I am not a racist: Trump

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Authors: Subcontinent Times

Updated: Jan 15, 2018 09:40 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 15 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump said he was "not a racist" and categorically denied having made a derogatory remark against African, Haitian and El Salvadorian immigrants.

"I'm not a racist. I am the


US moves toward expelling 200,000 Salvadorans

US moves toward expelling 200,000 Salvadorans

Some 200,000 Salvadoran immigrants allowed to live and work in the United States since 2001 will lose their right to remain in the country in 2019, officials said on Monday, marking the Trump administration's latest move to tighten immigration enforcement.

The United States will end the Salvadorans' temporary protected status (TPS) on Sept 9, 2019, giving them 18 months to leave or seek lawful residency, and for El Salvador to prepare for their return, administration officials said. The status was granted in the wake of two devastating 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador that left hundreds of thousands in the country homeless.

The decision to end TPS for Salvadorans is part of the administration's broader push to tighten immigration laws and expel those living in the United States illegally. The move was heavily criticized by immigrant advocates who said it ignored violence in El Salvador and gave the Salvadorans few options but to leave the United States or remain illegally.

The Trump administration has faced a series of deadlines over the past year to decide whether to end the protected status of immigrants in the United States whose home countries have been affected by disasters.

Salvadorans are by far the largest group under TPS, a program administration officials said is supposed to provide a temporary haven for victims, not a permanent right to remain in the United States.

Critics have complained TPS has allowed participants to repeatedly extend their stays in 6-month to 18-month increments.

Patricia Hernandez, 53, arrived in the United States in 2000 and applied for TPS after the 2001 earthquakes. She has lived in North Carolina for 18 years and runs a subcontracting construction business with her Honduran husband. The couple have two US-born teenage sons.

This is a real blow for everyone," said Hernandez by telephone. Most of us pay taxes, we're not living off the government, we're not criminals.

The family will move to Honduras with their children and the couple do not intend to return north, she said, though they worry about violence and political instability in central America.

Trump administration changes to the TPS program mean that over the next two years approximately 250,000 people who previously had permission to live and work in the United States will be subject to deportation if they remain.

Haitians and Nicaraguans will lose their protected status in 2019 and Hondurans, the second largest group in the program, could lose their rights later this year.

The past practice of allowing foreign nationals to remain in the United States long after an initial emergency in their home countries has ended has undermined the integrity of the program and essentially made the 'temporary' protected status a front operation for backdoor permanent immigration," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, which favors less immigration overall.

Advocates of the program say long-term resident Salvadorans and their children should not be sent back to El Salvador, a country struggling with a weak economy and gang violence that has given it one of the world's highest murder rates.

Our (US) government is complicit in breaking up families — nearly 275,000 US-born children have a parent who is a TPS holder — and further destabilizing our neighboring countries," said Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas, an immigrant advocacy group.

There are approximately 1. 35 million Salvadorans of any status living in the United States, according to US Census Bureau data analyzed by the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank.

A senior administration official briefing reporters on the decision said it was based on the status of El Salvador's recovery from the 2001 earthquakes. The country has received millions of dollars in aid and rebuilt schools, homes and hospitals, the official said.

In the past two years, the United States has repatriated 39,000 Salvadorans, showing the ability of El Salvador to absorb an influx, the official said.

The government of El Salvador said on Monday that it was glad the administration decided to at least leave the program in place until September 2019.

El Salvador's Foreign Ministry lobbied heavily for the interests of our fellow citizens," the government said in a statement, adding that it would continue to search for alternatives and seek action by the US Congress to protect the migrants.

The US Chamber of Commerce had urged the government to extend TPS protections for Salvadorans, Haitians and Hondurans, saying "the loss of employment authorization for these populations would adversely impact several key industries," including "construction, food processing, hospitality, and home healthcare services.

Congressional Democrats on Monday expressed support for finding a permanent solution to help Salvadorans in the United States. But that will be politically difficult at a time when there are rival immigration priorities, including providing permanent protection for "Dreamers" - undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

That effort has been weighed down by demands from conservatives in Congress to couple any such move with new efforts to clamp down on illegal immigration, especially from Mexico and Central America.


Breathe easy: Mexican psychic says no US-N Korea nuclear war

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Hovering over his tarot cards and holding a microphone to his wizard-like beard, Mexican psychic Antonio Vazquez on Thursday said there was no need to fear a nuclear war between the United States and North Korea. Better known as "El Brujo Mayor" (Grand Warlock), Vazquez is famous in Mexico for his predictions at the start of each year on subjects ranging from politics to celebrities and sports. No need to fear that 2018 will see a clash of egos between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un escalate into nuclear war, he said: "Knight of Swords! No bombs will fly. They will reach an agreement. But there will be no such good fortune for Colombian pop star Shakira, who recently had to suspend a world tour after a vocal cord injury. I sense someone has cast a spell on her," he said with a worried look. I don't think she'll recover. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Brazilian leader Michel Temer and Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman should also look out: El Brujo foresees an assassination in one or the other South American country, and "very poor health" for Guzman, known as "El Chapo," who is currently in solitary confinement in a US jail. Vazquez also ventured a prediction on the 2018 World Cup in Russia: defending champions Germany will defeat Spain in the finals. However, El Brujo is not exactly known for his infallibility. In 2016, he predicted Trump would lose the Republican primary election, that "El Chapo" would be killed and Maduro forced from power.

Too fat to march: Spanish Legion soldiers put on diet

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The fierce reputation of Spanish Legion soldiers is being put to the test: too fat, some of them have been offered a weight-loss plan to save the "prestige" of the force. All legionnaires of this rapid reaction force -- more than 3,000 soldiers -- underwent a medical exam in September that measured their body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat. The result: "Six percent of the members, or 180 legionnaires, had a BMI of over 30 (the obesity limit) and the decision was taken to launch a plan to help them," a military source, who asked not to be named, told AFP. Those who join the Legion's brigade are very competitive, everyone wants to take part in everything, but those with a high BMI won't participate in military parades or activities that affect the image of the Legion. Or as an internal document quoted by the El Pais daily said, "without heightened vigilance, we would be faced with loss of prestige. The weight-loss programme includes a nutrition plan and sport, as well as medical tests, conferences and psychological monitoring. The Spanish Legion is not the only army unit to develop this type of programme. But according to the internal document quoted by El Pais, the weight issues stem from the relatively high average age of members of the Legion as well as a lack of sports equipment that would give them "varied and motivating" training.
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