Articles on this Page
- 09/04/17--15:15: _Remembering John As...
- 09/04/17--15:20: _Has Trump been a fr...
- 09/04/17--15:25: _Will the end of DAC...
- 09/04/17--15:35: _Beaumont’s running ...
- 09/04/17--15:40: _As storm victims le...
- 09/04/17--15:45: _News Wrap: Harvey d...
- 09/04/17--15:50: _How does North Kore...
- 09/05/17--06:13: _WATCH: Trump admini...
- 09/05/17--06:28: _Trump to Congress: ...
- 09/05/17--07:00: _Putin says Trump ‘n...
- 09/05/17--07:12: _Harvey aid, debt on...
- 09/05/17--15:15: _Flooded Texas ranch...
- 09/05/17--15:17: _WATCH: Trump says p...
- 09/05/17--15:20: _Houston mayor: ‘Alm...
- 09/05/17--15:25: _How South Koreans a...
- 09/05/17--15:30: _With packed agenda,...
- 09/05/17--15:35: _DACA revoked, what ...
- 09/05/17--15:40: _News Wrap: Houston ...
- 09/05/17--15:45: _What we know about ...
- 09/05/17--15:50: _Trump rescinds DACA...
- 09/04/17--15:20: Has Trump been a friend to workers or just good for business?
- 09/04/17--15:25: Will the end of DACA prod Congress into immigration action?
- 09/04/17--15:45: News Wrap: Harvey death toll rises to 60
- 09/05/17--06:13: WATCH: Trump administration says it will ‘wind down’ DACA
- 09/05/17--06:28: Trump to Congress: ‘Get ready to do your job’ on immigration
- 09/05/17--07:00: Putin says Trump ‘not my bride, and I’m not his groom’
- 09/05/17--07:12: Harvey aid, debt on returning Congress’ daunting to-do list
- 09/05/17--15:15: Flooded Texas ranchers struggle to safeguard stranded herds
- 09/05/17--15:20: Houston mayor: ‘Almost every home’ impacted by Harvey
- 09/05/17--15:30: With packed agenda, can Congress pass immigration reform?
- 09/05/17--15:40: News Wrap: Houston mayor lifts ‘Harvey’ curfew
- 09/05/17--15:50: Trump rescinds DACA, leaving undocumented youth unshielded
JOHN YANG: Finally tonight, we take some time to remember a great writer and a noted musician.
First, John Ashbery, considered one of the country’s most important and influential poets.
He died yesterday in Hudson, New York. He won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, among many other accolades.
Jeffrey Brown profiled him back in 2007. Here’s an excerpt.
JEFFREY BROWN: For much of his life, John Ashbery has been a walker in the city.
JOHN ASHBERY, Poet: I used to have a little recording device I took around with me, so I could record those and other things that occurred to me while I was walking.
JEFFREY BROWN: The words, phrases and sounds he collected often ended up in his poetry, a body of work that has led him to be considered one of the nation’s most important writers of the last half-century.
Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927. As a young man, he and friends like Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch formed what came to be called the New York School of Poetry.
His first book of poems, “Some Trees,” was published in 1956. In 1975, “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” cemented his reputation and earned Ashbery a triple crown, the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and the National Book Critics’ Circle Award.
Now, at age 80, he’s just garnered a rather different and unusual honor, being named as MTV’s first poet laureate.
In all, he’s published more than 30 volumes of poetry, criticism and essays, including, in recent months, a new book of verse, “A Worldly Country,” and a collection of selected later poems called “Notes from the Air,” which includes the poem “This Room.”
JOHN ASHBERY: “The room I entered was a dream of this room. Surely all those feet on the sofa were mine. The oval portrait of a dog was me at an early age. Something shimmers. Something is hushed up. We had macaroni for lunch every day, except Sunday, when a small quail was induced to be served to us. Why do I tell you these things? You are not even here..
JEFFREY BROWN: I talked with John Ashbery recently at his New York apartment.
“Notes From the Air,” now, is that a good description of where words or phrases come from, from the air, in a sense?
JOHN ASHBERY: Yes, I would say that it is. Poetry comes to me out of thin air or out of my unconscious mind. It’s sort of the way dreams come to us and the way that we get knowledge from them, through television, old movies, which I watch a lot of. Lines of dialogue suddenly seem to be part of a poem there.
JEFFREY BROWN: Those “Notes From the Air” that he turns into poems — yes, he still drafts his poetry on an old typewriter — have earned him a reputation for being hard to read. An Ashbery poem often has no clear narrative and a bewildering, if humorous, wordplay.
“We’ll party when the millennium gets closer,” he writes in the poem “Tuesday Evening.” “Meanwhile, I wanted to mention your feet.”
Is it sort of a conversation with yourself going on?
JOHN ASHBERY: Yes.
Very often, not with — maybe not me with myself, but of two personalities in my head who are arguing and sort of ignoring me at the same time.
JEFFREY BROWN: They’re arguing and ignoring you?
JOHN ASHBERY: I sometimes feel that that’s what happens.
JEFFREY BROWN: So you have this reputation for being difficult. Does that bother you?
JOHN ASHBERY: Well, it kind of does, because I think that it precedes my poetry and may discourage people from picking it up and, “Oh, he’s so difficult. I would have to read a book about him before I could appreciate anything that he wrote.”
JEFFREY BROWN: Does a poem have to be understood in the way we normally think of understanding language?
JOHN ASHBERY: Well, I never quite understood about understanding.
My ideas for poetry, in fact, tend to come more from music than they do from poetry or literature.
JEFFREY BROWN: What do you mean by that?
JOHN ASHBERY: One listens to a piece of great music, say, and feels deeply moved by it, and wants to put this feeling into words, but it can’t be put into words. That’s what — the music has already supplied the meaning, and words will just be superfluous after that.
But it’s that kind of verbal meaning that can’t be verbalized that I try to get at in poetry.
JOHN YANG: John Ashbery was 90 years old.
The post Remembering John Ashbery, acclaimed writer who pulled poetry ‘from the air’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JOHN YANG: On this Labor Day, the national holiday that celebrates the contributions of America’s working men and women, President Trump said tweeted: “We are building our future with American hands, American labor, American iron, aluminum and steel.”
Our William Brangham is talk about how President Trump is doing with his pledge to help workers — William.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: That’s right John.
As you well know, the president was elected in no small part because he promise to revitalize jobs in America, especially manufacturing jobs.
So, for a look at how American labor has been doing in the Trump era, I talked earlier today with Steven Greenhouse. He covered the labor movement for The New York Times for many years, and he’s currently writing a book about its past and future.
And I started by asking him how the president, who’s a billionaire real estate developer from Manhattan, had struck such a strong chord with so many blue-collar workers in the election.
STEVEN GREENHOUSE, Contributor, The New York Times: My sense is President Trump was very smart in reading workers’ concerns and anxieties.
He saw that a lot of workers, especially blue-collar workers in the Midwest, were very concerned about stagnant wages, jobs lost to trade, closed factories. And he talked very directly and viscerally to them, saying, I’m going to do something about it. Hillary is not going to do enough about it. We’re going to bring back the jobs. We’re going to get tough with Mexico and China on trade.
And that really resonated with people.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, let’s talk a little bit about his record. The president has been talking about jobs a lot. He touts his record. He talks about the Carrier Corporation example. He talks about coal plants, renegotiating trade deals.
What has his record been on job creation and helping workers?
STEVEN GREENHOUSE: It’s unclear to me that he’s done much concretely to bring back jobs, except he’s been reducing regulations.
And I think that has encouraged many companies. We have seen over the past few months an increase in manufacturing jobs. And economists are wondering, why this big increase? You know, manufacturing jobs were increasing in Obama’s last year. They continue to increase.
The dollar has dropped a good bit since Donald Trump was elected. That encourages our exports. And I do think that Trump has excited a lot of business executives and the so-called animal spirits are flowing. And they’re thinking, let’s invest.
And he also has, you know, in some of the regulations he’s killed, he eliminated, delayed some regulations that help business, but hurt workers. He sought to delay and perhaps kill a regulation that would make overtime pay available to an additional four million workers.
He’s delayed regulations that would protect workers against very dangerous silica dust and beryllium. He’s helping Wall Street firms by delaying and perhaps canceling an Obama regulation that would require investment advisers, Wall Street advisers, to act in the best interest of workers and retirees when they’re handling retirement accounts.
He’s canceled an Obama administration regulation that requires federal contractors to disclose when they violate wage laws and race discrimination laws and sex discrimination laws.
So I think business has been very pleased that he’s eliminating regulations that might make them feel more ready to invest, but on the other hand, some of these moves have really not helped workers.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: As you mentioned, a lot of employers would point to those regulations and say that those are the very things that hinder their ability to create jobs and to grow the economy and to grow the labor pool.
STEVEN GREENHOUSE: There is truth that regulations often create disincentives to investment, but remembering this — President Trump ran on the platform of, I’m going to be a big friend of workers, I’m going to help you out.
And in virtually every regulation that he’s acted on, he’s acted for business and against workers. And he will say, and American business will say, this is good because it’s helping to create jobs.
On the other hand — and President Trump is boasting that, I have created over a million jobs, more than a million jobs have been created since I came into office.
But President Obama’s fans, economists will say, but actually the rate of job growth has been slightly slower under Trump, about 170,000 a month since January, than it was in Obama’s last six months. Now, it’s possible with all these regulations removed that job growth will increase in the next six months, a year, but we will see what happens.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: There is a fair amount of polling out there, including a recent poll by Gallup, and indicates that workers, middle-class workers, feel that they are doing better.
They are comfortable about the jobs that are available. They don’t think they are going to be outsourced. They argue that they are doing better.
Do you think that that optimism is real, and should President Trump get some credit for that?
STEVEN GREENHOUSE: I think President Trump should get some credit. I think Obama should get some credit.
Remember, we had the worst economic recession since the Great Depression in 2007 until 2009. And the economy has really improved slowly, unevenly since 2009. And, you know, the unemployment rate is down to its lowest point in 16 years.
And Donald Trump gets some credit. Obama gets a lot of credit for that. And it’s understandable that workers are feeling pretty good, because, with unemployment so low, finally, finally they’re thinking they have steady jobs.
Wages are finally starting to increase, still way too slowly. Wages just increased just by one-tenth of 1 percent last month. They’re up 2.5 percent over the year, slightly more than the inflation rate. And that’s good.
But, again, economists are wondering, with the unemployment rate so low, you know, why aren’t wages going up more? When all these employers are saying I’m having a hard time finding people to fill jobs, why aren’t they paying more? Why aren’t wages going up more?
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Steven Greenhouse, chronicler of the labor movement, thank you so much.
STEVEN GREENHOUSE: Nice to be here.
The post Has Trump been a friend to workers or just good for business? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JOHN YANG: But first: Congress returns to work this week facing a growing to-do list. Among the new items, Hurricane Harvey relief and immigration.
To talk about this on Politics Monday, we’re joined by Stuart Rothenberg, a longtime political analyst who is senior editor of Inside Elections, and Amy Walter, national editor of The Cook Political Report.
Stu, Amy, thanks for coming in on this Labor Day.
The president is reportedly ready to do something on DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The reports are that he’s going to sunset in six months to give Congress time to do something about it.
Stu, let me start with you. What is at stake in this?
STUART ROTHENBERG, Inside Elections: There’s a lot at stake for different people.
At stake for the president and his supporters who want to see action on immigration and undocumented immigrants, for the Republican Party, which could easily be ripped apart by this discussion, and most importantly, John, for the 800,000 undocumented immigrants who think of the United States as their home.
They haven’t known any other country, any other home. The stakes are highest for them.
AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Yes, I think Stu said it perfectly.
And the real question for Congress is, if there were an easy legislative solution, we would have already been there. This is something that has been going through Congress both during Democratic and Republican administrations. The divide in the Republican Party is fierce and it even cost one member of the House leadership his seat.
Eric Cantor of course lost in 2014 after suggesting that maybe Republicans should do more on immigration reform, deal with some of the dreamers and illegal immigration. So this has the potential where it’s politically popular. You see the polling thing trying that the dreamers are a politically popular group of people, but it’s politically fraught at the same time.
The question now in my mind is what happens now that Congress, if this is true that finally their feet are put to the fire, a lot like with the Affordable Care Act, where Republicans had run for years and years and years saying, this is a terrible thing, we need to get rid of it? Now, once forced to deal with it, it was much more difficult, because parts of the bill were popular.
The same may happen with this DREAM Act, where they have been talking about it for years, we need to do something on illegal immigration, put a hard line down, and yet it’s also a pretty popular program.
JOHN YANG: And Congress not being able — or having trouble with this issue is actually how we got here in the first place, is because Congress couldn’t do it, so President Obama did it by executive action.
AMY WALTER: Right.
STUART ROTHENBERG: Right.
JOHN YANG: Stu, it is popular. The polls show people like this program. Is this going to be an easy lift or a heavy lift?
STUART ROTHENBERG: Really heavy, John.
You’re right. Public opinion seems to be on one side of this issue, but the president and his core supporters seem to be on a different side of this. Now, look, the president can always say, I’m not making a decision on the substance here, there are constitutional issues, the executive wouldn’t be able to do this. I’m just kicking this over to Congress to make them make the decision, which is both reasonable and untrue in some respects.
And that’s this, that Donald Trump already has a history on immigration and the Arpaio pardon, sanctuary cities, Muslim ban, Charlottesville. The administration is already seen as not particularly tolerant and open to immigrants and undocumented immigrants.
And so I think for him to say, well, it’s a constitutional argument, I don’t think that’s going to carry the day with many people. He’s going to be responsible for this policy if Congress cannot act.
JOHN YANG: And, Amy, this adds to a list of things that Congress is already facing. They have now got Harvey relief. They have got to deal with the first vote scheduled for Wednesday. They have got to raise the debt ceiling.
They got to — they’d like to pass a budget. They have got to pass spending bills certainly by — to fund the government. And they have got a tax cut.
AMY WALTER: Right.
So it’s the proactive and reactive part. When — the last time we talked before they went into recess, we thought that it was going to be really just a couple of those things, debt ceiling and government funding, and then to be proactive, to get a tax cut done.
That was really their top priority. We can get these other things sort of out of their way. But then Harvey and immigration on top of it makes the tax reform thing that much more difficult.
When you talk to Republicans, their greatest fear coming into 2018 is that they end 2017 without substantive accomplishments and that they have to go to voters in 2018 with sort of a laundry list of they have passed some bills, but nothing that is particularly substantive, nothing that’s really going to energize their base.
So having to deal with a whole bunch of stuff that they hadn’t planned on doing on top of stuff that is already fraught, that’s going to be a challenge. The one thing though that Republicans do want to do is look as if they are competent. Get these little things out of the way that normally trip them up, like the debt ceiling.
And I don’t mean little, but the things that they should be able to do easily, so that they can get on to the more substantive stuff. That was their number one concern.
STUART ROTHENBERG: One thing. I agree with Amy completely. I would just add one thing.
One thing that we have learned about this president is to expect the unexpected. We are talking now as if in the next few months, we know the precise number of issues and what those issues are.
The president has a habit of tweeting, I have noticed. I don’t know if you have noticed that. He has a habit of tweeting, and creating controversies and issues. So, on top of all this, on top of funding of the government and the debt ceiling and DACA and tax reform, there may be two or three other things that develop because it hits the president’s fancy and creates new problems.
JOHN YANG: Well, and also one of the reactive things is North Korea. How is that going to — this is sort of looming over everything. How is that likely to affect…
AMY WALTER: Right.
To Stu’s point, the tweet about it is something that the members of Congress are going to have to react to and the issue just in general. But I do think this gets to the issue really of the president and how people view him temperamentally and whether his temperament can meet the time. Right?
The concern about North Korea now is we don’t really know what’s happening. There is a whole bunch that we learned about this weekend that is very troubling, and whether the president himself, his personality is one that a whole bunch of folks question whether temperamentally he can do well by this issue.
It’s so dangerous. And every tweet carries added significance. And so I think, as we’re watching where the public goes and where Congress goes, it is watching to see, again, if his temperament and his tone fits the time that we’re in.
STUART ROTHENBERG: And I think that, because of this, there is not the usual rally-around-the-flag effect that we normally see when there is a foreign policy crisis.
AMY WALTER: Yes.
STUART ROTHENBERG: It’s not as if there are a whole bunch of Americans rooting for North Korea. No, that’s not the case. Americans are still rooting for the president, for Congress, for this country, of course.
But there isn’t that natural sense that the president has the temperament, the experience, the competence, the forthrightness that we expect from presidents and that get our loyalty and our allegiance.
And so, the president still needs to earn American voters’ trust. And that’s a problem at this point in the presidency.
JOHN YANG: Stu, we have got to leave it there.
Stu Rothenberg, Amy Walter, Politics Monday, thanks for joining us.
AMY WALTER: You’re welcome.
STUART ROTHENBERG: Thank you.
The post Will the end of DACA prod Congress into immigration action? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JOHN YANG: About 80 miles east of Houston, which is the nation’s fourth largest city, Harvey also battered Beaumont, Texas, population of 120,000.
The city is among the hardest-hit in the state.
For the latest on the situation on the ground, I’m joined now by phone by Beaumont Police Chief James Singletary.
Chief, thanks for joining us.
I have got to ask first about the water situation. Late last week, the water plant shut down because of being swamped by floodwater, and backup pumps went down. What’s the situation now?
JAMES SINGLETARY, Chief, Beaumont Police Department: The water situation now is that we’re getting water slowly but surely back to most of our citizens.
It would be a totally different interview to tell you how that happened. But we had some private industries and working with our water folks and getting it restored. So that in itself is an amazing story. But we’re slowly but surely getting the water restored. It’s going to be a while before we are going to lift the boil water notice right now.
JOHN YANG: So, people, everyone in the town, in the city still has running water now, is that right?
JAMES SINGLETARY: Not everybody. But most of them do. And it is trickling right now in some places. And some of them are, you know, better than others.
JOHN YANG: What about other conditions, Chief? Has the water started to recede yet?
JAMES SINGLETARY: Yes, sir.
The water has started to recede. We have a very big river here next to Beaumont, the Neches River, and it’s starting to recede a little bit. It crested a couple days ago, I think. So, the water is starting to recede.
There are still about 3,000 homes that we have not been able to get to, to see what their situation is. We have done a bunch of flyovers with the drones and helicopters, and, gosh, it’s just — it’s horrific. I have lived here my whole life. I have been a cop for my whole adult life and I have never seen anything like this.
JOHN YANG: Chief, have people been able to get back to their homes? You say the water is going down. Have they been able to get back to their homes yet, or is that still a little bit away?
JAMES SINGLETARY: Yes, that still a bit away.
There are still areas that we can’t even access. And it will be a while before some citizens are able to get back to their homes. And then there’s areas north of us and east of us and even south of us that are in pretty bad shape also, but it’s going to be a while.
This thing has impacted this us, this area for years to come, I’m afraid, in so many different areas.
JOHN YANG: Chief, I have got to ask you. You and your force are not only working this disaster. You are living through it.
I would imagine some of the homes of some of your force have been affected by this. What’s that been like for you, for the men and women of your police department?
JAMES SINGLETARY: Well, that’s another horrible thing that’s happened to our officers and our city workers.
We have had over 130 of our — Beaumont’s first-responders, the firefighters and police officers and emergency personnel that have been adversely affected or had actually significant damage to their home.
And most of these officers — and this is what’s amazing — this is why I love these guys — most of these officers are here working, and they have no idea how bad their homes are destroyed or how badly their homes are damaged. But they’re here working. And, man, it makes you feel great, if you live here in Beaumont, especially if you’re the chief of police.
JOHN YANG: Chief James Singletary of Beaumont, we’re glad to hear thing are getting better. And we appreciate your work, your department’s work. And our thoughts are with you.
JAMES SINGLETARY: You got it. Thank you very much.
JOHN YANG: At the height of Harvey’s fury in Houston, thousands of people sought refuge in the city’s Convention Center. While the numbers have gone down, for those who are still there, the sense of desperation is still high.
Special correspondent Marcia Biggs has our report.
MARCIA BIGGS, Special Correspondent: Its been one of the symbols of the Hurricane Harvey disaster, and the George R. Brown Convention Center is still bustling today.
At its highest point since Harvey made landfall 10 days ago, the center was catering to 10,000 people. Today, only around 1,400 remain as full residents. But those who remain are seemingly some of the most vulnerable.
CHERYL CONLEY, Staying at Shelter: I don’t have no and no family. I mean, if I do, they are just as flooded as well as I am.
MARCIA BIGGS: Cheryl Conley has been here since last Tuesday. She has congestive heart failure and epilepsy and hasn’t been able to reach her landlord, even though she has heard that her apartment is flooded and mold-infested.
How desperate are you to get out of here?
CHERYL CONLEY: On a scale from one to a million, a million. I’m trying to see why FEMA keeps my status pending, pending, pending, when I have a letter right here from the doctor saying that I’m critical care. I have congestive heart failure and seizures. And nobody is doing nothing about it.
MARCIA BIGGS: For now, she says she has nowhere to go.
People like Cheryl are turning to the legion of lawyers set up in the lobby.
Rita Lucido is a private lawyer and activist coordinating the effort. She says the biggest issues today surround filing for benefits and knowing about renter’s rights.
RITA LUCIDO, Volunteer Attorney: Talk to your landlord about getting your belongings out, if anything’s left. Ask them if it’s safe to go in. And you can negotiate with your landlord to transfer your security deposit to another apartment. Those are the kind of really very practical legal answers for folks who are in a precarious situation.
MARCIA BIGGS: But renter’s rights are way beyond the problems some here are facing.
Donna Morrissey is the Red Cross spokesperson.
DONNA MORRISSEY, Spokeswoman, Red Cross: We have a wide array of people with special needs. We have people who are in wheelchairs, people with very serious medical conditions, people who are homeless.
The point to remember is that there are a lot of significant problems that any city has prior to the storm making landfall, and they are going to be here after the storm clears and we’re trying to help rebuild.
MARCIA BIGGS: Cheynna Galvan, homeless for two years, had been living under a bridge. Her local food pantry shut down during the storm and she came to the Convention Center.
CHEYNNA GALVAN, Staying at Shelter: I was very grateful to have this place to come to.
MARCIA BIGGS: How long will you stay?
CHEYNNA GALVAN: Until I can get out on my feet or until they shut this down. And then after that, I don’t know where I will go.
MARCIA BIGGS: So, in a way, this storm gave you a place to go?
CHEYNNA GALVAN: It did. It did give me a place to go to.
MARCIA BIGGS: John, as you can see here behind me here, people have been coming and going all day long.
When I asked the Red Cross how long this shelter is going to be open, I was told there is no set date for closure.
JOHN YANG: So, no end in sight, Marcia.
It’s now been 10 days since Harvey made landfall. What sorts of people are there now?
MARCIA BIGGS: It’s a real mix of people.
You definitely have those who have gone back to their homes, but they are coming back every day for supplies, for medical help, for legal aid. But you also have those residents that are still here that haven’t been able to go home. And for them, it’s a very bleak picture.
They’re homeless. They have got disabilities. These are people that have been struggling since way before the storm and these are issues that have just been compounded. They have been trying to get back on their feet before and they have just been knocked back down.
JOHN YANG: Marcia, the federal officials here in Washington have said that people shouldn’t have feared to go to shelters, people who needed food, water, shelters shouldn’t have worried about an immigration roundup and they said they’d not be asked their immigration status. Are people trusting that?
MARCIA BIGGS: There is a lot of fear.
I spoke to one woman today who lives in an apartment complex. And she was here getting some supplies for people in that building. She told me that there had been some undocumented workers in her apartment complex that had been evicted because they had been unable to pay their rent.
They hadn’t been able to work during the storm. Of course, they are too afraid to come here for supplies, for shelter and for that necessary legal aid. This is an issue that is definitely on the minds of the lawyers who are volunteering here.
Of course, they’re trying to help those immigrants who still have cases pending. And, of course, if they don’t have a home for their summons to appear in court to plead their case, if they can’t receive that summons, then they may be penalized for failure to appear.
JOHN YANG: Marcia Biggs in Houston, thank you very much.
MARCIA BIGGS: Thank you.
The post As storm victims leave shelters for home, the most vulnerable stay behind with nowhere to go appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
JOHN YANG: In the day’s other news: Texas officials have raised the death toll from Hurricane Harvey to 60, as the recovery moves slowly forward, even as parts of Houston remain underwater.
Torrents gushed from a swollen reservoir in a controlled release that forced 4,700 more homes to be evacuated. The top elected official in Harris County, which includes Houston, said the hard work is just beginning.
JUDGE ED EMMETT, Harris County, Texas: Storm’s been dealt with, but if two weeks from now, people still have debris, and they don’t have a sense that it’s going to be picked up, if they don’t have a sense that they’re going to have housing, if they don’t have sense that all levels of government are working together to bring them relief, then all these warm fuzzy feelings we have today are going to be gone.
JOHN YANG: Elsewhere, officials lifted an evacuation order around a wrecked chemical plant outside Houston. And leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives set a vote for Wednesday on a disaster aid bill totaling $7.9 billion.
Meanwhile, Irma grew, Hurricane Irma drew into a dangerous Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 130 miles an hour and still growing. Satellite images today showed the storm’s advance. The governors of Florida and Puerto Rico declared emergencies. The storm is expected to close to the Leeward Islands tomorrow night, before moving toward Puerto Rico and possibly South Florida by the weekend.
Rain and cooler temperatures are helping firefighters in Los Angeles battle the largest blaze in city history. The fire has been burning since Friday and has swept through nearly 6,000 acres. But L.A.’s fire chief says damage to homes has been minimal.
RALPH TERRAZAS, Chief, Los Angeles Fire Department: Our people are tired. I talked to them at length yesterday and last night. They had a good rest period, a large percentage of them, last night, and that’s a good sign. As long as the weather continues to cooperate, I’m very confident and convinced we will be fine.
JOHN YANG: To the north, crews are struggling with fires and high heat. At Yosemite National Park today, high winds pushed a fire into a grove of giant sequoia trees that are 2,700 years old. Officials aren’t sure of the extent of the damage.
Lawmakers and activists are bracing for President Trump to stop shielding 800,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Obama era effort covers people who were brought into the United States illegally as children. It’s widely reported Mr. Trump will announce tomorrow that he’s ending the program in six months. That’s to give Congress time to address the issue.
We will have more later in our Politics Monday segment.
The violence against the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar drew growing condemnation across the Muslim world today. In Russian, Chechnya, tens of thousands of protesters rallied in the capital of Grozny. They demanded an end to the violence.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, hundreds of Muslim women protested in front of Myanmar’s embassy. The Indonesian president urged Myanmar’s leader to act.
PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO, Indonesia (through interpreter): We deplore the violence that occurred in Myanmar. Real action is needed, not just statements and condemnations. The government of Indonesia is committed to continuing to help address the humanitarian crisis, in cooperation with civil society in Indonesia and the international community.
JOHN YANG: Almost 90,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh in just 10 days, fleeing a military crackdown. The government of the largely Buddhist nation says Rohingya insurgents provoked the trouble.
And the electoral commission in Kenya has set October 17 to rerun the presidential election. President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner over opposition leader Raila Odinga in the August 8 vote. Last week, the country’s Supreme Court nullified the results, citing irregularities.
JOHN YANG: North Korea has again seized the world’s attention with a new nuclear blast. The weekend test may move Pyongyang a quantum leap forward in its bid to become a nuclear power, capable of threatening the U.S. mainland. That, in turn, has set off a new diplomatic flurry.
Special correspondent Nick Schifrin reports.
NIKKI HALEY, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: Enough is enough.
NICK SCHIFRIN: For the second time in a week, the Security Council today held an emergency session on North Korea. And U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had slapped the international community in the face.
NIKKI HALEY: His abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war. War is never something the United States wants. We don’t want it now. But our country’s patience is not unlimited.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And for the second time in a week, South Korea today practiced an attack on North Korea. The South Korean military fired missiles it said could target North Korea’s nuclear test sites.
Today, President Trump agreed to help South Korea increase the size of those missiles, sell South Korea more weapons, and South Korea said the U.S. would soon deploy a carrier strike group and long-range bombers. Those military moves provide the U.S. with options that Secretary of Defense James Mattis mentioned yesterday.
JAMES MATTIS, Secretary of Defense: Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response. We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea. But, as I said, we have many options to do so.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But Chinese Ambassador to the U.N. Liu Jieyi said today pressure won’t produce peace.
LIU JIEYI, U.N. Ambassador, China (through interpreter): The parties concerned must strengthen their sense of urgency, make joint efforts together to ease the situation, and restart the dialogue and talks and prevent further deterioration.
NICK SCHIFRIN: In the last few years, North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs have slowly evolved. But this weekend’s test is more than just another step.
JAMES ACTON, Carnegie Endowment For International Peace: I think this is a definitely significant leap in technology. A thermonuclear weapon is not just an evolutionary change.
NICK SCHIFRIN: James Acton is a physicist and co-director of Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program. He says there’s no verification yet of North Korea’s claim it exploded a hydrogen, or thermonuclear, bomb, but it seems that way.
JAMES ACTON: It was a very large explosion, about 100 kilotons. That is certainly consistent with a hydrogen bomb. The day before the test, they released photos of Kim Jong-un standing next to a device that looked like a thermonuclear weapon. And we also know that they have been trying to develop the materials they would need to build a thermonuclear weapon.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Here’s the difference. An atomic bomb splits a uranium or plutonium atom. That’s fission. That split creates more splits, and a chain reaction that creates a nuclear blast. That’s the starting point for a thermonuclear bomb.
The fission explosions create enough energy for hydrogen atoms to fuse together. That’s fusion, and it makes a much more powerful bomb.
JAMES ACTON: A thermonuclear weapon can produce yields that are 10, 100, even 1,000 times bigger than a simple atomic weapon.
NICK SCHIFRIN: This was the size of the impact of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. And this is the size of the impact from this weekend’s North Korean bomb.
JAMES ACTON: The Hiroshima test leveled the center of a city. It killed around about a couple of hundred thousand people. This bomb is five times bigger. That kind of gives you some sense of the enormous explosive scale of the weapon that was detonated.
NICK SCHIFRIN: It’s not clear if North Korea can miniaturize that kind of bomb, so it can be delivered by a ballistic missile. But James Acton says it’s only a matter of time.
JAMES ACTON: If this wasn’t a miniaturized thermonuclear weapon, unfortunately, I have little doubt that North Korea will be able to miniaturize it, will able to do so in fairly short order, and then stick it on the nose cone of a ballistic missile.
NICK SCHIFRIN: A U.S. intelligence official told me today that it’s too early to know exactly the bomb that North Korea detonated, but — quote — “We’re highly confident that this was a test of an advanced nuclear device, and what we have seen so far is not inconsistent with North Korea’s claims.”
So, for more on all this, we get two views.
Bob Gallucci had an extensive career in nuclear arms control, including as the chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea during the Clinton administration. He is a professor at Georgetown University and chair of the U.S. Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. And Balbina Hwang served in the State Department during the George W. Bush administration. She is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University.
And welcome to you both. Thank you very much.
Bob, I will turn to you first.
Are we at a point where we only have two options, either going to war or somehow accepting what seems to be an inevitable march toward a North Korea with the ability to put a thermonuclear weapon on an ICBM?
ROBERT GALLUCCI, Georgetown University: No, we don’t have only two options.
There is, I think, still a possibility. I think Secretary Mattis said there is always the possibility that negotiations might succeed. We might be able to roll back, even eliminate the North Korean threat. It is possible that we will decide, the United States will decide to live with this, to live with deterrence, as we have with the Soviet Union, then Russia and China.
But at this point, there is an awful lot of language being used about how we are not going to tolerate this and not going to put up with it. If one wishes to do something about the capability, certainly there is a military option, and the secretary’s spoken to that, but there’s also a possibility of negotiations.
NICK SCHIFRIN: And, Balbina, do you think that, that there is the possibility of negotiations? There have been negotiations in the past, and we’re at a point where North Korea seems to have at least a very large bomb, if not a thermonuclear weapon.
BALBINA HWANG, Georgetown University: Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily mutually exclusive, either one or the other.
I think it all depends on what we want to achieve with negotiations. And, frankly speaker, while we work on whether negotiations might work or not, to establish our goals, are we trying to completely eliminate all of North Korea’s nuclear weapon programs and future ambitions? That’s a different story than trying to contain or slow town or even freeze or dismantle its existing programs.
NICK SCHIFRIN: I will just pose, ask another question, a follow-up, though.
The U.S. has talked about denuclearizing — denuclearizing the peninsula for a long time, and that just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen, though, right?
BALBINA HWANG: Well, it’s certainly very difficult to, because, how do you negotiate with a party that, first of all, has refused to negotiate, because it won’t put the nuclear weapons on the table? And, secondly, that seems to be the die-hard ambition of this regime.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Bob, can you negotiate with a regime that has a die-hard ambition?
ROBERT GALLUCCI: I recollect doing so a long time in another universe around 1994. We concluded a deal with North Korea that ended what we knew of as their nuclear weapons program.
It was based on plutonium as the fissile material to drive that weapons program. And the facilities that would produce the plutonium and separate it were shut down, closed down for eight years while the deal was in place. And that was their nuclear weapons program.
Now, they, from our perspective at least, cheated on that deal by having secret arrangements with the Pakistanis to bring them another technology for another type of material.
But I would submit to you at this point that the negotiation produced an outcome in which North Korea was without nuclear weapons, when they could have been with nuclear weapons. And the estimate from the intelligence community of the early ’90s was the North could enter the 21st century with roughly 100 nuclear weapons if that deal hadn’t been concluded.
OK, it ultimately fell apart. Agreed. The question is now, can you have another deal? Can you have a deal that sticks? Can we get the transparency we need?
I actually may disagree with my colleague a bit here about whether it is possible to get a deal that denuclearizes the peninsula. I don’t think you can get it in one step. I think you would have a freeze, you would have a cap.
But I think if we don’t have as a declared objective to have a denuclearized Korean Peninsula, then we really undercut the status of our ally South Korea.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Well — OK, sorry. Balbina, you go.
BALBINA HWANG: Well, I completely agree with that.
And I do think that we should never take off denuclearization as the goal. We should remember that it’s actually the two Koreas in 1991 that signed an agreement that said that they both wanted to denuclearize.
So, that principle was in place and that was actually the basis of both what you worked on and then also the six-party talks.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But, Bob, very quickly, how can you negotiate today with that same notion of what you brought back in the ’90s, when North Korea has seemingly a thermonuclear weapon?
ROBERT GALLUCCI: This is not beyond the minds of men and women to figure out.
If the North will come to the table, if the United States will come to the table without preconditions and begin a discussion, then there are ways to dismantle, take apart nuclear weapons programs.
We did that in the case of Iraq some time ago. We had an inspection system and we took apart a pretty sophisticated nuclear weapons program. We certainly can do it in the case of North Korea, if the North Koreans are persuaded that they can achieve their security objectives, achieve their security objectives without nuclear weapons.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Very quickly, I want to ask a question to Balbina about alliances.
I want to read a tweet from President Trump. He uses the word appeasement. He wrote: “South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work. They only understand one thing.”
Sorry about that. We put the wrong tweet up there. “They only understand one thing.”
Is he alienating U.S. allies, Balbina?
BALBINA HWANG: Well, what is really fascinating is that there’s nothing that focuses the minds of allies more than when threats seem to become imminent.
So, it’s very interesting to watch what South Korea is doing and what President Moon is doing. He’s defying expectations, actually. I’m rather surprised by how he’s reacting to all of this. And, in fact, President Moon is showing that he really wants to strengthen the alliance.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Bob, quickly, is President Trump alienating a U.S. ally?
ROBERT GALLUCCI: It’s hard to put clearly the amount of destructive impact, character that the president has accomplished with just the simple characterization of negotiations as appeasement.
He should want to preserve that option. His secretary of defense wants to preserve that option. It may not work. That may not be the solution to this problem, but we don’t want to dismiss it, and we don’t want to politicize it with a word like appeasement.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Bob Gallucci, Ballina — sorry — Balbina Hwang, thank you very much.
BALBINA HWANG: Thank you.
NICK SCHIFRIN: John.
JOHN YANG: Thanks, Nick.
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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration will “wind down” a program protecting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared Tuesday, calling the Obama administration’s program “an unconstitutional exercise of authority.”
The government will stop processing new applications under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S.
But the administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program.
“Societies where the rule of law is treasured are societies that tend to flourish and succeed,” Sessions said.
Trump suggested in an earlier tweet that it would be up to Congress to ultimately decide the fate of those now protected by the program. He tweeted, “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!”
“Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!” Trump added in a second, retweeted message. “The forgotten men & women will no longer be forgotten.”
Sessions’ announcement came the same day as a deadline set by a group of Republican state officials who said they would challenge DACA in court unless the Trump administration rescinded the program.
Many believe the program would not hold up in court.
Trump’s plan to take a harder line on young immigrants unless Congress intervenes threatens to emphasize deep divisions among Republicans who have long struggled with the issue, with one conservative warning of a potential “civil war” within the party. Congressional Republicans have a long history of being unable to act on immigration because of those divisions.
Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report and Stuart Rothenberg of Inside Election join John Yang to discuss the issue.
Trump has spent months wrestling with what to do with DACA, which he slammed during his campaign as illegal “amnesty.” Many of his closest advisers, including Sessions, policy adviser Stephen Miller, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon argue that the program is unconstitutional and have urged Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to end it.
But Trump has repeatedly expressed sympathy for the young people protected by the program, describing the decision as one of the most difficult he’s had to grapple with as president.
“I think the Dreamers are terrific,” Trump said last week, using a term popularized by supporters of the program, which was created in 2012 as a stopgap as the Obama administration pushed unsuccessfully for a broader immigration overhaul in Congress.
All the while, his administration has continued to issue new permits and extensions to immigrants who qualify.
But his approach — essentially kicking the can down the road and letting Congress deal with it— is fraught with uncertainty and political perils that amount, according to one vocal opponent, to “Republican suicide.”
Still other Republicans say they are ready to take the issue on.
“If President Trump makes this decision, we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma,” said Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions will speak on President Donald Trump’s DACA plan at 11 a.m. today. Watch Sessions’ remarks in the player above.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump suggested Tuesday it was up to Congress to ultimately decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants brought into the country illegally as children, tweeting: “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!”
Trump was referring to former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program, which has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S.
The Trump administration was expected to announce termination of the program — but only after giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative solution to protect the immigrants, sometimes known as “dreamers.”
“Make no mistake, we are going to put the interest of AMERICAN CITIZENS FIRST!” Trump added in a second, retweeted message. “The forgotten men & women will no longer be forgotten.”
Trump has no announcement on his Tuesday schedule, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a harsh opponent of the program, scheduled a press briefing on the topic later Tuesday.
Trump’s expected plan to take a hard line on young immigrants unless Congress intervenes threatens to expose deep divides among Republicans who have long struggled with the issue, with one conservative warning of a potential “civil war” within the party. The plan essentially hands a political hot potato to congressional Republicans, who have a long history of failing to act on immigration because of divisions in the party.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., tweeted: “After teasing #Dreamers for months with talk of his ‘great heart,’ @POTUS slams door on them. Some ‘heart’..”
PBS NewsHour’s Lisa Desjardins asked President Donald Trump in February about his plans for the DACA program during a news conference at the White House.
Trump’s decision would come after a long and notably public deliberation. Despite campaigning as an immigration hard-liner, Trump has said he is sympathetic to the plight of the immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and in some cases have no memories of the countries they were born in.
But such an approach — essentially kicking the can down the road and letting Congress deal with it— is fraught with uncertainty and political perils that amount, according to one vocal opponent, to “Republican suicide.”
Still other Republicans say they are ready to take on a topic that has proven a non-starter and career-breaker for decades.
“If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma,” said Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham.
Officials caution that Trump’s plan is not yet finalized, and the president, who has been grappling with the issue for months, has been known to change his mind at the last minute ahead of an announcement. It also remains unclear exactly how a six-month delay would work in practice, including whether the government would continue to process applications under the program, which has given nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the country in the form of two-year, renewable permits.
The Obama administration created the DACA program in 2012 as a stopgap as they pushed unsuccessfully for a broader immigration overhaul in Congress. Many Republicans say they opposed the program on the grounds that it was executive overreach.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and a handful of other Republicans urged Trump last week to hold off on scrapping DACA to give lawmakers time to come up with a legislative fix.
But Congress has repeatedly tried — and failed — to come together on immigration overhaul legislation, and it remains uncertain whether the House would succeed in passing anything on the divisive topic.
One bill addressing the issue that has received the most attention, introduced by Sens. Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would grant permanent legal status to more than 1 million young people who arrived in the United States before they turned 18, passed security checks and met other criteria, including enrolling in college, joining the military or finding jobs.
It’s unclear, however, whether the president would throw his support behind that or any other existing legislation. He could encourage the writing of a new bill — tied, perhaps, to funding for his promised border wall or other concessions like a reduction in legal immigration levels.
But it’s unclear how much political capital the president would want to put on the line given his base’s strong opposition to illegal immigration, his campaign rhetoric blasting DACA as illegal “amnesty” and his reluctance to campaign hard for other priorities, like health care overhaul.
Graham said in a statement Monday that he would support the president if he decided ultimately to go through with the plan as outlined.
“I have always believed DACA was a presidential overreach. However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who — for all practical purposes — know no country other than America,” Graham said in a statement.
Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., agreed, saying that it should be up to Congress, not the White House, to set immigration policy.
“We must confront the nation’s out-of-date immigration policy and finally resolve the issues of strong border enforcement and merit immigration,” he said. “It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally. However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents.”
But Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who believes that DACA is unconstitutional, warned that pushing the decision to Congress would be a big mistake.
“That would cause a great big civil war among the Republicans,” he said last week. “We’ve got enough of never-Trumpers in Congress that are undermining the president’s agenda.”
He added on Twitter late Sunday night: “Ending DACA now gives chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so R Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”
Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Erica Werner contributed to this report.
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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin refrained from criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump at a news conference in China on Tuesday, but said a decision to shutter Russian diplomatic outposts in the U.S. was poorly handled.
Speaking at a news conference during a summit in China on Tuesday, Putin dismissed as “naive” a question about whether he was disappointed in Trump.
In comments carried by Russian news agencies, Putin said Trump is “not my bride, and I’m not his groom.”
Asked how Russia would feel if Trump were impeached, Putin said it would be “absolutely wrong” for Russia to discuss domestic U.S. politics.
Russian officials cheered Trump when he was elected last year, and Putin praised him as someone who wanted to improve ties with Russia. However, further U.S. sanctions on Russia and the U.S. decision to close Russian diplomatic outposts have raised concerns that the two countries remain far apart.
The Trump administration last week ordered the closure of three Russian facilities in the U.S.: The San Francisco consulate and trade missions in New York and Washington. It was the latest in a series of escalating retaliatory measures between the former Cold War foes.
Putin said the U.S. had a right to close consulates but “it was done in such a rude way.”
“It is hard to hold a dialogue with people who mix Austria with Australia,” he continued, an apparent reference to a decade-old gaffe by George W. Bush, who during a 2007 visit to Sydney referred to Austrian troops when he meant Australian troops.
“The American nation, America is truly a great country and a great people if they can tolerate such a big number of people with such a low level of political culture,” Putin said.
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WASHINGTON — Congress ends its five-week summer recess Tuesday as storm-ravaged states clamor for Harvey aid, the Trump administration demands a swift increase in the nation’s borrowing authority, and President Donald Trump’s actions on immigration seem certain to upend the fall agenda.
Lawmakers face a daunting workload and fast-approaching deadlines, including the need to fund the government and increase the United States’ $19.9 trillion debt ceiling by month’s end. A Republican-led Congress with no major legislative achievement in the first seven months of Trump’s presidency also is intent on overhauling the nation’s tax code, hoping for a political win after the failure of repealing and replacing Barack Obama’s health care law.
The immediate focus will be rushing a $7.9 billion disaster relief package to Harvey victims. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin raised the stakes last weekend by calling on Congress to combine the aid with a contentious increase in the nation’s borrowing limit. Conservatives oppose raising the borrowing limit without getting something in exchange, such as deep cuts elsewhere in federal spending.
“The president and I believe that it should be tied to the Harvey funding,” Mnuchin said Sunday. “If Congress appropriates the money, but I don’t have the ability to borrow more money and pay for it, we’re not going to be able to get that money to the state. So, we need to put politics aside.”
The House and Senate are expected to vote quickly on the first $7.9 billion aid installment to help with immediate recovery and rebuilding needs in Houston and beyond. Additional billions will be tucked into a catchall spending bill later in the month that will keep the lights on in government past Sept. 30, when the current budget year ends.
“Somebody who’s just been pulled off their roof doesn’t want to hear about our internecine squabbles and debates over procedure when they’ve lost their homes and are trying to figure out where they’re going to sleep the next night,” said Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa.
Swift action on Harvey will give Congress and Trump the chance to look competent and remind voters that government can be a positive force. GOP lawmakers head into the final quarter of the year desperate to notch accomplishments and make headway on a sweeping tax overhaul, and the majority party is eager for the chance to turn around its dreary track record ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
Trump may toss another tricky issue Congress’ way. The president was expected to announce that he will end protections for young immigrants who were brought into the country illegally as children, but with a six-month delay. The postponement in the formal dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program would be intended to give Congress time to address the issue. But it was unclear whether it could resolve the problem given that it has had several failures in attempts to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
Some Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have urged Trump not to end the program and save nearly 800,000 from the threat of deportation.
Adding to the pile of work, a few important programs are expiring at the end of September and need to be renewed. They include children’s health insurance payments and a national federal flood insurance program that has bipartisan support but continually pays out more than it takes in through premiums.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: So, among the many victims of Hurricane Harvey are farmers and ranchers who live and work just outside the Houston metropolitan area.
Tomeka Weatherspoon of Houston Public Media went to one ranch to learn about the damage and the recovery efforts.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON, Houston Public Media: Thousands of acres drown in a lake of floodwater.
JOHN LOCKE, Cattle Rancher, J.D. Hudgins Ranch: And it was just worse than we ever could have imagined.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: These shots are from last week in Wharton County, Texas, just an hour southwest of Houston, where somewhere around 60,000 cattle are usually roaming ash.
But after weathering record-breaking rainfall in Tropical Storm Harvey, ranchers like John Locke emerged from the storm and were devastated when they couldn’t find their cattle.
JOHN LOCKE: That was my entire livelihood out there. That was our entire herd of cattle. So we went to bed that night thinking there was a good possibility that we had lost everything.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: But they didn’t. A desperate search by helicopter, and they found the missing cattle, hundreds of them, stuck in rainwater and massive spillover from the Colorado River.
JOHN LOCKE: What we didn’t account for is the resiliency of these animals and how smart they are. And we found them in places where we don’t know how they got there, but, basically, they swam to higher ground.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: Rancher Coleman Locke, John’s father, says he’s never seen anything like this flood.
COLEMAN LOCKE, Cattle Rancher, J.D. Hudgins Ranch: Where we’re walking right now, the water would have been about thigh-deep on me, probably at least two-feet-deep here. And you can actually see where the water ran across the road and cut grooves in the gravel. So, this was all totally underwater.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: Now, it does flood in this area from time to time, but between the rain and the river, this time around, it completely disrupted the ranchers’ way of life.
COLEMAN LOCKE: I know my son has been out there in the water for two days at least waist-deep working, trying to either move cows to higher ground or get hay to them and see that they’re OK.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: A big priority right now is just getting to the cattle, so the animals don’t starve. First, the ranchers used airboats, but now at a middle point between flooded and dry, they’re working in hard dirt, pools of dirty water and deep mud.
JOHN LOCKE: We’re on a larger area. We’re dealing with ground that doesn’t support equipment and doesn’t support horses. So, we’re going to try to get this hay out there. I have got about three different ideas of, OK, if this doesn’t work, we are going to do this, and if this doesn’t work, we’re going to do this.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: All of this land should dry fast in the Texas heat, making the task much easier.
But even the cattle are worn out from this whole ordeal. It will be weeks before days on the ranch are back to normal.
JOHN LOCKE: We see this flood about once every 10 to 15 years, which it flooded twice last year. And I would say on a scale of one to 10, a normal flood is a two. This time, we prepared for a six, and what we saw was about a 12.
But every day we go, it gets wetter, and every time the sun comes up, things get a little bit better. And we’re moving in the right direction. We just have to keep holding on.
TOMEKA WEATHERSPOON: For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Tomeka Weatherspoon in Egypt, Texas.
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President Donald Trump says he has a “great love” for the young immigrants protected by the DACA program.
Speaking before a meeting with administration officials and congressional leaders Tuesday, Trump says he has a “great heart” for the young people. He says he hopes “Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.”
The Trump administration announced Tuesday it’s phasing out the program and leaving it to Congress to come up with an alternative. The program has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation.
Trump says he has spoken with members of Congress who “want to be able to do something and do it right.” He adds that he thinks “long-term, it’s going to be the right solution.”
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JUDY WOODRUFF: In Houston today, the cleanup from Harvey continued.
A number of large employers and universities began reopening, but many residents are just beginning to deal with damaged homes, the debris from flooding, and they are applying for assistance.
Special correspondent Marcia Biggs up with the city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, as he was touring through one of those neighborhoods earlier today.
MARCIA BIGGS, Special Correspondent: Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us.
MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, Houston: Yes, certainly.
MARCIA BIGGS: My first question is, we’re 11 days out now.
We drive down these streets, and it’s lawn after lawn after lawn of debris. What’s the scope of Harvey’s damage today?
SYLVESTER TURNER: Almost every home in every community was impacted.
And, literally, this wasn’t just a small rainfall. This was an historic, unprecedented rainfall, where homes didn’t just get one were to inches. They got feet of water in their homes. So, literally, people are emptying out their home, OK?
For every big truck that we’re sending out, we can only probably get the debris from one particular house, one truck, one house. Probably in terms of units that were impacted, it could have been well over 100,000 units.
In some cases, we’re going to be dealing with homes that simply cannot be rehabbed, so to speak. They may have to be rebuilt.
MARCIA BIGGS: And what about the longer road to recovery? We still see areas that are completely underwater. Are we talking months? Are we talking years?
SYLVESTER TURNER: Well, in the city of Houston, there are two areas that are still dealing with flooding waters.
One is Northeast Houston, the Kingwood area, and the waters there are receding. The other area is in West Houston, and that’s because of the release of water from the reservoir by the Corps of Engineers. And they’re starting to lower those releases, the level of releases there.
But those are two areas. With respect to the other parts of the city of Houston, about 95 percent of the city of Houston is dry. Now, separate that from the region, OK, because there are still major, major problems in the region, but in terms of the city of Houston, 95 percent dry. Electricity grid, there are probably about 12,000 homes without power. The wastewater system — I mean, the water system is fine.
MARCIA BIGGS: How long do you plan to continue the controlled releases? And what do you say to the families who feel that their neighborhoods were sacrificed in the greater good of the city?
SYLVESTER TURNER: Well, the reality is, is those reservoirs were put in place decades ago in order to protect everything on the lower end, so to speak.
This was an unprecedented amount of water fall. So, what the Corps of Engineers, what they are saying to us is that they have to build capacity on the west side of the dam. And in order to build that capacity, they’re having these gradual releases over a period of time.
And what their concern is, if there is another storm or hurricane coming, and they don’t build that capacity on the west side of the dam, then it could be catastrophic. So that’s — it’s a balancing, but those decisions are made not by the mayor, not by city council. Those decisions are made by the Corps of Engineers.
MARCIA BIGGS: So, something on the minds of a lot of the people that we have spoken to that were flooded is the level of toxicity and bacteria that was in those floodwaters.
What can you tell us about that?
SYLVESTER TURNER: Well, I think any time you have flooding of this magnitude, and the water is running all over the place, you are going to get contaminants that are coming from all over.
I think that’s just a part of when you have flooding and a lot of that water is stagnant. It’s not constantly running off, but stagnant, staying still. That’s why, you know, I certainly discourage anybody from walking in or playing in this water. It is not safe. It is full of contaminants.
You don’t know what you’re walking in. And then on top of that, you don’t know where you’re walking. There could be manhole covers that are no longer there. So, you have to be very, very careful. There are critters in this water. It’s kind of swampy.
So, it’s just not safe at all for anybody to be walking in the water. It’s not even safe for our first-responders.
MARCIA BIGGS: What is your message to Congress about funding?
SYLVESTER TURNER: Well, you know, to Congress, I would say, this is not a time for party politics. This is a time to vote and vote yes.
The initial request that has been asked by the president, approximately $8 billion, that’s just the first tranche. A lot more is needed. But the people in the affected region need a quick vote. And hopefully that vote will take place this week.
MARCIA BIGGS: How long do you plan on keeping the Convention Center open, and what’s going to happen to those people, some of whom were homeless before this disaster?
SYLVESTER TURNER: And we’re working on a housing plan for them. The Convention Center will probably stay open, let’s say, maybe towards the end of this coming week, no later than the 14th.
We’re putting together a housing plan. The number was at its max 10,000. It’s now right around — the last number I saw this morning was about 1,600.
It’s the hardest population to place. But we’re working on a housing plan for them. For those who were homeless prior, you know, we will look for shelters and other areas. But the goal is not to increase the population of people who are homeless on our streets than existed prior to the storm.
So we’re not going to be pushing people out of the Convention Center and putting them back on the street. Our goal is to place people in housing with a roof over their head, instead of being on the streets lying in the dirt. We don’t want that, and so we’re putting together a plan.
I simply hope that everybody will work with us, so that we can transition them to a better place and in many cases a better place than what they had prior to the storm.
MARCIA BIGGS: And there’s been a lot of discussion of development occurring without any nod to flood concerns. What is your feeling going forward? Are you going to tear down some of those neighborhoods, and how are Houstonians holding up?
SYLVESTER TURNER: Well, number one, let me answer that.
Houstonians have a strong spirit. This is a can-do city. This is a growing city. It’s very dynamic. But, at the same time, let’s take advantage of technology, innovations, be very creative, minimize flooding.
We can’t stop Mother Nature, but we certainly can take definitive steps to mitigate against the risk of flooding. And we’re going to be cognizant of what has happened from this storm and previous storms to try to mitigate future costs down the road.
MARCIA BIGGS: Mr. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us.
SYLVESTER TURNER: No, thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And thank you, Marcia Biggs.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: Two days after North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the war of words and the war games continued today.
But President Trump’s recent statements targeting South Korea have led to growing concerns there.
William Brangham reports.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: South Korean warships conducted live-fire drills off the Korean Peninsula today, the latest show of military force to try and deter North Korea.
The North answered with more defiance. Its envoy called its weekend nuclear test a — quote — “gift package to the U.S.” from his country, which is known officially as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK.
HAN TAE SONG, U. N. Ambassador, North Korea: The U.S. will receive more gift packages from my country as long as it relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK. Pressure or sanctions will never work on my country.
The DPRK will never under any circumstance put its nuclear deterrence on the negotiating table.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a conference in China, also warned against pushing the North Koreans too hard. He said military action could set off a global catastrophe, and that new sanctions won’t help either.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): The use of all types of sanctions in this particular case is useless and inefficient. As I have told one of my colleagues yesterday, they will rather eat grass than abandon this program if they do not feel safe.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Later, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow will consider a U.S. resolution in the U.N. Security Council, provided it focuses on a diplomatic solution.
Meanwhile, President Trump is also putting pressure on South Korea. He’s again threatened to pull out of a five-year-old trade deal with the south, something that a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers today urged against. And over the weekend, the president also pushed them to get tougher, tweeting: “South Korea is finding that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work.”
But that message may be driving a wedge between the two allies.
JEAN LEE, Wilson Center: South Koreans were very preoccupied by the fact that it took 34 hours for President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump to even have a phone conversation after that nuclear test.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Jean Lee ran the Associated Press’s bureau in North Korea and is now a fellow at the Wilson Center in Seoul, South Korea.
JEAN LEE: South Koreans were incredibly offended by that.
To people here, the comments on the approach on that president is taking seem incredibly outdated and offensive. So, I think that that is some of the reaction that I’m getting from younger South Koreans here in Seoul.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: At the White House, though, officials today defended the get-tough approach.
SARAH SANDERS, White House Press Secretary: Now is not the time for us to spend a lot of time focused on talking with North Korea, but putting all measures of pressure that we can, and we’re going to continue through that process.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Meanwhile, there’s talk in South Korea of building up its own conventional arsenal and perhaps even acquiring its own nuclear weapons.
In a new tweet today, President Trump confirmed he’s letting South Korea and Japan buy sophisticated U.S. weapons.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m William Brangham.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: So, DACA now becomes an issue for Congress to decide, adding yet another item in a growing to-do list for lawmakers as they return from their August recess.
John Yang is back with more.
JOHN YANG: Thanks, Judy.
Congress is back, and they’re facing a list of high-stakes tasks, funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, passing Hurricane Harvey aid, and a lot of other things.
To talk about all of this, we’re joined from the Capitol by Erica Werner, congressional correspondent for the Associated Press.
Erica, thanks for joining us.
The president added to this list today. He said he wants Congress to act to protect the dreamers. He says he wants Congress to help them and do it properly.
Now, one of the reasons we’re in this situation is because Congress failed — has failed the pass the DREAM Act.
ERICA WERNER, Associated Press: Right.
JOHN YANG: What are the chances that they’re going to be able to do it now?
ERICA WERNER: Well, that is such a telling observation that you just made, John — and thank you for having me — is the reason that we’re in this position is because of Congress’ failure over many months and really years in 2013 under the Obama presidency to come up with a comprehensive solution on immigration.
There was a bill that passed the Senate, and it just could never go anywhere in the House and kind of died a slow death. So, the idea that immigration, this issue that is really quite toxic politically at this point, is being thrown on to Congress’ agenda, which is already so stacked, is really very surprising.
And whether Congress will be able to get anything done in the next six months, the deadline the administration has set, will remain to be seen, but I think there’s not a huge level of optimism at this point.
JOHN YANG: Well, let’s go through some of the other issues.
Tomorrow, the House is going the take up aid for Harvey relief. What are the prospects for that overall, and are they going to be able to pass it without conservatives pushing for offsets?
ERICA WERNER: Right.
Well, I would say — and this is one of the reasons that immigration action becomes so unlikely, is there is not room for another issue on the front burner.
But to your question on the Harvey aid, there’s the $8 billion, which will pass the House tomorrow, and this is going to be the first kind of tranche, or first down payment of aid to that region, which is going to be many, many billions of dollars more. There aren’t even ballpark figures floating around the Hill at this point as to what that ultimate package will look like.
But the vote tomorrow in the House is likely to be overwhelming to send that to the Senate. At this point, there are not a lot of people pushing for offsets. It should pass easily. Then what happens in the Senate will be another question, because, as you know, there’s a desire among leadership there and the administration to use that Harvey relief package as the vehicle to raise the debt ceiling, something that they need to do by month’s end.
And that’s a very unpalatable vote for a lot of members, so adding it to the Harvey bill could sweeten the pot for some members. But conservatives are already raising a lot of complaints about that prospect.
JOHN YANG: And in the less than a minute we have left, what’s the game plan for funding the government after the current fiscal year ends at the end of the month?
ERICA WERNER: That’s right.
So, the Congress needs to act to fund the government by September 30, or the lights go out and national parks close, et cetera. So, given all of the other issues they have to deal with, the plan for that one is to kick the can down the road into December, pass a stopgap, what’s known as a continuing resolution that continues funding levels at their existing levels through just at some point in early to mid-December, at which point they revisit the issue and have a fight over the border wall, potentially, at that juncture.
JOHN YANG: Erica Werner on the busy month ahead for her and everything — everybody else on Capitol Hill, thanks for joining us.
ERICA WERNER: Thanks so much. Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Now we take a closer look at the president’s decision to rescind DACA, first with Alejandro Mayorkas.
He led the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013, where he oversaw the implementation of then President Obama’s DACA program. He later served as deputy secretary for the Department of Homeland Security.
Alejandro Mayorkas, thank you very much for joining us.
Your reaction to the Trump administration’s move today to rescind the DACA program?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, Former Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: I think it’s a devastating setback, Judy, for the youth in our country, many of whom are dreamers.
And I use the word setback advisably, because I don’t think it’s over. Of course, we all hope that Congress will act. But, more significantly, I have tremendous faith in this community of people and the American public to really push forward their opportunity to realize the American dream.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We have been hearing a lot in the last few days about the dreamers.
Who are these young people? Where do they live, their ages? What are they doing?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: They live across the country.
They came here as children. They must have arrived before their 16th birthday. They are graduates of high school, of colleges, of universities. They provide relief as first-responders in Hurricane Harvey. They have served in our military. They’re part of the tapestry of American life.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And the government, the federal government now has vital information about each and every one of them, is that right, knows how to find them?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: It does.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And there was a lot of discussion at the time the program was enacted in 2012 about whether they were taking a risk when they gave this information to the government. Were they?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: They were indeed.
And there were two things that we did to manage that risk. Number one, we communicated publicly the confidentiality that we would ascribe to the information they provided to us, and also we would deliver success to them, we would provide the deferred action as quickly as possible, so that they would have the documentation guaranteeing their lawful presence in the United States as quickly as possible.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, now we’re told that the Trump administration plans to exercise care in how that information is shared.
But what risks do they face today? What — what — how will their lives change, do you believe, as a result of the rescinding of this program? Of course, we don’t know what Congress is going to do. It could enact — it could move in a number of directions, but what — what do you — what is your sense right now?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: When a recipient of DACA suffers the expiration of the DACA, that individual is no longer lawfully present in the United States.
They are subject to removal, and very importantly to so many of these young people, they will no longer have the opportunity to work lawfully in the United States. And many of them provide for their families and for loved ones and others upon whom they serve.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, that’s if the program is done away with altogether.
What we’re hearing from Congress is that there is a sense that there will be some — certainly some tightening of the program, but that, in general, there is a sentiment to let some version of it continue.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: Well, according to the president’s announcement through his attorney general, it will be incumbent upon the legislature to actually pass laws.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Right.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: And in the absence of any law being passed, the program will end entirely.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And I’m going to be talking to our next guest about this, but what’s your expectation on what Congress will do?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: I’m an optimist by nature, and so I hope they do the right thing and pass some legislation. But that has been the hope for quite a number of years.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What to you, Alejandro Mayorkas, would be the ideal solution for them?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: The ideal solution would, in fact, be the passage of legislation along the lines of the DREAM Act that has been pending over and over again throughout the years that would give them a more permanent solution to their presence here in the United States.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Would it look very much like what is existing now under President Obama’s memorandum? Would it simply be to codify that?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: That would be a start, although I, quite frankly, would hope that it would be even more expansive than that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, what else would you look for?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: Perhaps a greater population of individuals who would qualify in terms of their age. So, one of the limitations on DACA was one had to be under the age of 31 at the time of application, even though one might have been breakthrough to the United States as a 2-year-old decades ago.
And so really the determinative factor should be, how old was one when one came to the United States, as opposed to how old one is now.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But you could see it being a fixed — you would like to see it expanded?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: I would.
JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, we’re going to leave it there.
Alejandro Mayorkas, we thank you very much for being with us.
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: Thank you.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And for a different perspective, Jessica Vaughan joins me now. She’s director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. It’s a research group that favors reducing immigration.
Jessica Vaughan, thank you for being with us again.
Your reaction to the Trump administration move today?
JESSICA VAUGHAN, Center for Immigration Studies: Well, I think it was the responsible thing to do.
What President Trump has done is thrown a lifeline to the people who have DACA now, because this was a program that was facing almost certain sudden death. And so what he’s done is enabled people who have it now to keep it and have some assurance of that. People who have applied for it who are in the pipeline will have their applications adjudicated.
And he’s given Congress time and space to work out a more lasting solution for these individuals. So, this is the start of most likely something that they can — that gives them a little more certainty, if Congress chooses to do it.
JUDY WOODRUFF: What do you think should be done? I just asked Mr. Mayorkas this question? What do you think should be done for these people? What — how should they be treated by the law?
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Well, I think Americans want to see an immigration system that has limits and doesn’t encourage illegal immigration.
I think the best solution would be to offer an amnesty to most of the people who now have DACA, and also with that amnesty some provisions to help mitigate the fiscal costs and also the chain migration implications for the future.
So, that would mean cuts in certain legal immigration programs to go along with a DACA amnesty. I think it would also be a good idea to pass some improvements to enforcement as well. But the key is the balance an amnesty program with cuts in legal immigration that address the fiscal costs and the chain migration implications, which would increase if Congress were to pass an amnesty.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And when you use the term chain migration, you’re talking about a large number of family members coming in together? Is that it?
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Well, it’s — immigrants tend to sponsor more than three additional immigrants who are family members of them.
And they come in categories for siblings of naturalized U.S. citizens, adult sons and daughters of U.S. citizens and parents of U.S. citizens. So, those — that’s how immigration has become so expansive under our current system, which is mostly based on family ties, rather than skills.
So, that’s another thing that Congress could take up if it has the opportunity to do so now, and there’s legislation already on the table sponsored by Senators Cotton and Perdue to do that. And that would make sense to put that together with an amnesty for most of the people who now have DACA.
JUDY WOODRUFF: I know you talk to many of the Republican members of Congress. Do you have a sense at this point if there is a consensus for how they may deal with this, what sort of new law they might write to cover these young people?
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Well, it’s hard to tell, because, of course, there is a spectrum of opinion among Republicans as well.
You have some Republicans who would rather not see any kind of amnesty or legalization program at all, and you have others that want to have an even bigger amnesty program passed. So it will be interesting to watch the debate.
I think that they’re going to come together on this because they now have a deadline, an impetus to act, and we have seen in the past that that’s usually when Congress does act is when it has to.
So now they have got that challenge, and there are some bills, as I have said, that have been introduced on various aspects of the immigration system that they can take up, but I think they need to keep it fairly simple. We don’t want this to morph into a huge, comprehensive bill, because those bills have always failed in the past, because it’s too hard to get consensus. They need to keep it narrowly focused.
JUDY WOODRUFF: But is there an inherent contradiction here, in that you and others argue what President Obama did was unconstitutional, and yet you still would like the see these young people taken care of?
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Well, I think the reasons for taking care of them are political primarily.
I think most people do have sympathy for the fact that these are individuals who didn’t themselves make the choice to come here illegally, and in many cases have lived here much of their lives and grown up here.
And, you know, this is the most sympathetic group of illegal immigrants. And that is why I think people think of them in different terms than a newly arrived illegal immigrant, for example.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, Jessica Vaughan, what should the message be tonight to DACA recipients who are watching and listening? How worried should they be about their own future?
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Well, I don’t think that there should be panic, because it’s clear that there is — even if the program ends, the people who have the work permits and the benefit still have that and are not going to become targets of deportation, unless they do something else to bring themselves to the attention of immigration authorities, such as committing a crime or if it’s discovered that they should never have gotten DACA to begin with, because the rules were really fairly lenient.
And the program was implemented without a lot of controls or verification of people’s claims. So there may be the occasional person who had DACA who becomes subject to removal, but most of them now have their current status assured for at least six months, and some of them for as long as two years.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Jessica Vaughan with the Center for Immigration Studies, thank you.
JESSICA VAUGHAN: Thank you.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the day’s other news: Houston’s mayor lifted most of an overnight curfew imposed during Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, a major pipeline carrying oil from Houston to the East Coast returned to near full operations. Still, whole communities remain underwater, and the governor of Texas warned that it could be days before the flooding ends.
From Russia’s President Vladimir Putin today, a new warning to Washington. He says Moscow could force additional cuts in the number of U.S. diplomats working in Russia. He also threatens to sue the U.S. for seizing Russian diplomatic property. Putin spoke about the tit-for-tat during a summit in China.
He was asked about his feelings now toward President Trump.
PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): As for being disappointed or not disappointed, your question sounds very naive. He is not my bride, and I am not his bride or groom. We both are working for the state. Every country has its own interests. Trump is guided in his activities by the national interests of his country, and I am guided by those of mine.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Putin also warned the U.S. against supplying Ukraine with heavier weapons. He said it would only fuel the existing conflict there with pro-Russian separatists.
The army of the government of Syria says that it’s broken a siege of a key eastern city after three years of ISIS control. Thousands of soldiers and civilians had been encircled in Deir el-Zour since 2014. But government forces fought their way in today. Islamic State forces still hold much of the surrounding province.
International aid groups warned today that they’re being overwhelmed by the wave of Rohingya Muslims pouring out Myanmar. The United Nations Refugee Agency said that at least 123,000 have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in the past 11 days. They tell of brutality at the hands of Myanmar’s army.
DUNIYA KHAN, United Nations Refugee Agency: Some reported that their family members were burnt or shot or slashed to death. During their flight, many fled into the jungles or mountains, and some of them also told us that they have been walking for three days, and they didn’t have anything to eat, other than the rainwater or the water on grounds.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Army officials in mostly Buddhist Myanmar say they’re responding to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.
In Kenya, opposition leader Raila Odinga threatened today to boycott a new presidential election set for October 17. He demanded changes in the electoral process. President Uhuru Kenyatta won the original election in August, but the Kenyan Supreme Court voided the results, citing irregularities.
Wall Street opened today for the first time since North Korea’s nuclear test on Sunday, and stocks reacted badly. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 234 points to close at 21753. The Nasdaq fell 59, and the S&P 500 slipped 18.
And in deep space today, an anniversary. It’s been 40 years since the launch of Voyager 1. The robot explorer blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 1977, and did flybys of Jupiter and Saturn. In 2012, it became the only spacecraft to enter interstellar space. Voyager 2 also launched in 1977 and went on to explore Uranus and Neptune. Both spacecraft are still communicating with Earth from their respective distances of almost 13 billion and 10.5 billion miles away.
JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other major story, Hurricane Irma is now the most powerful storm ever recorded in the open Atlantic Ocean;. It has winds of 185 miles an hour, and it’s closing in on the Northeast Caribbean. That has one forecaster warning that the Leeward Islands are going to get destroyed.
Ed Rappaport is the acting director of the National Hurricane Center. And he joins me from Miami.
Ed Rappaport, the strongest storm ever in the Atlantic, what is known about Irma right now?
ED RAPPAPORT, Acting Director, National Hurricane Center: Well, the winds are at what we would put as a Category 5 level. That’s as high as it goes.
And the concern is that we don’t expect there to be a lot of change in intensity over the next several days as the hurricane moves to the west. And here’s the forecast from the National Hurricane Center. And we have got the center forecast to move across the northeast wind, eastward, ®MD-BO¯Lesser Antilles, and very near the north coast of Puerto Rico, Hispaniola and then Cuba as a Category 4 or perhaps still Category 5 hurricane.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Why are you saying you don’t expect much change in the storm?
ED RAPPAPORT: Well, for one, this is as strong as we have ever seen in that area, so we don’t — the conditions have come together in such a way as to produce this.
But it’s not clear how we could see something even stronger than that. We do see fluctuations at times with storms that are this intense. It may go up a little. It may come down. But, regardless, when it approaches the islands and potentially makes landfall on some of the islands farther to the West, it will be Category 4, Category 5, maybe Category 3.
But the differences are really going to be inconsequential. It’s a potentially devastating hurricane, and with severe impacts from wind, storm surge, and possibly also rainfall.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Ed, we know, right now, it’s in the Caribbean, in the islands, but what about in the United States. What are concerns? What should they be now?
ED RAPPAPORT: Yes, the next 24 hours will be a significant concern for the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
But downstream from that, over the next several days, we’re going to see the hurricane move along the north coast of Cuba, and then likely turn to the north. What we don’t know quite yet is where that turn is going to occur relative to Florida, east coast, west coast, over the state.
So, at this stage, what we’re looking for is impacts on South Florida most likely over the weekend, perhaps beginning on Saturday, with the worst of it to be on Sunday.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Ed Rappaport with another big storm that you’re watching, thank you very much.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s been widely expected, and now it’s confirmed: President Trump is demolishing a pillar of the Obama administration’s immigration policy.
Today’s announcement confirmed the end of a program shielding many young immigrants from deportation.
John Yang begins our coverage.
JOHN YANG: Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the decision to cancel the program was all about the rule of law.
JEFF SESSIONS, Attorney General: The compassionate thing is to end the lawlessness, enforce our laws, and if Congress chooses to make changes in those laws, to do so through the process set forth by our founders.
JOHN YANG: Across the country, young undocumented immigrants who benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, protested. To them, it was personal.
WOMAN: We don’t know what that means for our future. But I do know that we are here right now because we are outraged and that, even without DACA, we won’t go back into the shadows.
JOHN YANG: In a written statement, President Trump sympathized with both sides: “My highest duty is to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. At the same time, I do not favor punishing children for the actions of their parents. DACA recipients are not enforcement priorities unless they are criminals, are involved in criminal activity or are members of a gang.”
Later, the president told reporters he wants to see legislation to continue the policy.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have a love for these people, and hopefully now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly.
JOHN YANG: DACA protects about 790,000 people aged 15 to 36 who illegally entered the United States as children. It allows them to remain in the country and to get work permits. It will be phased out, so most beneficiaries won’t lose their status for six months.
Expiring work permits can be renewed for an additional two years. The looming deadline puts pressure on Congress to act on an issue that has frustrated lawmakers for years. Supporters of the policy say they will need the direct involvement of the president.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: My challenge is to the president is that you talk so glowingly about these, kids help us. Help us in the House. Help us in the Senate. I think you’re a good man. Get involved personally. Work the phones. Try to find a consensus here.
FORMER PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Let’s be clear. This is not amnesty.
JOHN YANG: President Barack Obama established the policy in 2012 through executive action after congressional attempts to pass it failed.
Today, Mr. Obama called the president’s decision “contrary to our spirit and to common sense.”
During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump vowed to overturn DACA and another Obama program that protected undocumented immigrants whose children were U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We will immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties, in which he defied federal law and the Constitution to give amnesty to approximately five million illegal immigrants.
JOHN YANG: Once in the White House, President Trump’s stance softened.
Listen to this exchange with the “NewsHour”‘s Lisa Desjardins:
LISA DESJARDINS: On the DACA program for immigration, what is your plan? Do you plan to continue that program or to end it?
DONALD TRUMP: We’re going to show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject to me, I will tell you.
JOHN YANG: In June, Mr. Trump rescinded the program covering parents, already blocked by a deadlocked Supreme Court, but let DACA remain while he studied the issue.
His answer, it seems, is that it’s up to Congress to fix this problem.
For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.
JUDY WOODRUFF: We will dig deeper into the DACA program after the news summary.
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