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Democrats prepare border bills, say Trump enflames problem

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    In this April 5, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection vehicle sits near the wall as President Donald Trump visits a new section of the border wall with Mexico in Calexico. Under pressure to show they have solutions, Democrats are honing proposals to address the surge of families entering the U.S. at the southern border, a problem they say Trump’s restrictive immigration policies are enflaming. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Published April 10. 2019 01:33PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under pressure to show they have solutions, Democrats are honing proposals to address the surge of families entering the U.S. at the southern border, a problem they say President Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policies are enflaming.

House Democrats plan to introduce legislation soon addressing the recent waves of Central American migrants reaching the border. Senate Democrats are pursuing multiple tracks, including exploring whether talks with the White House might be feasible.

The House measure, described by lawmakers, aides and lobbyists, would stand virtually no chance of winning approval by the Republican-led Senate, let alone getting Trump’s signature. But it would let Democrats show voters they’re responsive to the rush of migrants that has overwhelmed federal officials and left border communities struggling to cope — rather than simply objecting to Trump’s moves.

The bill, which participants said is still being finalized, is expected to increase federal resources at border entry points for processing refugees, counseling children and treating people needing medical care. It would create centers in Central America where asylum applications could be processed and provide aid to reduce poverty and violence in the region so fewer people would flee.

“You don’t just wait for people to show up at the border. It’s the worst way to deal with it,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., who’s working on the legislation with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and party leaders.

The measure represents Democrats’ effort to find the sweet spot between addressing a burgeoning humanitarian crisis and not lending credibility to Trump’s assertion that hordes of immigrants are invading the country. They say Trump has exacerbated the situation by aggressively detaining migrants caught entering the U.S. illegally and slowing the processing of asylum seekers, which can take months or longer.

“This is a manufactured crisis,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz.

Trump has accused Democrats of “obstructing.” He complained Tuesday about their refusal to tighten asylum laws, restrict legal immigration by relatives of migrants already here or ban the release of detained migrants until their court dates — a practice used by recent administrations, including his own.

“They don’t want to act,” Trump said.

In the Senate, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a senior member of the Judiciary committee, said she plans to introduce a bill that would beef up immigration courts to reduce a huge backlog of cases and prohibit separations of migrant families . The measure would face an uphill climb.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Democrats were in early discussions about what legislation to craft and were trying to arrange meetings with the White House on the issue. But he cautioned that last year’s collapse of immigration talks with Trump did not bode well.

“This president is not an easy person to work with on this subject,” said Durbin, Senate Democrats’ No. 2 leader.

No one disputes that the number of migrants seeking entry into the U.S. is swelling. Authorities were expecting to prevent 100,000 people, mostly families, from crossing the southern border last month, the most in 12 years.

In response, Trump has moved to cut nearly $500 million in aid to Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, whose citizens have trekked toward the U.S. in growing numbers. He has curbed the number of asylum applications that authorities process. He has been blocked by a federal court from forcing refugees to wait in Mexico while their cases are decided. And he has warned he’ll close the southwest border, a threat he’s intermittently eased and renewed.

Frustrated with his team’s resistance to carry out some of his policy proposals, he’s also replaced Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and moved to purge other top officials at the department. Democrats, joined by many Republicans, said Trump’s shake-up was unwise.

“He doesn’t like the law,” said No. 2 House leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “And he’s firing people who are determined that they have to act within the confines of the law. I think that’s very dangerous.”

Trump says the U.S. faces a security and humanitarian calamity. In a letter to lawmakers last month, Nielsen asked for “immediate congressional assistance” to address “a system-wide meltdown.” She requested funds for more detention beds, medical teams and processing facilities but specified no dollar amounts.

Democrats are skeptical of such requests.

“They’ve already taken and transferred money from things to their ridiculous wall,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., referring to Trump’s effort to build a border wall that Democrats have mocked as ineffective. “It’s pretty difficult for me to say I’d give them more. I’d have a lot more accountability built in, and I’d cut the amount we’re giving to Homeland Security until they can show us they really need it.”

Democrats contend that Trump’s goal is to rile up his conservative voters as his 2020 re-election campaign gets underway.

“He’s shown that over and over, he’s just anti-immigrant. And this is a campaign talking point for him,” said Rep. Nanette Barragan, D-Calif.

Republicans say Democrats are simply out to block Trump.

“They don’t want to give Trump any victory on anything, ever,” said Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Trumps voters voted, and we said, build the wall.
So... BUILD The Wall!
Democrats are good at deflecting, obstructing, lying, and perversion. They'll never have a solution, they spend all their time and energy on the above.
We want a wall. Democrats have ignored this crisis. Now, this National Emergency has grown beyond any ability to disguise it. Americans have been put at risk. Now, it is time to set it straight. Democrats that voted for a wall before refuse to support one now. They won’t give President Trump a victory. President Trump won. We are getting the wall. Thank you President Trump. Illegals will no longer kill Americans through violence or drug sales. The blood of insubordination is on the hands of the Democrats. President Trump’s approval rate is 53% in spite of negative press coverage that would crush anyone else. MAGA!
"This is a manufactured crisis". Yeah, right! That stupid statement is getting more than a little old! Pull your heads out, Dems, and see what's really going on.....your liberal politicians just trying to gain 2020 votes with open border ideology, and in so doing are putting all of us in danger.
Good Morning Bluesky,
If only it was about "trying to gain 2020 votes".
It's becoming very evident, that the Dems are being used to destroy these United States.
You see, there's a very active "Global" campaign against sovereign nations of "Super Power" status.
The globalists hate capitalism, yet want our money (economy), and might rolled into the "New World Order".
This all has much more at stake than just US Politics. Anything to destroy, or as the Kenyan often said, "Level the playing field", will help roll everything good about our country, in to their global organization. I don't think I'm wrong on this.
Have a good day, and enjoy the Blue Skies.
Right again Mr. Myers. It is time for all Patriots to rise up. I do not mean with violence either. I mean, when you see a Liberal whack job insult another Patriot, ram those lies right back down their throat. Make enemies of this great country eat their words. Remember, enemies of America, want to destroy us. Yes, some of those enemies are in Congress. I am not going to let any condescending liberal nut-job step on “my America.” I will always stand up and fight all enemies of this great country. God Bless America! Now go out there and whack a liberal between the eyes with a shot of reality.

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