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White House launches new bid spearheaded by Kushner to overhaul immigration system – National

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White House launches new bid spearheaded by Kushner to overhaul immigration system National

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Reviving a deeply contentious issue that has stymied both Congress and the administration, the White House launched a new bid Tuesday to overhaul a legal immigration system that President Donald Trump has long railed against.

Though similar efforts have failed to garner anywhere near the support necessary, Trump hopefully invited a dozen Republican senators to the White House to preview the plan, which was spearheaded by senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.

It’s the result of an unusually methodical approach for an administration known for hastily written executive orders and Trump’s declarations by tweet. Kushner’s team has pulled in officials with experience in legislation-writing from outside the White House, including the Department of Homeland Security, to help with the drafting.


READ MORE:
Trump names Mark Morgan as new head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency

Still, the road to passage remains uphill. Democrats are likely to strongly disapprove of parts of the plan without significant concessions.

Kushner outlined two major ideas:

  •  A border security bill that would focus, in part, on modernizing ports of entry to make sure all people, vehicles and packages are scanned.
  •  A second package of immigration proposals that would create a more “merit-based” system to give preference to those with job skills rather than relatives of immigrants already in the country.

Under the plan, which does not address temporary visa categories, including for laborers, the same number of immigrants would be permitted to enter the country, but their composition would change.

WATCH: Mark Morgan named new head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement





The White House is also working with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on additional legislation that would address the nation’s asylum system, in an effort to stem the flow of migrants across the border, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to outline the plan.

It’s just the latest effort by the Trump White House to push Congress to overhaul immigration laws that he has long complained compromise national security and depress American workers’ wages by allowing too many immigrants to compete for jobs. But Trump has also said the country needs more workers thanks to economic gains and has said that educated, killed workers — especially those who graduate from American colleges — should be able to stay and work.

While Trump had previously rejected an earlier version of Kushner’s proposal, asking him to incorporate more border security measures, the senior official told reporters after the meeting Tuesday that Trump had signed off on the effort last week and it should now be considered “the President Trump plan.”

The White House is now seeking feedback and pressing for support from Republican lawmakers.


READ MORE:
John Kelly, Trump’s ex-chief of staff, joins board of firm running America’s biggest child migrant facility

The official declined to say when more details would be unveiled or how the White House intended to get Democrats — who have yet to be briefed on the plan — on board.

Several GOP senators who attended the meeting did compliment the effort.

David Perdue of Georgia said Trump was “developing a platform for immigration that he can be for — and I was impressed.”

“The conversation was about border security and the immigration side — how to become much more effective at allowing the right kind,” he said.

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





Tom Cotton of Arkansas said he “heard large areas of agreement from everyone in the room.” He said he still needs to see details, but things are “moving in the right direction.”

Kevin Cramer of North Dakota called it a “good starting point” that could be appealing to Democrats in the right situation.

“I think the environment right now with the booming economy, workforce demands, a crisis at the border that’s no longer deemed manufactured presents an opportunity for discussion,” he said.

But Democrats were skeptical of a Republican-only effort that fails to incorporate Democratic priorities on immigration, including protecting young immigrants who were brought to the country as children and are now living in the U.S. illegally.

Rep. Pete Aguilar of California said he appreciated “our Republican senators weighing in on this issue, but if their solution is to cut legal immigration it’s a nonstarter for us.” He added, “We’ll see.”


READ MORE:
‘Our country is full’: Trump says immigration system overwhelmed

And former Vice President Joe Biden, who is running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump, accused the president Tuesday of using immigration “to demonize people.”

“It isn’t who we are. We’re better than that,” Biden said as he kicked off a rally.

Any immigration plan is sure to face a challenge on Capitol Hill where lawmakers have struggled for decades to pass comprehensive immigration legislation. Conservative Republicans are likely to oppose a plan that does not cut rates of legal immigration, while Democrats have made clear they will not accept changes without new protections for “Dreamer” immigrants. Some Republicans, especially those from election swing states, would like to see protections for Dreamers as well, but that issue does not appear to be included in Kushner’s plan.

WATCH: Trump claims illegal immigration has gone down ‘because of me’ and good management





There has also been skepticism about Kushner’s involvement, given he has no previous background on the complex and controversial subject. But Kushner has spent months meeting with various Republican groups, hoping to put together a proposal that can unite party members, following the playbook he used to help pass bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation last year.

A previous attempt by Trump to reach a comprehensive immigration deal with Congress collapsed last year, and there is deep doubt in Washington that there is any appetite on Capitol Hill for a wide-ranging agreement.

Trump put immigration at the center of his presidential campaign, including a promise to build a wall along the U.S-Mexico border. He is expected to continue to hammer the issue in his re-election campaign as he tries to energize his base of supporters.



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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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