OSAKA, Japan -- President Donald Trump said Saturday that he would stick to a plan to step up deportations of migrants living illegally in the U.S., despite legislation passed last week to improve border security.
The deportations will begin in about a week "unless we do something pretty miraculous," Trump said at a news conference after the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan. "It's really, honestly, it's very unfair, but yeah we will be removing a large number of people."
The House on Thursday passed legislation providing $4.5 billion for border security and for humanitarian aid for migrants apprehended after crossing into the U.S. from Mexico. But Trump wants Congress to make it harder for migrants crossing the southern border to claim asylum, a process most of them use to enter the U.S.
"We could do it quickly, we could do it in a day, we could do it in an hour," Trump said of changing the asylum policy.
He complained about "the kind of stupidity that we have, someone touches one foot on our sand" and is entitled to an asylum claim. He said most migrants never show up for court hearings.
"Nobody comes back, 2% come back, it's a horrible system," Trump said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, under pressure to help relieve the conditions reported in migrant detention centers, agreed to let the border bill pass without an amendment demanded by liberals. They wanted to add protections for migrant children and to eliminate extra money for the Defense Department and for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"I appreciate Speaker Pelosi because she really worked with us," Trump said.
In exchange for letting the bill pass, Pelosi on Thursday won an agreement from Vice President Mike Pence that the administration would change the way migrant detention centers are run. Pence agreed to a 90-day limit for holding children in so-called influx facilities and promised to notify Congress within 24 hours after the death of a migrant child in U.S. custody.
At least seven migrant children are known to have died in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection since last year, according to NBC News. They are the first deaths of children in Customs and Border Protection custody in nearly a decade.
Customs and Border Protection announced later Saturday that the death of a Salvadoran man has left his daughter alone in U.S. Border Patrol custody.
The 43-year-old man had crossed into the U.S. with his daughter. He collapsed at a border station and later died at a hospital, officials said Saturday. According to a statement from Customs and Border Protection, the man's cause of death is not yet known.
The man had been held for about a week at the Rio Grande Valley central processing center in McAllen, Texas, according to a law enforcement official. The official said the man, who had health issues, had been medically checked.
Officials have requested that the daughter be given an expedited transfer to an agency-run shelter that manages children who cross the border alone, the official said. The official did not know the daughter's age.
The daughter will be held in a shelter until she is released to a sponsor, but that process could take weeks. The official was not authorized to divulge details of an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Also during Saturday's news conference, Trump criticized a judge's decision Friday that blocks the president from tapping $2.5 billion in military funding to build high-priority segments of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in California, Arizona and New Mexico.
The president called that ruling "a disgrace."
"So we're immediately appealing it, and we think we'll win the appeal," he added. "There was no reason that that should have happened. And a lot of wall is being built."
It was not the only judgment against the administration on Friday. A federal judge also ordered a mediator to move swiftly to improve health and sanitation at Border Patrol facilities in Texas, where observers reported migrant children were subject to filthy conditions that imperiled their health.
Judge Dolly Gee of the Central District of California asked late Friday that an independent monitor, whom she appointed last year, ensure that conditions in detention centers are promptly addressed. She set a deadline of July 12 for the government to report on what it has accomplished "post haste" to remedy the problems.
"We are hoping we can act expeditiously to resolve the conditions for children in Border Patrol custody," said Holly Cooper, a member of a team of lawyers who asked the federal court to intervene.
The lawyers' reports on conditions at a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas -- where they said children were unable to bathe, were living in filthy clothes and diapers and were often hungry -- prompted a public outcry and a new motion asking the court to force the government to move more aggressively to improve accommodations along the border for the thousands of migrants arriving from Central America.
Monitors from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General detailed other serious problems with crowding at Customs and Border Protection facilities in Texas' Rio Grande Valley.
The new ruling stopped short of directly ordering the government to take action but referred the issue to the monitor to take action for the "prompt remediation" of conditions at the facilities, including the retention of an independent public health expert.
Democratic political leaders have seized on the recent reports in Texas as evidence that the Trump administration has not been sufficiently humane in its response to the arrivals on the border. Beto O'Rourke, a former El Paso congressman now running for president, scheduled a public "rally for migrant children" in Clint today.
In her order, Gee said that the court had detailed previous violations by the government of a 1997 consent decree, called the Flores settlement agreement, which established standards for the care of migrant children in U.S. custody. A monitor had been appointed last year over the government's objections after plaintiffs in the Flores case successfully argued that there had been egregious violations of the agreement.
On Thursday, lawyers filed a request for a temporary restraining order, saying that the government had run afoul of Flores standards at the Customs and Border Protection facilities in the El Paso and Rio Grande Valley areas of Texas.
"The parties need not use divining tools to extrapolate from those orders what does or does not constitute noncompliance," the judge wrote in her three-page order. "The Court has made that clear."
The "emergent" nature of the recent reports "demands immediate action," the judge added.
Information for this article was contributed by Margaret Talev, Jennifer Jacobs and Nick Wadhams of Bloomberg News; by Miriam Jordan of The New York Times; and by staff members of The Associated Press.
A Section on 06/30/2019
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