke with the AP ahead of his 100th day in office.
He panned that marker as “artificial.” Still, the White House is eager to tout progress on the litany of agenda items he promised to fulfill in his first 100 days, despite setbacks including court bans on his proposed immigration limits and a high-profile failure in repealing and replacing the current health care law.
The president said Friday he spent his first 100 days laying the “foundation” for progress later in his administration, including by building relationships with foreign leaders. He cited German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a leader he was surprised to have developed strong chemistry with, given that he has been critical of her handling of immigration policies.
As a candidate, Trump strongly criticized President Barack Obama for “illegal executive amnesties,” including actions to spare from deportation young people who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally. But after the election, Trump started speaking more favorably about these immigrants, popularly dubbed “dreamers.”
On Friday, he said that when it comes to them, “This is a case of heart.”
This week, attorneys for Juan Manuel Montes said the 23-year-old was recently deported to Mexico despite having qualified for deferred deportation. Trump said Montes’ case is “a little different than the dreamer case,” though he did not specify why.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was launched in 2012 as a stopgap to protect some young immigrants from deportation while the administration continued to push for a broader immigration overhaul in Congress.
Obama’s administrative program offered a reprieve from deportation to those immigrants in the country illegally who could prove they arrived before they were 16, had been in the United States for several years and had not committed a crime since being here. It mimicked versions of the so-called DREAM Act, which would have provided legal status for young immigrants but was never passed by Congress.
DACA also provides work permits for the immigrants and is renewable every two years. As of December, about 770,000 young immigrants had been approved for the program.
On foreign policy, Trump said it was “possible” the US will withdraw from the nuclear accord with Iran forged by Obama and five other world leaders. He said he believes Iran’s destabilizing actions “all over the Middle East and beyond” are violating the spirit of the accord, though the State Department this week certified that Tehran is complying with the tenets of the deal aimed at curbing its nuclear program.
The president also appeared to side with his advisers’ increasingly harder line on Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Assange’s arrest was a priority for the Justice Department as it steps up efforts to prosecute people who leak classified information to the media.
The president said that he was not involved in the decision-making process regarding charging Assange but that the move would be “OK with me.”
During the campaign, Trump and his allies publicly delighted in WikiLeaks’ release of stolen e-mails from a top adviser to Democrat Hillary Clinton.


Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

Updated 15 July 2018
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Thai boys rescued from cave mourn diver who died

  • The health ministry said the overall condition for the players and coach was normal
  • Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday

CHIANG RAI, Thailand: The 12 boys and their coach rescued from a Thai cave mourned the death of an ex-Navy SEAL who died while taking part in the mission, the health ministry said Sunday.
The “Wild Boars” football team are recovering in hospital following 18 days spent inside the Tham Luang cave after entering on June 23 and getting trapped by monsoon floodwaters.
Doctors say they are in good health following a successful three-day operation which ended July 10 when teams of Thai Navy SEALs and international cave diving experts hauled the last five members of the team to safety.
But the lead-up to the final phase of the mission was met with tragedy when volunteer and former Navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan died on July 6 while installing oxygen tanks along the twisting passageways of the cave.
Saman was widely hailed as a hero but the boys, aged 11 to 16, were only told about his death on Saturday after a medical team said they were strong enough mentally to handle the news, though many wept after hearing it.
“All cried and expressed their condolences by writing messages on a drawing of Lt. Commander Saman and observed one minute of silence for him,” Jedsada Chokdamrongsuk, permanent secretary at the health ministry, said in the statement.
Photos released show the youngsters crowded around a sketch of Saman scrawling messages on it and bowing their heads in commemoration.
“They also thanked him and promised to be good boys,” the statement said.
Tributes from Thailand and around the world have poured in for Saman, a triathlete and diver who retired from the military in 2006 and worked at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport before volunteering to help with the rescue in northern Thailand.
Specialists who took part in the risky mission to bring the Wild Boars home have expressed shock and surprise that they were able to pull it off, with some fearing that there could have been more casualties.
The unprecedented and daring final push to bring the boys out saw them sedated and carried through waterlogged and partially dry corridors with the help of military stretchers and nearly 100 divers.
Health officials have conveyed a largely positive picture of the boys’ recovery. All are expected to leave hospital on Thursday.
The health ministry said the overall condition for the players and coach was normal, though many are still on a course of antibiotics.
Despite the positive assessments so far experts have said they would all need to be monitored closely for signs of psychological distress that could take months to manifest.
They spent nine days in the dark, dank cave before being located by two British divers.
The boys — and their parents — have been advised to spend time with friends and family and not to give media interviews as that could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.
But the interest in their story is unlikely to evaporate overnight, as Hollywood producers are already jockeying to make a film version of the saga.