The former US First Lady Laura Bush has condemned a controversial policy that splits up families who illegally enter the country at the Mexican border.
Writing in the Washington Post newspaper, she describes the separation of children from their parents as cruel, immoral and heart-breaking.
Her comments follow growing controversy over President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
Earlier Melania Trump made a rare statement expressing concern.
Mrs Trump “hates to see children separated from their families”, her spokeswoman said.
An emergency room physician has been suspended after a video of her mocking a patient claiming to be suffering from an anxiety attack was posted to Facebook, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
In the video, Dr. Beth Keegstra, of El Camino Hospital in Los Gatos, is seen doubting Samuel Bardwell’s account of what happened to him, saying, “You are the least sick of all the people who are here, who are dying. So you put your head up. Don’t try to tell me you can’t move. Come on. Sit up.”
She tries to force Bardwell to sit up by pulling at his arm, even though he clearly tells her that he is unable to.
NBC News reports that at around 11 a.m. on Sunday, immigration officials stationed near the town of Big Wells in southwest Texas spotted three SUVs they believed to be smuggling undocumented immigrants. Agents stopped two of the cars, they said, but chased after a third, which was reportedly speeding along Highway 85 at around 100 miles per hour. Border Patrol agents and a local sheriff’s deputy chased the car until it ran off the road, ejecting several passengers.
“Border patrol was pursuing a vehicle, a Chevrolet Suburban, and one of my deputies assisted and took over the pursuit just west of Big Wells,” Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd told ABC News. “The vehicle was traveling around 100 miles per hour and from what we could tell the vehicle ran off the road, caught gravel, then tried to recorrect and that caused the vehicle to turn over several times.”
And even before Sessions announced that the new policy was official, parents were allegedly being separated from their kids at the border, a practice that a federal judge called “brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency”:
Ms. L explained that she wanted to apply for asylum and passed a crucial interview with an asylum officer. She was then taken and held in a detention center in the San Diego area.
Less than a week after arriving at the border, her daughter, called S.S. in court documents, was forcibly taken from her and brought to a detention facility in Chicago for minors who are unaccompanied, the lawsuit states.
“When S.S. was taken away from her mother, she was screaming and crying, pleading with guards not to take her away from her mother. That was the last time Ms. L saw her daughter,” the lawsuit reads.
Almost 2,000 migrant children were separated from their families at the US border over six weeks, officials say.
Following a Trump administration crackdown on illegal border crossings from Mexico, adults are being detained, meaning the children with them are removed from their care.
The issue is causing a growing political storm in the US.
On Monday, local news channel Denver7 reported that a woman in Castle Rock, Colorado was charged with a misdemeanor after protesting outside Republican Congressman Ken Buck’s office, an act of dissent which included writing on the sidewalk in chalk.
The woman in question, Shauna Johnson, was there to speak out against the Trump administration’s monstrous policy of separating children and parents seeking asylum at the United States border. On the sidewalk in front of the congressman’s office, Johnson wrote, “Stop putting kids in cages Ken Buck, love Jesus and a cross.”
Denver 7 reported that it was the building’s management, and not Buck’s office, that called the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department following the incident, resulting in the misdemeanor charge related to scribbling in chalk on private property.
The U.S. government agency that oversees immigration applications is launching an office that will focus on identifying Americans who are suspected of cheating to get their citizenship and seek to strip them of it.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna told The Associated Press in an interview that his agency is hiring several dozen lawyers and immigration officers to review cases of immigrants who were ordered deported and are suspected of using fake identities to later get green cards and citizenship through naturalization.
Cissna said the cases would be referred to the Department of Justice, whose attorneys could then seek to remove the immigrants’ citizenship in civil court proceedings. In some cases, government attorneys could bring criminal charges related to fraud.
The Department of Health and Human Services will visit Fort Bliss, a sprawling Army base near El Paso in the coming weeks to look at a parcel of land where the administration is considering building a tent city to hold between 1,000 and 5,000 children, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the plans.
HHS officials confirmed that they’re looking at the Fort Bliss site along with Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo for potential use as temporary shelters.
“HHS will make the determination if any of the three sites assessed are suitable,” said an HHS official.
During his speech, Sessions recited from a well-rehearsed script, repeating talking points central to the administration’s worldview and subsequent policies. Sessions warned of the “tens of thousands” of undocumented workers crossing American borders, conflating immigrants with criminals. He spoke of the “shootings, stabbings, and beatings,” as well as the rapes and murders committed by MS-13, the Trump administration’s preferred monster. Sessions warned in his speech that the gang was “recruiting illegal aliens as young as 15.” Danger, it seems, lurked in every corner. He warned, too, that the “porous” Southwest border was impacting the rest of the United States, telling law enforcement in the audience that the lack of security at the border “makes your job that much harder.”
After arriving in the U.S., A.B. was permitted to seek asylum, but her case has been tied up in the courts for more than four years. In 2016, the Immigration Board of Appeals ruled in her favor, allowing A.B. the right to asylum in the United States as a victim of domestic violence. On Monday, Sessions overturned the decision, writing that most claims “pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum.”
“The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes—such as domestic violence or gang violence—or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim,” he wrote.