The latest on the Trump administration and the border

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5:36 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Rep. Ayanna Pressley on Trump's tweets: Do not "take the bait"

Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressley called President Trump's racist attacks a "disruptive distraction" and urged people not to "take the bait."

"He does not embody the grace, the empathy, the compassion, the integrity that that office requires and that the American people deserve," the Massachusetts lawmaker said speaking at a news conference this afternoon. "That being said, I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait. This is a disruptive distraction from the issues of care, concern, and consequence to the American people."

Pressley defiantly said, “We will not be silenced. She also took aim at the President calling him “the occupant of the White House” and saying, “I will always, refer to him as the occupant as he is only occupying space.”

She was joined by Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

The four congresswomen were at the center of Trump's tweets. On Sunday, the President used racist language to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens.

Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib and Pressley are natural-born US citizens, while Omar was born in Somalia and immigrated to the US when she was young. Omar became a citizen in 2000 when she was 17 years old, according to the New York Times.

5:19 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Trump tweets: "IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE"

President Trump blasted Democrats again today in a series of tweets, saying, "IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE."

He went on to say, "It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country...."

Trump's tweets come a day after he used racist language to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens

Trump, speaking at a news conference at the White House today, himself denied his attacks on the four women were racist.

Read his tweets:

4:54 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Mexican government rejects new US asylum measures

From CNN’s Natalie Gallón in Mexico City

Mexico rejected the Trump administration's new asylum regulation that could dramatically limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum, the country’s foreign ministry said in a statement released this afternoon.

In the statement, Mexico reiterated their “respect for human rights of all people, as well as their international commitments regarding asylum and political refuge."

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the measure “will not affect Mexican citizens.”

“Mexico will maintain its politics of asylum and refuge as stated in our constitution," he added.

The statement added the government of Mexico will “remain alert to the implications that this US decision could entail to those seeking asylum from other countries that enter through its southern border. In this sense, special attention will be paid to respect the principle of non-refoulement recognized by the current International Law.” 

“Our position is very clearly established, and we certainly do not agree, we would not have to agree, in the area of Mexican legislation, asylum is something that we consider very relevant and that we will always respect,” Ebrard said.
4:40 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Tlaib responding to Trump attacks: "I’m not going to allow him to distract"

From CNN's Manu Raju

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Rashida Tlaib — one of the four Democratic congresswomen at the center of President Trump's racist tweets — spoke to CNN on her way into a hearing today.

Here's what she said:

“I’m not gonna go allow him to distract me from the work of representing the third poorest congressional district in the country. I’m going to go in here and hold this administration accountable,” she said.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley declined to comment prior to a news conference scheduled for 5 p.m. ET.

5:17 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

The four congresswomen at the center of Trump's tweets will hold a news conference today

The four Democratic congresswomen at the center of President Trump's racist tweets will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. ET today.

The President used racist language to attack progressive Democratic congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens.

The group of Democrats — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — are all women of color and have been outspoken about Trump's immigration policies. Last week, they condemned the conditions of border detention facilities.

At a news conference today, Trump himself denied his attacks on the four women were racist.

3:47 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

Guatemala court blocks "safe third country" agreement with the US

From CNN’s Tatiana Arias

Locals use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river from Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas State, Mexico, to Tecun Uman in Guatemala, on June 10, 2019.
Locals use a makeshift raft to illegally cross the Suchiate river from Ciudad Hidalgo in Chiapas State, Mexico, to Tecun Uman in Guatemala, on June 10, 2019. PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Image

Asylum negotiations between Guatemala and the United States have hit a roadblock.

Guatemala’s Constitutional Court issued a temporary injunction that blocks Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales from signing any agreement with President Trump to make Guatemala a safe third country for asylum seekers.

This all comes after a meeting between the two leaders Monday had to be re-scheduled. The two presidents were reported to be getting close to reaching a deal on Guatemala becoming a “safe third country” for asylum seekers, according to multiple US sources familiar with the negotiations.

What it means to be a "safe third country"

Under the agreement, migrants passing through Guatemala would have to apply for asylum there, rather than continuing to the US – this would likely have the effect of preventing and deterring some migrants from applying for asylum in the United States at all.

The United Nations' refugee agency defines "safe country," in part, as "being countries in which refugees can enjoy asylum without any danger."

Before reaching an agreement, the US is working to make sure there are sufficient protections in place for people who would claim asylum in Guatemala, according to an administration official.

Trump has tried to negotiate a deal like this before. At the beginning of June, Trump dropped tariffs on Mexican goods after the two countries came to an agreement about immigration.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said they moderated some of the US' requests, such as entering a safe third country agreement, but instead allowed others such as an expansion to part of the Immigration and Nationality Act that would return asylum seekers to Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings.

3:33 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

White House issues statement on new asylum rule

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley just offered a statement to CNN, as the Trump administration is moving to dramatically limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the United States by land through Mexico.

"If you are fleeing an oppressive government and have a legitimate claim to asylum, then you will receive it, but about 90 % of these claims are proven fraudulent in court. While Congress refuses to act, the President is looking at all available legal options to restore integrity to the immigration system, ensure those who deserve asylum get it, and most importantly, protect the American people.” 
3:22 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

GOP congressman defends Trump: "Of course he’s not a racist"

From CNN's Haley Byrd

 JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
 JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, an ardent ally of President Trump, issued a statement attacking Democrats and defending the President.

Here's what the Republican lawmaker said:

“The President is frustrated by the ridiculous and dangerous positions of the Left: free healthcare for illegal immigrants, calling detention facilities ‘concentration camps,’ saying ‘walls are immoral,’ calling to abolish ICE and DHS, advocating for a borderless hemisphere, saying they ‘wouldn’t oppose’ non-citizens voting, raising a Mexican flag at an ICE facility in Colorado, and attempting to blow up an ICE facility in Tacoma, WA. Of course he’s not racist!”
3:21 p.m. ET, July 15, 2019

These Republican lawmakers have condemned Trump's tweets

Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski
Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski  Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Some Republican lawmakers have spoken out to condemn President Trump's racist tweets attacking progressive Democratic congresswomen.

On Sunday, the President used racist language to attack the congresswomen, falsely implying they weren't natural-born American citizens.

Asked today about the President's comments, here's what some Republican lawmakers said:

  • Maine Sen. Susan Collins:  "I disagree strongly with many of the views and comments of some of the far-left members of the House Democratic Caucus — especially when it comes to their views on socialism, their anti-Semitic rhetoric, and their negative comments about law enforcement — but the President’s tweet that some members of Congress should go back to the ‘places from which they came’ was way over the line, and he should take that down.”
  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott: He said Trump engaged in “racially offensive language.”
  • Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski: "There is no excuse for the president’s spiteful comments — they were absolutely unacceptable and this needs to stop. We have enough challenges addressing the humanitarian crises both at our borders and around the world. Instead of digging deeper into the mud with personal, vindictive insults — we must demand a higher standard of decorum and decency.”
  • New York Rep. Peter King: “The tweets were inappropriate and wrong.”
  • Texas Rep. Pete Olson tweeted: “The tweet President Trump posted over the weekend about fellow members of Congress are not reflective of the values of the 1,000,000+ people in Texas 22. We are proud to be the most diverse Congressional district in America. I urge our President immediately disavow his comments.”
  • Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey tweeted: “President Trump was wrong to suggest that four left-wing congresswomen should go back to where they came from. Three of the four were born in America and the citizenship of all four is as valid as mine. I couldn’t disagree more with these congresswomen’s views on immigration, socialism, national security, and virtually every policy issue. But they are entitled to their opinions, however misguided they may be. We should defeat their ideas on the merits, not on the basis of their ancestry."
  • New York Rep. John Katko: “The President’s tweets were wrong. I have vehemently criticized lawmakers on the far-left when I disagree with the direction they want to take the country — but criticism should focus on policy.”
  • Ohio Rep. Mike Turner‏ tweeted: "I am confident that every Member of Congress is a committed American. @realDonaldTrump’s tweets from this weekend were racist and he should apologize. We must work as a country to rise above hate, not enable it."