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Asylum seekers turned away at US-Mexico border sue US government

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A group of asylum seekers fleeing gang and drug violence in Honduras and Mexico were improperly turned away at the U.S.-Mexico border by border patrol agents, a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government on Wednesday said.

The lawsuit said some U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have referred to the tough immigration policies of President Donald Trump when turning asylum seekers back. But it also said human rights groups have documented “hundreds” of cases dating back to at least the summer of 2016, before Trump’s election win in November.

Filed by a non-profit legal services group called “Al Otro Lado” along with six unidentified people in U.S. District Court in central California, the class action lawsuit said border agents have used “misrepresentations, threats and intimidation,” to tell asylum seekers they cannot enter the country at various border crossings in California, Arizona and Texas.

The accounts of the plaintiffs detailed in the lawsuit could not be independently verified.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

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Under U.S. immigration law, if someone arriving at a U.S. port of entry expresses fear of returning to their country, border agents should refer them to an interview with a designated asylum officer.

The lawsuit detailed the case of a woman from Mexico whose brother-in-law was a high-ranking police official killed and dismembered by a drug cartel in Mexico, which then threatened her family. When she arrived with her children at the San Ysidro, California, port of entry and said she was afraid to go back, a border officer coerced her into signing a form in English that she did not understand withdrawing her application for admission to the United States, the lawsuit said.

Apprehensions of immigrants on the southwest border have dropped since the beginning of the Trump administration in January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics. Apprehensions are down more than 67 percent to more than 21,000 in June of 2017 from more than 66,000 in October.

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(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York; Additional reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley in Washington; editing by Grant McCool)


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‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’

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MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.

"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.

"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.

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Trump ignored being condemned by Congress and instead praised Republicans on Twitter for defending his racism

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President Donald Trump celebrated on Tuesday night despite the House of Representatives having voted earlier in the day to condemn his racist statements.

By a final vote of 240 to 187, Congress voted for a resolution saying, "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

The resolution said Congress “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

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The tortured madness of Donald Trump: It’s clear the president is out of his mind

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Where’s Shakespeare when we need him? Only the Bard of Avon could do literary justice to the tortured madness of Donald Trump, who fluctuates between petulant self-pity and weird self-praise.

His brags are especially weird because they usually involve achievements he hasn’t made. It’s as though his saying something makes it true — even though everyone except his most naive devotees can clearly see that he’s either hallucinating or lying. In June, for example, at a rally launching his reelection campaign, he retrumpeted an old campaign promise to “drain the swamp,” assuring the adoring crowd that “that’s exactly what we’re doing right now.”

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