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Mexico’s incoming government says no deal to host U.S. asylum-seekers, denies report – National

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Mexico’s incoming government denied a report Saturday that it plans to allow asylum-seekers to wait in the country while their claims move through U.S. immigration courts, one of several options the Trump administration has been pursuing in negotiations for months.


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The deal was seen as a way to dissuade thousands of Central American migrants from seeking asylum in the U.S., a process that can take years. In effect, Mexican border towns are already acting as waiting rooms for migrants hoping to start new lives in the U.S. due to bottlenecks at the border.

“There is no agreement of any sort between the incoming Mexican government and the U.S. government,” future Interior Minister Olga Sanchez said in a statement.

Hours earlier, The Washington Post quoted her as saying that the incoming administration of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had agreed to allow migrants to stay in Mexico as a “short-term solution” while the U.S. considered their applications for asylum. Lopez Obrador will take office on Dec. 1.






WATCH: Tension and frustration at the U.S.-Mexico border

The statement shared with The Associated Press said the future government’s principal concern related to the migrants is their well-being while in Mexico.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has won support from the Mexican president-elect’s team for a plan dubbed “Remain in Mexico.”

The newspaper also quoted Sanchez as saying: “For now, we have agreed to this policy of Remain in Mexico.”

Sanchez did not explain in the statement why The Washington Post had quoted her as saying there had been agreement.


READ MORE:
Hundreds from migrant caravan arrive in Tijuana, get first glimpse of U.S. border

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said, “President Trump has developed a strong relationship with the incoming (Lopez) Obrador Administration, and we look forward to working with them on a wide range of issues.”

Stephanie Leutert, director of the Mexico Security Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin, described the Remain in Mexico plan as a strategy to take away the ability of migrants to live and work in the U.S. while cases are processed. “The hope is that asylum seekers will not want to live in (Mexico) for months/years and won’t come,” Leutert said via Twitter.

U.S. officials have said for months that they were working with Mexico to find solutions for what they have called a border crisis. One variation, called “Safe Third,” would have denied asylum claims on the grounds that asylum seekers had found haven in Mexico. President Enrique Pena Nieto offered thousands of Central Americans asylum on Oct. 26 if they agreed to remain in southern Mexico. Close to 3,000 migrants took Mexico up on the offer.






WATCH: Migrants in Tijuana vow to stay put at northern border until asylum is granted

Sanchez said Saturday that the next government does not plan for Mexico to become a “Safe Third” country.

Approximately 5,000 Central American migrants have arrived in recent days to Tijuana, just south of California, after making their way through Mexico via caravan. But agents at the San Diego port of entry process fewer than 100 claims per day.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum on Friday declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city of 1.6 million, which he says is struggling to accommodate the influx. Most of the migrants are camped inside a sports complex, where they face long wait times for food and bathrooms. Hundreds of Tijuana residents have protested their arrival, complaining that recent caravans forced their way into Mexico from Guatemala.

Trump threatened Thursday to shut down the border crossing entirely if his administration determines that Mexico has lost “control” of the situation in Tijuana.






WATCH: Trump to shut border, halt trade if Mexico loses ‘control’ of migrant situation

Julieta Vences, a congresswoman with Lopez Obrador’s Morena party who is also president of Mexico’s congressional migrant affairs commission, told AP that incoming Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has been discussing with U.S. officials how to handle a deluge of asylum claims at the border.

“They’re going to have to open the borders (for the migrants) to put in the request,” Vences said. “They will also give us dates, on what terms they will receive the (asylum) requests and in the case that they are not beneficiaries of this status, they will have to return here,” Vences said.

She said Mexico needs to examine how to accommodate the migrants without angering locals.

“When they come back, we need to see how … we can integrate them into an economic activity so that they can develop and not generate conflict with our own communities.”






WATCH: Drone video captures current situation at Tijuana, Mexico border crossing

Local churches and charities have been feeding the migrants, with assistance from state and federal agencies. They have also distributed thousands of blankets, thin mattresses and personal hygiene kits.

Meanwhile, the government of the state of Baja California has identified 7,000 jobs for which migrants could possibly earn income while they await hearings in the U.S.

Trump took to Twitter again Saturday to reiterate that he plans to do away with the U.S. catch-and-release system, which allows asylum seekers to work and study sometimes for years while their cases are pending.

“Migrants at the Southern Border will not be allowed into the United States until their claims are individually approved in court,” Trump wrote. “We only will allow those who come into our Country legally. Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No ‘Releasing’ into the U.S…”



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FOREIGN NEWS

Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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