From Italy to Hungary to France, how populist movements in 2018 enveloped Europe

2018 was the year populism went mainstream and beyond the United States and Britain – sweeping Europe with demands for a change in the status quo. Beset by increasing social and economic problems, exacerbated by the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, and the dysfunction of the European Union, the continent’s voters … Continue reading “From Italy to Hungary to France, how populist movements in 2018 enveloped Europe”

2018 was the year populism went mainstream and beyond the United States and Britain – sweeping Europe with demands for a change in the status quo.

Beset by increasing social and economic problems, exacerbated by the influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, and the dysfunction of the European Union, the continent’s voters went to the voting booths or the streets, increasingly embracing populist ideas.

From Hungary and Austria to France and Italy, populist movements stunned European governments and establishment parties who long had an unchallenged grip on power.

Italy

Earlier this summer, anti-establishment populist parties took control of the Italian government, promising a government of change with an ambitious economic program.

The Five Star Movement, headed by Luigi Di Maio, won the election after receiving nearly a third of the votes. It entered into a coalition with the populist right-wing League party, led by Matteo Salvini, which won 18 percent of the vote – a stark jump from four percent of the vote just five years ago.

Both parties came into power as a backlash to the European Union’s push for austerity measures in the country at a dire social cost and the migrant crisis that particularly hit Southern Italy, with hundreds of thousands of migrants arriving since 2014.

League leader Matteo Salvini has pushed for tougher restrictions on immigration. (The Associated Press)

The Five Star Movement and the League oppose illegal immigration and have pledged to drastically cut the number of such immigrants in the country through deportations and tougher border enforcement.

But the parties also promised to kick-start the sluggish Italian economy with tax cuts and introduce a guaranteed basic income for Italians.

The government is also prepared to fight the European Union and its directives.

Just last month, Salvini, who is sharing the deputy prime minister title with Di Maio, criticized EU officials for rejecting his country’s budget for a second time for violating fiscal rules, the Guardian reported.

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He went on to urge the European Commission to “respect the Italian people” and dismissed the EU report criticizing the country’s fiscal policies and threatening with fines.

“A letter from the EU? I’m also waiting for one from Father Christmas,” Salvini declared.

Austria

Populism also took the reins of power in Austria as well, with 32-year-old Sebastian Kurz becoming the country’s chancellor in December, 2017.

Under the leadership of Kurz, Austrian People’s Party, a traditional center-right political force, adopted the populist platform in the wake of the migrant crisis. He formed a coalition government with the Freedom Party, a hard-right nationalist party whose popularity has skyrocketed since the crisis began.

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Both Kurz’s conservatives and the Freedom Party campaigned on tougher immigration controls and deportations of asylum seekers whose requests get denied.

In October, Austria joined other populist governments in Europe and the United States and refused to sign the United Nations agreement on immigration.

Earlier this year, the government’s cabinet also approved seizing migrants’ cash – up to $1,040 – and their mobile phones to fund their stay in the country, establish their identity and find out where they have been, Reuters reported.

The plan also instructs the hospital to advise the authorities when asylum seekers get discharged in a bid to make it easier to deport the individual.

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The government has also delivered on its promise to crack down on “political Islam” – closing seven mosques and considering expelling imams over foreign financing of religious groups.

Kurz said a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in Vienna was shut down while a group called the Arab Religious Community that runs six mosques was dissolved.

Hungary

The populist movement in Hungary has made significant strides in recent years, culminating in a total victory in April this year, with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party winning the so-called supermajority – two-thirds of seats in the country’s national legislature.

“We created the opportunity for ourselves to defend Hungary,” Orban told a crowd of supporters after the win. “A great battle is behind us. We have achieved a decisive victory.”

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Orban and his right-wing party have long been a headache to the leaders of the EU over his defiance to the migrant crisis.

EU PUNISHES HUNGARY WITH UNPRECEDENTED ACTION

His government repeatedly enacted various measures and legal obstacles in an effort to curb the number of asylum seekers. Since the migrant crisis, Hungary also built a fence on its border with Serbia, where a lot of migrants from the Middle East and Africa traveled, to effectively block illegal entry into the country.

The prime minister recently accused the EU of trying to create a “European Empire” and urged Europeans to oppose the globalism of the union.

“The European Parliament elections in May will decide in which direction Europe's wagon will turn,” Orban said in October during commemorations of a short-lived 1956 anti-Soviet revolution. “We should reject the ideology of globalism and support instead the culture of patriotism.”

"We should reject the ideology of globalism and support instead the culture of patriotism."

— Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

But Orban’s leadership has also been met with resistance as the unchecked power prompted his government to introduce unpopular measures that sparked widespread protests.

HUNGARY SEES FOURTH DAY OF PROTESTS OVER NEW OVERTIME RULES, OTHER GOVERNMENT POLICIES

Thousands of protesters marched through Hungary's capital, Budapest, for a fourth day Sunday over new employment laws that gives employers the right to request up to 400 hours of overtime annually, without payment settlement for up to three years.

The critics dubbed the measure as “slavery law,” despite the government’s insistence that it will help to relieve the shortage of labor in the country’s manufacturing sector and letting people to earn more.

France

The French government, unlike in some European countries, isn’t led by populists, but is facing the anger of the people not seen in decades.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s victory about two years ago was touted as a win against the rising tide of populism and an example of a centrist politician defeating the narrow-minded populist Marine Le Pen of the National Front.

Fast forward to today and Macron’s presidency is on the verge of collapse as the “Yellow Vests” take to the streets demanding the end of his presidency.

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The “Yellow Vests” movement, which was born after introducing the widely-unpopular gas tax, has spiraled into a larger protest concerning living standards in the country, with many viewing Macron as the “president of the rich.”

'YELLOW VEST' PROTESTERS TAKE TO STREETS OF FRANCE FOR FIFTH WEEK AS MACRON APPEALS FOR 'ORDER'

The anger has sparked violent clashes with police for at least five weekends, with hundreds of arrests every weekend.

Despite Macron’s submission to protesters’ demand to scrap the gas tax, the “Yellow Vests” are continuing their protests. While being a largely leaderless movement, it has issued demands like a referendum on France’s membership in the European Union, curbing illegal immigration and restoring cuts to the welfare state.

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Following the protest earlier this month, Macron – who avoided public appearances for weeks – pleaded with protesters to stop and announced a series of concessions.

MACRON PROMISES 'ALL MEANS' TO RESTORE CALM AFTER PARIS RIOTS, PLEDGES TO SPEED UP TAX RELIEF

He promised to raise the minimum wage and abolish taxes on overtime pay starting Jan. 1 — several months ahead of schedule. He also said a tax hike pensioners faced would be scrapped.

He also asked the country’s employers to give their workers a bonus and said taxes will be reduced. “I would ask all employers who can, pay an end-of-year bonus to their employees,” he said.

Despite the capitulation to the protesters, the “Yellow Vests” continued the protests last weekend.

Germany

Many view Germany as bulletproof to populism, claiming the people generally support Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel and her policies concerning refugees – leading the country to welcome over a million of refugees.

But the backlash to the migrant crisis and the social problems that arose from an unprecedented influx of people, made the three-term chancellor toxic to the voters, leading to fewer votes cast for her party and paving way for anti-immigrant parties to gain traction.

Merkel’s Christian Democrats party had to make tough compromises after the 2017 federal election to remain in power, even going into the government with the Bavarian Christian Social Union.

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The chancellor had to embrace more conservative policies towards immigration amid the surge of the far-right and anti-Islam Alternative for Germany, which became the third-largest party in Germany in the recent election.

In a bid to navigate a tough electoral map, with more Germans embracing the anti-immigration party, she had to adopt several policies that went against Merkel’s earlier policies.

During summer she agreed to create border camps for migrants and enforce tighter border control. Under the proposed policies, Germany would create so-called “transit centers” along the border.

All new migrants would have to be screened at the centers and determined if they are eligible to seek asylum in Germany. Any migrant who already applied for asylum in another European country would be rejected and asked to return to the countries where they made the applications.

All this concluded with Merkel eventually announcing that she will step down from politics in 2021. Earlier this month, she made her last speech as the party leader, giving way for Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the likely next German chancellor.

“It is now the time to open a new chapter, it was a great pleasure for me, it was an honor,” she said to the party delegates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

3 illegal immigrants indicted for murder of American whistleblower: report

Three illegal immigrants were indicted for the murder of a whistleblower in Georgia who reported that one of the immigrants ran a scheme to employ other illegal immigrants and defrauded a tree service company.

Brothers Pablo Rangel-Rubio, 49, and Juan Rangel-Rubio, 42, both residents of Rincon, Ga., and Higinio Perez-Bravo, 49, of Savannah, were charged on Thursday, said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.

They are accused of murdering Eliud Montoya, 41, who was reportedly shot near his home, sparking an investigation by the authorities.

Montoya, a naturalized American citizen, filed a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that Pablo Rangel-Rubio employed illegal immigrants at a tree service company, profited from the company and took a share of the illegal workers’ pay, WSAV reported.

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The authorities accuse Rangel-Rubio of paying Perez-Bravo to help his brother to kill Montoya for reporting their alleged scheme that authorities said enriched the brothers by more than $3.5 million over 10 years.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT KILLED 3 AFTER 'SANCTUARY' RELEASE FROM CUSTODY, ICE SAYS

“Eliud Montoya was a naturalized citizen of the United States who worked hard and raised a family,” said Christine, WSAV reported.

“He went to the proper authorities to report a federal crime and for that he was murdered. Our office is committed to ensuring justice for Eliud Montoya, a man killed for doing the right thing, by those intent on protecting their illegal profits,” he added.

Pablo Rangel-Rubio and Juan Rangel-Rubio are charged with conspiracy to retaliate against a witness, conspiracy to kill a witness, conspiracy to conceal, harbor and shield illegal aliens, and money laundering conspiracy, the outlet reported.

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Perez-Bravo and one of the brothers who allegedly did the killing were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire. Pablo Rangel-Rubio is also charged with three counts of money laundering transactions over $10,000.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ICE WANTED DEPORTED IS NOW CHARGED IN WIFE'S STABBING DEATH

A number of federal agencies helped with the investigation into the murder of Montoya. The probe was headed by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and assisted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the FBI, the United States Marshals Service, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), the Garden City Police Department, the Effingham County Sheriff's Office, and the Chatham County Sheriff's Office.

“As Homeland Security Investigations has stated repeatedly – HSI equally focuses its worksite enforcement efforts on those who illegally work in the U.S., as well as the employers who knowingly hire them,” said HSI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Nick S. Annan, according to the outlet.

“This case is an extreme, but clear example of how far certain criminals seeking to illegally exploit the U.S. labor market will go to protect their ill-gotten gains, and illustrates why worksite enforcement will continue to be a major priority for HSI.”

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Dems, progressives quick to politicize death of migrant girl in Border Patrol custody

Potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates and progressive activists spent Thursday weaponizing the death of a 7-year-old migrant girl who reportedly died in U.S. Border Patrol custody — though officials say she hadn’t eaten or consumed water for several days before the arrest.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a likely leading 2020 contender, immediately jumped on the news, calling for the investigation.

“This is tragic. We need a full and thorough account of what happened before this 7-year-old girl died of dehydration and exhaustion in CBP custody,” Harris wrote in a tweet.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., another possible 2020 contender, also issued a tweet amid the reports.

“Shaken by this news. My heart breaks for this young girl and her family,” he wrote.

The girl, originally from Guatemala, was part of a 163 migrant group that crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and surrendered to the border agents Dec. 6.

Just eight hours later, the girl began having seizures and was flown to an El Paso, Texas, hospital where she received treatment, according to the Washington Post.

Customs and Border Protection officials said the girl was dehydrated as hadn’t eaten or consumed water for several days before she was detained with other migrants.

Other Democrats also spoke out about the tragic death of the girl. Ben Rhodes, a former adviser to former President Barack Obama, blamed the girl's death on rhetoric about the migrant caravan.

“This little girl deserved so much better. Don’t ever give into dehumanizing rhetoric about caravans and immigrants. This is where that leads. Every child has a dignity that must be cherished,” he wrote in a tweet.

Progressive activist Shaun King, meanwhile, said the country and President Trump were responsible for the death of the migrant.

My God. Shame on our country and shame on Donald Trump,” he wrote. “These aren't thugs & criminals. They are people desperate for safe harbor. This is a grave sin.”

The Women’s March seconded, claiming the Trump administration’s border enforcement policies led to the death of the girl.

“Horrifying. She should never have been put in a detention center. She never should have been neglected once taken into custody. Her death is on this administration’s hands,” the progressive group wrote.

It remained unclear what happened during the eight hours the girl spent in the Border Patrol’s detention facilities, which are meant to be temporary and aren’t designed to fit the 163 migrants who surrendered.

Usually, an arrested migrant gets processed at the temporary facility, where he or she spends no more than 72 hours before they either get deported home or transferred to the jurisdiction of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The Border Patrol previously said there is an increasing trend of large groups of migrants, many with young children, crossing the border and then turning themselves in. Some say they are fleeing violence and wish to apply for asylum.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

On border security, Pelosi and Schumer play politics while Trump fights to protect us

Tuesday’s meeting between President Trump and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of New York showed that while the president is determined to protect the security of our border and the safety of the American people, Democrats have no interest in working with him.

“We have to have border security,” the president said repeatedly at the Oval Office meeting while journalists were present. That commonsense statement should be obvious to everyone – Democrats as well as Republicans.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck,” the president told Schumer. “Because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into this country. So I will take the mantel, I will be the one to shut it down. I won’t blame you for it.”

Once again, the president is showing us that he is putting America and the American people first. We should all be grateful for this.

According to the Department of Homeland Security: “On average last year, DHS prevented 10 individuals tied to terror – known or suspected terrorists – each day from traveling or attempting to travel to the United States.”

Added to this number are the 17,000 criminals and 3,000 special interest aliens that U.S. Customs and Border Protection apprehended in 2017.

As President Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson wrote in a memo in 2016, special interest aliens (SIAs) are “those who are potential national security threats to our homeland. Thus, the need for continued vigilance in this particular area. … Timely and actionable intelligence is essential to effectively drive efforts to counter the threats posed by the smuggling of SIAs.”

If Schumer and Pelosi don’t believe President Trump or his administration, it might be useful for them to meet with Jeh Johnson to learn about threats posed by criminals who illegally cross our southern border.

Here’s the bottom line: Terrorists and criminals don’t target their victims by political party. Every elected and appointed government official dealing with homeland security has an obligation to protect our border to keep dangerous people out to the greatest extent possible.

But at the meeting with President Trump, Pelosi showed she was more interested in scoring political points than in keeping the American people safe. Though she claimed to have come to the White House in “good faith,” her talking points proved otherwise.

Every elected and appointed government official dealing with homeland security has an obligation to protect our border to keep dangerous people out to the greatest extent possible.

“The House Republicans could bring up this bill, if they had the votes, immediately, and set the tone for what you want,” Pelosi replied as the president pressed for $5 billion in clearly necessary border wall funding.

But Pelosi knows full well that a Senate filibuster would stop any House border wall funding measure from becoming law. In response, the president accurately noted: “If we thought we were going to get it passed in the Senate, Nancy, we would do it immediately.”

The Senate currently has 51 Republican and 49 Democratic members. That means that any House-passed bill would need at least nine Democratic votes in the Senate to get to the 60-vote threshold to stop a filibuster. Pelosi, of course, is well aware of how the Congress works, which is what makes her remarks so intentionally deceptive.

One would likewise hope that Pelosi is not ignorant enough to truly believe her own border security proposal of “mowing the grass so people can’t be smuggled through grass.” That’s straight from the mouth of Pelosi.

Much like Pelosi, Schumer also demonstrated a fundamental lack of seriousness in securing our porous southern border. “The one thing I think we can agree on,” he said, “is we shouldn’t shut down the government over a dispute.”

This from the same man who did exactly what he condemned less than 12 months ago, when he orchestrated the disastrous “Schumer shutdown,” which shut down the government over the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients. DACA was created by President Obama in an executive order to allow immigrant children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents to remain in the U.S. on a temporary basis.

The Schumer shutdown was widely considered a disaster as Democrats put funding for low-income American children in limbo over the fate of illegal immigrants.

“Democrats get rolled in shutdown standoff,” read a representative Politico headline from last January. Nevertheless, here comes Schumer to the Oval Office repeatedly condemning government shutdowns – while conveniently neglecting the one he caused.

A big problem facing Pelosi and Schumer is that their rejection of border security measures is highly unpopular.

According to a recent Harvard-Harris Poll, 63 percent of voters support President Trump’s immigration compromise that gives a path to legalization for DACA recipients in exchange for border wall funding, an end to the diversity visa lottery, and a move toward merit-based immigration.

That’s fair compromise. Unfortunately, this deal has been repeatedly rejected by Democrats. Tuesday’s meeting proved what we already knew: Democrats are on the wrong side of the American people, but President Trump will not stop fighting to keep us safe and secure.

Kayleigh McEnany is the author of the “New American Revolution: The Making of a Populist Movement.”  She is the Republican National Committee’s National Spokesperson and a former CNN Commentator who received her JD from Harvard Law School.

Migrant man drowns in California canal after illegally crossing US-Mexico border during storm, officials say

A man who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally drowned in a California canal Wednesday during a storm, officials said.

The unidentified migrant and two others from El Salvador were spotted illegally entering the country about two miles west of the Gran Plaza Outlets near Calexico around 9 p.m. Wednesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a news release. Border Patrol agents arrested two men after they swam across the All-American Canal.

A third man was struggling to stay afloat in the 80-mile long aqueduct and drowned while heavy rain came down in the area.

“Agents were unable to get assistance to the man before he drowned,” the Border Patrol said. “Agents with the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) quickly arrived on scene and attempted to retrieve the man’s body, but had to call off the operation due to heavy rain and low visibility.”

Border Patrol divers recovered a man’s body after he drowned in the canal while crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, officials said. (U.S. Customs and Border Patrol)

Rescuers recovered the man’s body about 10 a.m. Thursday.

ROD IMPALES MIGRANT WOMAN WHO TRIES CLIMBING OVER US BORDER FENCE

The man’s nationality and identity have not been released.

“This incident tragically illustrates how human smuggling organizations place migrants in perilous situations,” Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in the news release. “This man put his trust in human smugglers and it cost him his life."

It’s unclear if the trio were part of the migrant caravan camping out along the border in California. Thousands of people, many from Central America, have traveled through Mexico in recent months in hopes of entering the U.S. illegally or applying for asylum.

In late November, a migrant woman was impaled by a rebar while climbing a portion of fencing to enter the U.S. illegally.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

San Diego non-profits running out of space for migrant caravan asylum seekers

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - A group of San Diego-based nonprofits claim they are running out of money and space to house, clothe and feed hundreds of asylum-seeking families ICE agents have been quietly transporting in and dumping onto the streets.

The San Diego Rapid Response Network (SDRRN), a coalition of human rights, service and faith-based organizations, is urging government officials to develop and implement “a sustainable plan to keep vulnerable asylum-seeking families off the streets and help them reach their final destination.”

The organization claims that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released hundreds of migrants into San Diego – the largest land border crossing in the world.

The problem, SDRRN says, is that the recent influx is too much to handle.

“The shelter can accommodate only about 150 people, with average stays of 24 to 48 hours,” Edward Sifuentes, a spokesman for the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties, said. “It stays filled to capacity because as quickly as one group of families moves on, others are released by immigration authorities.”

MIGRANT CARAVAN HURTS TOURISM IN TIJUANA: 'THEY'RE KIND OF SCARED'

Central American migrants planning to surrender to U.S. border guards climb over the U.S. border wall from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, late Monday, Dec. 3. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Sifuentes warns that “the need for migrant shelter and related services is expected to escalate in coming weeks as hundreds gather in Tijuana hoping to claim asylum in the U.S.”

Once asylum seekers are processed, federal agents drop off them off at various shelters and Greyhound bus stations around the city at the person’s request.

Norma Chavez-Peterson, the executive director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said the network’s resources have been stretched to their thinnest point yet. The network is on their fifth shelter location in six weeks, and for the first time has had to turn families away due to capacity.

“We're at a moment of a lack of capacity, we cannot sustain this any longer,” Chavez-Peterson said. “We need a higher level of leadership.”

During a press conference at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in San Ysidro, Chavez-Peterson outlined what the network needs to continue to fill the gaps of care for asylum seekers. In a series of meetings with state and local government leaders, she has advocated for an infusion of cash and physical resources, along with a concrete plan of sustainability.

Specifically, she said the network needs a high-capacity facility that can house up to 200 people, along with the resources to hire staff, security, provide food, travel money, and cover some transportation costs for the asylum seekers. Most urgent among these is a secure, stable shelter.

Often, though, the migrants themselves have nowhere to go, Vino Panjanor, executive director of Catholic Charities at the Diocese of San Diego, told Fox News. If they by chance have a place to go, they typically have no way of getting there.

“These migrant families consist of small children as young as a 3-day old baby,” he said. “We don’t have resources. We are working on shoe-string budgets. This started on Oct. 26. It’s week 5. It’s not sustainable.”

Several other humanitarian groups echoed Panjanor’s sentiments and say they are running out of options.

HONDURAN WOMAN, 19, IN MIGRANT CARAVAN SCALES BORDER WALL TO GIVE BIRTH IN US AFTER 2,000-MILE TRIP

The San Diego Rapid Response Network claims that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has released hundreds of migrants into San Diego – the largest land border crossing in the world. The problem, SDRRN says, is that the recent influx is too much to handle. (San Diego Rapid Response Network)

“SDRRN’s efforts were intended as a stopgap measure, but the growing number of asylum-seeking families in need is surpassing the network’s collective ability to provide basic resources, including food, shelter, emergency healthcare and travel assistance,” the organization told Fox News in a written statement.

Since setting up an emergency shelter in November, SDRRN has helped more than 1,700 migrants released by federal immigration authorities. Those released have been initially processed by Homeland Security and are waiting for their scheduled ICE hearing which can be months away. Without a safe place to go, many wander the streets homeless and hungry.

“We have to take some to the ER for medical help,” Panjanor said. “This isn’t a political issue. We aren’t taking a political stand. It’s a humanitarian one.”

ICE told Fox News: “Family units that are released will be enrolled in a form of ICE’s Alternatives to Detention or released on another form of supervision.”

It added: “ICE continues to work with local and state officials and NGO partners in the area so they are prepared to provide assistance with transportation or other services.”

Not satisfied, SDRRN has reached out to local and state leaders pleading for help.

California’s Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, a Democrat who frequently takes on the Trump administration over immigration issues, recently said the state government needs to step up and make a greater effort in supporting asylum seekers.

Since setting up an emergency shelter in November, SDRRN has helped more than 1,700 migrants released by federal immigration authorities. (San Diego Rapid Response Network)

“We’re all in this together,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of responsibility to address the issues that we as a border community face and I think we need to humanize this issue, not politicize the issue.”

For now, it seems that migrants are stuck in San Diego.

Many, though not all, have fled countries like Honduras after receiving death threats from brutal street thugs such as MS-13 and the 18th Street gang. Some are also running from corrupt government officials in their home countries that have made living there sheer hell.

The migrants are also having a tough time returning to Mexico. Residents there are fed up by thousands of Central American asylum seekers pushing their way onto Mexican soil. Some have circled encampments and shouted at migrants.

In one case, things got so bad that an 8-month pregnant woman, her husband and toddler son, scaled a portion of the border wall after feeling unsafe at a caravan stopping point near the Tijuana-San Diego border.

Late last month, Mexicans in Tijuana marched down the street with one clear message to the migrants: Get out!

“We want the caravan to go; they are invading us," Patricia Reyes, a 62-year-old protester, hiding from the sun under an umbrella, told NPR. "They should have come into Mexico correctly, legally, but they came in like animals."

Fox News’ Andrew Keiper contributed to this report.

You can find Barnini Chakraborty on Twitter @Barnini.

Trump Organization responds to claims it hired illegal immigrants

The Trump Organization hit back at a bombshell report in The New York Times that said President Trump’s elite resorts had numerous illegal aliens as housekeeping, maintenance, and landscaping employees.

“We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices. If any employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization told Fox News via email.

The Times article spotlighted Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala, who has worked as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, since 2013.

The Times reported that Morales has “made Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies.”

She said Trump would sometimes give her a $50 or $100 tip.

Morales, who reportedly crossed the American border illegally in 1999, said she’s hurt amid the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

“We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” Morales told The Times. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.”

She said she didn’t have proper documentation, and she used false Social Security and permanent resident cards.

Morales told the news outlet she expects to be reprimanded severely with the report coming out.

“I ask myself, is it possible that this señor thinks we have papers? He knows we don’t speak English,” Morales told The Times. “Why wouldn’t he figure it out?”

Morales told The Times she is applying for asylum and is exploring a lawsuit claiming workplace abuse and discrimination.

Her lawyer, Anibel Romero, has called for federal and state investigations into the matter.

“This toxic environment was designed to intimidate these women, leaving them fearful for their safety and the safety of their families,” he said in a statement.

Trump has made border security a signature issue since he first began his presidential campaign on June 16, 2015, by saying: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [them]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

His administration has continued its push for a border wall at the nation's southern border.

Thousands of migrants have come up from Central America in recent weeks as part of caravans. Trump used his national security powers to put in place regulations that denied asylum to anyone caught crossing illegally, but a judge has halted that change as a lawsuit progresses.

​​​​​​​Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

Honduran, woman, 19, in migrant caravan scales border wall to give birth in US after 2,000-mile trip

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Maryury Elizabeth Serrano-Hernandez was more than seven months pregnant when she left Honduras.

At just 19-years-old, she and her husband Miguel Ortiz, along with their three-year-old son, traveled more than 2,000 miles in search of a better life.

Sometimes they walked. Other times they relied on rides from strangers or traveled on crowded trucks used to transport pigs. They slept in tents on sidewalks and washed up where they could.

Late last month, they finally made their way to Tijuana, Mexico, where thousands of other Central Americans had gathered, hoping to cross into the United States.

At the makeshift camp, Serrano-Hernandez and her husband say they feared for their safety after being surrounded by Mexicans who weren’t happy they were there. Scared and outnumbered, they decided to cross the border illegally.

CARAVAN MIGRANTS BEGIN TO BREACH BORDER AS FRUSTRATION WITH SLOW ASYLUM PROCESS GROWS

“With the faith in God, I always said my son will be born there (in America),” Serrano-Hernandez told Univision, which documented parts of their journey.

After somehow climbing the border wall, the young Honduran family were met by three border patrol agents who demanded they return to Tijuana. The family refused and asked for asylum. They were taken to the Imperial Beach Station in San Diego County for processing.

As the events were unfolding however, Serrano-Hernandez could tell something wasn’t quite right.

“The day I came across, I felt a little pain, but I thought it will be because of my nerves,” she said.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agency told Fox News: “The woman, who was eight months pregnant, began complaining of abdominal pain (Nov. 27) and was immediately transported to a local hospital by Border Patrol agents.”

Serrano-Hernandez was in labor. Soon thereafter, she gave birth to a baby boy.

CARAVAN ORGANIZER SAYS MOST MIGRANTS NOT BAD PEOPLE, TELLS TRUMP: 'LET THESE PEOPLE IN!'

But it wasn’t all roses and rainbows after that.

“I felt like a criminal,” Serrano-Hernandez said.

Her husband claims immigration officials, who stood guard outside the hospital room, closed all the windows and tried placing handcuffs on the new mother moments after giving birth. They also inspected food brought in by nurses and monitored people entering and exiting the room. The nurses held a drive and gifted the family clothes, diapers and baby wipes but Ortiz says once his family returned to the San Diego detention center, their property was confiscated.

Central American migrants walk along the U.S. border fence looking for places they might be able to cross, in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, Wednesday, Dec. 5.  (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Border Patrol did not respond to specific inquiries Fox News made about whether agents took the items, nor did they respond to requests seeking data on the number of pregnant women making similar attempts to give birth on U.S. soil.

Serrano-Hernandez is believed to be the first member of the migrant caravan to have a child after crossing the border to seek asylum.

Border Patrol did tell Fox News that the family was “placed into immigration proceedings and released on their own recognizance on December 2.”

MIGRANT CARAVAN SHELTER SHUT DOWN OVER 'BAD SANITARY CONDITIONS' AS HUNDREDS MOVE TO NEW FACILITY

The news comes after President Trump vowed to stop migrants from entering the U.S. He’s ramped up rhetoric about the types of people seeking asylum and claims many in the caravan are hardened criminals and ready to wreak havoc. He’s also sent thousands of troops to patrol the border.

The border mission was supposed to come to an end on Dec. 15, but on Tuesday, Defense Secretary James Mattis extended the deployments of active duty troops into early 2019.

Currently, there are about 5,600 troops stationed in Texas, Arizona and California. Some troops in California have been helping Border Patrol place concertina wire and construct concrete barriers at border crossing points – something Mattis indicated last week was close to completion.

The controversy at the border – and the administration’s response to it – has polarized much of the country. Last month, images of federal agents firing tear gas on hundreds of migrants created outrage with several high-ranking Democrats blaming the White House. Those complaints were tamped down after data from the Department of Homeland Security revealed that agents also used tear gas at the U.S.-Mexico border dozens of times during the Obama administration.

You can find Barnini Chakraborty on Twitter @Barnini.

Non-citizens nearly twice as likely to be on welfare, conservative think tank finds

A majority of non-citizens are using the U.S. welfare system and nearly twice as likely to be on welfare as Americans, a new study shows, reinforcing President Trump’s claims of the cost of immigration.

The Center for Immigration Studies used 2014 Census data to estimate the welfare use among various households in the country.

It found that 63 percent of non-citizens are receiving some form of a welfare program. The study also indicated that within 10 years, the percentage of non-citizens using welfare will increase.

The Center for Immigration Studies used 2014 Census data to estimate the welfare use among various households in the country.

Just over half of “all immigrant households (citizen and non-citizen)” are receiving welfare in some capacity, while half of “naturalized citizen households” receive welfare.

In comparison, only 35 percent of native households are on welfare, according to the study.

CARAVAN MIGRANTS BEGIN TO BREACH BORDER AS FRUSTRATION WITH SLOW ASYLUM PROCESS GROWS

Non-native households were also found to more likely use Medicaid, food, or cash welfare programs, with the only outlier being housing programs, where native households are on par with immigrant households.

The think tank said their report bolsters the Trump administration’s claims that non-citizens often impose costs on the government.

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“The Trump administration has proposed new ‘public charge’ rules making it harder for prospective immigrants to qualify for lawful permanent residence — green cards — if they use or are likely to use U.S. welfare programs,” said the think tank, according to the Washington Examiner.

The Trump administration has long called for changes in laws so that new immigrants wouldn’t rely on welfare.

MS-13 MEMBER FROM MEXICO ARRESTED IN ARIZONA DURING IMMIGRATION STOP, CBP SAYS

In a 447-page proposal posted online in September, the Department of Homeland Security called for immigrants to be denied permanent residency if they’ve received or are likely to receive benefits such as food stamps, Medicaid or housing vouchers.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Caravan migrants begin to breach border as frustration with slow asylum process grows

At least two dozen Central American migrants– disillusioned and frustrated with the asylum-seeking process– breached the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday just before dusk by scaling a 10-foot metal fence, Reuters reported.

Other migrants managed to squeeze through the fence on the beach.

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Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran mother with three children aged between six and 12, told Reuters that she’s only observing others penetrating the border and “waiting to see what happens.” The woman will decide her family's next action “in a couple of days,” she said.

TIJUANA MAYOR SAYS ARREST CARAVAN ORGANIZER, VOWS TO STOP FUNDING MIGRANTS

About 90 minutes later, she and her children were seen on the U.S. side of the border, the outlet reported.

Some migrants reportedly tried to escape the capture by the U.S. Border Patrol, but most were caught. It remains unclear how many migrants managed to escape the detention.

The migrants are part of the caravan that traveled towards the U.S. in an effort to enter the U.S. – some illegally, others legally in the hope of applying for asylum – citing issues such as rampant violence in their home countries.

But the plans were curbed by the Trump administration’s decision to send troops to protect the border from illegal entry and impose a new policy that requires every migrant seeking asylum to remain in Mexico where their case will be heard. The rule was struck down last month by a federal judge.

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Thousands of migrants are currently residing in Tijuana, a Mexican border city, that’s increasingly warning about the crisis caused by the sudden influx of the migrants.

Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum told Fox News that his city cannot continue providing support for the migrants, saying already-stretched city resources were emptied since the crisis began.

“In those six hours that the border was closed, we lost approximately 129 million pesos,” he said, referring to recent clashes at the border. “That's not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel towards those people who are making problems?”

ONE-THIRD OF MIGRANTS IN CARAVAN ARE BEING TREATED FOR HEALTH ISSUES, TIJUANA HEALTH OFFICIAL SAYS

Migrants residing in Tijuana are also suffering and are exposed to health problems, its Health Department said last week.

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The spokesman told Fox News that out of 6,000 migrants currently residing in the city, over a third of them (2,267) are being treated for health-related issues.

There are three confirmed cases of tuberculosis, four cases of HIV/AIDS and four separate cases of chickenpox, the spokesman said.

At least 101 migrants have lice and multiple instances of skin infections, the department’s data shows.

There’s also a threat of Hepatitis outbreak due to unsanitary conditions, the spokesman said. The thousands of migrants are currently being sheltered at a former concert venue. They previously were residing at the Benito Juarez Sports Complex near the San Ysidro U.S.-Mexico Port of Entry until this past weekend, when that camp was shut down over "bad sanitary conditions."

Fox News’ Griff Jenkins contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.