By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged the leaders of three Central American countries on Friday to work with him to stem the flow of child migrants who have surged across the U.S. border and warned that most of them would not be allowed to stay. In a White House meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Obama had a tough-love message: his administration had compassion for the children, but not many would qualify for humanitarian relief or refugee status. The meeting came as Obama struggles to contain a border crisis triggered by the tens of thousands of children who have crossed the Texas border with Mexico in recent months.
By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - Texas has launched a law enforcement surge to crack down on drug and human trafficking from Mexico in a move that comes as the state is about to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, officials said on Friday. The surge, announced last month and recently implemented, places more law enforcement officials and resources on the border and will result in $1.3 million in additional spending a week for the Texas Department of Public Safety, officials from the department said, without offering a specific date when it was launched. Texas Governor Rick Perry, seen as a potential Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election, has blamed the Obama administration for not doing enough to halt a surge in children from Central America crossing the border. "Mexican cartels and criminal elements are taking advantage of this situation by further exploiting these gaps along the border to commit heinous crimes that will further their business," said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger.
By Zachary Fagenson MIAMI (Reuters) - A state judge struck down Florida's gay marriage ban on Friday in the latest in a string of legal gay-rights victories that have nonetheless been put on hold for resolution by higher courts. Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel in Miami-Dade County said Florida's ban violated the constitutional rights to due process and equal protection, as well as offended "basic human decency." Florida's attorney general quickly appealed the ruling. Since the Supreme Court ordered the federal government last year to extend benefits to legally married gay couples, every federal and state court that has taken up the issue of same-sex marriage ? about 20 courts - has ruled against state bans. Don Price Johnston, a 44-year-old plaintiff in the Miami lawsuit, said he was thrilled with the ruling and that he did not mind that it had been stayed for now.
(Reuters) - Two U.S. F16 fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Panama City-bound flight from Canada back to Toronto on Friday after a man on the plane apparently threatened to blow up the aircraft, authorities said. Major Julie Roberge of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the jets flew up to join Sunwing Airlines flight 772 as a "precaution" less than an hour after it took off from Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Video shot by a passenger showed armed Canadian law enforcement officers shouting "heads down, hands up" as they stormed aboard the aircraft in helmets and tactical gear after it was escorted back to Toronto.