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Trump administration publishes rule restricting asylum seekers

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By Julia Ainsley

WASHINGTON — Fulfilling President Donald Trump’s midterm promise to crack down on undocumented immigrants crossing the Southwest border, the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security published a rule on Thursday that will make it harder for immigrants to claim asylum if they are caught crossing the border between designated ports of entry.

Senior administration officials told reporters on a conference call that the president has the legal authority to do so because of sections of immigration law that allow the president discretion over who is admitted into the United States — the same language the administration used to support its travel ban in court.

The officials said the plan is to force more immigrants who wish to claim asylum to do so at designated ports of entry. Recently, many asylum-seekers have chosen to cross illegally because they are kept waiting for days in Mexico due to backlogs at ports of entry.

In a joint statement, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, said, “Consistent with our immigration laws, the President has the broad authority to suspend or restrict the entry of aliens into the United States if he determines it to be in the national interest to do so.”

The full text of the new regulation can be found here.

The administration is expecting lawsuits to be filed, which could keep the new policy from going into effect.

Already, the ACLU has said it will sue.

“The proposal is patently unlawful and there will be a court challenge,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Immigrants crossing between ports of entry will still be allowed to claim asylum, but will have to prove that they meet a higher bar than a “credible fear” of returning to their home country, the current preliminary test. Under the new rule, the officials said, asylum-seekers will only be permitted to remain at large in the U.S. as they await a court hearing if they can prove “reasonable fear” or that they are protected under the U.N.’s Convention against Torture.

Under international law, however, asylum-seekers are permitted to make a claim regardless of where they enter.

Trump is expected to sign a presidential proclamation finalizing the rule on Friday morning.

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Reporter asks Mueller about his report, drawing a ‘no comment’

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By Allan Smith

Special counsel Robert Mueller has spoken — and he’s giving no comment.

Mueller was approached by MSNBC’s Mike Viqueira on Sunday as he was leaving St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., for Easter services. Viqueira asked Mueller as he and his wife, Ann Mueller, were getting into their car whether he would testify before Congress after the Thursday release of his report on President Donald Trump and Russian electoral interference.

Mueller said he would be offering “no comment.”

Viqueira then asked Mueller if he had been investigating anyone other than Trump, and the evidence was identical, would they be indicted? The reporter also asked why Mueller did not make a recommendation on possible obstruction of justice and if Attorney General William Barr accurately characterized the report in his initial summary and subsequent press conference.

Mueller did not respond as he entered his car.

“I think it’s accurate to characterize Director Mueller today as being ‘tight-lipped’ in response to my questions,” Viqueira said afterwards on MSNBC.

Mueller has remained silent during the course of his probe, which began in May 2017, refusing to engage in public discourse about the investigation. Mueller’s “no comment” was the first time he had spoken publicly to the media about the investigation since its inception.

In his 400-plus page report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials and whether the president sought to obstruct justice, Mueller said he was unable to establish a Trump-Russia conspiracy and said he could not come to a traditional prosecutorial decision on obstruction.



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In online ad, Howard Schultz says ‘majority of Americans are Americans’

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By Allan Smith

A new Facebook ad from possible 2020 presidential candidate Howard Schultz gained attention online over a line saying “the majority of Americans are Americans.”

Schultz, who has said he may run as a centrist independent, has based his potential candidacy on a message of nonpartisanship. Schultz has taken socially liberal and fiscally conservative positions, insisting that both Republicans and Democrats are too extreme to govern. The former Starbucks chairman and billionaire businessman has made the national debt a central issue of his possible run.

In the Facebook ad, Schultz writes: “The majority of Americans aren’t Democrats or Republicans, the majority of Americans are Americans.”

The line drew mockery online from observers who thought the statement that most Americans are American was rather obvious.



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Jeremy Corbyn attacked by veterans for labelling British SAS soldiers 'LAWLESS' at rally

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JEREMY CORBYN has been heavily criticised by veterans after a video emerged of him branding British Army forces in Iraq “lawless”.

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