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US PRESIDENT Donald Trump says he will issue an executive order next week to make it harder to claim asylum as his anti-immigrant rhetoric escalates ahead of mid-term elections.
The president told a White House audience that he would limit asylum claims to legal ports of entry.
He also hinted that US troops, thousands of whom are being deployed to the border, supposedly to protect the country from the “migrant caravan” of several thousand desperate refugees travelling through Mexico, would fire on refugees if they threw stones.
However, Pentagon officials say the soldiers are there to support civil authorities and are not expected to come into contact with the refugees.
The president faced a wave of labour movement and expert criticism yesterday over repeated claims that he will end birthright citizenship in the country — the US, like most states in the Americas, grants citizenship to people born on its territory whether or not their parents are citizens.
The right is guaranteed in the 14th amendment to the US constitution, which Mr Trump has no power to overturn, but United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez said his menaces were a bid to “stoke prejudice among his base before the election … this bigoted rhetoric creates division, fear and hatred.”
The Asian Pacific American Labour Alliance, an organisation representing trade unionists of Asian or Pacific origin, described the president’s threats as “unapologetically a scare tactic.”
Executive director Alvina Yeh added: “We will continue defending the 14th amendment as the Supreme Court did in 1898, when white nationalists tried to revoke 14th amendment rights for Chinese people.”
American Human Rights Council executive director Ihad Ahmad said Mr Trump had hit “a new low” by “going after the children of immigrants, born in the US.”
“We have come to expect hateful and discriminatory language from the president and many of his followers. Such speech is neither normal nor acceptable, and must stop,” he insisted.
- Rose Mallinger, the oldest victim of the anti-semitic massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue a week ago, was laid to rest yesterday. She was 97 when she was gunned down by a killer who “raged against Jews before and after the massacre” and who apparently targeted the synagogue because of its links to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), which helps refugees settle in the US.
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