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Daily Brief: White House Unveils Tougher Immigration Proposals

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October 9, 2017

Daily News Brief

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White House Unveils Tougher Immigration Proposals

The White House sent to Congress on Sunday a list of hard-line immigration proposals as part of negotiations to extend protections for undocumented immigrants (NYT) brought to the United States as children.

The demands include approving funding for of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, curbing federal grants to so-called sanctuary cities, hiring ten thousand additional immigration agents, and cracking down on entry of Central American child migrants. Democrats rejected the proposals as "far beyond what is reasonable" (WaPo). Some 690,000 immigrants are currently shielded by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program; their work permits will begin to expire in March 2018 (Guardian).


"The question is whether these are demands, and Trump will veto any bill that helps DREAMers without meeting some or any of these priorities; or whether they are simply the opening bid in a negotiation in which the White House seeks to secure significant border-security concessions from Democrats in exchange for a permanent DACA fix," Dara Lind writes for Vox.

"The thread that links Mr. Trump's actions since taking office is his obsession with undoing all of his predecessor's legacy," Edward Luce writes for the Financial Times.

"Passing a DACA fix is a top priority for Democrats, but they won't go along with Trump's long list of demands, meaning what once seemed like a bipartisan compromise in the works now looks more like another legislative standoff," Tamara Keith writes for National Public Radio.


North Korea's Kim Promotes Sister to Politburo

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promoted his youngest sister (Korea Times), Kim Yo-jong, to a position in the one-party state's top decision-making body. The U.S. Treasury blacklisted her in January (Al Jazeera) over alleged human rights abuses. 

CFR's Scott A. Snyder says dialogue with North Korea may help to avoid miscalculation in the Korea Times

PHILIPPINES: President Rodrigo Duterte's approval rating dropped last month to its lowest level (WSJ) in his sixteen-month presidency, with overall satisfaction falling to 48 percent and trust in Duterte falling to 60 percent.


Red Cross to Scale Back Work in Afghanistan

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it will "drastically" reduce its work in Afghanistan following attacks that killed seven of its personnel this year (RFE/RL). The ICRC's operations in the country constitute its fourth-largest humanitarian program.

Daniel Byman and Steven Simon discuss the difficulty in ending the war in Afghanistan in Foreign Affairs.

PAKISTAN: Muhammad Safdar, son-in-law to ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was arrested Monday upon arriving in Islamabad from London (RFE/RL). He and his wife, Maryam Nawaz, appeared in accountability court (Dawn) later that day.


U.S.-Backed Forces in Final Stage of Raqqa Battle

A spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-supported alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, said on Sunday that 90 percent of the city of Raqqa has been liberated from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Al Jazeera). Raqqa was considered the de facto capital (DW) of the extremist group.

This CFR Backgrounder looks at who's who in Syria's civil war.

IRAN: Iran's foreign ministry spokesman vowed a "crushing" response (Middle East Eye) if the United States designates the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's highest security force, a terrorist organization. U.S. President Trump may announce the measure against the elite force along with his expected decertification of the 2015 nuclear deal.


Sudan Extends Unilateral Cease-Fire

Sudan announced on Sunday it will extend a unilateral cease-fire with rebels, several days after the United States lifted two-decade-old sanctions on the country (Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama had suspended the sanctions (Sudan Tribune) shortly before leaving office.

NIGERIA: Some 2,300 suspected militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram will appear in court as part of mass trials (Guardian) beginning Monday. The trials, in which four judges will hear scores of cases per day, will be held in secret.


Turkey, U.S. Suspend Visa Services in Diplomatic Spat

Turkey suspended all nonimmigrant visa services (Al Jazeera) at its U.S. consulates on Sunday, hours after the United States announced it was restricting such services in Turkey. The moves follow Turkey's arrest of a U.S. consular employee (BBC), a Turkish citizen, for alleged links to an exiled cleric and rival of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

GERMANY: German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and their allied party, the Christian Social Union, have agreed to an annual refugee cap (WSJ) of two hundred thousand.


Argentina Airlines Suspends Venezuela Flights

Argentina Airlines has become the latest carrier to drop flights to the capital of Caracas (BBC), citing concerns over political instability. Passenger traffic to Venezuela had dropped 75 percent in the past four years, according to an international airline association.

BRAZIL: An estimated twenty thousand volunteers carried out an informal referendum on the secession of three southern states (AFP) on Saturday. Separatists say they are unfairly taxed.


Moscow Says It May Restrict U.S. Media

Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman said Sunday that Moscow may restrict U.S. media operations (Reuters) in the country in retaliation for its alleged pressure on Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT. The U.S. Justice Department recently announced that RT must register as a foreign agent (The Hill).

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