Trump To Seek Another $8.6bn For Border Wall

US President Donald Trump/ AFP

 

US President Donald Trump is seeking $8.6 billion in fresh funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border, likely triggering another fight with Congress.

The 2020 budget request, which is set to be formally unveiled Monday, would far exceed the $5.7 billion Trump demanded last year.

That previous request led to an impasse that resulted in a 35-day partial shutdown of the US government, the longest ever.

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Democratic congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer decried the move, warning Trump that another legislative defeat would await him.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow conceded that the new request would likely mean a renewed fight in Congress over wall funding.

“I suppose there will be,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”

But Kudlow said Trump “is going to stay with his wall. He is going to stay with his border security. I think it’s essential.”

Separately, Kudlow expressed optimism that US economic growth will surpass three percent “in 2019 and beyond.”

The White House Office of Management and Budget said the president’s budget request seeks $2.7 trillion in cuts — “higher than any other administration in history.”

A statement by Acting Director Russ Vought said the cuts would be achieved through a five percent reduction in non-defense spending below the 2019 level, while more funds are being requested for areas like border security, defense, combating opioids and veterans care.

 ‘Expensive and ineffective’ 

With Democrats controlling the House of Representatives, Trump’s new wall-funding request appears to stand little chance.

In a joint statement, Pelosi and Schumer charged that Trump “hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall.”

“Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson,” they said.

The Washington Post reported that the president’s request for wall funding will come in the form of $5 billion from the Homeland Security Department and $3.6 billion from the Pentagon.

That would be on top of the $6.7 billion in wall funding that Trump has ordered redirected from other government programs under a national emergency he declared last month.

He declared the emergency after Congress approved only $1.375 billion for construction of 55 miles (90 kilometers) of barriers along the border in Texas.

The emergency declaration was roundly criticized by Democrats, joined by a handful of Republicans, who said it represented a possibly unconstitutional overreach of presidential authority.

 Senate vote on emergency 

Some Republicans expressed fear that Trump could be setting a precedent that a future Democratic president might cite to pursue a pet project opposed by Congress.

The Democratic-controlled House voted last month by 245-to-182 to nullify Trump’s emergency declaration.

The Senate, narrowly controlled by Republicans, is to vote on the same resolution this week. At least four members of Trump’s party have said they plan — despite pressure from Republican leaders and the White House — to join Democrats in opposing the declaration.

That would provide a majority for overturning the declaration, and Trump would then be expected to veto the bill, his first use of presidential veto power.

“He’s going to veto this,” John Barrasso, the third-ranking Senate Republican, told Fox News, “and then his veto will be sustained. They will not be able to override the veto.”

Overriding a presidential veto requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress.

AFP

US States Sue Trump Over Border Wall Emergency

US President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, DC on February 12, 2019. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

Sixteen US states sued President Donald Trump’s administration Monday over his decision to declare a national emergency to fund a wall on the southern border with Mexico, saying the move violated the constitution.

Trump announced the emergency Friday in order to bypass Congress, which approved only a quarter of the $5.6 billion he wanted for the wall in a spending bill.

But the lawsuit, filed in a federal court in California, said the president’s order was contrary to the constitution’s presentment and appropriations clauses, which outline legislative procedures and define Congress as the final arbiter of public funds, respectively.

The move had already been announced by Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, who said Sunday his state and others had legal standing because they risked losing amounts of money intended for military projects, disaster assistance, and other purposes.

Critics, including several senators from Trump’s Republican party, have warned that he has opened the door for future presidents to call on the act whenever they fail to get their way with Congress.

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Should the states prevail, the case could work its way up to the Supreme Court, setting up a precedent-setting showdown on the separation of powers.

 ‘Constitutional crisis’ 

California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia are party to the complaint seeking an injunction.

The states “bring this action to protect their residents, natural resources, and economic interests from President Donald J. Trump’s flagrant disregard of fundamental separation of powers principles ingrained in the United States Constitution,” the complaint said.

It added that Trump had veered the country toward a “constitutional crisis of his own making.”

“Congress has repeatedly rebuffed the president’s insistence to fund a border wall, recently resulting in a record 35-day partial government shutdown over the border wall dispute,” it said.

“After the government reopened, Congress approved, and the president signed into law, a $1.375 billion appropriation for fencing along the southern border, but Congress made clear that funding could not be used to build President Trump’s proposed border wall.”

 Endangered species 

The complaint also questioned Trump’s categorization of illegal border crossings as a national emergency, saying data issued by his own administration refuted the notion.

“Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) data show that unlawful entries are near 45-year lows,” it said.

“The State Department recognizes there is a lack of credible evidence that terrorists are using the southern border to enter the United States. Federal data confirm that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than are native-born Americans.”

The White House says the emergency order empowers it to pull around $6.6 billion from other sources, mostly already-allocated funds in the Defense Department budget.

But the lawsuit countered that tapping military funds would result in huge losses for the states’ national guard units which would otherwise use the money for domestic drug interdiction and counter-drug activities as well as for law enforcement programs.

The complaint added that the Department of Homeland Security had violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to evaluate the environmental impact of the wall in California and New Mexico, saying species such as the endangered Mexican gray wolf, and the jaguar would be at risk.

AFP

White House Confirms Trump Will Declare ‘National Emergency’ To Fund wall

White House Condemns 'Heinous' Killing Of Journalists In Afghanistan
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders arrives at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on April 25, 2018. NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

 

The White House confirmed on Thursday that President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency in an attempt to bypass Congress and get more funding for his Mexico border wall project.

Trump will also sign off on a congressional bill that would authorize a much smaller amount of wall money than the president had been demanding.

“President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” spokeswoman Sarah Sander said.

More to follow…

Trump To Declare ‘Emergency’ To Fund Border Wall – Top Republican

US President Donald Trump.                                                                                      MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

United States President Donald Trump will sign a spending bill averting a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his contested border wall, the Senate’s top Republican said Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues that he spoke by phone with Trump, who “indicated he’s prepared to sign the bill. He will also be issuing a national emergency declaration at the same time.”

The White House confirmed the plan minutes later.

“He will also take other executive action — including a national emergency — to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Declaring such an emergency, a rare step, would free Trump to seek to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Trump saying he will sign the spending bill, expected ahead of a Friday midnight deadline, eases some pressure in Washington after he had openly expressed concern about the deal reached earlier in the week between Republicans and Democrats.

The measure includes only $1.375 billion for border barriers or fencing, far from the $5.7 billion that Trump has demanded for his long-sought border wall.

Trump’s misgivings put the fate of the bill in question. But minutes after McConnell announced Trump’s intention, the Senate took up the measure and advanced it overwhelmingly.

A final Senate vote was to follow, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber would vote later Thursday.

Pelosi, Trump’s Democratic nemesis, expressed disdain for the president’s upcoming emergency declaration, warning that he was doing “an end run around Congress.”

“It’s not an emergency, what’s happening at the border,” she said.

Trump’s declaration is expected to be challenged in court.

The compromise package funds until September 30 the 25 percent of the government whose operations would lapse if the bill is not signed by Trump by the midnight Friday deadline.

AFP

Trump Pushes Wall Plan In US-Mexico Border Visit

US President Donald Trump speaks after he received a briefing on border security next to Sen. John Cornyn(L) R-TX and Sen. Ted Cruz(2ndR) R-TX near the Rio Grande in McAllen, Texas, on January 10, 2019. Jim WATSON / AFP

 

US President, Donald Trump on Thursday travelled to the US-Mexico border as part of his all-out offensive to build a wall.

The day before, he had stormed out of negotiations when Democratic opponents refused to agree to fund the project in exchange for an end to a painful government shutdown.

Read Also: Trump Storms Out Of Talks With Democrats On Border Wall

Trump Threatens To ‘Entirely’ Close US-Mexico Border

A US Customs and Border Protection officer, stands guard on the US side of the US-Mexico border fence as seen from Playas de Tijuana, Mexico, on November 16, 2018. ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to “entirely” close the southern US border with Mexico if lawmakers refuse his demands to fund a wall.

“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” Trump tweeted.

The Republican leader’s warning came as a partial federal government shutdown was set to drag on into next week, with legislators in Washington failing to reach a compromise over Trump’s insistence on funding the border barrier.

Both sides have dug in, with Democrats refusing to provide $5 billion for the project and the president — who has made hardline immigration polices a centerpiece of his presidency — vowing he will not fully fund the government unless he gets the money.

In November, Trump threatened to close the “whole border” with Mexico if “it gets to a level where we’re going to lose control or people are going to start getting hurt.”

Days later US authorities dramatically shuttered a border crossing in southern California after hundreds of migrants — part of the “caravan” Trump had roundly condemned — tried to breach a fence from the Mexican city of Tijuana.

The temporary closing saw border agents halt vehicles and pedestrians at the San Ysidro crossing point, one of the busiest between the neighboring countries.

AFP

Undaunted Migrants Vow To Go Over Trump’s Wall

People walk on the Mexican side of the Mexico-US border in Tijuana, from where prototypes of the wall US President Donald Trump wants to build on the border with Mexico are visible on the outskirts of San Diego, in the US, on March 12, 2018. PHOTO: GUILLERMO ARIAS / AFP

 

Eladio Sanchez is unimpressed by the eight border wall prototypes looming over his house in Tijuana, Mexico, almost within spitting distance of where US President Donald Trump will visit Tuesday.

At age 30, he has already snuck over the border several times and doesn’t expect Trump’s wall will have much effect on undocumented migrants like him.

Pointing to the only prototype with an angular barrier at the top — a concrete structure built by Texas Sterling Construction Company — Sanchez says that one might slow him down a little more than the others.

But, he told AFP, “you can get over it anyway.”

“It’s just a little more complicated. But people are always looking for a way to get over — out of necessity, not because we want to.”

In Tijuana, Trump’s visit to the prototypes looks like just the latest slap in the face from a man who launched his presidential campaign calling Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists” and has since driven US-Mexican relations to their lowest point in recent memory.

It’s as if “he wants to come just to tell us he’s here, that he’s going to do what he promised with the wall,” says Sanchez, who lives in a small gray house in a poor neighborhood that juts up against the border, across from Otay Mesa, on the outskirts of San Diego.

‘We will never pay’

Sanchez has watched the barrier between the United States and Mexico grow over the years, blocking his view of the mountains more every time.

It started with a fence built during the Bill Clinton administration, then was beefed up with barbed wire.

“They just keep adding more, making it taller,” he said from his rooftop.

From there, he has an unimpeded view of the hulking prototypes, which stand about nine meters (30 feet) tall and cost $300,000 to $500,000 each.

If Trump gets his way, whichever prototype or prototypes win will snake across much of the nearly 3,200-kilometer (2,000-mile) border.

The cost is estimated at up to $20 billion. Trump’s insistence that Mexico will foot the bill is a source of national outrage.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto reportedly cancelled plans for a visit to Washington recently over the issue — the second time he has done so.

“He firmly repeated what all Mexicans have always said: We will never pay for a wall on the border,” said Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray.

‘Powerful energy’

An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the United States, many of them Mexicans or other Latinos.

“They are the proof that it’s possible to get through. More Mexicans are getting through all the time,” says Sergio Tamai, the founder of immigrant advocacy group Angels Without Borders.

Tamai runs a shelter for migrants in the border city of Mexicali, which sits across from Calexico, California.

The Migrant Hotel, as it’s known, is not far from the rusted metal border fence that separates the two cities. On the Mexican side, the fence is covered in colourful graffiti, including the words “penetrate me” in giant letters.

Migrants, says Tamai, will always find a way.

“The desert. The mountains. Human traffickers. You can’t take away that desire to cross to the other side. That desire to build a better life for your family is such a strong, powerful energy.”

‘All alone’

For many Mexicans who have been deported from the United States, things have gone from bad to worse under Trump.

“Everything is more difficult with Trump. He’s really racist,” says Carmelo Alfaro, 56, sitting on a mattress on the floor in the Migrant Hotel.

He was deported recently after working for 15 years as a gardener in San Francisco.

He now plans to move back “all alone” to his native state of Jalisco, in the west and says he is resigned to living the rest of his life without his three US-born children. He and his wife decided they would be better off in the United States.

Salvador Moreno, the elderly deportee who cleans the hotel, is more optimistic.

A native of the western state of Michoacan, he has deported from California two years ago and has since tried to go back twice. Both times he was arrested by the US border patrol.

“It’s harder for us now,” he says.

But, he added, “God willing, I’ll go back.”

AFP