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Trump seeks additional $4.5B in emergency funding for U.S.-Mexico border – National

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Trump seeks additional 4.5B in emergency funding for U.S. Mexico border National

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The Trump administration on Wednesday asked Congress for an additional $4.5 billion in emergency funds for the U.S.-Mexico border as it grapples with a surge of Central American migrant families seeking refuge in the U.S.

Most of the money requested would be used to increase shelter capacity and care for the onslaught of migrant families who have been fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries. Department of Homeland Security officials said they were on track to run out of money without the extra cash.

“DHS projects it will exhaust resources well before the end of the fiscal year,” read the administration’s formal request letter to Congress, which was obtained by The Associated Press.


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The request is just the latest in a flurry of efforts by the administration to cope with what it calls a “crisis” that officials say has overwhelmed federal resources and capacity. President Donald Trump has railed against aides and Congress for failing to do more to address the situation, but has also made clear he believes immigration was key to his 2016 victory and intends to continue to hammer the issue to motivate his base heading into his 2020 reelection campaign.

The 2019 fiscal year budget already contained $415 million for humanitarian assistance at the border, including $28 million in medical care, senior administration officials said Wednesday.

But the White House now wants an extra $3.3 billion to increase shelter capacity for unaccompanied migrant children and the feeding and care of families, plus transportation and processing centres.

An additional $1.1 billion of the new request would go toward operational support, including personnel expenses, detention beds, transportation and investigative work on smuggling. The remaining $178 million would be used for mission support, including technology upgrades.

WATCH: Tensions rising as Trump reiterates stand on border crossing





The number of families and children arriving alone at the border is now outpacing the number of single adults, and their needs are much different. The U.S. is on track to have as many as 1 million cross this year, the highest since the early 2000s, when most of those crossing were single men from Mexico looking for work.

Border stations were not constructed to handle such a large volume of children and families, and they have been pushed to the breaking point.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 50,036 unaccompanied children during the last budget year, and so far this budget year there have been 35,898 children. Their average length of stay in a government shelter is 66 days, up from 59 during fiscal year 2018 and 40 in 2016’s fiscal year.


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Customs and Border Protection on Tuesday encountered its largest group to date: 424 people, comprised mostly of children and families, in rural New Mexico.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday before a House subcommittee that his department was running out of money amid the spike and said officials would be submitting a supplemental request, but didn’t say for how much.

McAleenan said the money would be used for temporary and semi-permanent facilities to process families and children and also to increase detention.

WATCH: ‘I’m ready to close it if I have to’: Trump on Mexico border closure





In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Russell Vought, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the crisis was overwhelming the ability of the federal government to respond.

“The situation becomes more dire every day,” he wrote.

The official request also said the Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the care of migrant children who arrive alone or who are separated from their parents by DHS under certain circumstances, will exhaust its resources by June. The funding request includes $2.8 billion to increase shelter capacity to about 23,600 total beds for unaccompanied children.


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But it’s not clear whether Congress will approve such a request. Getting Democrats and Republicans to agree to address the situation has been a challenge, especially on the heels of the longest government shutdown in history over Trump’s demand for border wall funding. Trump’s subsequent national emergency declaration skirted Congress altogether to seek the funding elsewhere.

Senior administration officials, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the request by name, insisted this money would not be used for border barriers and said the funds were different from those Trump has sought to access through his declaration of a national emergency.

WATCH: Trump threatens to release illegal immigrants into Democratic strongholds





House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., said Trump’s administration had contributed to the crisis on the border and said her committee would be taking a thorough look at the request.

“As a country, we must do more to meet the needs of migrants — especially children and families — who are arriving in increasing numbers,” she said. “However, the Trump administration appears to want much of this $4.5 billion emergency supplemental request to double down on cruel and ill-conceived policies.”



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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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