US avoids second shutdown over border wall

US avoids second shutdown over border wall

Congress has tentatively agreed to fund a small part of Trump’s wall.

Democratic and Republican negotiators in the US Congress on border security funding reached a tentative agreement Monday to avoid another partial government shutdown.

The agreement would see Democrats in congress release funding for a quarter of Trump’s infamous planned border wall with Mexico.

The amount released would be $1.375 billion–enough for some 55 miles of fencing and far below the figure of $57 billion Trump had asked for.

In exchange, Democrats would drop their demand to limit detentions of undocumented immigrants by Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE).

The talks took place hours before President Donald Trump held a rally in the Texas border city of El Paso, where he was greeted by protests led by hometown Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who is considering running for his party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

The deal, which is likely to be supported by the leadership of both parties, is expected avoid the risk of another government shutdown, at least until September.

Trump’s December demand for $5.7 billion to help construct a border wall across from Mexico triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown that ended last month without the president securing funding. Trump agreed to reopen the government for three weeks to allow congressional negotiators time to reach a compromise.

The disagreement over border barriers and detention facilities are at the heart of the dispute between congressional Democrats and Trump, who has sought to crack down on illegal and legal immigration.

“Some may be happy, some may not be happy,” Democrat Nita Lowey, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, told The Washington Post on the deal made between the two sides. “We did the best we could.”

A sticking point in the talks has been a Democratic demand for funding fewer detention beds. Democrats oppose the Trump administration expanding its capacity to hold more people arrested by ICE agents for eventual deportation.

Trump made a border wall one of his central campaign promises in 2016, saying it is needed to curb illegal immigration, drug trafficking and other crimes.


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Paul Imison
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