Trump visits US-Mexico border
President Trump on Friday referred to the Flores Settlement as being decided on by “Judge Flores,” but the settlement was named after the plaintiff in the case, Jenny Lisette Flores, who fled El Salvador as a teenager.
“We’ve had some very bad court decisions. The Flores decision is a disaster, I have to tell you. Judge Flores, whoever you may be, that decision is a disaster for our country. A disaster. And we’re working on that,” Trump said during a roundtable near the southern border with border officials.
About the Flores Settlement: As CNN has previously reported, the settlement was named after the 15-year-old girl from El Salvador. She fled her country in 1985 and tried to enter the United States to be with her aunt. The former government agency Immigration and Naturalization Service arrested her at the border, and she was placed in a juvenile detention center, where she was handcuffed and strip-searched, according to the Marquette Law Review. The INS refused to grant her aunt custody of Jenny because it wouldn't release minors to "third-party adults," the law review article said. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action suit on behalf of the girl and other minors, eventually leading to the Flores settlement during the Clinton administration.
The Trump Justice Department has attempted to modify the 1997 agreement by asking for more time to detain children than the agreement allows and detain children with their parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement residential facilities.
Arizona Republic reporter Richard Ruelas first noticed Trump’s misstatement on Friday.
President Trump criticized politicians in California for what he sees as complaining over various issues in the state, including wildfires.
Asked if he had any comment regarding recent lawsuits filed by California, Trump “no.”
He continued: “When their forests go up, they complain. They gotta take care of their forests a lot better. But when the wall – they want the wall in San Diego and they’re always the first one. They were the first one to pull the National Guard. And they need the National Guard.”
Some background: California was one of 16 states that filed a lawsuit challenging Trump's national emergency declaration. In February, the group of states, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.
At the core of the lawsuit is the argument that Trump is circumventing Congress to fund the wall along the US-Mexico border by declaring an emergency.
Becerra argued that the states have standing to challenge Trump because money appropriated to them might be at risk.
President Trump paid a visit to the US-Mexico border today, following a week of confusing comments over whether he'd shut it down.
During his border visit, Trump spoke about the wall's durability, saying it was “very, very hard to climb.”
The President stopped in Calexico, California, to tour replacement border fencing and participate in a border security roundtable. He met with a group of law enforcement and immigration officials, as well as members of Congress and his administration.
According to the Arizona Republic, the two-mile stretch replacement barrier he'll see was authorized prior to when he came into office, but a plaque on the bollards calls it "the first section of President Trump's border wall."
During the roundtable, Trump said the immigration system is full, regardless of whether the individuals seeking to come into the US are seeking asylum or not.
President Trump, speaking at a roundtable on the southern border today, said the immigration system is full, regardless of whether the individuals seeking to come into the US are seeking asylum or not.
Trump also claimed that “close to 400 miles” of border wall will be completed within the next two years.
The President said his administration has made progress in its push to define the situation at the border as "an absolute emergency."
"I see some of our biggest opponents over the last two days have said it really is an emergency, they can’t believe what’s happening. Part of it is because of the fact that the country is doing so well. Part of it is a scam. People want to come in. They shouldn't be coming in. They shouldn't be coming in,” he said.
The President called his one-year warning on a southern border closure “fake news.”
“Somebody said it will take a year. No, it won’t take a year. It’ll take a day. They wrote a lot of fake news. I said in a year,” Trump said. “Well the tariffs will work, number one, but what will really work is closing our border. We hope we don’t have to do that, but I’ll do it because ultimately the security of our nation is the most important thing.”
What Trump said Thursday: He threatened to slap tariffs on automobiles made in Mexico and close the US-Mexico border if the country didn't stop "massive amounts of drugs" coming into the US within one year.
"We're going to give them a one-year warning, and if the drugs don't stop or (are) largely stopped, we're going to put tariffs on Mexico and products, in particular, the cars ... and if that doesn't stop the drugs, we close the border," Trump told reporters during a meeting of his Opportunity and Revitalization Council.
President Trump is in California, near the US-Mexico border, this afternoon. He's at a roundtable event with law enforcement officers, immigration officials and local leaders. Afterward, he's expected to tour the border.
"President Trump values hearing directly from individuals who work to keep our great country safe every day and understands that their perspectives are vital to securing our border and protecting the American people," the White House said in a statement.
You can watch the border security roundtable event in the video player above.
US authorities are no longer holding migrants under a border bridge in El Paso, Texas.
Photos and videos from the scene appeared to show migrant families sitting and at times sleeping on the gravel, with only thin space blankets between them and the ground.
What happened last week: US authorities said a rapid influx of migrants crossing the border forced them to use the space under the Paso del Norte border bridge as an emergency measure in the face of a humanitarian crisis.
US Customs and Border Protection officials say caring for those in custody with dignity and respect is a paramount concern.
But advocates say some children and families who CBP detained for days in the fenced-in space were shaken once they were released from custody.
Bruises were visible on toddlers and older children who had to lay on rocks and concrete, said Taylor Levy, legal coordinator at Annunciation House.
The El Paso-based shelter is a frequent stopping point for migrants who've been released from government custody. Migrants who'd been held under the bridge told staff there they'd been held from three to five days and "treated worse than dogs," Levy said.
Amid a swell of migrants at the southern border, President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security have looked to Congress to take action. Though lawmakers say something should be done, that's about all they agree on.
Democrats don't trust the administration and see what's unfolding as a situation exacerbated by Trump's aggressive immigration enforcement policies. Republicans are doubling down on the situation being a crisis in need of immediate attention.
The reason for the scramble is a steep uptick of migrants — largely families and children and predominantly from Northern Triangle countries, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — at the border.
As DHS deploys reinforcements to the border, it's also urged Congress to find a legislative solution. Late last month, Kevin McAleenan, commissioner for US Customs and Border Protection, said the agency was on pace to encounter "over 100,000" migrants in March alone.
"March will be the highest month since 2008," he added.
Why this matters: It's not just a surge numbers, but a shift in demographics that they say is straining resources from single adults from Mexico to families and children from Central America.
"With continued inaction by Congress — it's going to continue to put people at risk," McAleenan said. "The men and women of CBP are serving with honor despite stark challenges — but we need Congress to act."