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US Governors Pull National Guard Over Immigration Policy

The governors of multiple East Coast states have announced that they will not deploy National Guard resources near the U.S.-Mexico border, a largely symbolic but politically significant rejection of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in children being separated from their families.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, announced Tuesday morning on his Twitter account that he has ordered four crew members and a helicopter to immediately return from where they were stationed in New Mexico.

“Until this policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded, Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border,” Hogan tweeted.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who like Hogan is a Republican governor in a blue state, on Monday reversed a decision to send a National Guard helicopter to the border, citing the Trump administration’s “cruel and inhuman” policy.

On the Democratic side, governors in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York and Virginia have all indicated their refusal to send Guard resources to assist with immigration-related issues.

The resources in question from each state are relatively small, so the governors’ actions aren’t likely to have a huge practical impact. But they are a strong symbolic political gesture, said Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes field Politics Center at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

“I think at a time when you have a large percentage of the country questioning the leadership of the Trump administration, it certainly is a moment for the governors across the country to show leadership, particularly at a time when this is so divisive,” Kromer said.

The forced separation of migrant children from their parents has fueled criticism across the political spectrum and sparked nationwide protests of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“Ever since our founding — and even before — our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life,” Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Tuesday as he signed an executive order prohibiting the use of state resources. “President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday reiterated a decision he first made earlier this year to not send Guard resources to the border to assist with immigration-related duties. He’s also asked for a federal investigation of the policy relating to the separation of the children from their families.

Delaware Governor John Carney, a Democrat, said he turned down a request he received Tuesday to send National Guard troops to the southwest border, while the Democratic governors of Virginia and North Carolina said they would recall Guard members and equipment they already had sent to the border.

“If President Trump revokes the current inhumane policy of separating children from their parents, Delaware will be first in line to assist our sister states in securing the border,” Carney said in a statement.

Governors are not the only ones taking action: Mayors from across the U.S. announced plans to travel to the Texas border on Thursday to protest the “zero-tolerance” policy. The mayors will gather at a point of entry near where migrant minors began arriving at a tent-like shelter last week.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors last week unanimously passed a resolution registering its opposition to separating children from their families at the border.

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US Governors Pull National Guard Over Immigration Policy

The governors of multiple East Coast states have announced that they will not deploy National Guard resources near the U.S.-Mexico border, a largely symbolic but politically significant rejection of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in children being separated from their families.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, announced Tuesday morning on his Twitter account that he has ordered four crew members and a helicopter to immediately return from where they were stationed in New Mexico.

“Until this policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded, Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border,” Hogan tweeted.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who like Hogan is a Republican governor in a blue state, on Monday reversed a decision to send a National Guard helicopter to the border, citing the Trump administration’s “cruel and inhuman” policy.

On the Democratic side, governors in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York and Virginia have all indicated their refusal to send Guard resources to assist with immigration-related issues.

The resources in question from each state are relatively small, so the governors’ actions aren’t likely to have a huge practical impact. But they are a strong symbolic political gesture, said Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes field Politics Center at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

“I think at a time when you have a large percentage of the country questioning the leadership of the Trump administration, it certainly is a moment for the governors across the country to show leadership, particularly at a time when this is so divisive,” Kromer said.

The forced separation of migrant children from their parents has fueled criticism across the political spectrum and sparked nationwide protests of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“Ever since our founding — and even before — our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life,” Democratic New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said Tuesday as he signed an executive order prohibiting the use of state resources. “President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families.”

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday reiterated a decision he first made earlier this year to not send Guard resources to the border to assist with immigration-related duties. He’s also asked for a federal investigation of the policy relating to the separation of the children from their families.

Delaware Governor John Carney, a Democrat, said he turned down a request he received Tuesday to send National Guard troops to the southwest border, while the Democratic governors of Virginia and North Carolina said they would recall Guard members and equipment they already had sent to the border.

“If President Trump revokes the current inhumane policy of separating children from their parents, Delaware will be first in line to assist our sister states in securing the border,” Carney said in a statement.

Governors are not the only ones taking action: Mayors from across the U.S. announced plans to travel to the Texas border on Thursday to protest the “zero-tolerance” policy. The mayors will gather at a point of entry near where migrant minors began arriving at a tent-like shelter last week.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors last week unanimously passed a resolution registering its opposition to separating children from their families at the border.

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White House Deputy Chief of Staff to Leave in July

The White House aide who led the planning for President Donald Trump’s meeting last week with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has decided to leave the Trump administration to return to the private sector.

 

Joe Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, has served in every Republican White House since the Reagan administration. He held the same title in George W. Bush’s White House.

 

Hagin’s departure comes as the Trump administration continues to set records for staff turnover. More than 60 percent of those who served in senior positions at the beginning of the administration have exited.

 

No successor has yet been identified.

 

A White House official said that after departing Singapore last week, Trump made a rare appearance in the staff cabin of Air Force One to praise Hagin for organizing the Kim summit and led White House staff in a round of applause for the aide.

 

Hagin was recruited to the Trump White House by former chief of staff Reince Priebus to bring a seasoned hand to a West Wing that had few experienced veterans. He had planned on staying only six months to a year, and considered leaving in the spring, but delayed due to planning for the Singapore summit.

 

Trump, in a statement, said Hagin has been a “huge asset to my administration,” and credited him with planning his Asia trip last year — the longest foreign trip by a U.S. president in a half-century.

 

Chief of Staff John Kelly praised Hagin’s work, saying his “selfless devotion to this nation and the institution of the Presidency is unsurpassed.”

 

Hagin was considered for the No. 2 posts at the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Security, but he decided to leave government service.

 

Hagin’s portfolio includes oversight of the scheduling and advance staffs, as well as the military office — including the replacement projects for Air Force One and Marine One.

 

His last day will be July 6.

 

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White House Deputy Chief of Staff to Leave in July

The White House aide who led the planning for President Donald Trump’s meeting last week with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un has decided to leave the Trump administration to return to the private sector.

 

Joe Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, has served in every Republican White House since the Reagan administration. He held the same title in George W. Bush’s White House.

 

Hagin’s departure comes as the Trump administration continues to set records for staff turnover. More than 60 percent of those who served in senior positions at the beginning of the administration have exited.

 

No successor has yet been identified.

 

A White House official said that after departing Singapore last week, Trump made a rare appearance in the staff cabin of Air Force One to praise Hagin for organizing the Kim summit and led White House staff in a round of applause for the aide.

 

Hagin was recruited to the Trump White House by former chief of staff Reince Priebus to bring a seasoned hand to a West Wing that had few experienced veterans. He had planned on staying only six months to a year, and considered leaving in the spring, but delayed due to planning for the Singapore summit.

 

Trump, in a statement, said Hagin has been a “huge asset to my administration,” and credited him with planning his Asia trip last year — the longest foreign trip by a U.S. president in a half-century.

 

Chief of Staff John Kelly praised Hagin’s work, saying his “selfless devotion to this nation and the institution of the Presidency is unsurpassed.”

 

Hagin was considered for the No. 2 posts at the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Security, but he decided to leave government service.

 

Hagin’s portfolio includes oversight of the scheduling and advance staffs, as well as the military office — including the replacement projects for Air Force One and Marine One.

 

His last day will be July 6.

 

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China Calls Trump Threat of More Tariffs ‘Blackmail’

China calls President Donald Trump’s threat to slap more tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. “extreme pressure and blackmail” and threatens to retaliate.

Beijing reacted Tuesday to Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods “if China refuses to change its practices.”

“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” a presidential statement said late Monday. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

The president has ordered Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify a list of $200 billion in additional Chinese goods subject to a 10 percent tariff — a move that would bring on another round of Chinese penalties on American products.

Trump has already ordered 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products. Those penalties are scheduled to take effect next month and will likely be followed by Chinese countermeasures.

The U.S. has long accused China of stealing U.S. technology secrets, requiring U.S. firms to share intellectual property as a condition for doing business in joint ventures in China. China denies such theft and accuses Washington of “deviating from the consensus reached by both parties.”

The Director of White House National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, told reporters Tuesday the White House has given China every opportunity to change its “aggressive behavior.”

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a summit last year at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. But that meeting and several rounds of trade talks between high-level officials in the past year have not yielded any progress.

“It is important to note here that the actions President Trump has taken are purely defensive in nature. They are designed to defend the crown jewels of American technology from China’s aggressive behavior,” Navarro contended. 

U.S. stock market tumbled on Tuesday following the latest salvos between Washington and Beijing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 1.1 percent at the close of trading and other major indexes posted losses as well. 

But Navarro dismissed concerns about how the administration’s trade policy would affect the financial markets and global economy, saying it will have only a “relatively small effect.” He argued the U.S. steps will ultimately benefit the country and global trading system. 

Navarro did not reveal plans for further trade talks between Washington and Beijing, but added, “our phone lines are open, they have always been open.”

Trump has said he has an excellent relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but has also said “the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.”

He has imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union and is feuding over trade with some of the United States’ closest allies.

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China Calls Trump Threat of More Tariffs ‘Blackmail’

China calls President Donald Trump’s threat to slap more tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. “extreme pressure and blackmail” and threatens to retaliate.

Beijing reacted Tuesday to Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods “if China refuses to change its practices.”

“China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” a presidential statement said late Monday. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”

The president has ordered Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to identify a list of $200 billion in additional Chinese goods subject to a 10 percent tariff — a move that would bring on another round of Chinese penalties on American products.

Trump has already ordered 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese products. Those penalties are scheduled to take effect next month and will likely be followed by Chinese countermeasures.

The U.S. has long accused China of stealing U.S. technology secrets, requiring U.S. firms to share intellectual property as a condition for doing business in joint ventures in China. China denies such theft and accuses Washington of “deviating from the consensus reached by both parties.”

The Director of White House National Trade Council, Peter Navarro, told reporters Tuesday the White House has given China every opportunity to change its “aggressive behavior.”

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a summit last year at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. But that meeting and several rounds of trade talks between high-level officials in the past year have not yielded any progress.

“It is important to note here that the actions President Trump has taken are purely defensive in nature. They are designed to defend the crown jewels of American technology from China’s aggressive behavior,” Navarro contended. 

U.S. stock market tumbled on Tuesday following the latest salvos between Washington and Beijing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 1.1 percent at the close of trading and other major indexes posted losses as well. 

But Navarro dismissed concerns about how the administration’s trade policy would affect the financial markets and global economy, saying it will have only a “relatively small effect.” He argued the U.S. steps will ultimately benefit the country and global trading system. 

Navarro did not reveal plans for further trade talks between Washington and Beijing, but added, “our phone lines are open, they have always been open.”

Trump has said he has an excellent relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping, but has also said “the United States will no longer be taken advantage of on trade by China and other countries in the world.”

He has imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union and is feuding over trade with some of the United States’ closest allies.

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Recording of Screaming Children at Border Released

An audio recording was released Monday depicting children desperately crying and begging for their parents after being separated from them by U.S. immigration authorities at its southwestern border, sparking new outrage against the Trump administration and its new “zero-tolerance policy” towards illegal immigrants.

The nearly eight-minute long recording was released by ProPublica, an independent, investigative news site. ProPublica says an unidentified whistleblower passed on the recording to a civil rights attorney, who gave it to the website.

Among the disturbing sounds heard on the recording was a child identified by ProPublica as a six-year-old girl from El Salvador begging authorities in Spanish to call her aunt to pick her up from the detention center. 

At one point in the audio, a man identified as a Border Patrol agent said in Spanish over the cries of scores of children: “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is an orchestra.”

President Donald Trump defended his administration’s policy of forcibly separating children from parents at the U.S. border with Mexico on Monday, saying “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”

WATCH: Trump on Immigration

​Trump, speaking in the White House East Room during a National Space Council meeting, warned that “what’s happening in Europe … we can’t allow that to happen to the United States – not on my watch.”

Earlier in the day, on the Twitter social media platform, the president inaccurately linked migration in Germany to a rising crime rate. (Actually, the latest German government statistics show reported crimes at the lowest level in 30 years.)

Nearly 2,000 children were sent to mass detention centers or foster care from mid-April to the end of May, according to government officials.

The regular White House briefing was delayed several times Monday amid the furor as officials huddled with Trump in the West Wing.

‘Zero-tolerance’ policy

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders finally introduced Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen by late evening, and she defended the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy that is breaking up families at the southwestern U.S. border.

Nielsen forcefully pushed back at the negative media coverage, asserting that what U.S. authorities are doing is properly enforcing the law.

“What has changed is that we no longer exempt entire classes of people who break the law,” she said.

Asked about critics accusing the administration of using children as “pawns” to demand legislative actions from Congress, the DHS secretary replied, “I say that is a very cowardly response,” adding it is clearly within Congress’ power “to make the laws and change the laws. They should do so.”

Trump’s Republican party controls both chambers in Congress, and the family border policies were set by his administration.

In a tweet displaying photographs of a detention facility, showing children sleeping on mats with foil blankets, Democrat Senator Tim Kaine wrote: “The real Trump Hotel.”

Kaine, a member of a subcommittee on children and families, was his party’s vice presidential nominee on the ticket with Hillary Clinton, which lost to Trump and Mike Pence in 2016. 

Kamala Harris, one of the two Democratic Party senators from California, the most populous state, called Monday for Nielsen’s resignation. 

Harris, mentioned as a likely presidential candidate in 2020, said under Nielsen’s watch “our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border. And she has failed to be accountable and transparent with the American people.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also added her voice to those calling for Nielsen to quit her post.

Both Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in speeches to a law enforcement group in New Orleans earlier on Monday, defended the administration’s stance.

Sessions said that while the Trump administration does not want to separate children from their parents “we cannot and will not encourage people to bring children by giving them blanket immunity from our laws.”

UN rebuke

In a rare rebuke of the United States, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said migrant children should not be separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Children must not be traumatized by being separated from their parents. Family unity must be preserved,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

“This is a manufactured crisis. It is not necessary to separate parents and children to effectively enforce the nation’s immigration laws,” said Doris Meissner, who was commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service for seven years during the Clinton administration.

“Earlier administrations have grappled with comparable issues and their responsibility for enforcing the same laws,” she added. “They have made different choices on how best to enforce the laws because they have understood and recognized that the practices we are witnessing today are at odds with fundamental American values and principles.”

The House of Representatives is preparing for expected votes this week on major changes to U.S. immigration laws. 

Trump is scheduled to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss two competing Republican immigration reform bills.

Sanders on Monday told reporters Trump is willing to sign either bill.

Both would provide legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, make sweeping changes to legal immigration, and boost U.S. border security. However, it is unclear if either will attract enough votes to pass. 

“The degree to which the president seemingly believes and continues to equate immigrants and refugees with crime and danger contributes to heightening fear and opposition to immigration,” Meissner told VOA. “This makes it very difficult for members of Congress to reach agreement on important legislative measures that the country should be taking to manage immigration challenges more effectively.”

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Recording of Screaming Children at Border Released

An audio recording was released Monday depicting children desperately crying and begging for their parents after being separated from them by U.S. immigration authorities at its southwestern border, sparking new outrage against the Trump administration and its new “zero-tolerance policy” towards illegal immigrants.

The nearly eight-minute long recording was released by ProPublica, an independent, investigative news site. ProPublica says an unidentified whistleblower passed on the recording to a civil rights attorney, who gave it to the website.

Among the disturbing sounds heard on the recording was a child identified by ProPublica as a six-year-old girl from El Salvador begging authorities in Spanish to call her aunt to pick her up from the detention center. 

At one point in the audio, a man identified as a Border Patrol agent said in Spanish over the cries of scores of children: “Well, we have an orchestra here. What’s missing is an orchestra.”

President Donald Trump defended his administration’s policy of forcibly separating children from parents at the U.S. border with Mexico on Monday, saying “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility.”

WATCH: Trump on Immigration

​Trump, speaking in the White House East Room during a National Space Council meeting, warned that “what’s happening in Europe … we can’t allow that to happen to the United States – not on my watch.”

Earlier in the day, on the Twitter social media platform, the president inaccurately linked migration in Germany to a rising crime rate. (Actually, the latest German government statistics show reported crimes at the lowest level in 30 years.)

Nearly 2,000 children were sent to mass detention centers or foster care from mid-April to the end of May, according to government officials.

The regular White House briefing was delayed several times Monday amid the furor as officials huddled with Trump in the West Wing.

‘Zero-tolerance’ policy

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders finally introduced Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen by late evening, and she defended the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy that is breaking up families at the southwestern U.S. border.

Nielsen forcefully pushed back at the negative media coverage, asserting that what U.S. authorities are doing is properly enforcing the law.

“What has changed is that we no longer exempt entire classes of people who break the law,” she said.

Asked about critics accusing the administration of using children as “pawns” to demand legislative actions from Congress, the DHS secretary replied, “I say that is a very cowardly response,” adding it is clearly within Congress’ power “to make the laws and change the laws. They should do so.”

Trump’s Republican party controls both chambers in Congress, and the family border policies were set by his administration.

In a tweet displaying photographs of a detention facility, showing children sleeping on mats with foil blankets, Democrat Senator Tim Kaine wrote: “The real Trump Hotel.”

Kaine, a member of a subcommittee on children and families, was his party’s vice presidential nominee on the ticket with Hillary Clinton, which lost to Trump and Mike Pence in 2016. 

Kamala Harris, one of the two Democratic Party senators from California, the most populous state, called Monday for Nielsen’s resignation. 

Harris, mentioned as a likely presidential candidate in 2020, said under Nielsen’s watch “our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border. And she has failed to be accountable and transparent with the American people.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also added her voice to those calling for Nielsen to quit her post.

Both Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in speeches to a law enforcement group in New Orleans earlier on Monday, defended the administration’s stance.

Sessions said that while the Trump administration does not want to separate children from their parents “we cannot and will not encourage people to bring children by giving them blanket immunity from our laws.”

UN rebuke

In a rare rebuke of the United States, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said migrant children should not be separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Children must not be traumatized by being separated from their parents. Family unity must be preserved,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

“This is a manufactured crisis. It is not necessary to separate parents and children to effectively enforce the nation’s immigration laws,” said Doris Meissner, who was commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service for seven years during the Clinton administration.

“Earlier administrations have grappled with comparable issues and their responsibility for enforcing the same laws,” she added. “They have made different choices on how best to enforce the laws because they have understood and recognized that the practices we are witnessing today are at odds with fundamental American values and principles.”

The House of Representatives is preparing for expected votes this week on major changes to U.S. immigration laws. 

Trump is scheduled to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss two competing Republican immigration reform bills.

Sanders on Monday told reporters Trump is willing to sign either bill.

Both would provide legal status to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, make sweeping changes to legal immigration, and boost U.S. border security. However, it is unclear if either will attract enough votes to pass. 

“The degree to which the president seemingly believes and continues to equate immigrants and refugees with crime and danger contributes to heightening fear and opposition to immigration,” Meissner told VOA. “This makes it very difficult for members of Congress to reach agreement on important legislative measures that the country should be taking to manage immigration challenges more effectively.”

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