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U.S. House Democrats blame Trump for worsening border crisis

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U.S. House Democrats blame Trump for worsening border crisis

LEESBURG, Va. (Reuters) – U.S. House of Representatives Democrats are accusing Republican President Donald Trump of aggravating a crisis situation at the southern U.S. border, saying he has not used funds available to help deal with a surge of migrants and exacerbated the problem with his attempts to crack down.

FILE PHOTO – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks at her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that bipartisan immigration reform, which has eluded Congress and the White House for years, is still the solution. It is in fact “inevitable,” Pelosi said on the sidelines of a Democratic party meeting in Leesburg, Virginia.

In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, also called for bipartisan discussions on immigration. But he focused on toughening U.S. asylum law, a move that Democrats likely would oppose.

Democrats have not proposed a comprehensive immigration bill since taking the majority in the House this year. Republicans still hold the Senate.

Instead, Democrats last month proposed legislation offering a pathway to citizenship for more than 2 million undocumented immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children. Known as Dreamers, they face possible deportation.

The House Democratic bill would also help immigrants from countries hit by civil conflicts or natural disasters who have temporary protected status, known as TPS.

U.S. officers arrested or denied entry to over 103,000 people along the border with Mexico in March, a 35 percent increase over the prior month and more than twice as many as the same period last year, according to data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection this week.

The steady increase in migrant arrivals, which has been building over the past several months, is driven by a growing number of children and families, especially from Central America.

Trump has threatened to close the border, saying the United States is “full.” He has urged the building of a wall on the southern border since before he became president in 2016. Recently his ire has been directed at his own officials, Congress, and Latin American countries, who he says have not done enough to stop their citizens from traveling to the United States.

Pelosi, asked Thursday what should be done at the border, said the bipartisan legislation Trump signed to end a government shutdown in February included money for judges and humanitarian aid “to bring order to the border,” but Trump has not used the funds.

Although a bipartisan effort at comprehensive immigration reform by Democrats and Trump last year failed, Pelosi said such an overhaul still had a chance.

“I’m not giving up on the president on this,” Pelosi said. “I still say to him, ‘We’ve got to have comprehensive immigration reform’.”

Representative Pramila Jayapal, speaking to reporters later, said the Trump administration had manufactured a crisis at the border in part by “stripping away” legal routes to immigration, such as by stopping asylum seekers at legal ports of entry.

Trying to curb the flow of Central American asylum seekers, the administration has been sending more people back to Mexico to wait for their asylum claims to be heard by U.S. courts.

Representative David Cicilline said the Trump administration had exacerbated a challenging border situation by not spending money that was appropriated for border facilities and personnel, as well as by cutting off aid to Central American countries for sending migrants to the United States.

Cicilline, who runs the House Democrats’ policy and communications committee, denied Democrats were simply “looking on helplessly” at the problems.

“But the administration has responsibility in all these areas. And we can appropriate funding and we can pass legislation but ultimately they are responsible for executing the immigration laws in this country,” he said.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by James Dalgleish

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Trump sues to block Democrats’ subpoena for financial information

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Republican convention set for August 2020 in Charlotte

Lawyers for President Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by members of Congress that sought the business magnate’s financial records.

The complaint named Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Peter Kenny, the chief investigative counsel of the House committee, as its plaintiffs.

“We will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered,” said Jay Sekulow, counsel to the president.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

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Congressman Moulton enters Democratic 2020 presidential race

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Seth Moulton entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race on Monday as a long-shot contender in a contest that now includes almost 20 candidates.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

A 40-year-old Iraq War veteran who represents a district in Massachusetts, Moulton enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some rivals who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.

Moulton has built a political career by challenging the party’s establishment. He entered Congress in 2015 after winning a Democratic primary challenge against John Tierney, who had held the seat for 18 years.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become Speaker of the House.

He ended his opposition to Pelosi with a statement saying: “Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people.”

In a YouTube video announcing his presidential candidacy, he said: “Decades of division and corruption have broken our democracy and robbed Americans of their voice.”

“While our country marches forward, Washington is anchored in the past,” he said.

In the video, Moulton said he wants to tackle climate change and grow the U.S. economy by promoting green jobs as well as high tech and advanced manufacturing.

Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.

He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.

Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.

He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.

For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC

Reporting by Ginger Gibson; additional reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis, Kirsten Donovan and David Gregorio

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

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Trump sues to block subpoena for financial information

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee that sought information about his and his businesses’ finances.

“Chairman Cummings’ subpoena is invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose,” lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization said in court filing.

Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann

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