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‘Broken Border’ More Dangerous Than ‘Government Shutdown’ : Donald Trump

The Post-ABC poll pegged the blame on Trump and Republicans at 53 percent to 29 percent on Democrats.

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A migrant climbs the border fence before jumping into the U.S. in San Diego, California, from Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 27, 2018. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump contended Sunday that the damage from the country’s “badly broken border” with Mexico is “far greater” than the effects of the longest-ever partial government shutdown, now in its 23rd day.

“The building of the Wall on the Southern Border will bring down the crime rate throughout the entire Country!” Trump claimed on Twitter.

About 800,000 federal workers missed their first paychecks on Friday in the closures that have shuttered about a quarter of U.S. government operations.

The dispute centers on Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion to build a barrier along the 3,200-kilometer border with Mexico to thwart illegal immigration.

There was no movement toward a settlement, with Congress not meeting again till Monday.

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President Donald Trump speaks on the South Lawn of the White House as he walks from Marine One, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Washington. VOA

“I’m in the White House, waiting,” Trump said. “The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!”

Trump was ridiculing about 30 opposition Democratic lawmakers who flew to the sun-drenched Caribbean island territory of Puerto Rico for a charity performance of the hit Broadway show “Hamilton.”

Trump most recently has blamed Democrats for the government shutdown, but before it started Dec. 22, he said he said he would be “proud” to “own” it.

Numerous government services have been curtailed, while some museums and parks have been closed during the shutdown. The 800,000 federal civil servants who went without normal pay last week have been furloughed or ordered to work without pay, although they will be paid retroactively when the stalemate over Trump’s border wall plan is resolved.

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The prototypes for U.S. President Donald Trump’s border wall are seen behind the border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA

Trump was asked late Saturday by Fox News talk show host Jeanine Pirro why he has not declared a national emergency to build the wall without congressional approval as he signaled last week he was ready to do. But Trump said he wants to give Congress a chance to negotiate a deal.

“I want to give them a chance to see if they can act responsibly,” Trump said.

Trump walked out of a White House meeting last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, when they refused to approve a border wall, even if he reopened the government and negotiated over border security for the next 30 days. Democrats have offered $1.3 billion in new border security funding, but none specifically for a wall.

Trump contended, “I’m ready, willing and able to get a deal done…. This country wants to have protection at the border. Many of our crimes, much — MS-13 comes through the border, drugs, a big proportion of the drugs from, you know, that we have from this country — in this country come through the border.”

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Visitors take their pictures at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, as a partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. VOA

New polls on wall, shutdown

Two new polls, by The Washington Post and ABC News, along with one from CNN, showed American voters blame Trump and Republicans more than Democrats for the partial government shutdown and oppose construction of the wall.

The Post-ABC poll said a slight majority (54 percent) opposes construction of the wall, with 42 percent favoring it. CNN’s poll said the split against was 56-39.

Also Read: Trump Denies Allegations Suggesting He Is Beholden to Putin

CNN said the public generally blames Trump for the shutdown, with 55 percent saying that he is more responsible to 32 percent for Democrats, with 9 percent saying both are responsible. The Post-ABC poll pegged the blame on Trump and Republicans at 53 percent to 29 percent on Democrats. (VOA)

Next Story

Signs Of The U.S. Government Shutdown Ending May Soon Be Emerging

Pelosi had suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the Union address, a Washington tradition and a platform for his border wall fight with Democrats.

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President Donald Trump speaks about American missile defense doctrine, Jan 17, 2019, at the Pentagon. VOA

The first tangible signs of movement may be emerging in the impasse that has shut down the government for weeks: President Donald Trump is promising a “major announcement” about the closure and the U.S.-Mexico border and Democrats are pledging more money for border security.

It was unclear whether the developments, following days of clashes between Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might represent serious steps toward resolving the partisan fight or instead may simply be political posturing as the partial shutdown reached a record 29th day. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have gone without paychecks, enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

The White House has declined to provide details about what the president would announce midafternoon Saturday. Trump was not expected to sign a national emergency declaration he has said was an option to circumvent Congress, according to two people familiar with the planning.

Instead, he was expected to propose the outlines of a deal that the administration believes could have the potential to pave the way for a shutdown end, according to one of the people. They were not authorized to publicly discuss details about the impending announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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From left, President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. VOA

 

Democrats are now proposing hundreds of millions of dollars for new immigration judges and improvements to ports of entry from Mexico but nothing for the wall, a House aide said, as the party begins fleshing out its vision of improving border security.

Trump’s refusal to sign spending bills that lack $5.7 billion he wants to start constructing that wall, which Democrats oppose, has prompted the shutdown.

Whatever the White House proposed would be the first major overture by the president since Jan. 8, when he gave an Oval Office address trying to make the public case for the border wall. Democrats have said they will not negotiate until the government reopens, raising questions about how Trump might move the ball forward.

Democrats were proposing $563 million to hire 75 more immigration judges, who currently face large backlogs processing cases, and $524 million to improve ports of entry in Calexico, California, and San Luis, Arizona, the Democratic House aide said. The money is to be added to spending bills, largely negotiated between the House and Senate, that the House plans to vote on next week.

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Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, opposed to immigration raids targeting Central American families with children. VOA

In addition, Democrats were working toward adding money for more border security personnel and for sensors and other technology to a separate bill financing the Department of Homeland Security, but no funds for a wall or other physical barriers, the aide said.

It was possible Democrats would introduce that measure next week as the cornerstone of their border security alternative to Trump’s wall, the aide said. Earlier Friday, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., who leads the House Appropriations Committee’s homeland security subcommittee, said in an interview that some Democrats were asking leaders, “What is our plan?”

The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the details publicly.

In a video posted on his Twitter feed late Friday, Trump said both sides should “take the politics out of it” and “get to work” to “make a deal.” But he also repeated his warnings, saying: “We have to secure our southern border. If we don’t do that, we’re a very, very sad and foolish lot.”

Few would argue that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the demand for entry by migrants and the Trump administration’s hard-line response overwhelm border resources. But critics say Trump has dramatically exaggerated the security risks and they argue that a wall would do little to solve existing problems.

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Migrants from Cuba, Venezuela and Central America queue at the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, to cross the border and request political asylum in the United States, Jan. 9, 2019. VOA

Trump’s Friday evening tweeted announcement came after Pelosi on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip. The White House said there was no such leak.

It was the latest turn in the high-stakes brinkmanship between Trump and Pelosi that has played out against the stalled negotiations.

Also Read: U.S. President Donald Proposes Deal To End Shutdown

Pelosi had suggested Trump postpone the annual State of the Union address, a Washington tradition and a platform for his border wall fight with Democrats. It is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 29.

Trump never responded directly. Instead, he abruptly canceled Pelosi’s military flight on Thursday, hours before she and a congressional delegation were to depart for Afghanistan on the previously undisclosed visit to U.S. troops. (VOA)