Thousands protest harsh refugee policy in Denmark

            By Davut Colak </p>  <p>COPENHAGEN (AA) - Demonstrations were held Monday in Denmark to protest plans by the government to send refuges and migrants to a remote island. </p>  <p>On the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, thousands of Danes and non-Danes thronged to protests in the nation’s capital and largest city Copenhagen and its second largest city, Aarhus, to call on the government to back down from plans to send refugees to Lindholm Island in the country’s southeast. </p>  <p>Nine non-governmental organizations participated in the demonstrations, including ActionAid Denmark (Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke), Amnesty International and Save the Children. </p>  <p>Calling on the government to reverse its halt of refugees coming into the country via UN quotas, Tim Whyte, general secretary of ActionAid Denmark, told Anadolu Agency that the decision to hold refugees on Lindholm Island was fundamentally wrong. </p>  <p>The Danish government plans to establish an “exit center” for refugees on Lindholm Island, which has a total area of 7 hectares (0.3 square miles) and was formerly used by the Technical University of Denmark for researching contagious animal diseases. </p>  <p> 

'Not migrants, but Europe's own shaking its security'

             By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) - On another Saturday shaken by protests in three European countries, Turkey’s president said Europe's security and welfare is not being shaken by Muslims or immigrants, but by Europe's own people.</p>  <p>&quot;The walls of security and welfare that they so cherished started to be shaken not by migrants or Muslims, but by their own citizens,&quot; Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a mass opening ceremony in Istanbul.</p>  <p>Telling how he has been following coverage from Europe’s streets with concern, Erdogan said the scenes of the Yellow Vest protesters show that Europe has failed on democracy, human rights, and freedom.</p>  <p>He said he opposes both the chaos caused by the protesters and the disproportionate force used against them.</p>  <p>Some 700 people were arrested during protests in France on Saturday, with police using pepper spray on demonstrators.</p>  <p>Similar protests were also seen to the northeast, in Belgium and the Netherlands.

UK envoy backs Turkey bringing terror groups to justice

By Kerem Kocalar

GAZIANTEP, Turkey (AA) – The U.K. supports Turkey in bringing those responsible in the "totally illegal and anti-constitutional" coup attempt of 2016 to justice, the British Ambassador to Ankara said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep, Dominick Chilcott said the U.K. "certainly" did not want to be seen as a safe haven for those responsible for the failed coup.

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

On Nov. 28 a British court rejected Turkey’s request for extradition of three suspects linked to FETO, but the verdict is open to appeal.

Chilcott underlined that, as an "essentially legal issue", the formal position on the extradition of Hamdi Akin Ipek, Talip Buyuk and Ali Celik is that the process is subject to court judgement.

However, he went on to say that there was a "political will" in the British government to help Turkey in dealing with "people who have committed serious crimes in Turkey or are members of terrorist organizations".

  • World should follow Turkey’s example on refugees

Decrying the "disturbing and saddening" rise in hate crimes against migrants and refugees, Chilcott stressed the need for political leadership in order to remain welcoming societies.

He lauded Turkey’s acceptance of refugees, saying other countries should "follow Turkey’s example" in welcoming migrants into their communities.

Noting that roughly 420,000 Syrian refugees reside in Gaziantep alone, Chilcott emphasized the "generosity of the Turkish people".

Turkey hosts more Syrian refugees than any other country in the world. The country has spent more than $32 billion from its own national resources for helping and sheltering refugees since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

US: Mattis OKs extension of troop deployment at border

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has approved plans to extend the deployment of troops at the southern border with Mexico until the end of January.</p>  <p>&quot;The Secretary of Defense has approved an extension of the ongoing Department of Defense (DoD) support to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) response to migrant caravan arrivals. DoD support to DHS is authorized until Jan. 31,&quot; a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.</p>  <p>Nearly 6,000 active-duty troops have been sent to secure the border and harden points of entry.</p>  <p>A number of troops currently deployed at the border were supposed to be relieved of duty on Dec. 15.</p>  <p>Earlier this month, U.S. border troops used tear gas on a large group of migrants who had thrown rocks and other projectiles at them and were attempting to breach the border fence.</p>  <p>Thousands of migrants have been waiting in Tijuana to cross into the U.S., many from a caravan that drew national attention and prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to claim without evidence that it was an &quot;invasion&quot; and that among the migrants were &quot;criminals and unknown Middle Easterners&quot;.</p>  <p>The Pentagon estimates the cost of the deployment at $72 million.

*Kasim Ileri contributed to the story

Trump threatens to close southern border with Mexico

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to close the country’s southern border Monday and urged Mexico to deport migrants who entered that nation in hopes of getting into America.

"Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A," Trump said on Twitter. "We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!"

The tweet followed a clash between U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and migrants who gathered on the Mexican side of the border in Tijuana.

On Sunday, the CBP closed the port of entry in San Ysidro, California, as migrants demonstrated on the Mexican side and some tried to breach the border.

The agency said migrants were throwing projectiles at border agents, and in response authorities fired tear gas because of the "risk to agents' safety."

Thousands of migrants have been waiting in Tijuana to cross into the U.S., many from a caravan that drew national attention and prompted Trump claim without providing any evidence it was an "invasion" and among the migrants were "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners."

Border security has been tightened as well, with 7,000 military troops sent to secure the southern border and harden ports of entry.

The president issued a restraining order in early November to bar migrants from crossing outside designated ports of entry, however, the order was blocked by a federal judge in California.

Trump says all migrants in border will stay in Mexico

By Fatih Hafiz Mehmet

ANKARA (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on late Saturday that the migrants in the southern border of the country will not be allowed in until their claims are individually approved in court.

"We only will allow those who come into our Country legally. Other than that our very strong policy is Catch and Detain. No “Releasing” into the U.S…," Donald Trump wrote on Twitter.

He said that all migrants will stay in Mexico.

"All will stay in Mexico. If for any reason it becomes necessary, we will CLOSE our Southern Border. There is no way that the United States will, after decades of abuse, put up with this costly and dangerous situation anymore!," he added.

Recently, thousands of migrants have been waiting in Tijuana, Mexico, to cross into the U.S., many from a caravan that drew national attention and prompted Trump to become vocal, saying it was an "invasion" and among the migrants were "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners."

Border security has been tightened as well, with 7,000 military troops having been sent to secure the southern border and harden ports of entry.

Judge Jon Tigar of the District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order last Monday on the administration's policy, which Trump enacted Nov. 9 to bar migrants from crossing outside designated ports of entry.

The restraining order placed by Tigar will allow migrants to seek asylum regardless of whether they entered the U.S. illegally or came through a port of entry.

Over 170 ‘stranded’ Nigerians repatriated from Libya

By Rafiu Ajakaye and Adam Abu Bashal

LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) – A fresh batch of 174 Nigerians, believed to be stranded in Libya, returned home on Friday, according a national relief agency official.

The refugees' repatriation came as part of Nigeria’s evacuation of thousands of its nationals from Libya, especially after footage emerged of Africans being held as slaves in the strife-torn north African country early this year, triggering an international outcry.

Segun Afolayan, the southeast region coordinator of the Nigeria National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the returnees arrived in the early hours of Friday, in a joint operation with the International Migration Organization (IOM) and the European Union.

Nearly 450 Nigerians returned voluntarily in the last three weeks, and among today's returnees were 61 women and 22 children, he added.

He said the IOM will provide rehabilitation and vocational training for the returnees.

They returned to Nigeria under the Assisted Voluntary Return Program, according to Afolayan.

Some 7,000 Nigerian refugees returned home voluntarily over the last year, according to the Nigerian agency.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous country, with some 192 million people, and has faced such problems as economic crises, security threats, and the herder-farmer conflict.

Attacks from the militant group Boko Haram in the country's northeast forced millions of Nigerians to flee their homes.

Some who try to cross the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean through Libya fall into the hands of human traffickers. Some die in the desert or the sea.

Libyan authorities remove irregular migrants from ship

By Jihad Nasr

TRIPOLI (AA) – The Libyan Navy on Wednesday announced it had forcibly evacuated a vessel anchored in the western Port of Misurata that had been carrying scores of irregular migrants.

"Security personnel on Tuesday boarded the ship and forcibly evacuated all migrants aboard,” naval spokesman Ayoub Qasim told Anadolu Agency.

According to Qasim, the move was taken "after all peaceful means [of clearing the vessel] were exhausted”.

"We tried to persuade them to disembark, but this failed,” he said. “So we told them they would be removed by force, which is what happened.”

Since Nov. 9, the migrants — who hail from various African countries — had refused to disembark from the vessel, which was taken to the Port of Misurata after having been rescued from rough seas.

Qasim put the total number of migrants at "more than 80”, going on to deny reports that the vessel was Turkish in origin.

“International organizations that exploit human rights issues are distorting the facts of the issue,” he said.

“The migrants appear to think they are above the law, despite having entered the country illegally,” he added.

US: Federal judge blocks Trump's asylum ban

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – A federal judge in the state of California blocked an attempt by the Donald Trump administration to refuse asylum to migrants who illegally cross the border into the U.S., saying the president cannot rewrite immigration laws.

Judge Jon Tigar of the District Court in San Francisco issued a temporary restraining order late Monday on the administration's policy, which Trump enacted Nov. 9 to bar migrants from crossing outside designated ports of entry.

Tigar argued against it, saying the policy is in conflict with the "expressed intent of Congress.

"Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden," he wrote.

"Asylum seekers will be put at increased risk of violence and other harms at the border, and many will be deprived of meritorious asylum claims," he added.

The temporary restraining order is in effect until Dec. 19 before the court will oversee the case for a permanent order.

Currently, thousands of migrants wait in Tijuana, Mexico, to cross into the U.S., many from a caravan that drew national attention and prompted Trump to become vocal, saying it was an "invasion" and among the migrants were "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners."

Border security has been tightened as well, with 7,000 military troops having been sent to secure the southern border and harden ports of entry.

The restraining order placed by Tigar will allow migrants to seek asylum regardless of whether they entered the U.S. illegally or came through a port of entry.


	

UPDATE – Trump signs proclamation limiting migrant asylum

ADDS LAWSUIT, GRAF 8, DETAILS THROUGHOUT

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Friday denying migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally the ability to seek asylum in America, prompting a lawsuit by a coalition of civil rights organizations.

Trump said he was signing the order "to channel these aliens to ports of entry" instead of trying to go around the ports across the 2,000-mile (3,200 kilometers) border.

"The continuing and threatened mass migration of aliens with no basis for admission into the United States through our southern border has precipitated a crisis and undermines the integrity of our borders," Trump said in the proclamation.

The proclamation will last for 90 days, and then it is the job of the Secretary of State, Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security to recommend a renewal or extension.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit against the order.

The civil rights organizations deemed the proclamation unlawful because it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, which abolished the immigration quota system based on country of origin.

“President Trump’s new asylum ban is illegal. Neither the president nor his Cabinet secretaries can override the clear commands of U.S. law," Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said. "This action undermines the rule of law and is a great moral failure because it tries to take away protections from individuals facing persecution — it’s the opposite of what America should stand for.”

Trump's actions are in response to caravans of migrants headed north to the southern border of the U.S. who plan to seek asylum once they arrived. It applies to any migrant that enters the country illegally.

Border security has already been tightened, with 7,000 military troops being sent to secure the southern border and "harden" points of entry.

"The entry of large numbers of aliens into the United States unlawfully between ports of entry on the southern border is contrary to the national interest," Trump said. "Our law has long recognized that aliens who seek to lawfully enter the United States must do so at ports of entry."

The largest of the caravans is reported to be around 5,000 people, with other ones following suit in smaller sizes.

Beginning in Honduras, it reached a peak of 7,000 people as many from other Central American nations joined the 1,553-mile (2,500-kilometer) journey to reach the U.S. by foot.

The caravan mostly consists of Hondurans who are fleeing violence and poverty in their home country.

While any migrants that cross into the U.S. illegally will not be granted asylum, Trump said they would be allowed certain protections but did not explain what those were.