National

ACLU lawsuit accuses US of

wrongfully denying asylum

HOUSTON (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union sued the U.S. government Tuesday over its efforts to prevent immigrants from seeking asylum due to domestic and gang violence in their home countries.

The ACLU’s lawsuit asks a judge to invalidate Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ June 11 decision to restrict the kinds of cases that qualify for asylum. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 parents and children who the ACLU says were wrongly found not to have a credible fear of return.

If Sessions’ memo stands, the lawsuit argues, people “desperately seeking safety will be unlawfully deported to places where they fear they will be raped, kidnapped, beaten, and killed.”

Asylum can be granted to someone who was persecuted in their home country or could be persecuted if forced to return. Thousands of people seek asylum each month at U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations along the southwest border. Most are from Central American countries torn apart by violence, gangs, and corruption.

Top officials in President Donald Trump’s administration say the asylum process is being exploited by immigrants who are counting on passing the initial credible fear screening and being released into the country.

Manafort lawyer: ‘So many lies’

Gates can’t keep up

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — In blistering and aggressive questioning aimed at undermining the credibility of the government’s star witness, a defense lawyer accused the protege of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of being immersed in “so many lies” he can’t remember them all and demanded to know how a jury could possibly trust him.

Defense lawyer Kevin Downing began his cross-examination of longtime Manafort deputy Rick Gates by confronting him on his own lies to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, an extramarital affair and hundreds of thousands of dollars he admitted to embezzling from his former boss.

Downing also ventured into territory the two sides in Manafort’s fraud trial have mostly avoided: discussion of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The charges are not related to Manafort’s work with the Trump campaign.

The questioning was aimed at shifting blame from Manafort onto Gates, a fellow Trump campaign aide who pleaded guilty in Mueller’s investigation and agreed to cooperate with investigators by testifying in the financial fraud trial.

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