Trump warns of 'last chance' to pass immigration deal

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state and local officials about infrastructure in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington Monday. (AP)
Updated 13 February 2018
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Trump warns of 'last chance' to pass immigration deal

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump warned Democrats Tuesday that it is now or never when it comes to extending protections for young immigrants living in the country illegally.
Trump in an early-morning tweet said Democrats and Republicans must act now to provide legal protections to young "Dreamer" immigrants even as legislation faces an uncertain prospect in Congress.
"Wouldn't it be great if we could finally, after so many years, solve the DACA puzzle," he wrote, adding: "This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! March 5th."
Trump was referring to a deadline he announced last year to end a program protecting young immigrants from deportation. But a recent court ruling has rendered that deadline all but meaningless.
The Senate's Republican and Democratic leaders say it is going to be tough to broker a successful deal on immigration policy.
Trump has proposed a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants in exchange for $25 billion for a border wall with Mexico and other security measures, as well as curbs on legal immigration. Many Democrats consider some of the proposals, including limiting the relatives that legal immigrants can bring to the US to be non-starters.
Trump will be meeting later Tuesday with the National Sheriffs' Association — a meeting where he is likely to continue his immigration pitch.
Trump also tweeted on his $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, writing that "after many years we have taken care of our Military, now we have to fix our roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and more. Bipartisan, make deal Dems?"
Still, Trump has sent mixed messages on his commitment to the proposal, telling state and local officials at a White House meeting Monday that "if you don't want it, that's OK with me too."
The administration's plan is centered on using $200 billion in federal money to leverage more than $1 trillion in local and state tax dollars to fix America's infrastructure, such as roads, highways, ports and airports.


Guantanamo prison takes on geriatric airs

Updated 20 October 2018
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Guantanamo prison takes on geriatric airs

  • The population still imprisoned at the military base in Cuba range from middle-aged to elderly
  • With a budget of $12 million, a prison annex has been transformed into a public hospital, complete with modern equipment

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba: The controversial Guantanamo Bay prison still houses 40 aging inmates — and with no plans to close it, many of them will probably remain there until they die.
The population still imprisoned at the military base in Cuba range from middle-aged to elderly — the oldest inmate is 71 — so the prison with a history of torture has taken on some airs of a geriatric facility.
The US Army — directed to ensure Guantanamo can stay open at least another 25 years — has revamped parts of the institution home to terror suspects to include a dedicated medical center and operating rooms.
“There has been a lot of thought put into what preparing for an aging detainee population looks like and what infrastructure we need to have in place to do that safely and humanely,” said Anne Leanos, the public affairs director for Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
With a budget of $12 million, a prison annex has been transformed into a public hospital, complete with a radiology room equipped with an MRI scanner, as well as an emergency room and three-bed intensive care unit.
During a journalist visit to the new clinic, a walker sits in the corner of a room, which has a hospital bed, wheelchair and medical equipment akin to any other infirmary.
But there is no window, and wire mesh serves as a partition, recalling that this is still very much a detention center.
Congress will not allow sick prisoners to travel to the United States for treatment: Guantanamo inmates are considered highly dangerous by the government, which accuses them of participating in various attacks including those of September 11.
No prisoner needs a wheelchair yet — but if the need arises, the clinic is prepared with ramps.
Patients suffer from ailments common for their age: diabetes, hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases and motor disorders.
The second-floor psychiatric ward is equipped with two cells converted into consultation rooms.
A third, completely empty cell is padded and serves as the isolation room for prisoners experiencing psychotic episodes.
Like any staff deployed to Guantanamo, prison psychiatrists usually stay just nine to 12 months on site, limiting the scope of their interaction with prisoners.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visits Guantanamo about four times a year to make sure the prison is complying with detention standards and to assess detainees’ treatment.
Since the infamous detention center opened in 2002, nine inmates have died: seven committed suicide, according to the military, while one died of cancer and another had a heart attack.
The largest contingent — 26 inmates — at the military complex have never been charged with anything, but are considered too dangerous to be released.
One “highly compliant” inmate was on a “non-religious fast,” at the moment of the visit — a euphemism used at the prison to describe hunger strikes prisoners regularly observe in protest.
Acts of rebellion are fairly common — and base commander Admiral John Ring said one inmate was currently under disciplinary action.
“These are the ones that could not be released,” said Ring. “Many of these gentlemen are still at war with the United States.
“Any act of resistance, no matter how small — they are still fighting the war through these minor acts of resistance.”