In his recent most crackdown on immigrants, U.S. President Donald Trump is sending out new guidelines that would speed up deportations of immigrants by denying them asylum early on in the process, Reuters reported Sunday.
The guidelines written in a Feb. 17 memo instructs asylum officers to “elicit all relevant information” in determining whether an applicant has “credible fear” of persecution if returned home, the first obstacle faced by refugees on the U.S.-Mexico border requesting asylum.
This means that immigration agents at the border would have more power to reject applicants if they deem it safe for them to be deported back to their countries, according to sources familiar with the guidelines.
The government defines “credible fear” as “a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”
Interviews to assess credible fear are conducted immediately after an asylum request is made, often at the border or in detention facilities by immigration agents or asylum officers, and most applicants so far easily move to the next step of being granted an asylum hearing for their case in front of a judge.
Between July and September of 2016, U.S. asylum officers accepted almost 88 percent of the claims of credible fear, according to official data. Appearing in front of a judge often takes years and asylum seekers could stay in the U.S. during the waiting period.
However, under the current immigration laws those who are found not to have credible fear are quickly deported to their countries. So by setting the bar higher for the first step for seeking asylum, the Trump administration could speed up the deportations of thousands of immigrants.
But any of those who appear in front of a judge could also end up being deported as in 2015, just 18 percent of asylum applicants whose cases were granted asylum, according to the Justice Department.
Between October 2015 and April 2016, nearly 50,000 refugees claimed credible fear, 78 percent of whom were from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala or Mexico, according to official statistics.
Trump made cracking down on immigration to “keep America safe” one of his biggest campaign promises.
Just a week into his presidency he signed executive orders to deport millions of undocumented immigrants from the U.S., and for the now-suspended travel ban to the U.S. on all refugees, as well as visitors, from seven Muslim-majority countries.
Cuba to Build Its First Mosque as Muslim Population Grows
The city of Havana is set to build Cuba’s first mosque, touted to be one of the largest in Latin America, as its Muslim population continues to grow.
Religion and Catholicism in Cuba
Since 2015, when the government authorized that Cuba’s some 10,000 Muslims should have a place of worship, they have been congregating in a building space in downtown Havana for prayers, where copies of the Quran in both Spanish and Arabic are abundant. The new mosque is set to be built in Old Havana.
Cuba’s most influential Muslim leader is Pedro Lazo Torres, known as the Imam Yahya, the country’s first imam. Torres told USA Today that before there were so few Muslims that they could hold congregational prayers in someone’s home. As the population grew, their prayers spilled into the streets.
Torres, now president of the Islamic League of Cuba, explained that the number of people asking to convert continues to rise. While the country’s Muslim population has surged because of an influx of students from Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Rwanda, as well as the government-abetted settlement of hundreds of Pakistanis after an earthquake struck there in 2005, the majority of Cuban Muslims are converts.
“Ninety-nine percent of Cuban Muslims are converted to Islam and not descendants of Arabs,” Ahmed Abuero, the mosque’s religious leader, told USA Today.
Fake News Fail: Venezuelan Government Finally Orders Shutdown of CNN for Bogus and Misleading Reports
Among the fake news stories being broadcast on CNN in Venezuela have been bogus reports of President Maduro’s Venezuelan government selling illegal passports to Middle East terrorists and other drug traffickers.
It is believed that CNN was intentionally trying to discredit and damage the government of Venezuela at a time of serious economic instability and heightened political tensions in the country.
The government’s patience for CNN’s fake news finally ran out this week – prompting the provisional shutdown of the US network in Venezuela. Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez went so far as to accuse CNN of a “war operation”.
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Venezuela’s media watchdog has ordered CNN’s Spanish-language channel off the air across the country, accusing it of engaging in a propaganda war. Nicolas Maduro said earlier the channel is “sticking its nose” in the country’s internal affairs and “manipulating” information.
The Venezuelan National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has opened an “administrative sanctioning proceeding” against the CNN Español news channel for allegedly attempting to violate the “peace and democratic stability” of the country.
The sanctions were imposed “due to the content” that has been disseminated by the international news outlet in a “systematic and repeated way” in the channel’s daily programming, said a statement released by Conatel.
Conatel has ruled that CNN’s reporting often “lacks proof” and fuels a “climate of intolerance” by distorting the truth in an “inadequate manner” – in contradiction to the provisions of article 58 of the Venezuelan constitution, which states that everyone has the right to timely and impartial information.
The move comes after a joint investigation by CNN and CNN Español claimed to have uncovered serious irregularities in the issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas inside the embassy in Baghdad. On February 6, CNN Español broadcast a report fingering Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami as one of those allegedly responsible for the scheme.
SEE ALSO: KEEP OUT CNN!’ says President Maduro
The Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Delcy Rodriguez, accused CNN of launching a “propaganda war” against her country, after the channel reported about alleged passports sales to people linked to terrorism and drug trafficking. She accused the channel of spreading “an absolute lie” calling such an approach “a pity.”
“CNN en Español launched a psychological warfare operation, a war propaganda operation, mounted absolutely on falsehoods,” she said. Rodriguez also demanded action from the broadcast authorities and the legal team.
Prior to Conatel’s announcement, President Nicolas Maduro indicated that he wants the channel “out” of the country for its “manipulation” of news.
“CNN, do not get into the affairs of Venezuelans. I want CNN well away from here. Outside of Venezuela. Do not put your nose in Venezuela,” Maduro said, as cited by El Nacional. “Some media like CNN tried to manipulate. They cannot manipulate! That is our business, of the Venezuelans.”
READ MORE CNN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire CNN Files