1 U.S. Planning Full Withdrawal From Syria
It’s been rumored as possible, but now it’s official: the Pentagon is planning a rapid and full withdrawal of U.S. ground forces from Syria. That amounts to roughly two-thousand American troops, who are there to combat ISIS. The word first came via tweet from President Trump. Saying the U.S. has helped defeat ISIS in Syria and calling it the "only reason for being there," Trump said it’s time to bring our troops home. Later adding, “After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home!” Who’s likely thrilled? Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime, who have have long-wanted to have the U.S. out of the war-torn country. Who’s less than thrilled? At least two Republican senators, who’ve gone public with their feelings. Florida's Marco Rubio is calling the decision a “colossal mistake” and a “grave error.” South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham tweeted that it would be a "huge Obama-like mistake." Graham later noted, "With all due respect, ISIS is not defeated.”
2 Senate Passes Funding Bill To Avert Shutdown
Now it’s all up to the House as the Senate passed a funding bill last night – in an effort to head off the partial shutdown that would have begun tomorrow. One-quarter of the government runs out of money tomorrow. What’s in the resolution? In short, funding to keep the Feds afloat for another seven-weeks. Most of the government has already been funded through the 2019 fiscal year, but this bill will extend funding until February 8th. As for what’s not in the bill…the $5-billion President Trump is demanding for his massive border wall. If the measure passes the House, it’ll be off to the President’s desk for his signature. But will he? In a tweet, Trump has offered, "One way or the other, we will win on the Wall." That said, he’s significantly softened his stance in recent days…so time will sure tell.
3 Federal Judge Rejects Asylum Restrictions
A pair of decisions that are surely tough for President Trump to swallow today as a federal judge is rejecting limits to applying for asylum in the United States that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to impose last spring at his behest. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan has ruled that Sessions ignored the law when he barred victims of privately inflicted violence such as domestic abuse or gang terror from applying for asylum. Sullivan wrote Sessions' direction was "arbitrary, capricious and in violation of the immigration laws." Since Sessions' order most immigrants claiming fear of domestic or gang violence were placed into an expedited removal process. In those cases, they are deported without a hearing before an immigration judge. But that’s not all – Sullivan ordered the government to bring the deported plaintiffs back to the U.S., at no expense to those plaintiffs, to pursue their asylum claims under revised policies. As for the second decision? In another court, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar also went against the White House saying that anyone who crosses into the country anywhere – not just at a Port of Entry – may request asylum. About 70-thousand illegals cross into the United States every year.