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Trump Considers Sending Detained Illegal Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

Trump made the announcement hours after White House and Homeland Security officials insisted the idea had been rejected

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FILE - President Donald Trump speaks about sanctuary cities with law enforcement officers in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, March 20, 2018. On April 12, 2019, Trump said he was considering sending detained illegal migrants to sanctuary cities. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he was considering sending detained illegal migrants to so-called sanctuary cities, which oppose his tough immigration policies.

Trump made the announcement hours after White House and Homeland Security officials insisted the idea had been rejected.

He told reporters at the White House that his administration was “strongly looking at the possibly.”

Earlier Friday, he tweeted, “Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities.”

“The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!” he added.

Sanctuary cities are local jurisdictions — often run by Democrats — that have refused to hand over illegal immigrants to federal authorities for possible deportation.

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FILE – In this June 20, 2018, photo, protesters demonstrate outside the federal courthouse in Sacramento, Calif., where a judge heard arguments over the U.S. Justice Department’s request to block three California laws that extend protections to people in the country illegally. Sacramento is a sanctuary city. VOA

Offer of pardon?

In another development Friday, CNN reported that Trump told the head of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, that he would pardon him if he were sent to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants. CNN cited two unnamed officials who said Trump made the offer during a visit to the border town of Calexico, California.

Trump has since named McAleenan the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, following the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Friday: “At no time has the president indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal. Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”

Sending a message

The White House proposal to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities was first reported by The Washington Post.

According to the Post, the White House told Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the plan would alleviate a shortage of detention space, as well as send a message to Democrats.

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FILE – Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney speaks during a news conference in Philadelphia, Nov. 15, 2017. VOA

The Post said a White House official and a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said the proposal was no longer under consideration.

Revelation of the proposal drew criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as other Democrats.

In remarks to reporters Friday, Pelosi called the idea “unworthy of the presidency of the United States and disrespectful of the challenges that we face as a country, as a people, to address who we are — a nation of immigrants.”

Pelosi’s hometown of San Francisco is a sanctuary city. Mayors of several sanctuary cities said Friday they would accept undocumented migrants.

ALSO READ: Wall on New York’s Ellis Island Honors Immigrants is Almost Full

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement, “While the Trump administration’s proposal shows their disdain to basic human dignity, the City (Philadelphia) would be prepared to welcome these immigrants just as we have embraced our immigrant communities for decades.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said, “We would welcome these migrants with open arms, just as we welcomed Syrian refugees, just as we welcomed Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria and just as we welcome Rohingya refugees fleeing genocide in Myanmar.” (VOA)

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Trump to Pursue Higher Sales Age for Vaping Devices: ‘An Age Limit of 21 or So’

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details

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Trump, Sales, Vaping
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Nov. 8, 2019. VOA

President Donald Trump said Friday his administration will pursue raising the age to purchase electronic cigarettes from 18 to 21 in its upcoming plans to combat youth vaping.

Trump told reporters his administration will release its final plans for restricting e-cigarettes next week but provided few other details.

“We have to take care of our kids, most importantly, so we’re going to have an age limit of 21 or so,” said Trump, speaking outside the White House.

Currently the minimum age to purchase any tobacco or vaping product is 18, under federal law. But more than one-third of U.S. states have already raised their sales age to 21.

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FILE – A woman buys refills for her Juul at a smoke shop in New York, Dec. 20, 2018. VOA

A federal law raising the purchase age would require congressional action.

Administration officials were widely expected to release plans this week for removing virtually all flavored e-cigarettes from the market. Those products are blamed for soaring rates of underage use by U.S. teenagers.

However, no details have yet appeared, leading vaping critics to worry that the administration is backing away from its original plan.

Trump resisted any specifics on the scope of the restrictions.

Also Read- US Officials Identify ‘Strong Culprit’ in Vaping Illnesses

“We’re talking about the age, we’re talking about flavors, we’re also talking about keeping people working — there are some pretty good aspects,” Trump said.

Mint flavor

Underage vaping has reached what health officials call epidemic levels. In the latest government survey, 1 in 4 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the previous month.

Fruit, candy, dessert and other sweet vaping flavors have been targeted because of their appeal to underage users.

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FILE – A man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette, Oct. 18, 2019. VOA

On Thursday, Juul Labs, the nation’s largest e-cigarette maker, announced it would voluntarily pull its mint-flavored e-cigarettes from the market. That decision followed new research that Juul’s mint is the top choice for many high school students who vape.

With the removal of mint, Juul only sells two flavors: tobacco and menthol.

Vaping critics say menthol must be a part of the flavor ban to prevent teens who currently use mint from switching over.

‘Tobacco 21’ law

Also Read- Nobody Takes Serious Speeches of Movie Stars Seriously, Says Bollywood Star Shah Rukh Khan

Juul and other tobacco companies have lobbied in support of a federal “Tobacco 21” law to reverse teen use of both e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products. The effort also has broad bipartisan support in Congress, including a bill introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The logic for hiking the purchase age for cigarettes and other products is clear: Most underage teens who use e-cigarettes or tobacco get it from older friends. Raising the minimum age to 21 is expected to limit the supply of those products in U.S. schools.

Delaying access to cigarettes is also expected to produce major downstream health benefits, with one government-funded report estimating nearly 250,000 fewer deaths due to tobacco over several decades.

Still, anti-tobacco groups have insisted that any “Tobacco 21” law must be accompanied by a ban on flavors, which they say are the primary reason young people use e-cigarettes. (VOA)