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White House Challenges Democrats To Prove Their Commitment To Border Security

We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168," Trump said on Twitter.

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Prototypes for President Donald Trump's border wall are seen behind a border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA

The White House challenged opposition Democrats on Sunday to prove they want tough security on the southern border with Mexico now that the longest-ever partial government shutdown has ended and the clock is ticking on a three-week window for negotiations.

Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s acting White House chief of staff, told Fox News Sunday, “This is a chance for Democrats to see if they believe in border security” to thwart illegal immigration and stop the flow of illicit drugs. But Mulvaney said the U.S. leader would secure the border “with or without Congress,” including by declaring a national emergency, if he has to.

Mulvaney said the White House is “seeing Democrats starting to agree with the president” on the need for a wall along nearly 400 kilometers of the 3,200-kilometer U.S.-Mexico border, a stretch where Trump has demanded $5.7 billion in taxpayer funding for some type of barrier.

 

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White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Jan. 2, 2019, in Washington. VOA

 

The dispute shuttered about a quarter of U.S. government operations for 35 days, before Trump on Friday agreed with a Democratic demand to reopen the government until Feb. 15, without any wall funding, while the two sides negotiate over border security funding.

Trump’s chief congressional antagonists, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, have staunchly refused his demand for wall construction money. But Mulvaney said the negotiation period will give Democrats a chance to answer the question, “Are you telling people the truth” about favoring border security, “or doing something that’s politically expedient?”

Democrats so far have suggested they are willing to give Trump the full $5.7 billion he wants for improved security, such as for tightened controls at ports of entry, more border agents and more use of technology to control the border, but none for a wall. The wall was a key campaign pledge of Trump’s during his successful 2016 run for the White House, when he repeatedly said Mexico would pay for it, a claim Mexico City has often rejected.

Mulvaney said Trump wants “a wall where we need it the most.”

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Prototypes for President Donald Trump’s border wall are seen behind a border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2019. VOA
Trump, in agreeing to the end of the government closures, threatened a new government shutdown in mid-February if he cannot reach a border security deal with Congress or to declare the national emergency and build the wall with unspent funds it has found throughout the government and without congressional authorization. But such a declaration would invite an immediate legal challenge, leaving wall construction in doubt.

Mulvaney said, “No one wants [another] government shutdown. It’s not a desired outcome. It’s still better to get [the barrier funding] through legislation.”

But he said that Trump would secure the border, “and he’ll do it either with or without Congress.”

On the same Fox News show, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the sole Democrat who voted last week for Trump’s wall proposal as part of a legislative effort to reopen the government, said Democrats would “look at a wholistic approach” to determine border security needs. “We’ll let the experts tell us what’s needed, help us find the right path.”

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said, “Compromise is the essence of what we do. This has gotten way too political.”

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Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., left, accompanied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks about Zika funding during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 17, 2016. VOA

After Trump and Congress agreed on the three-week hiatus to end the shutdown, some government operations started to open again Saturday, with museums and parks reopening and other government services resuming in the coming days. Shuttered agencies made plans to pay 800,000 federal workers who were furloughed or forced to work without pay for the month they went without the two paychecks they normally would have received.

But federal contract workers may not ever recoup the money for the time they were out of work unless Congress enacts legislation to pay them.

Also Read: The Partial Shutdown Of The Government Of United States Ends

The shutdown, the longer it went on, was having a cascading effect on the U.S. economy, with Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings saying the government closures cost the economy about $6 billion, $300 million more than the wall funding Trump wanted.

On Sunday, Trump continued to assail the effects of illegal immigration, citing disputed statistics.

“We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168,” Trump said on Twitter. “Cost Friday was $603,331,392. There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported for years, in our Country. So ridiculous!” (VOA)

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter Aims to Restrict Users, Not World Leaders Like Trump

"These are constantly evolving challenges and we'll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm," it added

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

Stating that world leaders are not above its policies “entirely,” Twitter has decided to restrict how users can interact with harmful tweets from world leaders who break its rules, but did not clarify whether it will remove or block the world leader like US President Donald Trump from doing so.

The micro-blogging platform said it will not allow users to like, reply, share or retweet offending posts from world leaders.

“You will not be able to like, reply, share, or Retweet the Tweet in question. You will still be able to express your opinion with Retweet with Comment,” the company said on Tuesday.

“Our goal is to enforce our rules judiciously and impartially. In doing so, we aim to provide direct insight into our enforcement decision-making, to serve public conversation, and protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account,” it added.

Twitter has been facing pressure to take action against US President Donald Trump for posting controversial tweets, but the micro-blogging platform has been evading action.

Earlier this month, California Senator Kamala Harris, who is a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, asked Twitter to suspend Trump’s account for attacking lawmakers and the whistleblower behind a complaint on his shady dealings with Ukraine.

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A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo. VOA

“Trump’s Twitter account should be suspended. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm as the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him,” Harris told CNN.

Trump has repeatedly used Twitter to attack his political opponents.

In a series of tweets, he said that House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff should be arrested for treason for exaggerating parts of phone call Trump had with Zelensky.

Also Read: Uber Lays off 350 Staff Across Eats, Self-driving Wings

If a tweet from a world leader does violate its rules, but there is a clear public interest value to keeping the Tweet on the service, the company said on Tuesday that it “may place it behind a notice that provides context about the violation and allows people to click through should they wish to see the content”.

“With critical elections and shifting political dynamics around the world, we recognise that we’re operating in an increasingly complex and polarised political culture,” said Twitter.

“These are constantly evolving challenges and we’ll keep our policies and approach under advisement, particularly as we learn more about the relationship between Tweets from world leaders and the potential for offline harm,” it added. (IANS)