EXCLUSIVE:Two Republican senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would allow immigration judges to hold illegal immigrants in contempt of court and issue arrest warrants if they miss their court proceedings — a move the lawmakers say will also deal with the massive backlog of cases.
“For years, Congressional Democrats have ignored the glaring problems with our immigration system and failed to come to the table on a tangible solution,” Loeffler said in a statement. “This has inflamed illegal immigration and left immigration courts overwhelmed. With a backlog of 1.2 million cases before immigration courts, there are too many in limbo that must be prosecuted.’
“By empowering immigration judges to expedite cases and hold illegal immigrants who fail to appear in contempt, those who try to skirt the law will be held accountable,” she said. “We must stop those who come into our country illegally and ensure justice is swift.”
Immigration judges are not part of the judicial branch, but instead are situated within the Department of Justice (DOJ) and classified as employees — and even have their own union. The two senators have also written to Attorney General William Barr, requesting the DOJ use its authorities to allow immigration judges to dismiss cases of those who don’t show up to hearings.
Cotton said that each year, tens of thousands of immigrants disappear into the U.S.
“Our bill empowers immigration court judges to enforce the rule of law and have these criminals detained. This bill and our suggested regulatory changes will make the immigration court system more efficient and reduce the backlog for immigration petitions,” he said in a statement.
The legislation comes as part of a continued effort to crack down on illegal immigration by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. President Trump last month signed an executive order to prevent illegal immigrants from being counted for the purposes of redrawing congressional districts after the 2020 Census.
In May, Cotton proposed legislation that would prevent the federal government from sending taxpayer-funded stimulus dollars to states or cities that issue payments to people in the U.S. illegally.
Last month, Loeffler and Cotton, along with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced legislation to make it easier to prosecute criminal gang activity and to refer any illegal immigrant convicted of such crimes to the Department of Homeland Security for deportation.
EXCLUSIVE: A resolution introduced Thursday by House Republicans condemns allegedly “anti-American” statements by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., after remarks in which she called for supporters to begin “dismantling the whole system of oppression.”
The resolution, introduced by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz. – and co-sponsored by Reps. Scott Perry, R-Pa., Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., Andy Harris, R-Md., Chip Roy, R-Texas, Ted Budd, R-N.C., Ralph Norman, R-S.C., Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Debbie Lesko, R-Ariz. – accuses Omar of having “a documented history of expressing anti-American sentiments.”
It also accuses her of advocating “for a Marxist form of government that is incompatible with the principles laid out in the founding documents of the United States.”
The resolution is in response to remarks made by Omar earlier this month in which she said: “We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in health care, in employment, in the air we breathe.”
“As long as our economy and political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality,” she said. “We cannot stop at the criminal justice system, we must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”
Asked about the resolution, Omar’s office called the claims a “false smear” and forwarded a Washington Post op-ed in which Omar described receiving death threats because of the Republican response to her comments.
In it, she says the Republican National Committee and conservative media amplified the remarks and falsely accused her of wanting the abolish the entire U.S. economy and government.
“My congressional office and social media feeds were instantly flooded with hate speech, calls for deportation and, as is so often the case, death threats,” she wrote.
Omar, who is part of the “Squad” of left-wing freshman congresswomen, has a history of controversial remarks.
Opposing “oppression” is not controversial, but GOP critics argued she was suggesting a broad-scale overhaul of the country as a whole.
The resolution, noting that Marxist governments that have centrally planned economies “experience unparalleled oppression and brutality,” accuses Omar and others of “calling for the dismantling of this system of government and supplanting it with a Marxist form of government” and violating their oath to support and defend the Constitution.
The comments by Omar were also criticized in the Senate, where Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said Omar “took an oath to defend and protect the Constitution, not shred it,”
“Omar and her Marxist comrades are a threat to our democracy. Omar should resign,” Blackburn said.
Meanwhile, President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. asked if presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden agreed with Omar’s proposition.
“Does @joebiden agree with his supporter @ilhanmn that we need to dismantle the United States economy and political system?” Trump Jr. tweeted.
“Does our education system know it has failed you?” Omar shot back. “Your level of comprehension is such an embarrassment to our country, maybe someone can offer you free English classes.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., told a Minneapolis audience this week that the United Nations should be brought in to oversee the migration crisis at the southern border.
“We should do what any other country does, by dealing with this situation in a serious way,” she told the audience on Tuesday. “So we have to bring in the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees – an agency that has the expertise and the training to handle massive flows of refugees humanely.”
Earlier, she declared that the U.S. is “losing our moral high ground” on the question of immigration and asylum. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that she made the remarks at a town hall on immigration in south Minneapolis.
“We are treating people like criminals when they have not committed a crime,” she said.
“It doesn’t make any sense for us to be committing these kinds of human rights violations, to have these policies in the way we interact with migrants and asylum seekers if we want to continue to be the kind of country that condemns countries in Africa, in Asia or Latin American countries for its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers,” she said.
Omar is one of the four freshman congresswomen, known as “The Squad,” who have played a prominent role in pushing the Democratic Party increasingly to the left on the question of illegal immigration and asylum. Many of the party’s 2020 hopefuls now embrace policies such as health care for illegal immigrants, the decriminalizing of illegal border crossings and abolishing or overhauling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In response to the migration crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of migrants flooding to the border in recent months, the Trump administration has set out to tighten immigration law and increase enforcement at the border — including closing loopholes in the law, and building new barriers at the border in places such as Arizona and Texas.
It has also been securing agreements with countries south of the border, including Mexico and Guatemala — something that officials at the border recently told Fox News is having an effect in dissuading migrants from making the trip north.
Omar, who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia, has advocated for a number of those extreme proposals. In May, she criticized Trump’s immigration plan and laid out a list of counter-proposals that would curb enforcement and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already in the country.
“We need to abolish ICE and end all inhumane deportation and detention programs. We need to fight back against the criminalization of immigrants and those crossing the border,” she said. “We need to create a fair and accessible path to legal status and citizenship for all undocumented people in the United States.”
Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.
“It’s been very clear to me, especially this last week, that he’s scared of us,” Tlaib said in an interview with The Guardian that was published Saturday. “He’s afraid of women of color … because we’re not afraid of him and we’re not afraid to speak up and say that we have a white supremacist in the White House who has a hate agenda.”
“He’s afraid because we have a real agenda for the American people,” she said.
Trump has frequently scrapped with the four progressive congresswomen – Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. – since they entered Congress in January.
The most recent battle came last week when Omar and Tlaib, known for their strong criticisms of Israel, were blocked from traveling to the country. Israel later granted permission to Tlaib to visit her Palestinian grandmother, but Tlaib decided she did not want to abide by the restrictions placed on her about promoting boycotts of Israel.
“She said I’m her dream manifested,” Tlaib said of her grandmother at a press conference. “I’m her free bird so why would I come back and be caged and bow down?”
Trump suggested the moment was not genuine.
“Sorry, I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long,” the president tweeted. “Now tears? She hates Israel and all Jewish people. She is an anti-Semite. She and her 3 friends are the new face of the Democrat Party. Live with it!”
In her interview with the left-wing outlet, Tlaib said that the Squad’s radical ideas – such as Medicare-for-all, a Green New Deal, and higher taxes on the rich — are more popular with Americans than Trump’s policies.
“He can bring it,” she said, “because we actually have policies that came from the people. What he’s doing by choosing us four as his target is trying to distract folks from the fact that more people are living in poverty than ever, because he has failed as a president.”
Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) workers are facing a rapidly escalating series of threats, including protesters menacing their children and shots being fired at their offices, amid a rising tide of anti-ICE rhetoric from the left fueled by congressional Democrats, media voices and presidential hopefuls.
Footage published Tuesday by Breitbart News shows protesters in Florida from groups such as Never Again Action and Black Lives Matter Alliance of Broward County threatening workers and former employees of the GEO Group, a private contractor used by ICE.
One protester threatened the family of GEO Group’s former general counsel, John Bulfin.
“We know where all your children live throughout the country … John Bulfin you have kids in [bleeped out], you have kids in [bleeped out],” the protester yelled. “We know everything about you and you won’t just be seeing us here.”
“We know where you sleep at night,” another protester shouted. “We know what kind of dog food you buy your dogs.”
“We’re not actually joking,” the protester said before shouting the location of where Bulfin lives. “John Bulfin you go to [bleeped out], you go to church on [bleeped out], you live on [bleeped out] the road. We are not joking.”
Another can be heard yelling: “When immigrant bodies are under attack, what do we do?”
“Fight back,” other protesters responded.
Breitbart reports that the footage was taken a day before shots were fired early Tuesday at an ICE office and GEO Group office in San Antonio, Texas, in what the FBI has called a “targeted attack.”
The shooting occurred around 3 a.m. at an ICE building where two floors house administrative and executive offices, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The outlet reported another shooting occurred at a separate facility where an ICE contractor is located.
“All of the shots that we have found are on the floors where ICE had offices,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Chris Combs said. “This is no question a very targeted attack. It’s not a secret facility, you can go online, it’s [the address is] out there. So they did some research, they knew what floors ICE was on, they knew what buildings they were and they hit those.”
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli tweeted out pictures of the bullet holes.
Here's a photo of one of the bullet holes from this morning. @USCIS stands with @ICE as they work to enforce our laws and keep Americans safe! pic.twitter.com/AUvgpGJco6
The incidents are the latest escalation in anti-ICE sentiment that has shifted from calls to abolish the agency and claims that it is “caging children” to threats and violence within the space of a year.
Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan said on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday that people need to tone down “dangerous” rhetoric that demonizes ICE officials.
“The environment where we’re demonizing our law enforcement for doing their jobs and enforcing the law on the books is concerning,” he said. “It can be dangerous and it can result in people taking action that are not supported by facts that are not in response to anything inappropriate that the men and women of ICE are doing and we’ve got to tone that down.”
In an op-ed for Fox News Wednesday, former ICE Director Thomas Homan said that he had to deal with death threats when he was in charge of the agency and had to receive round-the-clock armed protection for weeks.
He also noted increasingly heated rhetoric from elected Democrats and presidential hopefuls about the work ICE does.
“In addition to the threats of violence, we see elected officials at the local, state and national level calling the Border Patrol, ICE and anyone that enforces our immigration law Nazis, racists, and obscene names,” he wrote.
He also asked where the outrage was from Democrats, who recently have partly blamed President Trump for creating anti-immigrant sentiment that encouraged the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
“Here’s the bottom line: Hate is hate, terrorism is terrorism, and murder is murder. Politicians who condemn attacks on themselves and institutions and policies they support have an obligation to condemn such attacks on their opponents just as vigorously.”
Fox News’ Louis Casiano contributed to this report.
Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.
President Trump arrived at the University Medical Center of El Paso to meet with first responders, medical personnel, and victims on Wednesday afternoon, just four days after 22 people were killed by gunman Patrick Crusius at a Texas Walmart.
The president was greeted at the airport by the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott, as well as Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo — who bucked Democrats’ calls on Monday to turn the president away.
As happened earlier Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio, scene of another lethal mass shooting this weekend, Trump was greeted by protesters demanding gun control reform and an end to caustic rhetoric — including some from the president — that they believed to be contributing to a culture of violence in America.
Raul Melendez, an El Paso resident whose father-in-law, David Johnson, was killed in Saturday’s shooting, said the most appropriate thing Trump could do was to meet with relatives of the victims.
“It shows that he actually cares, if he talks to individual families,” said Melendez, who credits Johnson with helping his 9-year-old daughter survive the attack by pushing her under a counter. Melendez, an Army veteran and the son of Mexican immigrants, said he holds only the shooter responsible for the attack.
“That person had the intent to hurt people, he already had it,” he said. “No one’s words would have triggered that.”
Reporters were not given access to Trump’s visits to the hospitals in either El Paso or Dayton. Instead, the White House released its own photos, tweeted by the president and his staff. The photos did not come from the press pool.
Also in opposition to protests, Vibora Anchondo, the sister of a couple shot to death in El Paso, reportedly wrote on Facebook: “It’s such a shame that two of our local politicians (I refuse to say their names as they don’t deserve it) are saying that our President is not welcome on Wednesday. …I cannot believe how these monsters are using the tragic event to push their political agenda.”
During the flight from Dayton to El Paso, Trump posted photos of himself and first lady Melania Trump visiting wounded patients at a hospital. Trump posed for photos with medical staff and spoke with law enforcement officials, giving a “thumbs up” in one.
Trump tweeted, “The people I met in Dayton are the finest anywhere!”
Trump was kept out of view of reporters at the Miami Valley Hospital in Ohio as he spoke with families and victims of the shootings. Nine people were killed when police say gunman Connor Betts opened fire outside a crowded bar on Sunday.
Outside the hospital, at least 200 protesters, as well as Trump supporters, gathered.
“Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders,” Trump wrote on Twitter, as Air Force One made its way to El Paso. “It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love.”
The president then slammed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and “failed presidential candidate” Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, saying they had used a press conference to misrepresent what occurred during his hospital visit. Brown told reporters that he had rejected Trump’s suggestion of giving awards to police officers, and told the president that “assault weapons” should instead be removed from the streets to protect them.
“It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with,” Trump said, referring to Whaley and Brown’s comments.
Later, in El Paso, Trump told reporters, “I get on Air Force One, turn on the TV, they said: ‘I don’t know if it was appropriate for [the president] to be there. They are very dishonest.”
Referring to Brown, Trump said, “That’s why he failed as a presidential candidate.”
At the same time, Brown remarked during the press conference, “[Trump] was comforting. He did the right things, Melania did the right things. And it’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it in those hospital rooms.”
“I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the president of the United States came to Dayton,” Whaley said.
Trump aide Dan Scavino said that Trump spent almost two hours with survivors and first responders in Dayton, calling the visit “truly special moments for everyone that was present.”
.@POTUS and @FLOTUS departing Ohio after spending almost two hours with shooting survivors, family members, first responders, & medical staff at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Truly special moments for everyone that was present. Air Force One now wheels up for El Paso, Texas… https://t.co/wxn5fmTi5y
Scavino also attacked Whaley and Brown, saying they were “completely mischaracterizing what took place w/ the President’s visit to Miami Valley Hospital today” and are “disgraceful politicians, doing nothing but politicizing a mass shooting, at every turn they can.”
In all, the shootings in Ohio and Texas left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured.
Trump said before departing the White House that the visits are an opportunity to meet with those affected by the shootings and “to congratulate some of the police and law enforcement, the job they’ve done is incredible, really incredible.”
As the motorcade arrived at the hospital in Ohio, one protester held a sign, “End This Terror,” and gave the motorcade a middle finger. Protesters also gathered in front of a “Trump baby” balloon.
Trump has come under intense criticism from Democrats and media pundits in the wake of the shooting for both his alleged inaction on gun control and incendiary rhetoric on immigration — which critics have linked to the El Paso shooting.
Those critics have cited reports that Crusius was a white nationalist who penned a manifesto against Hispanic immigrants, and said he described the migrants coming across the southern border as an “invasion” of Texas. Trump has used similar rhetoric in his remarks about the migration crisis at the border.
But, speaking to reporters as he boarded Marine One at the White House earlier Wednesday, Trump countered those criticisms by citing reports that Betts — the shooter in Dayton — supported Antifa, along with Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
The Associated Press reported that a Twitter account believed to be from gunman Connor Betts showed tweets labeling himself a “leftist,” bemoaning the election of Trump, supporting Warren and encouraging people to cut fences of immigrant detention centers.
He has also sparred with El Paso native and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Tuesday night — he told him to “be quiet” after O’Rourke compared his rhetoric to that found in Nazi Germany — and former Vice President Joe Biden, who compared Trump’s rhetoric to that of former Alabama Gov. George Wallace. On Wednesday, Trump called Biden “incompetent.”
However, he also insisted he was trying to stay out of the political fray.
“My critics are political people, they’re trying to make points in many cases they’re running for president and are very low in the polls,” he said. “These are people looking for political gain, and I don’t think they’re getting it and, as much as possible, I’ve tried to stay out of it.”
Criticism over too-easy access to guns followed Trump to Ohio, with both protesters and Sen.Brown, D-Ohio, taking Trump to task for what they see as inaction from him and fellow Republicans in Congress.
“We can’t get anything done in the Senate because [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the president of the United States are in bed with the gun lobby,” Brown told reporters.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump said that there is a “strong appetite” for legislation on background checks in Congress and he had had “plenty of talks” with members of congressional leadership.
“I’m looking to do background checks, I think background checks are important, I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate, sick people. … I’m all for it,” he said.
A White House spokesman said that the White House has invited Internet and technology companies for a staff-led discussion on violent extremism online on Friday. The meeting is to include senior administration officials from the White House.
Fox News’ Blake Burman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.
President Trump’s push to limit the number of asylum seekers flooding across the border suffered another defeat in the courts on Friday, when a federal judge ruled that the government cannot stop migrants from claiming asylum in the U.S., even if they have crossed the border illegally.
The decision concerned a policy announced by Trump in November that bars migrants who entered the U.S. across the southern border from being eligible for asylum unless they presented themselves at a port of entry. Trump has said he was acting in response to caravans of migrants making their way to the border.
But the policy was temporarily blocked last year by a federal appeals court, which said it was inconsistent with federal law and was an attempt to bypass Congress. The Supreme Court later blocked the immediate enforcement of the policy in a 5-4 decision in December.
On Friday, Judge Randolph Moss said that the president had determined that the influx of migrants across the border poses a “particular problem for the national interest,” but Moss ruled that the assessment “is neither sufficient to override a statutory mandate permitting all aliens present in the United States to apply for asylum” whether or not they arrived at a designated port of entry.
The judge was referring to the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which defines who may apply for asylum, and says that any one physically present in the U.S. may do so regardless of whether or not they entered via a designated port of entry.
The case was brought by 19 asylum seekers from Central America, who entered the U.S. between ports of entry and claimed that the president’s restrictions were illegal on a number of counts — including that it is inconsistent with the INA.
According to the ruling, the government argued that while the INA says that illegal immigrants may “apply” for asylum, the rule does not stop them from applying but instead makes them “ineligible” for asylum. Judge Moss dismissed this argument as a distinction without a difference.
“As a matter of common usage, no one would draw a meaningful distinction, for example, between a rule providing that children may not apply for a driver’s license and one providing that children are not eligible to receive a driver’s license,” he wrote. “Both locutions mean the same thing.”
“The Rule’s direction that ‘an alien shall be ineligible for asylum’ if the alien entered the United States outside a designated port of entry is not ‘compatible’ with the congressional mandate that all aliens present in the United States may ‘apply’ for asylum, regardless of whether they entered the United States at a designated port of entry,” he said.
The case is one of a number of challenges to the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on migrants coming across the border and claiming asylum. The administration has said it is trying to cut down on magnets that act as a pull force for migrants, including rules that limit how long family units can be held in detention.
Last month Trump announced a “safe third country” deal with Guatemala that would requires migrants who cross into the country to apply for asylum there instead of at the U.S. border. However, that too faces court challenges in both Guatemala and the U.S.
Also last month, a California federal judge blocked a rule that would require migrants to first apply in one of the countries they cross on their way to the U.S. — with certain exceptions. The rule is targeted at tens of thousands of Central Americans who cross Mexico each month trying to enter the U.S.
The policy follows the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly referred to as the “remain in Mexico” policy. Under that policy, asylum seekers were often told to go back to Mexico to await hearings, rather than be allowed to remain in the U.S.
But those restrictions have seen fierce opposition not only in the courts, but in Congress, where Democrats have decried the efforts as cruel and inhumane.
Fox News’ Bill Mears, Ronn Blitzer and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
NEW YORK — Hungary is backing President Trump in his crackdown on migrants claiming asylum at the southern border — as the government touts its own success in drastically reducing the influx of migrants into the country.
The Trump administration on Monday announced a sweeping new policy tightening restrictions for asylum-seekers that would require most migrants entering through America’s southern border to first seek in one of the countries through which they traversed, whether Mexico or somewhere else in Central America.
The policy has come under considerable criticism at home from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., calling the policy “cruel” and a “clear abdication of American humanitarianism.”
But Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told Fox News in an interview this week that his country, which famously cracked down on illegal immigration and asylum seekers during the 2015 migration crisis, say his country understands what Trump is doing.
“We absolutely understand this approach because you raise the question ‘How should anyone be taken into consideration as a refugee if he or she already crossed a safe country?’” he said. “If you are a refugee that means you would like to reach the first safe place in order to avoid the negative impact of the crisis that makes you escape.”
“If you cross safe countries to get to another one, that is economic migration and it is up to national competences to decide whether a country would like to receive economic migrants or not, and these national competences must be respected,” he said.
Hungary was on the frontlines of the 2015 European migration crisis as more than 400,000 migrants walked through the streets of Budapest and set up camps in train stations. As other governments opened their borders in response to the migration crisis, Hungary did the opposite and closed its borders, setting up two fences and militarizing the border.
The result, officials say, is that there has been next to zero illegal immigration into Hungary.
“We raised the question, ‘What should be the legal or humanitarian reason to allow anyone to violate a border between two safe and peaceful countries?’” he said. “And the answer is that there is none.”
The hardline approach has been popular at home. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz Party made immigration a focus of its 2018 general election campaign and was rewarded with a supermajority, and polls suggest his party’s support is around 50 percent in a multiparty system.
But its stance has also drawn the ire of international leaders, human rights groups and international bodies such as the U.N. and the E.U., who have called such policies cruel and allege that they violate international human rights commitments.
Felipe Gonzalez Morales, the U.N. special rapporteur on migrant rights, this week finished a visit to Hungary and accused the government of scapegoating migrants and engaging in “xenophobic discourse.” He urged the government to soften its stance, arguing that the situation on the ground had changed since 2015.
“The current situation is a completely different one than the one that existed four years ago,” he told reporters. “Security concerns, that are legitimate but which cannot override human rights, should be adapted to reality.”
Hungary’s government has dismissed that criticism, and Szijjarto told Fox News that there are still daily attempts by migrants to get into the country illegally. He also pointed to the “Hungary Helps Project’, which pumps millions of euros in aid into Christian communities in the Middle East to tackle the root causes of the European migration crisis.
“We have rebuilt houses of more than 1,000 Christian families in Iraq, we are reconstructing 33 Christian churches in Lebanon, covering medical expenses this year for three Christian hospitals in Syria, we are rebuilding schools and orphanages to make it possible for these communities to stay, because if they leave then it fulfills the goals of the terrorist organizations who would like to eliminate these communities,” he said.
Szijjarto also challenged the idea that a regular influx of migrants is needed for a healthy economy, pointing to positive economic news showing Hungary’s economy is in good shape, including rising salaries and near full employment. The European Commission recently forecasted that Hungary’s GDP would grow by 4.4 percent in 2019.
“We do not need migration to maintain it, we have totally shifted from a manufacturing-based economy to an R&D-based economy,” he said.
Hungary’s government’s confidence comes not only from its recent election wins at home, but also the changing face of international relations. In 2015, it was one of only a few countries taking a tough stance on migration. But in 2019, in addition to alliances with Poland, Slovakia, Austria and the Czech Republic, it can also point to countries such as Italy and particularly the U.S, which have adopted right-wing policies on questions of migration and national sovereignty.
Orban visited the White House in May and Szijjarto said that Hungary’s government has enjoyed a much closer relationship with the U.S. since 2017, one based on “mutual respect.”
“[Trump’s] approach in saying ‘America First’ is very refreshing because that makes it possible for us to say ‘Hungary First,’” Szijjarto said. “His being in office shows that patriotic policies do have a future and we really count on good cooperation in the future with him.”
President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his push for a citizenship question on the 2020 census, promising that his administration is “working very hard” on the controversial issue — as reports say he is mulling using an executive order to get the question on the census.
“So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a Citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census,” he tweeted.
So important for our Country that the very simple and basic “Are you a Citizen of the United States?” question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census. Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!
He added that the Commerce and Justice Departments are “working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!”
Earlier this week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced that his department was going ahead with the printing of the census without the citizenship question, apparently indicating that the administration had dropped the controversial issue. That decision came after a Supreme Court ruling last week that blocked the citizenship question for the time being until more reasoning from the administration was provided.
“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question,” Ross said in a statement. “My focus and that of the bureau and the entire department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”
The Commerce Department had claimed that the question would help the administration enforce the Voting Rights Act. Opponents of the question fear that by asking people about their citizenship status, immigrants may not want to respond and be counted in the census. This would result in official population numbers that are lower than they truly are, which in turn could yield less federal funding and fewer congressional seats in districts with high immigrant populations. Those districts tend to favor Democrats.
Ross’ announcement appeared to mark a significant climbdown for the administration. But Trump on Wednesday said that reports that Commerce had dropped the “quest” to put the question on the census were “fake!”
The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.
Later Wednesday, a high-ranking Justice Department lawyer told a federal judge that the administration had not abandoned efforts to put the question on the census, saying that there may yet be a “legally available path” open to the administration.
On Thursday, multiple outlets reported that Trump is considering using an executive order to move forward with the push. The Washington Post reported that Trump had told lawyers to fix the situation with an executive order and add it to the census later.
“The administration is considering the appropriateness of an executive order that would address the constitutional need for the citizenship question to be included in the 2020 census,” a source told Axios.
Such a move would likely face significant legal pushback, and could also fail in the Supreme Court. But one official told Axios that it may allow the administration to shift the blame for the ultimate failure of the push on Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.
“I think that there’s a good argument to be made that even though the president may lose in litigation at the end of the day, going through that process ultimately makes it clear that it’s the chief justice, and not the Executive Branch, that bears responsibility for that unfortunate outcome,” the source with knowledge of discussions told the outlet.
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Gregg Re contributed to this report.
Republicans are accusing Democrats of not wanting President Trump to get a win as the White House ramps up efforts to address the border crisis; Mike Emanuel reports.
President Trump announced Saturday that a planned mass roundup of illegal immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is being delayed for two weeks, in the hope that a bipartisan solution to the border crisis can be reached.
“At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border,” he tweeted.
At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!
The tweet came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, called Trump Friday and urged him to call off the raids, a source familiar with the situation told Fox News.
The Washington Post reported Friday that ICE was expected to target 2,000 families in up to 10 cities across the U.S., after Trump had announced earlier this week that ICE will “begin the process of removing millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.”
ICE said in a statement Friday that “due to law-enforcement sensitivities and the safety and security of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, the agency will not offer specific details related to enforcement operations.”
However, it said that ICE prioritizes arresting and removing those illegal immigrants “who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security.”
Despite fierce opposition from local Democratic politicians in targeted cities, Trump had stood by the plan earlier Saturday, saying that “everybody who came into the country illegally will be brought out of the country very legally.”
He also dismissed the Democratic opposition on Saturday, saying they were mostly “high crime” cities.
“Well some cities are going to fight it. But if you notice they’re generally high crime cities, if you look at Chicago they’re fighting it. If you look at other cities they’re fighting it. Many of those cities are high crime cities and they’re sanctuary cities,” he said.
It was not immediately clear what form the negotiations would take, but the postponement comes amid an escalating crisis at the border, with more than 140,000 migrants encountered or apprehended at the border in May.
Earlier this month, Trump announced that he had secured a deal with Mexico that would see the U.S. expand its policy of returning asylum applicants to Mexico while claims are processed, instead of applicants being released into the U.S.
The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved Trump’s $4.6 billion request for funding to tackle the humanitarian crisis, but only after the inclusion of a provision that blocks money from being diverted to funding for a wall on the border, and after Republicans dropped a request for more detention beds.
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.
Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.