Tag Archives: La-migra

“It’s not the forest that is in danger, it is life itself”

As regional leaders gather for a summit on protecting the Amazon, where fires are raging, Indigenous leaders say they have forest knowledge politicians cannot afford to overlook. LETICIA, Colombia – Sitting in a circle in a wooden shack on the outskirts of Leticia, the capital of Colombia’s Amazonas province, Indigenous leaders savoured powdered coca leaves […]

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Elon Musk is Only the Second Worst Stock Manipulator

By Arturo Castañares / Publisher and CEO

Tesla’s founder and CEO has been dogged by the SEC for making false and misleading claims on Twitter that affected their stock price, leading to the tech guru’s removal as Tesla’s Board Chairman and a record $40 million fine.

Elon Musk is a charismatic yet volatile figure in the tech world who first struck gold as one of the founders of Paypal, the online payment system sold to EBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.

Since then, Musk founded Tesla, the electric car company, and SpaceX, a private company designing and launching rockets to carry payloads into space for private companies, as well as for NASA.

Now a true billionaire worth an estimated $20 billion, Musk is a giant among tech titans and a household name around the world.

Born and raised in South Africa, Musk moved to Canada for college but then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, known as UPenn, and home to the Wharton Business School. UPenn, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, is also the alma mater of Donald J. Trump.

Brash and unconventional, Musk shares more in common with Trump than just having graduated from the same university; both men use Twitter as the main form of communicating their thoughts, and that, at times, has caused them both some problems.

Musk is a marketing genius and master manipulator of news cycles. He has used Twitter to tease the coming of new electric cars and space rockets, as well as the launch his own Tesla Roadster car into space in what has become the universe’s longest test drive. Brilliant move.

But Twitter has also brought Musk huge problems.

In August 2018, Musk sent a Twitter message that he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 per share and that he had financing secured.

That one tweet sent the stock soaring by 12% until NASDAQ suspending its trading to give the market time to digest the news.

Within a few days, Musk had to admit that he didn’t have funding secured beyond preliminary talks with investors, including Saudi Arabia’s national investment fund. AKA he lied.

Within weeks, the stock bubble had popped and the stock was down over $100 per share, having lost nearly $20 billion in market value.

Of course, investors that lost money on Musk’s rollercoaster ride filed lawsuits, as well as complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC.

The SEC regulates the stock market and investigates stock manipulation, fraud, and other behavior that can affect the market and therefore investors.

In the end, Musk agreed to a settlement that included stepping down as Tesla’s Chairman, paying a $40 million fine, and agreeing to have his tweets approved by the Tesla Board before he posts them in an effort to control his impetuous outbursts that could impact the market.

Investors are still suing Musk and Tesla to recover billions in lost stock value caused by his misleading and damaging tweet, all because he wrote on Twitter whatever was going on in his head.

The damage from Musk’s tweets was mostly limited to Tesla stock and it’s value, yet the SEC saw it as damaging to the entire stock market because of the ripple effects on other investors.

If the tweets from one company CEO can wreak havoc on the market, than what about the words from the most powerful CEO in the world; the President of the United States?

Our Tweeter-in-Chief famously uses social media to deliver messages from the urgent to the absurd. He tweets insults about political opponents, brags about poll results, and even mixes in a few compliments to Fox News hosts that speak highly of him during their “news” shows.

But Trump’s tweets also make claims about the economy that cause worldwide economic impacts, and lead to billions of dollars in markets shifts for millions of affected investors around the world.

A single tweet from Trump on the status of trade talks with China, for example, can cause the stock market to veer wildly from positive to negative, and impact bond prices and interest rates as investors seek safer ground.

Just two weeks ago, the yield on US Treasury bonds passed a critical point where short term bonds were yielding higher returns than longer term bonds, a key indicator that has preceded every economic recession in 50 years. The inverted yield curve is a good predictor of recessions, an ominous sign of coming trouble.

Bond yields on long term bonds fell because panicked investors jumped out of the stock market and into bonds fearing a global recession brought on by Trump’s escalating trade war with China, a direct result of Trump’s tariff war that has affected nearly every manufacturing and farming sector around the world.

Trump’s tweets usually don’t have any verifiable information or news; they’re usually just the thoughts in his head spilling right out in 140 character messages seemingly without any filter, and without constraints.

But stock traders and analysts have to react to these messages because Trump can, as we’ve seen, directly impact the market on any given day.

He can impose tariffs on a whim. He can bully the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates. And he can even order US companies to stop trading with China as he did last Friday on (you guessed it) Twitter.

Trump has over 65 million followers on Twitter, but that’s just the beginning of his audience. Every one of his messages is covered by media around the world, and the impacts are felt almost instantly.

Last week, while at the G7 summit, President Trump said China had reached out to him in hopes of securing a trade deal. Stocks went up.

Later the same day, Chinese officials said they knew nothing of new trade talks, and stocks went down.

When Trump and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were asked at a news conference to confirm the new talks with China, they both abruptly changed the topic and refused to explain the discrepancy between what he said and they said. It turns out it was all a lie that Trump intentionally told to ease market concerns, AKA manipulating the market.

If Elon Musk can be investigated, fined, and restricted by the SEC to protect markets and investors, than why can’t that also happen with Trump?

How can one man with a documented history of spinning, exaggerating, and flat-out lying about things both big and small, be allowed to impact world markets and make winners and losers out of millions of people without any constraints or consequences?

Anyone can and should be prosecuted for stock manipulation, insider trading, and fraud as we’ve seen with Musk, Martha Stewart, and Bernie Madoff, respectively.

Martha Stewart, the maiden of the kitchen and home, spent months in prison and stepped down as CEO of her company for allegedly using an insider tip to avoid about $45,000 in losses when that company’s stock fell the day after she sold hers.

If Martha Stewart was held accountable, so should bigger stock market manipulators like Musk, and the biggest one of all, Donald J. Trump.

Trump is the head of the largest economy of the world and he has the largest megaphone on the planet. His words can start wars and change history.

And he can also tweet the stock market into panic.

The SEC should have the courage to protect everyday investors and retirees from market shocks caused by an impulsive tweeter and carnival barker. Politics aside, Trump’s tweets are dangerous to the livelihood of millions of people.

We should all be protected from swindlers, hucksters, and shysters, starting with the one in the Oval Office.

Asylum Closure Could Increase Undocumented Crossings

By Manuel Ocaño

The closure of opportunities to apply for asylum from could force some migrants to try to enter the United States in an undocumented manner, warned José María García Lara, coordinator of one of the main shelters in Tijuana, the Juventud 2000 refuge.

The measure implemented last week “will push the (migrant) community to look for options to get out (of Mexico), regardless of what they see happening in security at the border,” said the leader of Angels Without Borders.

García Lara said that most of the people in the shelters are families that most likely would not be willing to risk crossing the border with their children in an undocumented way, but “it is not ruled out that some try, despite the pressure of border authorities. ”

“As we are in the border area, the conditions are set for some to try to cross,” he said.

He said that since the migrants in the shelter learned about the new disposition of the US government to deny practically all cases of asylum, except those of victims of human trafficking, they began to think about alternatives and one of the most mentioned is to seek refuge in Mexico.

The United States government canceled without warning the passage of migrants moving from Tijuana to San Diego to apply for asylum.

Migrants in the immediate vicinity of the pedestrian checkpoint of El Chaparral told Excélsior that no one has passed to apply for asylum since Thursday of last week, without the US authorities giving any explanation. On average, between 50 and one hundred people passed by.

“Since there is no way to enter legally, because they closed the possibilities of requesting asylum and no longer request it, obviously there are migrants who feel desperate and some of them think of crossing undocumented,” said Garcia Lara.

The three alternatives that migrants have mentioned are undocumented crossing, returning with their families to their places of origin and staying in Mexico as refugees if they get that option.

In the case of Guatemala, to prevent some migrants from trying to reach undocumented US territory, that country’s consul in Tijuana, Erick Cardona, offered to pay the return ticket to his country to Guatemalan migrants who request it.

With the new provision, which requires that Central American migrants first request asylum in Mexico and only if Mexico rejects it can they apply for it in the United States, asylum requests continue only for Mexican families who also seek asylum, originating mainly from Guerrero and Michoacán.

Immigrant Rights Groups: Congress Must Investigate Separation & Suffering Caused by Trump ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ Policy

July 12, 2019

Immigrant Rights Groups: Congress Must Investigate Separation & Suffering Caused by Trump ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ Policy

Recent Stories Demonstrate Great Harm to Children on Both Sides of Border

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of a congressional hearing today about family separation and the mistreatment of migrant children, a group of immigrant rights organizations working on behalf of asylum seekers released a statement and stories of families separated by the Trump administration’s “Remain-in-Mexico” policy:
The following statement is from Al Otro Lado, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Human Rights Watch, Kino Border Initiative, Latin America Working Group and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Today’s hearing of the House Oversight Committee regarding family separation and the mistreatment of migrants in detention facilities run by the U.S. government is incredibly important. As evidenced by the recent accounts summarized below, the Trump administration’s ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ policy has put migrant children in even greater danger and caused enormous harm on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.”
The groups cited the following examples:
  • A woman from El Salvador traveling with her 4-year-old daughter and two younger siblings entered the U.S. near Tijuana, Mexico, to seek asylum. The woman had been the primary caretaker for her siblings ever since their mother was murdered in El Salvador. Upon apprehension by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the woman and her child were detained and returned to Mexico to await their immigration court hearings, while her siblings were transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is responsible for the care and custody of unaccompanied children
  • A Guatemalan father and his 15-year-old son were detained separately in CBP holding cells known as hieleras (iceboxes) because of their frigid, cramped conditions. Before separating them, CBP officers tore up the son’s birth certificate and threw it in the trash. After four days in CBP custody, the father was returned to Mexicali under the ‘remain-in-Mexico’ policy. The son was transferred to ORR custody. Following the separation, the son was so traumatized that he had to be hospitalized.
  • After crossing the border in Texas, a Nicaraguan mother and her two sons, ages 7 and 18, were detained in a CBP hielera for four days. The mother and her younger son were then sent to California, where they spent four more days in CBP custody before being returned to Mexico. Initially, the mother had no idea where to find her older son but learned later that he was detained in Texas.
  • Fearing gang violence, a Salvadoran family of four fled to the United States to seek asylum. Following apprehension by CBP, the mother and two daughters were detained for seven days in a hielera. Although they became gravely ill, CBP did not allow them to see a doctor. The mother and older daughter have since been returned to Mexico, while the younger daughter and her father (who had been separately detained) were released to live with relatives.
“As this administration has continued to abandon its legal and ethical obligations to those seeking protection in our country, the crisis is as much across the border as it is here.
“Congress must drastically increase oversight regarding the human impact of the administration’s anti-immigrant policies. These policies have created a humanitarian crisis that demands an immediate response.”

Peru wants to remove protections for over 100,000 hectares of forest and indigenous land

stupid, greed, and killing Amazon and maybe earth for humans Regional authorities in Ucayali, Peru are set to implement an order which will remove protections for 3.5 million hectares of Amazon rainforest and allow for the invasion of indigenous lands, with at least 100,000 hectares under direct threat from settlers and agribusiness. The affected forests have previously been declared as “Permanent Production Forests” (BPP), meaning they enjoy a high degree of legal protection from deforestation, […]

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No, Mueller Did Not Clear Trump. Period.

By Arturo Castañares / La Prensa San Diego Publisher and CEO

After going more than two years without making any public comments as he headed the independent counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, Robert Mueller finally spoke out on Wednesday to clarify the intention of his report.

US Attorney General William Barr gave the world his own summary of the Mueller Report back in early March just days after Mueller had turn it over to the Justice Department. Barr’s summary was that the report did not find any collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russians, and that there was no evidence that Trump tried to obstruct justice during the investigation.

According to Barr, and then Trump and his supporters, the report completely cleared Trump of any wrongdoing, and that it was the clear no one around Trump colluded with Russians.

For nearly two months now, we have heard repeated chants from Trump et al that the Mueller investigation was a waste of time, money, and manpower in its attempt to find what they maintained never existed. Case closed, they all declared.

But that’s not what Robert S. Mueller said this week. Not even close.

The surprise press conference was announced just hours before Mueller took to the podium at the Justice Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. Exactly on time at 9 a.m. Eastern time, the man who had held his tongue for two years while investigating the President of the United States finally got his opportunity to explain his work-product.

For background, Robert Mueller is a former Assistant US Attorney, former US Attorney, former Assistant US Attorney General, former Acting-Deputy US Attorney General, former Director of the FBI under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and also a highly decorated former US Marine who earned a Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, Purple Heart Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals with Combat “V” during his service in Vietnam.

His stellar reputation as a serious and respected former Justice Department and FBI official is why he was appointed by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to conduct the special investigation. Although he was routinely criticized by Donald Trump and others, there were no comments or leaks from his office during the two-year investigation.

Until this week, most people had never even heard Mueller’s voice. But when he spoke on Wednesday, the course of American history may have changed.

Robert Mueller clearly stated that Robert Mueller clearly stated that his investigation found evidence of obstruction of justice by Donald Trump but that a Department of Justice policy that a sitting president cannot be indicted limited him from bringing any charges. Mueller said that had they found no evidence of obstruction of justice, the report would have clearly stated that.

Translation. He didn’t say there was no evidence of obstruction of justice. He didn’t say Donald Trump was innocent. He didn’t exonerate the President of the United States.

Mueller said that a criminal indictment is not the way to accuse a sitting president of serious crimes.

“The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing,” Mueller said on Wednesday.

Let that sink in for a minute.

The former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations for 12 years, who was appointed by GW Bush and reappointed for a second term under Barack Obama on a 98-1 vote of the US Senate, a registered Republican, and is described as a good friend of current Attorney General William Barr, publicly said that there is enough evidence of obstruction of justice that he could not clear the current President.

What’s more troubling is that for two months, the Attorney General and Republicans protecting Donald Trump have carried on a charade in front of the world, restating the Mueller Report as proof of Trump’s innocence. It took two months for Mueller to finally take a stand and accurately explain his report. And that’s a shame.

The position of Attorney General of the United States is supposed to be the chief lawyer for the federal government, not the personal lawyer for the president. Historically, presidents have kept their distance from the AG so that they didn’t seem to be exerting pressure on them, especially when it involved the president himself.

It wasn’t too long ago that even a meeting between the AG and a former president was shocking, well, at least to Donald Trump.

In June 2016, former President Bill Clinton was at an airport in Phoenix at the same time that a plane carrying then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch landed there too. It was reported that Clinton boarded Lynch’s plane and they chatted for a few minutes, reported about personal issues.

But Republicans, and then-candidate Donald Trump, called it “terrible” and “unethical”. They charged that Lynch couldn’t be unbiased and impartial in her review of the Benghazi investigation and Hillary Clinton’s emails because she had met with the former president, who didn’t have any authority over her in any way.

If it was wrong for former President Clinton to even meet with the AG, then how it is acceptable for Donald Trump and William Barr to discuss the Mueller report when Trump appointed and could fire Barr?

It was Trump’s appointed AG Barr that has been describing the Mueller report for two months, and publicly declared that there was no collusion and no obstruction of justice by his boss. Barr could have let the report speak for itself, or waited for Mueller to discuss it.

If you’ve seen this movie before, its because again the Trump White House is acting much like the Nixon White House during the Watergate scandal. Back then, it was Attorney General John Mitchell, who had run Nixon’s first campaign, that took direction directly from the President.

Now, Barr, who previously served as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush, also believes in a “unitary executive” doctrine that all federal officers, agencies, and commissions must be under the direct control of the President.

AG Barr even helped Bush Sr. in pardoning six men charged or convicted in the Iran- Contra scandal, including former Secretary of Defense Casper Weinberger. Bush’s pardons ended an independent counsel investigation into the Iran-Contra affair, including Bush’s own actions that would have been investigated.

So, Donald Trump’s appointment of William Barr as Attorney General just three months ago now seems like a preemptive move to protect himself, knowing that Barr could run interference for him during and after the Mueller investigation.

Mueller’s report and comments this week should be taken at face value, and it is up to Congress to look into the underlying evidence the two-year investigation compiled. After a reported $20 million expense on the investigation, taxpayers should demand a full review – not for partisan reasons – but for full transparency. It’s what Congress does, and should do.

If, after public hearings, Congress doesn’t find enough evidence to move forward, then it ends, much like the Congressional hearings into the Benghazi incident. After two years, millions of dollars, and 11 hours of testimony by Hillary Clinton, the committees did not find any evidence of wrong-doing.

Donald Trump should not be afraid of Congressional oversight if, as he so vehemently claims, he did nothing wrong. Congress has the obligation to pursue the work of Mueller’s team to its conclusion, for the good of the country.

This shouldn’t be about Democrats or Republicans, Trump, Mueller, or Barr. It should be about the institutions that must survive these times, for all time. That’s what makes America great.

Huyó de la Violencia de Pandillas y a Días de dar a luz, Joven Salvadoreña de 15 Años Quiere ser Abogada

Por Manuel Ocaño

Milagro de Jesús, de 15 años de edad, tuvo que huir de El Salvador con su hermanita de 13 años cuando miembros de una pandilla de la Mara les advirtieron que las iban a hacer parejas de algunos de ellos.

Cuando el papá de Milagro intentó hablar con los pandilleros para pedirles que dejaran en paz a sus hijas, los mareros lo golpearon tanto que se le dificultaba ponerse en pie.

“Entonces decidimos que teníamos que huir y mi papá dijo que viniéramos a Tijuana, de donde podríamos pasar a Estados Unidos”, dice Milagro, es escasa semana de dar a luz a su bebé mexicano.

Pero las cosas no resultaron como padre e hijas esperaban. Al ingresar a México les impidieron el paso y no podían continuar, pero tampoco podían regresar. Después de huir, los pandilleros impondrían represalias “y allá la policía no hace nada, parece que más bien obedece a las pandillas”, dice Milagro.

Su papá decidió separarse y buscar suerte solo, para tratar de llegar a Estados Unidos, trabajar y con lo que ganara ayudar a los demás en la familia, pero al cruzar a San Diego lo arrestaron y deportaron a El Salvador, de donde volvió a salir en cuanto el vuelo tocó tierra.

Mientras tanto, Milagro y su hermana se integraron a una caravana que cruzó a México y ambas viajaron como menores sin compañía de adultos hasta Tijuana, donde esperaban encontrar a su padre, sin saber que había sido deportado.

Cuando el padre intentó cruzar nuevamente de Guatemala a México fue detenido, porque ante pasó con permiso mexicano solo para ser deportado, y ahora está en Chispas, donde tiene que firmar cada semana sin poder salir de ese estado.

Mientras tanto, Milagro ha decidido permanecer en México, solicitar asilo en Tijuana.

Aunque dice que su embarazo es deseado, reconoce que desde que salió de El Salvador ha sido víctima de acoso, tanto de autoridades como de individuos. “Nos han dicho vulgaridades, a mi hermanita también”.

“Para mí ha sido difícil porque prácticamente todo el apoyo que he tenido por parte de mi familia es mi hermanita. Fue muy difícil decirle lo que pasaba a mi mamá, luego a mi papá, pero creo que han entendido y me apoyan, aunque estén tan lejos”, platica Milagro.

Ahora, aunque su bebé nace en unos días, quiere estudiar, pues en El Salvador solo cursó parte de la secundaria, su hermanita estaba en la primaria cuando tuvo que huir con ella.

“Por todo lo que vi, desde que vivía en El Salvador, y lo que he visto en el camino y lo que sufren los migrantes y la gente por donde pasamos, quiero estudiar derecho”, dice Milagro.

La quinceañera es testigo en un caso que se sigue por desaparición de jovencitas migrantes en Tijuana, con involucramiento de un coyote guatemalteco que sigue libre porque las autoridades descartan los testimonios de Milagro por su edad.

Mientras estudie, tendrá que trabajar y espera que a veces su hermanita le ayude a cuidar al bebé que nacerá por estas fechas. Se va a llamar Alexander Adonai, de acuerdo con la mamá.

En el refugio, Milagro ha sido la mamá más felicitada en el día de las madres.

The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia

After centuries of colonial domination and a twentieth century riddled with dictatorships, indigenous peoples in Bolivia embarked upon a social and political struggle that would change the country forever. As part of that project activists took control of their own history, starting in the 1960s, by reaching back to oral traditions and then forward to […]

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California Threatens to Ban Trump from Primary Ballot if He Fails to Release his Tax Returns


By Manuel Ocaño

The California Legislature joins three other states in passing bills that would deny President Donald Trump access to their primary ballots unless he discloses his tax returns for recent years. About a dozen more state legislatures will be debating similar measures this week.

The majority of the California Senate voted in favor of a bill that requires presidential candidates to disclose the last five years of their tax returns. Although the bill makes no specific reference to the President, bill co-author Mike McGuire said “we believe that President Trump, if he truly doesn’t have anything to hide, should step up and release his tax returns” before running for reelection in 2020.

“Voters deserve to know, for example, if the President is putting America’s security at risk through his tangled web of business dealings with corporate interests and his dealings with foreign governments and foreign banks,” added McGuire.

The bill has now been sent to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk, who could sign it into law. However, Newsom spokesman Jesse Melgar said the Governor would evaluate it on its own merits.

Former California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill two years ago, but Newsom – even back when he was running – expressed an interest in Trump releasing his tax returns.

Although California has a large electoral weight on its own, should the other states follow suit it would be impossible for the President to run for reelection unless he releases his tax filings to the IRS.

Illinois, Washington and Nueva York have already passed similar measures, and at least 13 other states confirmed this week that they are preparing similar bills to bring to a vote.

At the federal level, House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters is insisting that the President disclose his tax returns for the past seven years, stating that Trump is the only president in American history that has refused to release his tax returns.

In response, Trump has threatened to sue two different banks if they agree to provide his tax return information.

The Financial Services Committee is pressuring Deutsche Bank and Capital One to turn over the President’s tax returns. Trump responded by threatening to sue the 2 banks if they agree to the Committee’s request.

The returns would inform how much Trump paid in taxes, how much he claimed in deductions, and the reasons why both the president – a real estate mogul – and the Trump Foundation have paid no taxes for several years.

Lessons from History on US Border Policy

Central American migrants traveling in a group make their way to Pijijiapan, Mexico, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. 

© 2018 AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

The Exodus story, which Jews will be celebrating this week with the Passover holiday, starts with the “hardened heart” of Pharaoh, who refuses to allow the Hebrew slaves to leave. Tyrants’ refusals to allow oppressed people to flee is a theme of history that continued into the Cold War era of the late 20th century and beyond. The cry of “Let my people go,” has resonated universally as a clarion call for freedom. 

President Trump’s decision to cut foreign assistance to the “northern triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras because they “were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S.,” addresses this issue once again. His position demonstrates a myopic failure to see that the foreign assistance is intended precisely to alleviate the conditions of poverty, poor governance, and disrespect for human rights that cause displacement. It also ignores  a fundamental human right that has been enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Rights and binding human rights treaties:  the right to leave.

Throughout history and around the world, the right to leave has been the last resort and the last hope of people facing suffering, violence and persecution. As articulated under the core human rights treaty on civil and political rights that the US itself has ratified, “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own.”

“Are they willing to stop people from leaving the country?” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked of the Northern Triangle governments in an interview with Fox Business News. “We have not yet seen enough demonstration of their commitment for actually preventing these folks from crossing into Mexico.” Now, the State Department says that it is reviewing current funding to the three Northern Triangle countries and “planning to redirect” 2018 funding, “potentially up to $450 million,” to other priorities.

Can one imagine the reaction if the US president and his secretary of state had called on North Korea, China, or Russia to stop their nationals from leaving?  Or if anyone had the temerity to tell the United States not to let its citizens go?

In fact, the United States, perhaps more than any other country, has championed the right to leave. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy famously stood near the Berlin Wall and declared, “Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in.”

Nearly a quarter century later, President Ronald Reagan standing near the same spot, called on the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, to let East Germans go: “Come here, to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” For President Trump, keeping Central Americans out of the US or keeping them in their own countries is all the same; If he could get away with building his wall on Mexico’s narrow southern border, he probably would. 

It is true that there is an asymmetry between the right to leave and the absence of a right of entry. But the right to seek asylum represents a human rights exception to the right of sovereign states to control their borders. It is appropriate for Americans to debate how best to respond to people seeking asylum at the US border. But for the US president and secretary of state to tell other countries to stop their citizens from leaving is completely out of bounds and demonstrates utter disregard for the human right of last resort.