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- 01/27/17--12:43: _Column: Silencing t...
- 01/27/17--13:04: _Trump says he suppo...
- 01/27/17--14:45: _Signs from Friday’s...
- 01/27/17--15:00: _Trump suspends refu...
- 01/27/17--20:09: _How is Trump’s immi...
- 01/28/17--06:34: _‘All our hopes and ...
- 01/28/17--07:08: _U.S. suspends immig...
- 01/28/17--08:35: _NASA releases first...
- 01/28/17--09:05: _Trump ban affects a...
- 01/28/17--09:35: _Serena Williams bre...
- 01/28/17--10:16: _France, Germany uni...
- 01/28/17--11:21: _Arizona children co...
- 01/28/17--13:11: _Fallout grows from ...
- 01/28/17--14:44: _Are you affected by...
- 01/28/17--15:17: _Trudeau says Canada...
- 01/28/17--15:21: _Texas on front line...
- 01/28/17--15:26: _Putting Trump’s com...
- 01/28/17--16:00: _Travelers detained ...
- 01/28/17--16:07: _Protests erupt at U...
- 01/29/17--06:32: _Environmentalists p...
- 01/27/17--12:43: Column: Silencing the EPA will make America unhealthy again
- 01/27/17--13:04: Trump says he supports defense secretary’s opposition to torture
- 01/27/17--14:45: Signs from Friday’s March for Life
- 01/27/17--15:00: Trump suspends refugee program to defend U.S. against ‘terrorists’
- Blocks refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days so officials can review the admissions process
- Bans the entry of all Syrians indefinitely
- Puts a hold on visas granted to people from the Muslim-majority nations of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen for at least a month, so U.S. officials can determine what information they need to vet applicants. If countries don’t start providing that information in 60 days, their citizens will be barred entry. Diplomats, NATO visas and U.N. workers are exempt.
- 01/28/17--07:08: U.S. suspends immigration program helping non-Muslim Iranians
- 01/28/17--08:35: NASA releases first results from ‘Year In Space’ twin study
- 01/28/17--09:35: Serena Williams breaks record with 23rd Grand Slam
- 01/28/17--10:16: France, Germany unite in face of Trump refugee ban
- 01/28/17--11:21: Arizona children could lose big under ACA repeal
- 01/28/17--13:11: Fallout grows from Trump’s new immigration crackdown
- 01/28/17--14:44: Are you affected by Trump’s immigration order? Share your story.
- 01/28/17--15:17: Trudeau says Canada will take refugees banned by U.S.
- 01/28/17--15:21: Texas on front lines of NAFTA negotiations
- 01/28/17--15:26: Putting Trump’s comments on Chicago in context
- 01/28/17--16:00: Travelers detained at NYC airport after immigration freeze
- 01/28/17--16:07: Protests erupt at U.S. airports after refugees detained
- 01/29/17--06:32: Environmentalists preparing to battle Trump, GOP in court
In June 2003, a former lobbyist for the petroleum industry edited climate change out of a report on the environment from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Philip Cooney, who served as chair of George W. Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality after serving as a lawyer for the American Petroleum Institute, removed items such as a temperature record for the last 1,000 years showing global warming, mention of a report from the National Academy of Sciences affirming the reality of climate change, and any mention that such changes have “global consequences for human health.”
In fact, Cooney’s edits watered down the report so much that the EPA decided to cut any mention of climate change whatsoever, so as not to have to be forced to deny the science behind global warming. That’s just one example of
We appear to be headed back to those days of suppressing inconvenient facts under the new Trump administration. The EPA is reviewing its communications with the public, and staff were ordered to cease such communications until the review was complete. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pulled out sponsorship for a meeting on climate change and health for February, perhaps a dim echo of Cooney’s edits more than a decade ago.
But climate change should not be a partisan issue. After all, the basic physics of greenhouse gases trapping heat have been known for nearly two centuries. Fossil fuel burning, clearing forests, agriculture and a host of other activities put more greenhouse gases in the air and, as a result, global average temperatures rise. These are facts, not subject to debate, though it is debatable what ought to be done to address global warming, one of a host of environmental challenges still facing the U.S. in the 21st century.
Yet, troublingly, the Trump administration may also take the unprecedented step of removing climate change data — like that 1,000 year temperature record — from EPA websites. Monitoring of air and water quality — like the Keeling Curve that has recorded the steady march upward of carbon dioxide concentrations in the air — may fall by the wayside. The inevitable and perhaps desired outcome of such missing data and monitoring is a decline in enforcement of clean air and clean water.
In fact, Trump’s conception of making America great again may include making America unhealthy for people again. After all, it was unconstrained coal burning that made for the killer smog that struck Donora, Penn.—killing 20 and sickening thousands—in 1948. And it was an unregulated oil industry that helped make the Cuyahoga River burn in 1969.
In the end, physics trumps politics. A molecule of carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels does not care what anyone believes about climate change, it will trap heat for as long as it lingers in the air, which may be up to thousands of years. That extra heat spawns weird weather and rising seas, among other impacts. The soot and smog that come along with burning fossil fuels shorten lives and kill people. No amount of hot air around climate change can obscure those facts.
The post Column: Silencing the EPA will make America unhealthy again appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday that his defense secretary’s opposition to torture would override his own belief that enhanced interrogation “does work,” quietly giving ground after growing public concern about a return to Bush-era use of waterboarding and other especially harsh procedures.
Trump made his comments at a news conference during which he held firm on another controversy — trade and illegal immigration from Mexico. He said he said had a “very good call” with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto earlier in the day but reaffirmed his belief that Mexico has “out-negotiated and beat us to a pulp” on trade — and that would change.
“We’re no longer going to be the country that doesn’t know what it’s doing,” Trump declared.
Speaking later at the Pentagon, after a ceremonial swearing-in for the retired Marine general, Trump says Defense Secretary James Mattis is a “man of total action.”
Since taking office, Trump has signaled a renewed embrace of torture in the fight against Islamic extremism. But he said he would defer to the views of his defense secretary, James Mattis, who has questioned the effectiveness of such practices as waterboarding, which simulates drowning.
“He has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding, or however you want to define it. … I don’t necessarily agree. But I would tell you that he will override because I’m giving him that power. He’s an expert.”
Mattis says Trump has been clear about his commitment to a strong national defense, and told Trump he could “count on us all the way.”
The focus on torture has been renewed since The Associated Press and other news organizations obtained a copy of a draft executive order that signals sweeping changes to U.S. interrogation and detention policy.
The draft order, which the White House said was not official, also would reverse President Barack Obama’s effort to close the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba — a place Trump has said he wants to fill up “with bad dudes.”
The draft orders up recommendations on whether the U.S. should reopen CIA detention facilities outside the United States. Critics said the clandestine sites have marred America’s image on the world stage.
Later in the day, the president traveled to the Pentagon, where he was sign a trio of executive actions, including one to halve the flow of refugees into the United Sates and stop all entries from some majority-Muslim nations. He also was to meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and attend a ceremonial swearing-in for Mattis.
The post Trump says he supports defense secretary’s opposition to torture appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
Thousands of abortion opponents assembled on Friday for their annual march from the National Mall to the steps of the Supreme Court. During the pre-march rally, Vice President Mike Pence addressed the crowd, promising demonstrators that President Donald Trump would appoint a Supreme Court justice who shared their views. “Life is winning in America,” he said.
Here are some of the signs that the protesters carried.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday aimed at reviewing and tightening the procedures for allowing refugees into the United States.
The order reportedly:
The order implements “new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America. We don’t want them here,” President Trump said at the Pentagon after former Gen. James Mattis was officially sworn in as defense secretary.
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people,” he said.
This comes days after Mr. Trump delivered on another campaign promise: an executive order that directs agencies to begin planning and identify funding for a wall along the U.S. Border with Mexico.
The president signed another executive order Friday to rebuild the nation’s armed forces, including plans for new planes, ships and other resources for service members, he said.
When word of the refugee ban came out this week, religious leaders and refugee advocates rallied against the order, saying it goes against America’s history and values.
“At a time when millions of people around the world have fled their homes because of violence, we must remember our country’s proud history: The United States is a beacon of freedom and hope for all people regardless of race, religion or nationality,” said Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive officer of Mercy Corps.
Of all the groups allowed entry into the U.S., refugees are the most scrutinized, said Erol Kekic, who leads the Immigration and Refugee Program at the Church World Service, one of the country’s main refugee resettlement groups.
“We know who they are, where they’re coming from, we have their biometric and security information,” he said. “Our program is very orderly and secure.”
The current refugee screening process takes about 18 to 24 months, according to the State Department, which manages the nine U.S. centers around the world that prepare refugee applications for review.
Has this ever been done before?
According ABC News, the State Department temporarily stopped processing Iraqi refugees for six months in 2011 after the FBI found evidence linking two Iraqis living in Kentucky to bomb-making devices in Iraq. The pause was reportedly aimed at giving the FBI time to fingerprint more bombing equipment.
The State Department press office this week did not confirm the pause in processing in 2011, though a search on its Worldwide Refugee Admissions Processing System showed that Iraqi refugees who already had been processed continued to enter the U.S. that year.
Politico reported on another instance when the State Department suspended the U.S. refugee program for Iraqis: It shut down in 2014 for about a year while Iraqi forces were fighting Islamic State militants. The program reportedly reopened in April 2015.
Will a pause in the process work?
Many think the ban will force some improvements, including House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who co-sponsored legislation in the last Congress that would add the FBI to the U.S. agencies screening refugees. It passed the House but not the Senate.
Currently, the U.S. refugee admissions program involves the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We are a compassionate nation and a country of immigrants,” McCaul said in a statement. “But as we know, terrorists are dead set on using our immigration and refugee programs as a Trojan Horse to attack us. Today, President Trump signed an order to help prevent jihadists from infiltrating the United States. With the stroke of a pen, he is doing more to shut down terrorist pathways into this country than the last administration did in eight years.
“As chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, I will ensure the appropriate steps are taken to tighten immigration and refugee screening. And in the long run, I will work with the White House to make sure the United States remains both a beacon of hope — open to all freedom-loving people — and a nation well-defended against all who wish to do it harm,” McCaul said.
In a series of tweets, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, praised President Trump’s executive order, saying “From San Bernardino to Orlando, it’s clear that jihad is in America. We must destroy it once and for all.”
— Jay Sekulow (@JaySekulow) January 26, 2017
Refugee advocates, however, don’t agree with the president’s approach.
“The United States is the wealthiest country on the planet. The size and strength of its military are unparalleled. Yet by considering denying safe haven to refugees the Trump administration adopts a posture of fear more appropriate for a weak and powerless state,” said Joel Charny, director of Norwegian Refugee Council USA.
“Not only will this order put significant numbers of individuals fleeing conflict and persecution at immediate risk, but also it will harm our relations around the world,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE. “Frontline states, such as Jordan, struggle to keep their borders open to millions of people just trying to survive. Should the U.S. not live up to our humanitarian commitments, we could foreseeably compromise relationships vital to our national interests.”
The National Iranian American Council issued a statement saying it too wanted to help protect America from terror, “but a blanket ban based on national origin does nothing to achieve that objective.”
“Even if this were the right approach,” the statement continued, “it is notable that the list doesn’t include Saudi Arabia and would have done nothing to prevent 9/11 or the other terrorist attacks committed by radical Wahhabi jihadists in the U.S.”
Rather than blocking refugees, the U.S. should direct its energies toward helping address the capacity of terrorist groups to inspire lone-wolf attacks, Kekic said. “It’s not a refugee or migration issue. It’s a fundamental inequality issue that we need to combat together. To try to pin some of the negative or terrorist actions of individuals onto entire groups of people is a dangerous precedent.”
Catholic Relief Services, which “strongly opposes this move,” said in a statement that “a religious test against Muslims today can be a religious test against Christians tomorrow.”
Will the U.S. hit its refugee target?
Until this point, the United States appeared to be on track to fulfilling the Obama administration goal of bringing 110,000 refugees to the U.S. during the current fiscal year, according to a Jan. 20 report from the Pew Research Center.
Since October — the start of the current fiscal year — about 30,000 refugees have entered the U.S., according to the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center.
The previous year, the U.S. resettled nearly 85,000 refugees, 46 percent of whom were Muslim, reported the Pew Research Center.
The Obama administration also raised the goal for admitting Syrian refugees to 10,000. In previous years, it was around 1,500. By the end of the last fiscal year, more than 13,000 Syrians had arrived in the U.S.
We will continue tracking the refugee resettlement issue as it develops.
The post Trump suspends refugee program to defend U.S. against ‘terrorists’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Many citizens of Muslim-majority countries affected by President Donald Trump’s curbs on travel to the United States say they were hardly surprised the restrictions rank among his first orders of business.
The new commander-in-chief had, after all, once called for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslim arrivals, and in his inaugural speech vowed to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” from the face of the earth.
But that doesn’t make news of the clampdown sting any less for those on the receiving end.
“No one is surprised but everyone is disappointed, especially with the height of hope with (Barack) Obama,” said Khalid al-Baih, a 36-year-old political cartoonist from Sudan. He fears new American visa restrictions will now have a knock-on effect. “Whatever America does, the rest of the world follows.”
Shadi Sabbagh, a 40-year-old resident of Syria’s capital, Damascus, who has a sister in the U.S., feels let down too by what he called “unnatural” proposals to restrict the flow of refugees into the U.S.
“America is a nation of immigrants and no one can ever ban immigration,” he said. “What is our fault if some Muslims committed some wrong actions? Should we, as Christians, bear the consequences?”
Abbas al-Bayati, an Iraqi Shiite member of parliament, said the curbs will send the wrong message to Iraqis at a time when Washington is counting on Iraqi forces to battle Islamic State militants in tough close-quarters combat in the northern city of Mosul.
“The United States and Iraq always stressed that they are allies,” al-Bayati said, noting American commitments to support democracy in Iraq. He urged the Trump administration to reconsider its decision “for the good of the two countries.”
Fellow Iraqi lawmaker Majid Chenkali, a Kurdish Sunni, was less diplomatic, saying Iraq should respond with similar visa policies for Americans.
“It should be an eye for an eye,” he said.
Mohammed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Egypt’s former vice president who now lives in self-imposed exile, posted on Twitter: “Will there be an Arab action to make us feel that we have some dignity?”
It was not immediately clear how Trump’s plans would affect Syrians scattered all over the globe.
Close to 5 million Syrians have fled the country’s brutal war since 2011, when an uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule erupted in the country’s south. Most struggle to survive in tough conditions in neighboring countries, and many have relatives who have settled in the U.S.
Trump said during his campaign that he would suspend arrivals from Syria, portraying them as a potential security threat.
George, a 58-year-old businessman in Damascus, whose wife and two daughters fled the war and have been living in the U.S. for five years, said Americans already treat Syrians very badly, and that security measures greeting Syrians at U.S. airports are terrible.
The man, who declined to give his last name for security concerns, said that although he has U.S. residency, he still suffers every time he travels to America. “If the treatment of Syrians gets worse, we will pack our bags and return home.”
Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-nominated “The Salesman,” said she would boycott the Academy Awards to protest Trump’s immigration policies.
“Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist,” she posted on Twitter.
Tehran-based diplomatic analyst Hassan Hanizadeh said Trump’s move will do nothing to improve strained relations between Washington and Tehran, and will only make things more difficult for ordinary Iranians who travel to the U.S. to visit family. There are believed to be more than one million Iranians and Iranian-Americans living in the U.S.
“As expected, Trump has launched aggressive policies against Islamic countries, including Iran,” Hanizadeh said.
On the streets of Tehran, Iranians echoed that sentiment.
“Trump has targeted ordinary Iranians since he cannot do anything against the Iranian government,” said car mechanic Borzou Ahmadi, 35.
Simin Ghaderi, a 43-year-old teacher, said the plan shows a lack of knowledge among American decision-makers.
“Just look at passports of those who were involved in terrorist activities in the U.S. and the west. How many of them were Iranian citizens?” he said.
The 9/11 attacks, for example, were mostly carried out by citizens of Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally and Iran’s regional rival. American citizens were responsible for other recent deadly attacks.
Several prominent mass-casualty terrorist attacks on American soil, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, have been carried out by Sunni militant groups and have not involved Iranian citizens.
The United States has listed Iran a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984 — four years after Washington severed diplomatic relations in the wake of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and storming of the U.S. Embassy. The Islamic Republic backs a number of Middle Eastern militant groups, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas.
But Iran also finds common ground with the U.S. in its opposition to the Islamic State militant group, which views the Shiite sect of Islam that most Iranians follow as heretical.
Mohammad Saghafi, an undergraduate electric engineering student in Tehran Azad University, said he is thinking twice about trying to pursue further education in the U.S. because of the ban.
“I may continue my education in Canada or Germany,” he said. “Their leaders do not react like teenagers, at least.”
For some in the Middle East, the proposed ban won’t change much — either because they had no plans to visit the U.S. or couldn’t get in when they tried.
“I’d rather go somewhere else like Thailand as a tourist than the U.S.,” said Ahmadi, the Iranian mechanic.
Mounir al-Khayat, 31-year-old banker from Syria who was born and raised in Kuwait, said it has always been tough for Syrians to get American visas, even before Trump’s election. He has been refused a tourist visa, as have others he knows.
“I was told that because I am Syrian, the authorities there are not sure if I will return,” he said.
“It has always been there, this travel ban,” he continued. “Trump just made it official.”
Advocacy groups for refugees condemned the order in emotional terms, saying the policy exacerbated the suffering of vulnerable people while abandoning American values.
James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute, who is Christian, said he was especially upset about the exemption for persecuted religious minorities in the order.
“It’s wrongheaded and dangerous in terms of the Middle East,” Zogby said.
Associated Press writers Fay Abuelgasim in Dubai, Albert Aji in Damascus, Syria, Nasser Karimi and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran, Hussain al-Qatari in Kuwait City, Maggie Michael in Cairo and Ahmed Sami in Baghdad contributed to this report.
The post How is Trump’s immigration crackdown seen in Muslim-majority nations? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
AMMAN, Jordan — Syrian refugee Ammar Sawan took his first step toward resettlement in the United States three months ago, submitting to an initial round of security screenings.
His dreams of a better life were crushed when President Donald Trump issued an indefinite ban on displaced Syrians entering the United States.
Sawan said Saturday that he learned of the decision from TV news the night before.
“When we heard of the order, it was like a bolt of lightning, and all our hopes and dreams vanished,” said Sawan, 40.
The upholsterer, who supports his family with odd jobs in the Jordanian capital of Amman, said he was especially disappointed for his four children who he had hoped would get a good education in the U.S.
He and other Syrian refugees in Amman bristled at the idea that they posed a potential security threat, saying they were both shocked and saddened by Trump’s ban.
“We tell the American people that we hope he (Trump) retracts this decision,” said refugee Mayada Sheik, 37. “We are not going out to harm people of other countries.”
In an executive order Friday, Trump suspended all refugee admissions to the U.S. for four months and banned the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely, pending a security review of the admissions program. In a third step, he issued a 90-day ban on all entry to the U.S. from countries with terrorism concerns, including Syria, Iraq and Libya.
Close to 5 million Syrians have fled their homeland since the conflict there erupted in 2011. Millions more are displaced within Syria.
Most refugees have settled in overburdened neighboring countries, including Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where the struggle for survival has become increasingly difficult. Savings have run out, jobs are scarce and poorly paid, while refugee children learn in crowded classrooms and have very limited access to higher education.[Watch Video]
Many refugees say their first choice is to return home as soon as possible. But with the civil war dragging on, that’s not an option and refugees increasingly pursue resettlement to the West because of tough conditions in regional host countries.
International aid agencies harshly criticized Trump’s restrictions imposed on refugees.
The International Rescue Committee said the suspension of the refugee resettlement program was a “harmful and hasty” decision. “America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope,” said IRC President David Miliband.
The group said the U.S. vetting process for refugees is already robust — involving biometric screening and up to 36 months of vetting by 12 to 15 government agencies.
Jan Egeland, the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said Trump’s decision hurts innocents fleeing extremist violence in Syria.
“It will not make America safer,” Egeland told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Norway. “It will make America smaller and meaner. It’s a really sad rupture of a long and proud American bi-partisan tradition that America would be there for those fleeing from terror and for the weak and the vulnerable in the world, which are the refugees.”
The NRC is a leading refugee aid agency, assisting more than 1 million Syrians.
This report was written by Karin Laub of the Associated Press. Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank, contributed to this report.
The post ‘All our hopes and dreams vanished’ — Syrian refugees devastated as Trump bans them appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
VIENNA — Austria has shut its door to about 300 non-Muslim Iranians hoping to use the country as a way station before establishing new homes in the United States, The Associated Press has learned. The action is an early ripple effect of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to clamp down on refugee admissions.
Under a 27-year-old program originally approved by Congress to help Jews in the former Soviet Union, Austria had been serving until recently as a conduit for Iranian Jews, Christians and Baha’i, who were at risk in their home country and eligible to resettle in the United States. Iran has banned the Baha’i religion, which was founded in 1844 by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers.
U.S. officials had been interviewing the candidates in Austria because they cannot do so in Iran. But the United States suspended the so-called “Iranian Lautenberg Program” in recent days, according to Austrian officials, who in turn stopped Iranians from reaching their territory. It’s unclear when the program might restart.
The episode isn’t directly linked to an executive order Trump signed Friday that orders strict new screening for refugees to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the United States. But it reflects the knock-on effects already occurring from his tougher line on immigration and refugees. Similar to how tighter German migration rules had consequences across Europe, Trump’s actions could lead other nations to take a harder look at people wishing to use their territories as transit points.
The net result could be even tougher conditions for people hoping to escape war and persecution for a better life abroad. There are more than 20 million refugees worldwide, according to the United Nations.
Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Thomas Schnoell said the Alpine country acted after “U.S. authorities told us that the onward trip for people to the U.S.A., who received visas from Austrian authorities as part of the program, would be put on hold for now.”
A State Department email sent Tuesday said the Austrian government had “electronically canceled” its visas for applicants who hadn’t yet reached Austria. If they try to reach Austria anyway, they will be permanently blocked from Austria, according to the email, which was obtained by AP.
Schnoell said the move affects about 300 Iranians with visas waiting to enter Austria. He said about 100 of them had been tracked down and informed that they can no longer do so. The search continues for the rest through airline ticket bookings and other means, Schnoell said.
Other officials said a small number of Iranians with such short-term visas already were in Austria. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen with them.
The end of the program, named for former Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, could have broad implications for religious minorities in Iran.
The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society says on its website that ending the U.S.-Austrian partnership “puts people seeking religious freedom in danger and sends the wrong message about the pervasive violations of religious freedom in Iran.”
Trump is expected to pause the flow of all refugees to the U.S. and indefinitely bar those fleeing war-torn Syria. The president’s upcoming order is also expected to suspend issuing visas for people from several predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for at least 30 days, according to a draft executive order obtained by the AP.
Cancellation of the U.S. program could mean Iranians arriving in Austria with temporary visas would seek asylum in Austria. Immigration is a highly sensitive issue throughout Europe, which is struggling to deal with hundreds of thousands of people from Syria, North Africa and beyond.
Austria, a nation of fewer than 9 million people, is already strained by efforts to accommodate and integrate more than 100,000 migrants who have flowed in since 2015.
Caldwell reported from Washington.
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The first results from NASA’s Year in Space brothers are in, and show glimpses of how stressful a trip to Mars could be for the human body.
Astronaut Scott Kelly captivated minds when he departed Earth in March 2015, bound for a yearlong stay at the International Space Station. Part of the excitement surrounded an experiment with his twin brother Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut who stayed on Terra Firma. At this week’s NASA Human Research Program workshop, researchers revealed that the trip created contrasts in their genes’ regular activities.
The data show that the Kelly twins had noticeable differences in gene expression signatures. Gene expression is how information from a gene is copied and used to support cell functions, like producing insulin. But, like a wobbly Xerox machine, the number of copies or the rate of copying can be altered by environmental changes. Shifts in gene expression, for instance, can occur when people change diet or sleep patterns. Scott’s genes showed a much larger change in expression than normal, which makes sense. Going from Earth to space may just be the biggest environmental shift of them all.
Other results showed that DNA methylation decreased in Scott and increased in Mark. Think of DNA methylation like putting a spoiler on a fast car: it’s still a car, but it drives a little differently. This “spoiler” is made of hydrogen and carbon and can change how your genes express themselves. On a broad level, methylation can influence bodily processes such as neural development, aging and carcinogenesis.
Genomic data was taken before, during and after Scott Kelly launched to the ISS aboard a Soyuz rocket in Mar. 2015. He returned in 2016, after spending 340 consecutive days in outer space. A future mission to Mars would take at least 9 months, but a round trip would be 500 days.
Scott’s gene expression and DNA methylation fell back to their pre-flight status shortly after he returned from the space station. What this means exactly is still unclear, but scientists are eager to learn more.
“The greatest importance of the study is to show that we can do it,” says Johns Hopkins geneticist Andrew Feinberg, who was part of the team that performed the study. “I don’t think people realized it would be so easy to do genomics on astronauts in space.”
The results were announced on Jan. 26, and more are due to be released in the coming months. But it’s unclear if all the data will be published. In addition to the sheer amount of information created by the experiment, the twins negotiated rights to examine the information before publication, in case it contains anything sensitive. If it’s too sensitive, the data will remain confidential.
“We’re working with a small number of highly identifiable people here,” said John Charles, the head of NASA’s human research program.
The researchers’ next challenge is discerning which of the recorded changes were related to the rigors of space travel and which ones were not.
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CAIRO — A U.S. federal law enforcement official says any non-U.S. citizen from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen is now barred from entering the United States.
That covers legal permanent residents — green card holders — and visa-holders from those seven countries who are out of the United States after Friday, when President Donald Trump signed an executive order with the temporary ban. They cannot return to the U.S. for 90 days.
The official says there’s an exemption for immigrants and legal permanent residents whose entry is in the U.S. national interest, but it’s unclear how that exemption will be applied.
The official says visa and green card holders already in the U.S. will be allowed to stay.
The official wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the details of how Trump’s order is being put in place and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Customs and Border Protection is notifying airlines about passengers whose visas had been canceled or legal residents scheduled to fly back to the U.S., and the airlines are being told to keep them off those flights.
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Serena Williams just picked up her 23rd Grand Slam title, defeating her “toughest opponent” — her big sister Venus. The 6-4, 6-4 Australian Open win catapulted her in front of 22-Grand Slam winner Steffi Graf, and gave Williams the title for most Grand Slams in the Open era of anyone, male or female.
The victory, following a year in which Serena won one Grand Slam and lost her No. 1 world ranking to Germany’s Angelique Kerber, recaptures her world ranking.
In a post-win ceremony, Serena thanked her sister for always pushing her to be better. “Every time she won her match, I felt obligated to win – I’ve got to win, too. The motivation she gives me, it’s really second to nothing,” she said.
Venus was just as supportive.
“Serena Williams. That’s my little sister, guys,” Venus said. “Your win has always been my win.”
Both Serena and Venus Williams entered the professional tennis circuit in the 1990s. Their tenure has been long, their dominance persistent, and their absences — for injuries and illnesses — brief. They’ve come a long way from training on the public courts in Compton, California, where as kids, they would duck when gunshots rang out.
“Two black girls from Compton probably weren’t supposed to play tennis, let alone be really good at it,” Serena said in the documentary “Venus and Serena.”
And the path forward for the two sisters since hasn’t been without its challenges.
Venus Williams, now ranked 17, was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder, in 2011. She fell out of the top 100 briefly, but has remained an intimidating opponent and one of the great players of the era with seven Grand Slam titles to boast.
Venus, 36, is the oldest player to play in a Grand Slam final. In 2015, Serena became the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam at age 33. Together, the sisters have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles.
“There’s no way I would be at 23 without her; there’s no way I would be at one without her,” Serena said.
The post Serena Williams breaks record with 23rd Grand Slam appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
PARIS — France and Germany formed a united front Saturday in the face of President Donald Trump’s halt in the U.S. refugee program, with the German foreign minister noting that loving thy neighbor forms part of America’s Christian traditions.
After meeting Saturday, the foreign ministers of both nations, Jean-Marc Ayrault and Germany’s Sigmar Gabriel, said they want to meet with Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of state who is still awaiting confirmation.
Ayrault said Trump’s order on Friday that bars all refugees from entering the United States for four months — and those from war-ravaged Syria indefinitely — “can only worry us.”
“We have signed international obligations, so welcoming refugees fleeing war and oppression forms part of our duties,” the French minister said.
“There are many other issues that worry us,” he added. “That is why Sigmar and I also discussed what we are going to do. When our colleague, Tillerson, is officially appointed, we will both contact him.”[Watch Video]
Gabriel — on his first trip abroad since his appointment Friday — said offering refuge to the persecuted and those fleeing death are western values that Europe and the United States share.
“Love thy neighbor is part of this tradition, the act of helping others,” he said. “This unites us, we Westerners. And I think that this remains a common foundation that we share with the United States, one we aim to promote.”
Trump declared the ban necessary to prevent “radical Islamic terrorists” from entering the United States.
The order immediately suspended a program that last year resettled to the U.S. roughly 85,000 people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice.
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Like any college student, Vanessa Ramirez never expected chemotherapy would be part of her busy school schedule.
“I don’t have any history of cancer in my family, so it wasn’t something I was on the lookout for,” Ramirez said, sitting outside the library of her alma mater Arizona State University.
Ramirez was diagnosed with ovarian cancer when she was 23. Now more than a decade later, she’s healthy and so are her children.
“But there’s also emergencies that happen. I have two young kids who are running around. They are rambunctious. I have a daughter who likes to climb trees,” Ramirez said, explaining the priority she places on health insurance.
Overcoming her illness at such a young age, Ramirez doesn’t take health care for granted. And the Affordable Care Act has given her that security. She bought insurance through healthcare.gov, even with her preexisting condition, and her children got covered, too.
“I want them to be able to have health insurance and doctors to monitor them, in case something unfortunate comes up,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s kids are covered through the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is for working families who don’t quite qualify for Medicaid. Arizona’s version is called KidsCare.
Arizona lawmakers froze enrollment back in 2010. And until last year, Arizona was the only state without an active program. But Obamacare helped revive it by covering the entire cost in Arizona and a handful of other states, at least through 2017.
“A lot of people don’t realize that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act could wipe out KidsCare that we just got back,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark with advocacy group the Children’s Action Alliance.
Since Gov. Doug Ducey and the legislature reopened KidsCare last year, enrollment has already surpassed 13,000. But now Naimark worries about the fallout if the ACA is repealed.
“It would be up to the state legislature whether they could invest state dollars to keep it going, or whether the coverage would go away,” Naimark said.
In recent years, Arizona has had one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the country. But Obamacare has begun to change that, bringing coverage to thousands of kids. It was also one of the Republican-led states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA but only after fierce in-fighting about growing federal influence; the same was true for reinstating KidsCare. State law halts or shuts down Medicaid expansion and KidsCare if federal funding dips too low.
“Whenever you take a look at some of these top-down Washington approaches, you really do lard up these insurance policies with a lot of benefits that individuals and families would not go out and buy on their own,” said Naomi Lopez Bauman of the conservative Goldwater Institute. Her organization sued to stop the state’s Medicaid expansion.
One of the proposals favored by Republican leadership is giving states a fixed amount of money, called a block grant, and letting them have more say in who and what they cover. Bauman said with enough flexibility, she believes the state could save money.
“How do you make it easier and better for individuals and families to get the coverage and care that best meets their own needs and preferences?” Bauman said.
But other conservatives say changing how these programs are funded could backfire. Heather Carter is a Republican state representative who voted for Medicaid expansion and for restarting KidsCare.
“What I hope does not happen is that decisions are made nationally that actually penalize us for being efficient and effective,” she said.
Carter says Arizona already has one of the lowest-cost Medicaid programs in the country. And Medicaid officials here caution that block grants could actually shortchange the state because it has a fast growing population and a large share of people living around the poverty line. Less federal funding would most likely force lawmakers to cut back services.
“We will have to make very difficult decisions in Arizona on who will and will not receive coverage,” Carter said.
It would cost Arizona hundreds of millions of dollars to keep everyone on Medicaid covered like they are now. And even Democrats like state Senate Minority Leader Katie Hobbs concede that’s not realistic.
“I don’t see anyone in the state coming forward and saying we will cover this, because don’t have the money to do it,” Hobbs said.
Arizona has more children enrolled in the federal marketplace than almost any other state. Add in Medicaid and KidsCare, and 130,000 kids or more could be at risk of losing their coverage if Congress doesn’t come up with a replacement that includes similar coverage.
This story is part of a partnership that includes KJZZ, NPR and Kaiser Health News. This story was published by Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communication organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. You can view the original report on its website.
WASHINGTON — The fallout grew Saturday from President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown as U.S. legal permanent residents and visa-holders from seven Muslim-majority countries who had left the United States found they could not return for 90 days.
It was a period of limbo for an unknown number of non-American citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen now barred from the country where they were studying or had lived, perhaps for years.
A federal law enforcement official who confirmed the temporary ban said there was an exemption for foreigners whose entry is in the U.S. national interest. It was not immediately clear how that exemption might be applied.
Trump’s order exempts diplomats.
Those already in the U.S. with a visa or green card will be allowed to stay, according to the official, who wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the details of how Trump’s order was being put in place and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Customs and Border Protection was notifying airlines about passengers whose visas had been canceled or legal residents scheduled to fly back to the U.S. Airlines were being told to keep them off those flights.
Trump’s order barred all refugees from entering the U.S. for four months, and indefinitely halted any from Syria. He said the ban was needed to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists.”
The next group of refugees was due to arrive in the U.S. on Monday, but the official said they would not be allowed into the country.
The president’s order immediately suspended for four months a program that last year resettled in the U.S. roughly 85,000 people displaced by war, political oppression, hunger and religious prejudice. An immediately 90-day ban was put in place for all immigration to the U.S. from the seven Muslim majority nations.
Trump’s order singled out Syrians for the most aggressive ban, ordering that anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war, are indefinitely blocked from coming to the U.S.
“We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas,” Trump said as he signed the order at the Pentagon. “We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country and love deeply our people.”[Watch Video]
Trump’s ban on asylum-seekers came down even as Iraqis endangered by work for the United States in their home country were midflight to their hoped-for refuge in the United States. As a result, they and countless other refugees, their families and aid workers scrambled Saturday as Muslim travelers were turned back on arrival at U.S. airports or blocked from boarding flights to America.
Organizations including the International Refugees Assistance Project, which helps former Iraqi translators for the U.S. military and other refugees seeking entry to the United States, and other organizations aiding asylum-seekers, rushed translators and lawyers to airports to try to help U.S.-approved asylum-seekers already on their way to the country as Trump’s ban came down.
Trump said the halt in the refugee program was necessary to give agencies time to develop a stricter screening system. While the order did not spell out what additional steps he wants the departments of Homeland Security and State to take, the president directed officials to review the refugee application and approval process and find any more measures that could prevent those who pose a threat from using the refugee program.
The U.S. may admit refugees on a case-by-case basis during the freeze, and the government will continue to process requests from people claiming religious persecution, “provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country.”
In an interview with CBN News, Trump said persecuted Christians would be given priority in applying for refugee status.
As a candidate, Trump called for a temporary ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. He later shifted his focus to putting in place “extreme vetting” procedures to screen people coming to the U.S. from countries with terrorism ties.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said it would challenge the constitutionality of the executive order.
During the past budget year, the U.S. accepted 84,995 refugees, including 12,587 people from Syria. President Barack Obama had set the refugee limit for this budget year at 110,000.
According to Trump’s executive order, he plans to cut that to 50,000. Refugee processing was suspended in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and restarted months later.
Associated Press writers Ken Thomas in Washington and Ellen Knickmeyer in San Francisco contributed to this report.
The post Fallout grows from Trump’s new immigration crackdown appeared first on PBS NewsHour.
President Donald Trump on Friday announced an executive action that freezes entry to the U.S. for 90 days for anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen, and indefinitely bars Syrian refugees from relocating here.
The policy also applies to U.S. legal permanent residents and visa-holders from those countries, some of whom were traveling at the time of the announcement and will require a case-by-case waiver for re-entry. Trump cited fear of terrorism from the majority-Muslim countries included in the order, which also froze a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.
The announcement on Friday night promptly caused confusion and anger from those affected, including from people who were completing the final stages of the relocation process. An unknown number of refugees and immigrants were detained at U.S. airports on Friday and Saturday as legal advocates rushed to their aid.
We’re asking: Are you or someone you know affected by Trump’s executive action on immigration? We want to know. Submit your story using this form.
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TORONTO – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a message for refugees rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump: Canada will take you.
He also intends to talk to Trump about the success of Canada’s refugee policy.
Trudeau reacted to Trump’s ban of Muslims from certain countries by tweeting Saturday: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”
Trudeau also posted a picture of him greeting a Syrian child at Toronto’s airport in late 2015. Trudeau oversaw the arrival of more than 39,000 Syrian refugees soon after he was elected.
There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.
A spokeswoman for Trudeau said Trudeau has a message for Trump.
“The Prime Minister is looking forward to discussing the successes of Canada’s immigration and refugee policy with the President when they next speak,” Trudeau spokeswoman Kate Purchase told The Associated Press.
Trudeau is expected to the visit the White House soon.
The prime minister has refrained from criticizing Trump to avoid offending the new president. More than 75 percent of Canada’s exports go to the U.S.
Toronto Mayor John Tory also weighed in, noting that the city is the most diverse in the world.
“We understand that as Canadians we are almost all immigrants, and that no one should be excluded on the basis of their ethnicity or nationality,” Tory said in a statement.
Trump signed a sweeping executive order Friday that he billed as a necessary step to stop “radical Islamic terrorists” from coming to the U.S. Included is a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
Trump’s order singled out Syrians for the most aggressive ban, ordering that anyone from that country, including those fleeing civil war, are indefinitely blocked from coming to the United States.
The Syrian refugee crisis became a major issue in Canada’s election in late 2015 because of the haunting image of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach. The boy had relatives in Canada.
Trudeau’s tweet quickly received more than 150,000 likes. “Welcome to Canada” trended in Canada.
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PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND, LISA DESAI: At Precision Mold and Tool, this is business as usual.
This company in San Antonio, Texas, creates plastic parts and molds for industries in the United States and around the world. Domingo Auces is the Vice President of Operations.
You know, parts like you don’t notice and use every day like the remote control that you use for your TV, the buttons on your laptop, the buttons on your shirt..
With sales topping 12 million dollars last year, Precision Mold and Tool is one of many small businesses that make Texas the number one state for foreign exports.
The Lone Star state depends heavily on The North American Free Trade agreement, or NAFTA, signed in San Antonio by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
The agreement allows goods and services to move more freely — without tariffs — across the borders of the U-S, Canada, and Mexico. The benefits promised to Americans were economic growth, access to cheaper products, and more American jobs.
According to the Census Bureau, since NAFTA took effect, U-S trade with Canada and Mexico has grown steadily and tripled by 2015 to a trillion dollars a year. And a 2014 study by the U-S Chamber of Commerce, shows that nearly 5 million American jobs — including 350-thousand in Texas — are supported by increased trade from NAFTA.
Auces’ company is among those that reaped these benefits. It started in 1985 with just two workers in a garage. Today, more than 60 workers are employed at three factories — two in Texas and one in Mexico.
DOMINGO AUCES: The whole NAFTA, you know the way it’s set up it allows us to have that free flow and just to enter and leave the country with a lot of ease.
DESAI: Reynosa, Mexico, has attracted companies from the U-S and around the world taking advantage of lower labor costs. It’s become a booming manufacturing hub producing everything from cars to electronics. This growth has allowed Auces to expand his business by selling molds directly to the flock of new companies based on the Mexican side of the border.
What’s the benefit of having a presence in Mexico?
AUCES: You can find other companies that do what we do or similar services, but they
might be located on the other side of the country where we are located right next to the majority
of our clients.
DESAI: Without NAFTA, would your business be able to stay competitive?
AUCES: I don’t think we would have been as successful as we have been.
DESAI: 150 miles from San Antonio, Laredo, Texas, is the border town at the epicenter of this growth. It’s home to the World Trade Bridge, which 14 thousand trucks cross every day from both sides of the border. They carried over 160 billion dollars worth of goods last year — according to the Texas Center on Border and Economic Development at Texas A&M University. That’s nearly a third of all trade between the U-S and Mexico.
I-B-C Bank, headquartered in Laredo, finances real estate deals boosted by free trade — like these warehouses that distribute goods that travel across the border.
Dennis Nixon is the bank’s CEO.
DENNIS NIXON: Laredo was pretty much a small town that was formed as kind of frontier city, I guess you would describe it. And then when NAFTA came to play, that just sort of exploded.
DESAI: Nixon says the state’s economic growth could come to a standstill if the U-S were to significantly rollback NAFTA.
NIXON: The people who say we should stop these trade agreements, that would be the beginning of the end for us, and we’ll push. Texas cannot survive without Mexico, it’s our largest trading partner. It would put Texas in a recession — immediately — and it would frankly destroy Laredo, Texas. We would not exist without trade.
With views like that, it might surprise you to learn that Nixon was the Texas finance chairman for the Trump presidential campaign.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: NAFTA has been a terrible deal, a total disaster for the United States from its inception.
DESAI: Nixon has tried to tell Mister Trump, in his opinion, why rolling back NAFTA could do more harm than good.
NIXON: My message to the Trump administration is, I’ve been saying all along,is reach out to people who really live and understand the complications of trade and how they affect the lives of everyday Americans and what it does to our nation and our economy. So this has to have a holistic process to it. The old story if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Many people would argue that this trade agreement is not broken. I’m one of those.
DESAI: Congressman Will Hurd’s district, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso, covers 820 miles of the U-S Mexico border — more than any other district in the nation.
Hurd is a Republican who supported Trump, but he’s concerned about how the president may rollback NAFTA or impose an import tax on companies that manufacture products in Mexico and sell them in the U-S.
That could affect one of the biggest employers in his district, Toyota, which has more than 3 thousand workers in San Antonio churning out pickup trucks…with some parts made in Mexico.
REP. WILL HURD: There is uncertainty and uncertainty in the business world is not something that you want. But I think people are also, they recognize they opportunities that we have, and I think people are ready to start having negotiations on what does a future NAFTA look like?
DESAI: Congressman Hurd has his own ideas for modifying NAFTA — by making border crossings more efficient and simplifying the customs process, lowering barriers to U.S. agricultural exports, and decreasing regulation in the oil and natural gas trade.
HURD: If we’re able to upgrade NAFTA and improve the export markets for American businesses, that helps everybody. That puts more people to work, that increases wages, that helps people move up the economic ladder. So a proper negotiation achievement, achieving a NAFTA 2.0, it’s going to be great for American businesses.
DESAI: Bob Cash didn’t support President Trump but agrees that NAFTA needs to be renegotiated. Cash heads the Texas Fair Trade Coalition, an advocacy group for workers rights and fair trade deals.
Trade agreements and the way they’ve always been sold to us is that it’s going to be a win-win situation. // And the fact is that they have turned, they are win-win agreements but they pretty much win-win for the economic elite //And working class folks have really got the short end.
Cash says NAFTA needs new rules for fairer wages and better labor standards to make sure that American workers aren’t left behind.
BOB CASH: Only a trade deal that’s really based on increasing living standards, not profits necessarily, or super profits of corporations but based on increasing living standards in all three countries has really the chance of delivering the promises that NAFTA made and never delivered.
DESAI: Cesar Mendez is a casualty of NAFTA. He was one of 500 employees who lost their jobs at a wheel manufacturing plant in Arkansas, when the company moved its operation to Chihuahua, Mexico, in 2014.
CESAR MENDEZ: You’re losing your job. I was with the company for about 7 to 8 years. I had settled myself down with the company,with the job I had, so I felt terrible.
Mendez moved to San Antonio in search of new work and to upgrade his skills. His classes are paid for by the Trade Adjustment Assistance program, a U-S Department of Labor program that gives benefits to Americans who’ve lost their jobs because of free trade deals. More than 700-thousand qualified because of NAFTA.
MENDEZ: Once I did my research, I saw that San Antonio is really big in manufacturing and I would have a better chance once I graduate within me getting a job, finding something in my field and my degree. It would be a lot easier than if I were to stay in Arkansas.
DESAI: Automation is another factor causing the decline in the number of manufacturing jobs. Precision Mold and Tool is increasingly reliant on machines that can run around the clock, instead of shift workers.
DOMINGO AUCES: Most people their biggest complaint about NAFTA is that well with NAFTA there went our jobs. And the way we’ve always look at it is that you know, we look ahead. There are some jobs that over time they are going to go away.
DESAI: How has automation really changed your operation?
AUCES: Oh, it’s really revolutionized just the ease of how we do our daily operations. Now we have one person that’s running multiple machines and then he’s able to walk away from it without any interruption,
With the start of NAFTA’s renegotiation imminent, Texas business leaders like banker Dennis Nixon hope the White House hears their message.
DESAI: Are you worried about the future of NAFTA?
NIXON: I mean, maybe, worried it, It’s too big — worried. I think that the pure reality of NAFTA is going to show the benefits of NAFTA and the consequences of dismantling NAFTA would be catastrophic to all three countries. So this thing has such a massively interconnected damaging process we try to take it apart. It’s almost like humpty dumpty, you know, we can’t put it back together again.
ALISON STEWART, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: The executive order does not restrict immigration from any of the top ten countries listed by the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee in 2015 as suppliers of militants fighting for ISIS, nor does it restrict travel from countries that have been primary sources for al Qaeda operatives, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.
“New York Times” reporter Nicholas Kulish is covering this story and joins me from JFK airport where he’s been since 2:00 a.m. to talk about it and the wider implications of the new Trump policy.
Nick, can you give us a little more information about Mr. Darweesh?
NICHOLAS KULISH, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Sure, he worked for about 10 years for the United States Army, and the United States government in Iraq. He thought that he was coming here for, you know, an easy trip with his visa to get into this country with his wife and his three children. Instead, he watched his family enter the United States while he remained detained overnight here at the JFK airport.
STEWART: And we should point out, there’s been a protest going on. That’s what’s happening behind you, right?
KULISH: There’s a pretty sizable protest going on behind me. It’s — you know, it’s funny. It was completely empty and silent, just a couple of lawyers working on briefs and motions here overnight. And now, you can hear behind me hundreds and hundreds of people protesting in favor of immigrants.
STEWART: And in terms of the legal aspect of this, what happens going forward for Mr. Darweesh, and there is another Iraqi man there, too, who has been detained?
KULISH: Yes, there is another Iraqi national hero who is hoping to join his wife and child in Texas, but he remains in detention, as do at least another 10 people. But no one really knows for sure how many would be immigrants and refugees are spread throughout JFK airport’s various terminals.
STEWART: It seems like it’s been a very confusing day at airports across the country. Have you spoken to anyone at TSA or Homeland Security or any officials who have told you about what they know and what the process is going to be?
KULISH: It feels as though as if there almost isn’t a process, as though the individual people trying to process and deal with the executive orders aren’t sure exactly how to interpret them. Some people think that it applies to green cardholders. Other people think that it only applies to refugees.
So, there’s a lot of — a lot of chaos, a lot of uncertainty. And I think that that leads to longer detention times, even for people who — who probably have a right to be in the country.
STEWART: There have been reports of American businesses calling people back. Google, one report says, has out 100 people who are traveling abroad who might be affected by this order. What other institutions are having issues, or potential issues?
KULISH: Well, certainly, we’ve heard that educational institutions are having a serious problem with undergraduates, graduate students, even faculty members who are unable to come back after the winter break. And, you know, but I think the biggest issue are really for families, for people who maybe in Iraq sold their homes, sold their cars, and are now trapped either here or in a third country with no certainty as to where they’ll end up.
STEWART: Nick Kulish from the “New York Times” — thank you so much for taking the time to join us.
KULISH: Thanks for having me.
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Several hundred protesters congregated at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday to demonstrate against President Donald Trump’s executive order to halt immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. and indefinitely ban Syrian refugees.
The crowd of protesters grew throughout the afternoon after The New York Times reported that people were detained at the airport upon their arrival to the U.S. after the order was issued. One of the detainees, Hameed Khalid Darweesh of Iraq, received a waiver to enter the country on Saturday.
Murad Awawdeh, director of political engagement for the advocacy group New York Immigration Coalition, told the NewsHour that he decided to issue a call-out on social media for protesters to meet at JFK’s Terminal 4 after the news first broke Friday night that at least two individuals were being held there.
By Saturday morning, reports said that 12 people were being held by federal authorities, though Awawdeh remained optimistic.
“Apparently it’s working because one person was already released,” Awawdeh said of the demonstration early Saturday afternoon, also noting that he was receiving updates from attorneys who were working to release the rest of the detainees. “When all the people get out we’ll leave.”
More than a dozen protests against the president’s executive order were also planned or underway on Saturday across the country in Miami, Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, Houston and other cities. Other protests were planned for Sunday.
Trump signed an executive order on Friday afternoon that bans all refugees and visa holders from seven countries from entering the U.S for 90 days and suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days. The order affects citizens of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Syrian refugees, who have fled the war-torn country by the millions after a nearly six-year civil war, are banned for an indeterminate amount of time.
The demonstrators held signs and chanted slogans throughout the day. One of the protesters, Thomas Beard, 32, a curator living in New York City, said it was “the Muslim ban” that drew him out in frigid temperatures to demonstrate.
“It’s completely unconscionable and I wanted to add my voice to the dissent,” he said of the president’s executive order, also noting he attended inauguration protests and the Women’s March last week in Washington, D.C.
Amir Bar-Lav, a 44-year-old documentary filmmaker, was attending the demonstration with his wife and three children.
“Anyone who believes in the Constitution should be here,” he said. “I am the son of an immigrant. My kids are the great-grand children of refugees.”
Estelle Davis, 39, of New York City, said she decided to attend the demonstration because she believes in the ideals of the U.S. Constitution and was upset that some of the individuals who may be banned from entry into the U.S. had helped the U.S. military during the war in Iraq.
“The first law in the U.S. is you cannot discriminate against religion,” she said. “I believe in this country, I believe in the ideals that this country stands for.”
Emily Gadd, 45, who works in Manhattan, said the decision to ban immigrants and refugees from certain countries following a week of contentious decision by Trump “has reach a level of absurdity.”
“We cannot shut our doors,” she said. “All of our elected officials know this illegal. This is the essence of our country.”
Zak Foster, 36, a public school teacher in Brooklyn, said the parents of some of the students he teaches entered the country illegally and might be threatened by some of the policies Trump has proposed.
“What brought me here today is thinking about my students,” he said. “Some who are undocumented.”
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CHICAGO — The night before Donald Trump’s inauguration, five environmental lawyers filed a federal court brief defending an Obama administration clean-water rule that the new president and his Republican allies have targeted for elimination, considering it burdensome to landowners.
The move served as a warning that environmentalists, facing a hostile administration and a Republican-dominated Congress, are prepared to battle in court against what they fear will be a wave of unfavorable policies concerning climate change, wildlife protection, federal lands and pollution.
Advocacy groups nationwide are hiring more staff lawyers. They’re coordinating with private attorneys and firms that have volunteered to help. They’re reviewing statutes, setting priorities and seeking donations.
“It’s going to be all-out war,” said Vermont Law School Professor Patrick Parenteau. “If you’re an environmentalist or conservationist, this is indeed a scary time.”
Trump’s first week in office only heightened their anxieties. He moved to resume construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines that the Obama administration had halted, while signaling intentions to abandon his predecessor’s fight against global warming, vastly expand oil and gas drilling on public lands and slash the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget.
GOP lawmakers, meanwhile, introduced measures to overturn a new Interior Department rule barring coal mining companies from damaging streams and to remove some wolves from the endangered species list.
“They’ve wasted no time in doing bad things,” said Pat Gallagher, director of the Sierra Club’s 50-member legal team, which he said is likely to grow as environmentalists increasingly regard the courts as their best option, even though success there is far from certain.
The Department of Justice, which represents the federal government in environmental lawsuits, declined to comment, while the White House did not respond to emails seeking comment. Doug Ericksen, communications director for Trump’s transition team at EPA, said of the environmentalists that he’s “not sure what they think they’re preparing for” but suspects they are stoking fear of Trump as a fundraising tool.
“They’re more concerned about raising money than protecting the environment,” Ericksen said.
Jim Burling, litigation director for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a nonprofit property rights group that sues regulators on behalf of businesses and landowners, also contended environmental groups were exaggerating the Trump administration’s threat for political and financial gain.
The government bureaucracy is entrenched, Burling said, and, “who happens to occupy the White House hasn’t made that much difference.”
Environmentalists say their fears are justified by the new administration’s antagonism toward government’s role in keeping air and water clean and the planet from overheating.
Donations began increasing after Trump’s election, “even before the fundraising letters were sent” asking for support to fight the administration’s actions, said David Goldston, government affairs director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Earthjustice, which has represented the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in its fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, has about 100 staff attorneys and plans to bring more aboard, said Tim Preso, who manages the group’s Northern Rockies office.
The Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center is adding four attorneys to its pre-election staff of 18 and is coordinating with more than a dozen outside attorneys who would file citizen suits against polluters for free if agencies fail to enforce existing rules, said Executive Director Howard Learner.
“We cannot fully substitute and replace the EPA doing its job,” Learner said. “But on the other hand, we’re not going to default to zero if the EPA steps backward when it comes to clean air and clean water enforcement.”
On inauguration eve, five law professors filed a brief in support of a 2015 regulation giving EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers discretion to regulate tributaries and wetlands far upstream from navigable lakes and rivers to protect water quality.
Dozens of states have sued to block the rule — including Oklahoma, led by state Attorney General Scott Pruitt, now Trump’s choice for EPA administrator — saying it gives government too much power over private property.
Shortly after Trump took office, his White House webpage listed the rule among “harmful and unnecessary policies” he would target.
“If the Trump administration won’t defend the rule, I want to stand alongside environmental groups and do what I can to defend (it),” said David Uhlmann, a University of Michigan law professor and former Justice Department prosecutor, who helped file the brief.
Going to court is just one tactic environmental lawyers will use, said Erik Schlenker-Goodrich of the Oregon-based Western Environmental Law Center, which also plans new hires. They will monitor agencies for failure to enforce pollution law or cutting corners when writing permits for activities such as oil and gas drilling, he said.
The Sierra Club’s Gallagher, who sued over oil drilling beneath national parks during the George W. Bush administration, said another tactic would be making liberal use of open-records laws to obtain scientific data and other materials that might otherwise be purged. The group already has requested records on climate change from the EPA.
“We’re not surprised at what they’re doing, but maybe a little surprised at how fast and furious it’s all happening,” Gallagher said. “But we were bracing for it and we’re ready.”
Flesher reported from Traverse City, Michigan.
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