Bor­der wall fight could come soon

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - Front Page - By Lisa Mas­caro and Matthew Daly

WASH­ING­TON — Congress is head­ing to­ward a post­elec­tion show­down over Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s bor­der wall.

GOP lead­ers are sig­nal­ing they’re will­ing to en­gage in hard­ball tac­tics that could spark a par­tial gov­ern­ment shut­down, and the pres­i­dent is revving up midterm crowds for the wall, a cen­ter­piece of his 2016 cam­paign and a top White House pri­or­ity.

At ral­lies across the coun­try, Trump is promis­ing vot­ers that Repub­li­cans will bring tougher bor­der se­cu­rity.

Leav­ing for a rally in Rich­mond, Ky., told re­porters Satur­day that mi­grant fam­i­lies might think twice about il­le­gally cross­ing the bor­der if they fear they’ll be sep­a­rated by the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

In Ken­tucky, he told his rally crowd: “We have peo­ple try­ing to come in like never be­fore. If they feel there will be sep­a­ra­tion, then they won’t come.”

The pres­i­dent con­tended that some “re­ally bad peo­ple”

are us­ing oth­ers’ chil­dren to pose as their own while at­tempt­ing to en­ter the coun­try.

“They haven’t known the chil­dren for 20 min­utes and they grab chil­dren and they use them to come into our coun­try,” Trump said, with­out of­fer­ing ev­i­dence.

“I want a lot of peo­ple to come in,” but they must do so legally, he added.

The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported Fri­day that the White House was re­con­sid­er­ing a pol­icy known as “zero tol­er­ance” that caused nearly 3,000 chil­dren to be taken from their care­givers and placed in fed­eral cus­tody af­ter they were ap­pre­hended cross­ing the bor­der ear­lier this year.

Mem­bers of Congress of both par­ties crit­i­cized the pol­icy, and the plight of the chil­dren — held in de­ten­tion cen­ters run by gov­ern­ment con­trac­tors for weeks or months apart from their par­ents or guardians — caused broad out­rage among the Amer­i­can pub­lic.

Trump is­sued an or­der in July to end the prac­tice.

Trump said im­mi­gra­tion is a “tricky” is­sue, and that his com­ments weren’t be­ing in­flu­enced by the midterm elec­tions.

“You have to do the right thing whether there’s an elec­tion or not,” he said.

Among those trav­el­ing with Trump to Ken­tucky was se­nior ad­viser Stephen Miller, the main ar­chi­tect of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ap­proach on im­mi­gra­tion.

In Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., promised a “big fight” over the bor­der wall money and Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell, R-Ky., hasn’t ruled out a mini-shut­down as GOP lead­ers aim to help Trump “get what he’s look­ing for” on the wall.

Repub­li­cans steered clear of shut­down pol­i­tics ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elec­tion.

They know vot­ers have soured on gov­ern­ment dys­func­tion, hold low views of Congress and are un­likely to re­ward Repub­li­cans — as the party in con­trol of Congress and the White House — if post of­fices, na­tional parks and other ser­vices are shut­tered.

GOP lead­ers struck a deal with Democrats ear­lier this year to fund most of the gov­ern­ment into next year.

They pre­sented their case to Trump in a White House meet­ing in Septem­ber — com­plete with pho­tos of the bor­der wall un­der con­struc­tion.

Trump, who pre­vi­ously warned he wouldn’t sign an­other big bud­get bill into law with­out his bor­der funds, qui­etly signed the leg­is­la­tion be­fore the start of the new bud­get year Oct. 1.

Left un­done, how­ever, is the por­tion of the gov­ern­ment that funds the Home­land Se­cu­rity De­part­ment, which over­sees the bor­der, and a few other agen­cies.

They’re now run­ning on stop­gap funds set to ex­pire Dec. 7.

The dead­line sets the stage for a new round of bud­get brawls.

“We in­tend on hav­ing a fullfledged dis­cus­sion about how to com­plete this mis­sion of se­cur­ing our bor­der and we will have a big fight about it,” Ryan said in a speech at the Na­tional Press Club.

Asked if he made a com­mit­ment to Trump for a shut­down over wall funds, Ryan said blame would fall to Democrats, who are in the mi­nor­ity in Congress and largely op­pose in­creased fund­ing for the wall.

Trump promised dur­ing the cam­paign that Mex­ico would pay for the wall — a claim Mex­ico re­jects and Repub­li­cans rou­tinely ig­nore.

“We have a com­mit­ment to go fight for se­cur­ing the bor­der and get­ting these pol­icy ob­jec­tives achieved,” Ryan said.

House Repub­li­cans ap­proved $5 bil­lion for Trump’s wall, in­clud­ing phys­i­cal bar­ri­ers and tech­nol­ogy along the U.S. south­ern bor­der, in a key com­mit­tee, al­though it comes with­out Demo­cratic sup­port.

A bi­par­ti­san bill be­ing con­sid­ered in the Se­nate al­lo­cates $1.6 bil­lion for the wall.

House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin Mc­Carthy, R-Calif., upped the stakes Fri­day by in­tro­duc­ing leg­is­la­tion for the full $25 bil­lion in bor­der funds as he bids for Ryan’s job as the speaker re­tires.

Mc­Carthy toured the south­ern bor­der last week to make the case for the wall as he seeks to shore up sup­port from con­ser­va­tives skep­ti­cal of his pos­si­ble lead­er­ship pro­mo­tion.

Mc­Connell pre­dicted a “lively” lame-duck ses­sion and didn’t close the door on the pos­si­bil­ity of a mini-shut­down.

Mario Tama / Getty Im­ages

Iliana Nieves, left, hugs fam­ily mem­bers af­ter she was briefly re­united with her mother in Mex­ico af­ter the Bor­der Pa­trol in New Mex­ico opened the wall for such re­unions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.