The mother of a Salvadoran man who drowned with his young daughter while trying to reach U.S. soil, becoming a global symbol of the perils of migration, said she had urged her son not to leave, fearing danger would meet him on the long journey north.
A harrowing photograph of Oscar Alberto Martinez, 25, and his 24-month-old daughter Angie Valeria lying face down on the muddy banks of the Rio Grande river between the United States and Mexico ricocheted across social media this week.
A federal judge on Friday issued a ruling blocking the Trump administration from tapping billions of dollars in military funds to construct a wall on the United States's southern border.
U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam issued the permanent injunction in a California federal court after initially ruling last month to temporarily halt the administration’s use of military funds for the border wall.
President Trump declared a national emergency earlier this year in order to divert roughly $6 billion in Defense Department funds toward border wall construction. Friday's ruling blocks the administration from using $2.5 billion in military funds for a border wall.
The injunction halts border wall construction at different sites in New Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas, expanding Gilliam's previous ruling.
Gilliam, an Obama appointee, made the ruling on the military funds in a lawsuit brought forward by several groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Sierra Club, challenging the diversion of the military funds under the scope of the national emergency order.
The Trump administration moved Monday to prevent most migrants from claiming political asylum in the USA, requiring them to make their claims in other countries first.
The proposed rule will almost certainly be challenged in court. Previous administration attempts to restrict asylum claims have been struck down.
The proposal "will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States," Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney who led the lawsuit that forced the administration to reunite more than 2,800 migrant families separated under Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy, said Monday morning his team would file a lawsuit soon against Trump’s latest move.
“The rule is unlawful, period,” Gelernt said. “We will be in court immediately to block the rule. It effectively ends asylum for anybody approaching the southern border and could not be more inconsistent with our country’s commitment to provide safe haven for those fleeing danger.”
Under the rule published Monday in the Federal Register, asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. For example, a Honduran who passes through Guatemala and Mexico would be barred from requesting asylum in the USA under the argument that they could have applied for asylum in either of those two countries.
To make way for the expanding border wall, contractors hired by the Trump administration are presently blasting away protected land in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - a park established more than 80 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
But that's not all. The demolition in southern Arizona has come to Monument Hill, home to sacred Native American land and ancient burial sites. The hill encompasses both sides of the border.
"It is as absurd as it sounds," said Laiken Jordahl, who has been documenting the destruction (and construction) along the borderlands for the Center for Biological Diversity, a conservation organization.
"The administration is literally blowing up a mountain in a national monument to build a wall," Jordahl said, adding that the park is 95 percent designated wilderness and is also an established International Biosphere Reserve. "It's a national tragedy."
And it's all legal. The administration is relying upon a small section of a federal law passed in 2005, called the REAL ID Act, to simply "waive" dozens of environmental laws, explained Holly Doremus, a professor of environmental regulation at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.