Trump: No amnesty for US ‘Dreamers,’ signals support in broader deal

The Dreamers are protected from deportation under The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. (Reuters)
Updated 21 January 2019
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Trump: No amnesty for US ‘Dreamers,’ signals support in broader deal

  • In a morning Twitter storm, Trump also said he would not seek the removal of millions of illegal immigrants living in the US
  • ‘Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else’

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Sunday his proposed immigration deal to end a 30-day partial government shutdown would not lead to amnesty for “Dreamers,” but he appeared to signal support for amnesty as part of a broader immigration agreement.
In a morning Twitter storm, Trump also said he would not seek the removal of millions of illegal immigrants living in the US, while bashing House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for turning down an offer he made on Saturday, including for Dreamers, the immigrants brought to the US illegally as children.
“No, Amnesty is not a part of my offer. It is a 3-year extension of DACA. Amnesty will be used only on a much bigger deal, whether on immigration or something else,” Trump said on Twitter.
“Likewise there will be no big push to remove the 11,000,000 plus people who are here illegally-but be careful Nancy!”
The Dreamers are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
DACA was put in place under former President Barack Obama. The Trump administration said in September 2017 it would rescind DACA, but it remains in effect under court order.
Trump did not make clear what he was referring to regarding the 11 million people mentioned in his tweet. About 12 million people are living in the US illegally, according to US Department of Homeland Security estimates.
In a Saturday speech from the White House, Trump offered three years of protections for Dreamers and for holders of temporary protected status (TPS), another class of immigrants from designated countries affected by armed conflict, natural disaster or other strife.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell welcomed the plan as a “bold solution,” while a spokesman said McConnell would seek Senate passage of the proposal this week.
The legislation will include bills to fund government departments that have been closed during the shutdown, as well as some disaster aid and the president’s immigration proposal, a McConnell aide said. The plan will contain $12.7 billion in disaster aid, said another Senate source who asked not to be named.
But Trump’s amnesty tweet caught some Republicans off guard.
“I don’t know what the president’s calling amnesty,” Senator James Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, told ABC’s “This Week” program. “That’s a longer debate and obviously not something we can solve quickly.”
Trump appeared to be responding to conservative critics who accused him of proposing amnesty and reneging on a campaign promise, which could alienate his right-wing base.
About one-quarter of the US government shut down on Dec. 22 over Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall along the border with Mexico, which Democrats have refused to consider. Some 800,000 federal workers have been ordered to stay home or work without pay during the shutdown.
The promise of a border wall was a mainstay of Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign. As a candidate, he said Mexico would pay for the barrier, but the Mexican government has refused.
The shutdown has caused widespread disruptions.
The Transportation Security Administration on Sunday reported an 8 percent national rate of unscheduled absences on Saturday, compared with 3 percent a year ago. More than 50,000 TSA officers are working without pay.
Some airports experienced longer wait times at security checkpoints, and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport closed one of its checkpoints because of excessive absences.
On Sunday, a day after Trump’s DACA proposal, there appeared to be signs of movement, even as Democrats insisted the government should reopen before proceeding with talks over border security.
“What the president proposed yesterday — increasing border security, looking at TPS, looking at the Dreamers — I’ll use that as a starting point. But you’ve got to start by reopening the government,” US Senator Mark Warner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Warner, a Virginia Democrat, also said Congress should approve pay for federal workers affected by the shutdown before they miss another paycheck this week.
Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Democrats were not opposed to physical barriers on the southern border but that Trump’s changing position posed a problem for resolving the border security issue.
“I would not rule out a wall in certain instances,” Thompson said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.


More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 24 April 2019
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More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

  • Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday
  • The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.