Political week in five points

US shutdown now the longest in history

On Tuesday night, President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office to discuss the “emergency” on the border. For those of you who don’t have the 9 minutes to watch the full speech, it consisted mostly of Trump listing examples of crimes committed by illegal immigrants. Many accused it of being a blatant attempt to drum up fear.

Some had predicted that the president would use the speech to declare a national emergency on the border and use military funds to begin building the wall (although it is unclear whether that course of action would be legal, and would certainly be subject to a series of lawsuits). It is also worth pointing out that illegal border crossings are way down, and the majority of illegal immigration into the US is the result of visa overstay — when immigrants enter the country legally, but then overstay their visas. Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer gave their own response to Trump’s speech, prompting comparisons to disappointed parents.

As if that wasn’t enough US news, the New York Times also published a bombshell report that the FBI had been investigating whether Trump was working on behalf of Russia against American interests. On Fox News that evening, the president was asked on air whether he was a Russian agent, and he said the accusations were “insulting.” (We do note that that’s not exactly an answer….)

Many, many Democrats thinking about running for president

Joe Biden is also considering running, although critics point out that he is 76 years old. California Senator Kamala Harris (who conveniently is on a book tour for her biography and children’s book) is widely expected to announce her candidacy on Martin Luther King day. Other potential contenders include Beto O’Rourke — who is also conveniently on a road trip across the country, instagramming interviews with people (and his dental cleaning, which we thought was weird) — and Senator Kristen Gillibrand. We’re sure more democrats will show up to this party over the coming weeks.

Brexit deal still in doubt; Corbyn speaks

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn actually did something this week, calling again for a general election “at the earliest opportunity” to “break the deadlock” over Brexit. Corybn said that a government with a fresh mandate would be able to negotiate a better Brexit deal with the EU (we assume this means that Article 50 would be extended, but who knows). Corbyn said, “So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal, call that election, and let the people decide.”

Yellow Vest protests in Belfast

Girl fleeing Saudi Arabia granted asylum in Canada

After Australia dragged its feet on her asylum application, Canada stepped in. With help from the UNHCR, Al-qunun arrived in Toronto and was greeted personally by Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland. Canada and Saudi Arabia’s relations are already bad, as Canada is has previously been vocal about speaking out against human rights violation in Saudi Arabia. “Where we can save a single person, where we can save a single woman, that is a good thing to do,” said Freeland, “And I’d like to also emphasize, this is part of a broader Canadian policy of supporting women and girls in Canada and around the world.”

We also think it’s adorable that Al-qunun was wearing a Canada sweatshirt and a UNHCR hat. Apparently Freeland assured the teen that it does in fact get warmer in Canada.

Originally published at Northern Slant.

PhD’ing in Politics and International Studies at Cambridge via Queen's University Belfast via Stanford. www.alinautrata.com