CNN’s stand-alone Turkish network CNN Turk, which has long been criticized as a tool of Turkey’s increasingly anti-American leadership, is directly contradicting the narrative American CNN viewers are being offered.
CNN personalities have vilified President Trump for “betraying” the Kurds and creating a “real sense of confusion and betrayal” since Sunday’s announcement that the U.S. would pull troops from northeast Syria. Many analysts and politicians across have deemed that decision a blow to the U.S.-backed Kurds.
But CNN Turk paints a different picture for its audience.
“In America, CNN tells you what people in Washington want to hear,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Thursday. “CNN Turk knows its audience, so they’ve taken an entirely different line. They describe Turkey’s military operation in Syria as ‘a Peace Spring operation.’”
Carlson noted that CNN Turk regularly describes Kurdish militant groups as “terrorists.”
CNN Turk’s homepage, at the time of publication, featured a banner across the top with a link to on-air coverage. It was accompanied by the headline “3 days in the Peace Spring Operation.”
Two articles also appeared to refer to the local Kurdish militia, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as “terrorists”.
The Turkish network made headlines last year after a reported $890 million deal shifted control of it and other key media outlets from the Dogan group, which paid CNN a license to independently operate the news network, to a conglomerate led by Erdogan Demiroren, an even stronger supporter of Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose repressive policies have shuttered or disrupted dozens of media operations in recent years.
At the time of the sale, Fox News asked one of CNN’s highest-ranking executives about whether it would reconsider licensing its name to the Turkish network.
“We will be meeting with the new owners in due course to discuss the implications of the sale. If, following those conversations, we have any reason whatsoever to believe the journalistic integrity of the channel could be compromised by the new owners, we will revoke the license,” Allison Gollust, CNN’s worldwide executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in March 2018.
Gollust noted that CNN Turk operates as “a wholly independent channel,” and editorial decisions were not being made by CNN’s stateside executives. However, the bio of CNN Executive Vice President Tony Maddow specifically says he “is responsible for an international news and information portfolio that includes … CNN Turk.”
Demiroren, the namesake of the ownership group, is strongly pro-Erdogan, and reportedly once called the Turkish president his “boss.” He was even caught apologizing to Erdogan for a negative newspaper article, according to The New York Times. “Demiroren was heard weeping, promising Mr. Erdogan that he would find the source,” The Times reported.
Hong Kong’s protests have disrupted Yang Yang’s family life. Though the 29-year-old lives in mainland China, he was inspired by the demonstrations to write a song about freedom and upload it to the internet. When censors deleted it, he complained to his family.
They weren’t sympathetic. “How can you support Hong Kong separatists?” they asked. “How can you be anti-China?” His mother threatened to disown him. Before Mr. Yang left on a trip to Japan in August, his father said he hoped his son would die there.
Hong Kong’s protests have inflamed tensions in the semiautonomous Chinese city, but passions in the mainland have been just as heated — and, seemingly, almost exclusively against the demonstrators.
A pro-protest tweet by a Houston Rockets executive, Daryl Morey, ignited a firestorm of anger against the N.B.A., demonstrating the depth of feeling. Joe Tsai, the only N.B.A. owner of Chinese descent, said all of China — yes, more than one billion people — felt the same way.
“The one thing that is terribly misunderstood, and often ignored, by the western press and those critical of China is that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland,” he wrote. “This issue is non-negotiable.”
For Westerners, this is strange language. You don’t hear about the common feelings of 300 million Americans or 60 million Brits, especially in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit.
Yet, in China, there is some truth to it. Of course, it’s a vast country brimming with opinions. But the Communist Party has spent decades preparing the Chinese people for a moment like this. The stir over Hong Kong shows, in dramatic fashion, how successful it has been, and how the world could be shaped by it.
“As soon as the Communist Party pushes the patriotism button, Chinese will rise up like zombies to unite against the foreign forces, be it Japan or N.B.A.,” said Mr. Yang, the singer-songwriter. “They don’t always know why they’re against those things. In fact, many Chinese like Japan and the N.B.A.”
Until Thursday, when China’s internet minders dialed down the passions, the Chinese online world was filled with denunciations of the protests. Some Chinese people have even scaled the Great Firewall, China’s highly effective online censorship system, to post anti-protest messages on services like Facebook and Instagram that their own government doesn’t want them to see.
Their comments reflect a narrative that China’s top-down education system delivers from a young age. A united China, a country with a common purpose, can stand strong against outsiders, according to this narrative. A divided China could slip backward, losing decades of progress and plunging the country back into chaos.
Any Chinese person who has gone to elementary school or watched television news can explain the tale of China’s 100 years of humiliation. Starting with the Opium Wars in the 19th century, foreign powers bullied a weak and backward China into turning Hong Kong and Macau into European colonies. Students must memorize the unequal treaties the Qing dynasty signed during that period.
There’s even a name for it: “national humiliation education.”
This narrative glosses over a lot of history, including the cruelty of Mao’s revolution, the starving of millions during Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the madness of his decade-long Cultural Revolution. When it does include the 1989 crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square, the protest and its aftermath is mentioned in one sentence and portrayed vaguely as a political incident.
These lessons and propaganda sound crude, but they work. For years, I regarded Chris Patten, the last Hong Kong governor under the British rule, as “a sinner condemned by history.” That’s what state media called him, especially after he approved spending heavily to build Hong Kong’s new airport, leading to accusations of waste. Today, I regularly use that airport, a marvel of modern transportation, as do millions of others.
Of course, my friends and I watched with great pride Hong Kong’s handover ceremony from Britain to China in 1997. Territorial integrity achieved!
At the graduate school of journalism at Columbia University in 2002, one American student told me about his trip to Tibet. I was so incensed by his remarks that I blurted out, “Tibet is part of China!”
For Westerners, perhaps one way to understand would be to read “Educated,” a memoir by Tara Westover about escaping her survivalist Mormon family in the mountains of Idaho. It has nothing to do with China. But her struggle to unlearn what her parents taught her felt familiar to me after I left China and began to learn its history on my own.
The rise of the internet and China’s opening were supposed to widen views there. Instead, the party is narrowing them more. Education officials over the past two years have been increasingly enforcing a widely ignored 2004 effort to make education even more Chinese focused.
In some middle school history books, the Cultural Revolution is described as “a detour in the Communist Party’s expedition,” rather than as a mistake. Some universities have replaced textbooks by Western academics such as Milton Friedman and N. Gregory Mankiw with books written under a program called “Marxist theory research and building project.”
Textbook publishers have cut back on essays by Lu Xun, a writer known for his acerbic criticism of the nationalist government in the 1920s and 1930s. They were once a mainstay of school texts, but some Chinese people have used his articles to criticize current events. One, about how Chinese people should welcome criticism from foreigners, was posted on the social media platform Weibo this past week after the N.B.A. debacle, then was pulled down.
Already, China has become more effective at delivering its message to its people. Slogans that I learned without much conviction more than 30 years ago — like “Without the Communist Party, there would be no China” — are making a comeback.
State media also portrays the protests as a push for Hong Kong independence from China, a direct effort to tap into those feelings of territorial integrity. That thought has echoed. Mr. Tsai, the N.B.A. owner, called the protests “a separatist movement.”
But only a fringe group of protesters support full independence from the mainland. The five core demands of the protesters don’t include it. It’s an important distinction, one that Mr. Tsai’s newspaper — The South China Morning Post, owned by Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant where Mr. Tsai is executive vice chairman — is careful to make.
For China, the big danger is that it will become even more intolerant of criticism and different opinions.
A Chinese blogger wrote this week that a renovation project at a top Beijing middle school was causing widespread health issues, giving students bloody noses several times a day. The reaction was strong, and strongly against him. Many students told him there was nothing wrong with their school and even if there was, it was none of his business. “He should have shut his mouth just like N.B.A.’s Morey,” wrote one commenter.
Mr. Yang, the singer-songwriter, said “all hell broke loose” after his family and members of his band learned that he supported the Hong Kong protests. His younger brother told him he was sick in his mind. Former classmates castigated him online.
“The Hong Kong protests have definitely made them a lot more patriotic,” he said.
Over the years, he had tried to show people around him the videos of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and other events. His family told him that he should look at the brighter side of the history. The party has since provided education, jobs and pensions, they said.
“I feel as alone as an island,” he said. “I’m surrounded by very familiar strangers.”
WASHINGTON — President Trump said Friday that he had reached a “substantial” deal with China that will forestall a planned tariff increase on Oct. 15, providing a temporary détente in a yearlong trade war.
Mr. Trump, speaking from the Oval Office, said the two sides had reached a verbal “phase one” agreement that would take several weeks to write and could be signed by both sides in November.
The initial deal, which Mr. Trump said had been reached “in principle” would involve China buying $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products, along with agreeing to guidelines on how it manages its currency. The agreement also includes some provisions on intellectual property, including forced technology transfer and would give American financial services firms more access to China’s market, the president said.
In exchange, the United States will not go ahead with plans to raise tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods to 30 percent next week. But the president has not made a final decision on whether to increase tariffs further on Dec. 15, as he has threatened.
Mr. Trump, who just weeks ago said he was looking for a “complete” China deal, said that the two sides would now break the agreement into phases.
“It’s such a big deal that doing it in sections, in phases, is really better,” Mr. Trump said during a meeting with Liu He, China’s vice premier. “So you’ll either have two phases or three phases.”
The first phase could be signed when Mr. Trump appears alongside his Chinese counterpart at a meeting of global leaders in Santiago, Chile, in November. The next phase would begin soon after, Mr. Trump said.
Despite the announcement, the deal has not been finalized and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said that more work remained.
“We have a fundamental agreement on the key issues,” Mr. Mnuchin said. “But there is a significant amount of work to do.”
The agreement, which came during the 13th round of negotiations, will help defuse a prolonged trade fight that has begun inflicting pain on the global economy and was set to escalate next week. In his quest to force China to acquiesce to America’s terms, Mr. Trump has already taxed $360 billion worth of Chinese products and was poised to tariff nearly every laptop, dresser and toy that China sells to the United States before year-end.
Stock and commodity prices climbed as investors anticipated a trade agreement that could help resolve economic concerns about ongoing damage from the dispute.
The S&P 500 rose 1.1 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index rose 1.3 percent. The Russell 2000 index of small capitalization stocks, typically viewed as closely tied to the health of the American domestic economy rose 1.8 percent.
Crude oil prices rose as did prices for key industrial metals such as copper and iron ore, often looked to as a barometer of the outlook for China’s large industrial economy.
But the deal is far from the type of comprehensive agreement Mr. Trump has been pushing for and leaves many of the administration’s biggest concerns about China’s economic practices unresolved. Although exact terms of the agreement are still under discussion, the details Mr. Trump announced include many of the concessions that China has previously floated, including purchases of agricultural products and limits on Beijing devaluing its currency to gain a competitive advantage.
And it does not appear to address some of the thorniest issues that the two countries have been grappling over.
Mr. Mnuchin said on Friday that the United States would decide whether to rescind the designation of China as a currency manipulator in a future phase of negotiations.
In August, the Treasury Department formally designated China a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994 at the direction of Mr. Trump. The largely symbolic move came amid frustration among American officials that China was counteracting Mr. Trump’s tariffs by devaluing the renminbi.
And Robert Lighthizer, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiator, said the deal did not resolve the fate of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, which has been placed on a United States blacklist, much to China’s dismay.
“In this agreement we’re not dealing specifically with Huawei. It’s not part of this agreement. That’s a separate process,” he said.
Still, any pause in future tariff increases and reduction in trade tensions will provide welcome relief to businesses, farmers, investors and others who have suffered financially from a bitter trade dispute that has dragged on for more than a year.
Mr. Lighthizer said that the deal would require China to make structural changes that would allow more American farm goods to flow there.
“It will be much easier now for American farmers to be able to ship to China,” he said. “And we’ve made some changes on our side too that will help the Chinese.”
Mr. Mnuchin said the United States and China had reached “almost a complete agreement” on both the currency issues, and China’s moves to open up to financial services firms.
“The banks and all of the financial services companies will be very, very happy with what we’ve been able to get,” Mr. Trump said, adding that the pact would be a “tremendous thing for banks and financial services companies.”
The stakes for an agreement were high with the trade war set to worsen if the two sides did not made progress and some of Mr. Trump’s biggest political constituencies — including farmers and small businesses — in the cross hairs. In addition to the October tariff increase, Mr. Trump had planned to impose another round of levies in December, at which point the United States would have taxed nearly every Chinese import.
Those additional tariffs have prompted concern from farmers and businesses, who say the levies Mr. Trump has already placed on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods are weighing on sales and investment. While the president and his advisers maintain that the trade war is having a limited impact on the economy, they have admitted that these tariffs could impact American consumers as the holiday season approaches.
Mr. Trump’s defenders say China’s concessions will generate positive momentum for future talks and result in more business for farmers and manufacturers as they continue to press China for a comprehensive pact to correct longstanding economic abuses. Critics say the move will go only partway toward resolving a crisis of the president’s own making, and that the trade war will continue to inflict pain across the global economy.
“It’s the most ridiculous thing I saw on TV today,” Scott told guest host Jason Chaffetz on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.” “Watching this situation in Minnesota just sickens me to my stomach,” he added.
During the rally, President Trump unloaded on Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden over their Ukrainian business dealings — at one point bringing the crowd to its feet by charging that Biden’s only useful trait as vice president was his ability to kiss up to Barack Obama.
Reiterating his point, Varney praised the president for “not backing off one inch” despite the intimidation tactics, and urged Trump-supporting Americans to follow suit.
“So here we have the Trump haters who will do just about anything to intimidate Trump supporters and a president who won’t back off one inch as he makes his case and pounds his opponents,” said Varney.
“Nobody should surrender to intimidation, this is the United States of America,” Varney concluded. ” … Not Russia, not China … free speech for everyone,” he said.
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U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office at the White House October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced a ‘phase one’ partial trade deal with China. Win McNamee/Getty Imageshide caption
Win McNamee/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He in the Oval Office at the White House October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump announced a ‘phase one’ partial trade deal with China.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Updated at 5:06 PM ET
President Trump on Friday announced what he calls “phase one” of a larger trade deal with China.
As part of the deal, a tariff increase planned for next Tuesday will not be imposed. The U.S. was scheduled to raise tariffs on about $250 billion worth of goods on October 15 from 25% to 30%.
The specifics of the deal are still being hammered out, and they haven’t been signed yet. President Trump said he hopes that will happen in the next month or so. The leaders of the U.S. and China are expected to meet in November.
“We’ll do a formal signing with President Xi and myself,” Trump said of the meeting in Chile, which is hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in November.
Leading up to the latest talks, the president had said he wanted to strike a comprehensive agreement which would include more Chinese enforcement of intellectual property rights, an end to the forced transfer of U.S. technology, greater access to Chinese markets and limits on subsidies of China’s state owned businesses.
Progress appears to have been made on some of these issues. While full details of the deal weren’t available, Trump said it encompasses agreements on intellectual property and financial services. He said it also includes a deal for China to purchase up to $50 billion worth of agricultural goods from American farmers.
The economies of both the U.S. and China have slowed since the tit-for-tat tariffs began 18 months ago. In the U.S., manufacturing and agriculture are two sectors notably cited in the U.S. slowdown. Both sectors rely critically on trade.
“With our two teams making progress on some parts of the agreement under consultation, it is important that we address each other’s concerns properly and make positive headway in the other areas as well,” Xi said in a letter to Trump.
“A healthy and steady China-U.S. relationship serves the interest of our two countries and the world at large,” Xi added. “Let us work together to manage differences on the basis of mutual respect and expand cooperation for mutual benefit, so as to bring our relations forward along the right track.”
GDP growth in the U.S. has slowed to 2% and is likely lower than that in the third quarter, which just ended. The administration has sought to compensate farmers for lost export sales with a $28 billion aid package distributed by the Department of Agriculture.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Friday he will delay tariff hikes on China next week as the the two sides seek to hammer out a limited trade deal.
Trump said he and Chinese negotiators had a deal “in principle” to prevent intellectual property theft and for China to buy $40 billion to $50 billion of U.S. agricultural goods but the details have yet to be put to paper and formalizing them is at least a month away.
Trump said he hopes to agree on specifics when he and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet at an economic summit in Chile in mid-November.
“I don’t think it should be a problem getting it papered,” Trump told reporters after an Oval Office meeting with a Chinese trade delegation.
In the meantime, Trump said he would suspend future tariffs on China, including a $250 billion hike that was to have kicked in Tuesday. China had planned to retaliate for that tariff hike, but will now hold off also.
Trump said the negotiators were working on “phase one” of a deal that would ease the trade war between the two countries. “Phase two” would be a broader agreement involving tougher issues, including the forced technology transfers that China imposes on U.S. businesses.
“All would like to see something significant happen!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Stocks climbed after Trump expressed confidence ahead of his meeting with China Vice Premier Liu He, China’s top trade envoy.
Economic analysts said it sounds good on the surface, but they want to see a final product signed, sealed, and delivered.
“A verbal deal seems to taken positively by markets but it’s still more than a month away before the Presidents meet in Santiago (Chile),” Riley Walters, an analyst of Asian economic and technology policy at the Heritage Foundation. “The devil will be in the details but it sounds like there’s at least some good progress being made.”
Walters also noted that “I’m glad to see next week’s tariffs have been postponed,” but “there are still tariffs on over $400 billion worth of imports from China that Americans will continue to have to pay until a comprehensive deal is made.”
Jason Oxman, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade group, said a “phase one” agreement would be “a step in the right direction.”
“It’s critical that both sides capitalize on this momentum to conclude a broader agreement that addresses longstanding unfair trade practices and policies in a meaningful way and rolls back detrimental tariffs,” Oxman said. “It’s time for this trade war to come to an end.”
Trump has previously said he would insist on a full-blown trade agreement that would settle long-time disputes over tariffs, currency rates, technology sharing, and intellectual property laws.
“We’re looking for a complete deal,” Trump told reporters on Sept. 20. “I’m not looking for a partial deal.”
Meanwhile, China – which has criticized various U.S. trade policies throughout the week – had signaled an interest in something temporary as talks got underway Friday.
In a morning tweet, Trump claimed that “good things are happening at China Trade Talk Meeting. Warmer feelings than in recent past, more like the Old Days.”
Since summer 2018, the U.S. has slapped tariffs, ranging from 10% to 25%, on about $360 billion in Chinese imports. The early tariffs largely focused on intermediate and industrial goods but the most recent have targeted consumer products such as clothing and electronics.
China has retaliated with duties on about $110 billion in U.S. shipments to that country, largely hitting agricultural products such as soybeans, fruit and vegetables, in an attempt to undercut support for Trump among his base in the farm belt. The levies also affected coffee, chemicals, cars, auto parts, whiskey, cigars and TVs.
With negotiations at an impasse in May, Trump significantly escalated the battle, boosting a 10% tariff on $250 billion in Chinese imports to 25% and announcing levies on the remaining $300 billion in products not already subject to duties.
Although Trump initially delayed the new tax on nearly $300 billion in mostly consumer products, he upped the ante in August following another fruitless round of trade talks. A 15% tariff on $112 billion of the imports took effect Sept. 1, up from a planned 10%, ensnaring items such as clothing and shoes. A 15% tariff on the remaining $160 billion — including toys, cell phones and laptops – is set to hit Dec. 15.
Retailers and manufacturers have absorbed much of the costs, but have started passing some along to American shoppers and warned further price increases are likely on the way.
Also, a 25% tariff on the $250 billion in largely intermediate goods is set to rise to 30% Tuesday, barring a trade deal in the coming days.
Last month, both sides tamped down the crossfire ahead of the talks, with Trump delaying the duty on the $250 billion in products by two weeks and China excluding some items, such as animal feed and petroleum products, from its tariffs.
In promoting her latest film, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” Jolie has been hard-pressed with a hectic tour schedule. At the London premiere, the actress and mother-of-six took the time to speak about her eldest son, Maddox.
“I’m so happy for [Maddox] that he’s grown up into such a good man,” Jolie stated in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
“I say that because he’s smart and he’s doing his work, but he’s also wild. He’s balanced in his teenage years,” Jolie added. She also noted that Maddox “got tattooed.” However, Jolie didn’t offer any specifics about Maddox’s tattoo.
Maddox — who studies biochemistry at the renowned Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea — recently joined mother Angelina at a tour stop in Tokyo, Japan — a mere two-and-a-half-hour flight away from Yonsei.
The Academy Award-winner stunned at the film’s rollout, donning a shimmering Ralph & Russo gown, while Maddox kept it clean from head to toe in a black suit and black T-shirt.
Angelina was also joined by daughter Zahara, who continued her brother’s look as she walked the chaotic carpet in a black number.
In a recent interview, Jolie was emotional as she reflected on Maddox’s move to Korea for his studies. “It’s going to be different for different kids,” said Jolie, who revealed to Entertainment Tonight in August that she had an “ugly cry” upon leaving her son at his new university. “Maddox was so ready.”
She added, “I also, just at some point, had the big [sun]glasses and the amount of times I turned and waved. I do know it was the one moment in my life I think I turned around six times before the airport just … and he sweetly stayed and kept waving, knowing that I was going to keep turning around. You could feel he knew he couldn’t leave.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed into law15 gun-related bills to tighten the state’s already-stringent Second Amendment restrictions, Among them, one expands a “red flag” law to allow co-workers, employers and educators to seek gun violence restraining orders against firearms owners they fear are a danger to themselves and others.
While several states have similar “red flag’ laws in place, California’s new legislation is broader and will allow not only law enforcement and family members to file for gun violence restraining orders, but also educators, employers and co-workers. This, according to the bill’s author, Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco.
“With school and workplace shootings on the rise, it’s common sense to give the people we see every day the power to intervene and prevent tragedies,” Ting said, adding that the expansion should allow more awareness and give others the opportunity to act.
Co-workers who want to request a gun violence restraining order will have to have “substantial and regular interactions” with gun owners, and co-workers and school employees will need to get approval from their employers or school administrators before seeking a restraining order.
Those seeking the orders will be required to file sworn statements detailing their reasons for doing so.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) opposed the bill, saying it “poses a significant threat to civil liberties” because a restraining order can be sought before a gun owner has an opportunity to dispute the request.
Additionally, those making a request under the new law may “lack the relationship or skills required to make an appropriate assessment,” the ACLU said.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and its state affiliate, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, opposed the new restrictions, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Newsom signed another measure that will allow gun violence restraining orders to last between one and five years. It allows judges to issue search warrants simultaneous with the granting of a restraining order.
Gun owners will be able to petition to have the restrictions lifted sooner.
The Democratic governor also signed a law that will limit Californians to purchasing one long rifle per month, according to The Sacramento Bee.
This law expands the current legislation that applies to handguns, and it will prevent people under 21 from purchasing semi-automatic rifles and other similar firearms.
The collective measures “tweak” the state’s current laws and “improve implementation,” according to Amanda Wilcox, spokeswoman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
“California has outperformed the rest of the nation, because of our gun safety laws, in reducing the gun murder rate substantially compared to the national reduction,” Newsom said as he signed the legislation. “No state does it as well or comprehensively as the state of California, and we still have a long way to go.”
Between 1993 and 2017, there was a 62 percent decline in California’s gun murder rate, nearly double the national 34 percent, according to Newsom.
The public charge rule will make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain legal residency if they are likely to become dependent on the government. USA TODAY
A federal judge blocked Friday a Trump administration rule that was scheduled to take effect next week that would have denied permanent legal residence to low-income immigrants living in the United States.
The nationwide injunction from District Judge George Daniels in New York City halts the administration’s attempt to redefine what constitutes a “public charge,” or immigrants who are, or who might become, overly dependent on government assistance.
The rule would have affected roughly half a million legal immigrants in the U.S. who apply each year to become legal permanent residents, also known as a green card holder. It would have been carried out by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that decides on immigration cases within the U.S.
Trump administration officials described the revised rule as a necessary mechanism to weed out immigrants who would take advantage of U.S. taxpayers by living off the government dime. But immigration activists bashed the rule as an elitist measure that would upend the nation’s history of serving as a refuge for the world’s destitute by only allowing wealthy immigrants to get a green card.
Nearly a dozen lawsuits were filed by state attorneys general and immigration advocacy groups challenging the new rule. New York State Attorney General Letitica James, who led the multi-party lawsuit that led to Daniels’ ruling, praised the judge’s decision.
“This rule would have had devastating impacts on New Yorkers and our nation, and today’s decision is a critical step in our efforts to uphold the rule of law,” she wrote on Facebook.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to request for comment, but it’s expected that it will appeal Daniels’ ruling.
Friday’s ruling does not affect a similar rule that went into effect last year targeting foreigners who apply for their green cards while living abroad. That rule has been used by the State Department to screen would-be immigrants on their ability to sustain themselves economically.
For Wendy Leguizamo, 22, a U.S.-born citizen from Chicago, the State Department rule has simply meant she can’t be with her husband.
Leguizamo married her 24-year-old husband in Mexico in 2017 and has been trying to get him into the U.S. ever since. Despite filing repeated applications, U.S. consular officials in Mexico continue turning down her husband based on the revised public charge rule from last year. That’s left Leguizamo raising their 11-month-old son on her own, seeing her husband only on occasional trips to Mexico or through nightly video chats on her phone.
“He’s missing out on everything,” she said this week during a phone interview after finishing her shift at a clothing warehouse. “It’s so stressful. I’m doing my best. And he’s just working every day, trying to get his mind off of this because it’s been over two years already.”
State public charge rulesfor immigrants have existed going back to the colonial years. The first federal restriction was put in place nearly 140 years ago, when Congress barred any “convict, lunatic, idiot or any person unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge.” Ever since, different administrations have defined “public charge” very differently.
The Trump administration is now trying to institute the most restrictive definition to date, creating new barriers to the nearly 1 million green card applications filed each year, according to an analysis by the non-profit Migration Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based group that analyzes immigration issues.
The administration had provided little guidance on how the new rules and restrictions were going to be implemented. The result, according to Julia Gelatt of the Migration Policy Institute, had been an international state of confusion hovering over the most important decision in many immigrants’ lives.
“We want there to be some consistency and predictability about how our laws and policies are applied,” said Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the institute.
Trump also signed a proclamation on Oct. 4 that requires all incoming immigrants to prove they will have health insurance within 30 days of entering the country, or have the financial means to cover their own health care costs.
“Healthcare providers and taxpayers bear substantial costs in paying for medical expenses incurred by people who lack health insurance or the ability to pay for their healthcare,” Trump wrote in the proclamation. “Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs.”
The current public charge rule was signed into law in the 1990s by President Bill Clinton. It defines a public charge as someone who is “primarily dependent” on government assistance. That means receiving cash assistance that makes up more than half of their income, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), state and local cash assistance and long-term medical care at government expense.
The proposed regulations would also consider “non-cash” benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (known as food stamps), Section 8 housing and rental assistance, Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits, and Medicaid in non-emergency situations.
They would have grant broad discretion to immigration officials to determine whether someone would become a public charge in the future by weighing a wide variety of “negative factors,” including the applicants’ age (specifically if an applicant is under 18 or over 61), health, education, work skills, income and family status. Earning less than 125% of the federal poverty level — $25,750 a year for a family of four — would also have counted as a strike against them if rule had gone into ef.
Under Democratic President Bill Clinton, immigrants were routinely denied green cards over their potential to take public assistance. In 2000, his final year in office, U.S. consular officials turned down 46,450 application for green cards on public charge grounds, according to State Department data.
Those denial plummeted during the tenure of Republican President George W. Bush, who opposed attempts to limit legal immigration. By 2008, his final year in office, the number had fallen to 6,852. That downward trend continued under Democratic President Barack Obama, falling to 1,076 during his final year in office.
Under the Trump administration, from Oct. 1, 2018, through July 29, the State Department denied 12,179 applications based on the public charge rule, according to data obtained by Politico.
Defenders of the president say such denials are long overdue.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a Washington, D.C.- based group that advocates for lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, bristled at the decision by recent administrations — Republican and Democrat — to limit public charge denials. He said that ignores the expansion of the welfare state that legalimmigrants have taken advantage of.Undocumented immigrants do not qualify for public assistance programs, and neither do many immigrants on temporary visas.
“All this rule does is reflect reality a little more accurately, so that if you’re using food stamps or public housing or Medicaid, that would be factored into the decision about whether you are capable of paying your own bills,” Krikorian said.
Immigration attorneys and activists see something different at play. They say the Trump administration has been hellbent on reducing immigration — both legal and illegal — and the rule change was just another way to do that.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli fanned those flames when he reworked Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statute of Liberty during a recent interview.
“Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge,” Cuccinelli told NPR in August.
Juliana Macedo do Nascimento of United We Dream, a coalition of young immigrants who advocate for protections from deportation, said such comments clearly show the Trump administration wants to block immigrants of color while opening the door to wealthier, whiter immigrants.
“That’s what this rule is about — it’s about keeping what they consider to be the wrong kinds of immigrants out,” she said.
This administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people. https://t.co/kTLl50yCmw
Leguizamo, the Chicago mother hoping to reunite with her husband, didn’t want to discuss the politics behind the new public charge rule. She says she simply wants to figure out how to get her husband to the U.S.
Leguizamo, who works full time and makes $28,000 a year, at first listed herself and her parents as her husband’s sponsors, but the State Department denied the application. Leguizamo uses Medicaid and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) for her son, two programs that are not supposed to count as negative factors against immigrants or their sponsors.
Jocelyn Jaramillo, an immigration specialist at Catholic Charities in Chicago who has been helping Leguizamo, says the decision likely came down to Leguizamo’s income, which dropped significantly after she spent six months on maternity leave.
On their second try, Leguizamo listed a cousin who has a higher annual income as the sponsor, but that application was also denied. A third attempt listing a family friend was turned down. A fourth attempt listing Leguizamo’s aunt and uncle was turned down.
Now, on their fifth attempt, Leguizamo listed her parents again, but this time they added the three properties that her parents own onto the application as a form of collateral to show they can sell those homes if needed to sustain the family.
She hopes the fifth time will be the charm. But after more than two years of repeated denials, she’s not holding out hope.
She said the full weight of the stress hit her the hardest last week when she returned from a two-week visit to Mexico to see her husband. Simply getting their son, Mario Fernando, on the plane reminded her of what life will be like raising an energetic toddler without his father.
“I was stressing out, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to do it on the airplane,” she said. “My husband, he’s a very helpful person. He wants to do everything, to provide for his family. But he can’t.”
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