The latest on the Trump administration and the border

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5:55 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

"This is the agenda of white nationalists": Rep. Ilhan Omar says Trump launched "blatantly racist attack"

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar accused President Trump of "launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members" of the US House of Representatives, pointing out that they are all women of color.

"This is the agenda of white nationalists. Whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV, and now it's reached the White House garden," Omar said.

She concluded her remarks by calling for Trump's impeachment.

"I have not made impeachment central to my election or my tenure. But since the day that I've gotten elected, I've said to people, it is not — if he will be impeached, but when. So it is time for us to stop allowing this President to make a mockery out of our Constitution. It is time for us to impeach this President."
6:14 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Trump tweets during congresswomen's news conference

President Trump is tweeting as the four Democratic congresswomen he attacked are holding a news conference.

Trump said Democrats have been “forced to embrace them,” presumably because of his attacks.

5:36 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Trump's tweets: Do not "take the bait"

Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley called President Trump's racist attacks a "disruptive distraction" and urged people not to "take the bait."

"He does not embody the grace, the empathy, the compassion, the integrity that that office requires and that the American people deserve," the Massachusetts lawmaker said speaking at a news conference this afternoon. "That being said, I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait. This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern, and consequence to the American people."

Pressley defiantly said, “We will not be silenced. She also took aim at the President calling him “the occupant of the White House” and saying, “I will always, refer to him as the occupant as he is only occupying space.”

She was joined by Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

The four congresswomen were at the center of Trump's tweets. On Sunday, the President used racist language to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens.

Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley are natural-born US citizens, while Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the US when she was young. Omar became a citizen in 2000 when she was 17 years old, according to the New York Times.

5:19 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Trump tweets: "IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE"

President Trump blasted Democrats again today in a series of tweets, saying, "IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE."

He went on to say, "It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country...."

Trump's tweets come a day after he used racist language to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens

Trump, speaking at a news conference at the White House today, himself denied his attacks on the four women were racist.

Read his tweets:

4:54 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Mexican government rejects new US asylum measures

Mexico rejected the Trump administration's new asylum regulation that could dramatically limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement released this afternoon.

In the statement, Mexico reiterated their “respect for human rights of all people, as well as their international commitments regarding asylum and political refuge."

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the measure “will not affect Mexican citizens.”

“Mexico will maintain its politics of asylum and refuge as stated in our constitution," he added.

The statement added the government of Mexico will “remain alert to the implications that this US decision could entail to those seeking asylum from other countries that enter through its southern border. In this sense, special attention will be paid to respect the principle of non-refoulement recognized by the current International Law.” 

“Our position is very clearly established, and we certainly do not agree, we would not have to agree, in the area of Mexican legislation, asylum is something that we consider very relevant and that we will always respect,” Ebrard said.
4:40 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Tlaib responding to Trump attacks: "I’m not going to allow him to distract"

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Rashida Tlaib — one of the four Democratic congresswomen at the center of President Trump's racist tweets — spoke to CNN on her way into a hearing today.

Here's what she said:

“I’m not gonna go allow him to distract me from the work of representing the third poorest congressional district in the country. I’m going to go in here and hold this administration accountable,” she said.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley declined to comment prior to a news conference scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.

5:17 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

The four congresswomen at the center of Trump's tweets will hold a news conference today

The four Democratic congresswomen at the center of President Trump's racist tweets will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. ET today.

The President used racist language to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens.

The group of Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — are all women of color and have been outspoken about Trump's immigration policies. Last week, they condemned the conditions of border detention facilities.

At a news conference today, Trump himself denied his attacks on the four women were racist.

3:47 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Guatemala court blocks "safe third country" agreement with the US

Locals use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river from Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas State, Mexico, to Tecun Uman in Guatemala, on June 10, 2019.
Locals use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river from Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas State, Mexico, to Tecun Uman in Guatemala, on June 10, 2019. PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Image

Asylum negotiations between Guatemala and the United States have hit a roadblock.

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court issued a temporary injunction that blocks Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales from signing any agreement with President Trump to make Guatemala a safe third country for asylum seekers.

This all comes after a meeting between the two leaders Monday had to be re-scheduled. The two presidents were reported to be getting close to reaching a deal on Guatemala becoming a “safe third country” for asylum seekers, according to multiple US sources familiar with the negotiations.

What it means to be a "safe third country"

Under the agreement, migrants passing through Guatemala would have to apply for asylum there, rather than continuing to the US – this would likely have the effect of preventing and deterring some migrants from applying for asylum in the United States at all.

The United Nations' refugee agency defines "safe country," in part, as "being countries in which refugees can enjoy asylum without any danger."

Before reaching an agreement, the US is working to make sure there are sufficient protections in place for people who would claim asylum in Guatemala, according to an administration official.

Trump has tried to negotiate a deal like this before. At the beginning of June, Trump dropped tariffs on Mexican goods after the two countries came to an agreement about immigration.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said they moderated some of the US' requests, such as entering a safe third country agreement, but instead allowed others such as an expansion to part of the Immigration and Nationality Act that would return asylum seekers to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings.

3:33 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

White House issues statement on new asylum rule

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley just offered a statement to CNN, as the Trump administration is moving to dramatically limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the United States by land through Mexico.

"If you are fleeing an oppressive government and have a legitimate claim to asylum, then you will receive it, but about 90 % of these claims are proven fraudulent in court. While Congress refuses to act, the President is looking at all available legal options to restore integrity to the immigration system, ensure those who deserve asylum get it, and most importantly, protect the American people.”