After yesterday’s meeting with the Senate Working Group on Immigration, Trump told reporters that before agreeing to any legislation enshrining DACA protections into law, Republicans would need to secure more resources for immigration officers, provisions to stop visa overstays and – crucially – legislation limiting chain migration, a topic that Trump has tweeted about regularly since the Halloween terror attack on Manhattan’s West Side Highway.
And as the administration braces for the upcoming battle over US immigration policy, they’re asking Congress for $18 billion to build 700 miles of new and replacement barrier along the southern border over the coming decade.
Construction on the prototypes for Trump’s wall has been completed, and the Department of Homeland Security is ready for next steps: If approved, that would be a major expansion from the 654 miles of barrier now, bringing the total to nearly 1,000 miles, about half of the entire southwest border.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the plans are laid out in a document prepared by the Department of Homeland Security for a group of senators who asked the administration to detail its request for border security. The document was described to The Wall Street Journal by two people who had seen it. Presumably, WSJ’s sources attended Thursday’s working group meeting.
In total, the administration details about $33 billion in desired new border-security spending, including funding for technology, personnel and roads. The document refers to this as “critical physical border security requirements.”
President Trump’s proposed border wall was in many ways the essence of the 2016 Trump campaign. In many ways, it factored into his rhetoric from the beginning, almost immediately after Trump descended the golden escalator in Trump Tower to declare his intention to run way back in June 2015.
Trump routinely described his pet infrastructure project as a “big, beautiful wall” that would rise over the southern border, preventing illegal immigration and drug trafficking. Furthermore, Trump promised that the project – some estimates placed the cost at close to $70 billion – would be paid for by Mexico. Yet so far, Congress hasn’t agreed to spend any money on the project, and Mexico has repeatedly said it won’t fund it.
But the document cited by WSJ is perhaps the first comprehensive vision of what the wall will look like, if completed.
The document, from the Customs and Border Protection agency at the Department of Homeland Security, envisions the border-wall project unfolding over 10 years. If carried out as described, by 2027, about 970 miles of the 2,000-mile southwest border would have some sort of fencing or wall separating the U.S. from Mexico.
It comes as lawmakers and the White House negotiate an immigration package that would legalize young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, a group known as Dreamers. The White House has demanded that border security be included in the legislation, and last month a group of GOP senators asked for details of what the White House is seeking.
Of course, the document isn’t a complete representation of the administration’s immigration demands – which also include changes in laws and policy. The paper also cautioned that support for the border wall is tepid, even among Republicans.
The document isn’t meant to be a complete outline of the administration’s requests, which also involve changes to the legal immigration system and other enforcement measures, an administration official said. Rather, it details only the border-security elements.
Congressional support for the border-wall idea is tepid, with Democrats and even many Republicans opposed on either financial or symbolic grounds. But lawmakers in both parties support other types of increased border security.
In addition to the wall-related funding requests, the White House and its partners in Congress are also seeking $5.7 billion over five years to pay for towers, surveillance equipment, unmanned aerial vehicles and other technology; $1 billion over five years for road construction and maintenance; and $8.5 billion over seven years for 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and other personnel. The administration has already requested $1.6 billion for 60 miles of a new barrier in Texas and 14 miles of replacement fencing in San Diego for the current fiscal year. Congress hasn’t passed the spending bills for 2018, and wall funding is one of the hang-ups.
The administration’s new document doesn’t detail where the additional miles of barrier would be constructed beyond 2018. It refers to the barrier as a “wall system,” though Trump and lawmakers have at times said they would accept “a fence” or a “see-through wall.”
As we noted late last year, by leaving several controversial provisions – including an immigration deal – out of the continuing resolution passed just before Christmas, Republicans effectively set themselves up for a grueling legislative calendar early this year, as the battle over DACA, the re-authorization of a controversial surveillance program and the long-term fate of a popular children’s health-insurance program must be resolved in the coming months.
Aside from that, Trump is pushing to pass his $10 trillion infrastructure plan which was whispered about late last year – before the mid-term elections.
Tea Time: What No One is Saying About The Wall
By Larry Wiwi for the Franklin County Tea Party
I won’t spend time here defending the wall, border security or the need to end illegal immigration as we have covered those topics thoroughly before and frankly the need is obvious to most Americans. Instead it might be insightful to point out what no one is talking about and that is the answer to the question, exactly who’s fault is it that we are having this showdown and related shutdown now?
It is clearly not President Trump’s fault since he is the newcomer here trying to deliver promises he made in the campaign just a couple years ago. Broadly speaking it is the fault of the professional political class of which Pelosi, Schumer, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Obamas and many others are part of and failed to resolve over many decades.
However, the current showdown is clearly the fault of the last Republican controlled congress. It is the fault of former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader McConnell and other prominent Republicans like the late John McCain and former Senator Flake. The Republicans by and large ran on ending Obama Care and enhanced border security and they delivered on neither, which was a spectacular failure of leadership and incredibly deceitful to the voters who elected them. The Republicans should have had both bills, border wall funding and Obama Care repeal ready for Trump’s signature by February 2017, but instead we have this self-induced political theatre.
Contrary to conventional thinking, the Democrats did not really win the House in the recent mid-terms as much as the Republicans lost it and the proof is pretty simple: Incumbents win re-election about 80% of the time in the House and if 40 Republicans would not have retired, the Republicans would likely have kept 32 seats and control of the House. The Republicans are likely to blame for the current stand-off because they gave up the House.
Finally, after losing the House, the Republicans still had about 6 weeks to jam through the wall funding and Obama Care repeal and for the third time, they delivered failure. None of this suggests that the behavior of Pelosi and Schumer is acceptable – their behavior is despicable but expected and because it was to be expected, the Republicans needed to act and get it done.
Over the next few weeks or months we will likely finally make progress in getting the wall and border security we have needed for decades, and it will be to Trump’s credit, no thanks to either the Republican leadership or the Democrats.
Donald Trump’s White House Address Wasn’t The Hero We Needed
Like many Americans, I eagerly awaited Donald Trump’s speech last night. It was an epic failure.
It wasn’t all bad when Donald Trump addressed the nation yesterday. He gets points for making the compassionate argument for the wall. Chuck & Nancy got trolled into defending killers, sex traffickers and rapists. Also, Democrats looked hysterical “literally shaking” all day about the possibility of a national emergency.
But the government is shutdown with the administration under investigation and his surrogates censored on the web.
How much more fire does he need before he will strike back? Some have openly called for his children to be arrested?!? The media didn’t even want to air his speech last night?!? Unprecedented!!!
The establishment wing of the Republican Party, people like Ben Shapiro, ridicule the idea of using a national emergency or executive order privileges. Their central argument? Doing so gives more power to future Democratic presidents.
This is a lie.
What we needed last night was Batman. In The Dark Knight, Morgan Freeman’s character [Lucius Fox] shows Batman a sonar that can find anyone in Gotham. However, he is concerned about the ethics of this surveillance technology. What does Batman do? He uses it to find the Joker and, to Lucius’s delight, blows it up shortly after.
That was the hero we needed last night. We didn’t get it. Trump had the opportunity to both use and destroy the machine. He didn’t do either.
Life isn’t a movie, but that’s sort of the point: parts of the country are becoming unlivable, people are dying, and it’s time to declare a national emergency. If we can defend Syria, we can defend our borders.
You can tell me his speech was good last night, but you can’t tell me it was at all historic. This could have been his JFK moment. We’ll see what happens, but last night’s speech was more than underwhelming.
“No Wall No Money” Lindsey Graham Says To Nancy Pelosi
The ongoing struggle that US President Donald Trump is spearheading against the Congress to pass a bill securing $5.7 billion in funding for a US-Mexico border wall led the government into a partial shutdown on 21 December after the Senate failed to approve a budget bill.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has issued an ultimatum to House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrats in the lower house stating that the budget deal will not be reached unless it includes funding for the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico.
The tweet comes after Democratic leaders reportedly left the negotiating table on 27 December refusing to discuss ways of restoring government operations. Pelosi told reporters that she would rather leave the government in indefinite shutdown than agrees to fund Trump’s wall.
To Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats:
No Wall Money, No Deal.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 28, 2018