Trump: ‘May declare a national emergency’ to build wall

Trump: ‘May declare a national emergency’ to build wall

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President Donald Trump said Sunday that he might declare a national emergency imminently to secure money for his border wall.

“I may declare a national emergency dependent on what’s going to happen over the next few days,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for Camp David.
A White House official told CNN on Saturday that Trump was leaning toward declaring a national emergency to use military funding for his wall. Trump has demanded Congress appropriate money for the wall, and his dispute with Democrats over the issue pushed the government into an ongoing partial shutdown.
Maryland’s Democratic senators, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, meanwhile, on Sunday called for not taking up any legislation not related to ending the shutdown.
“Senate Democrats should block consideration of any bills unrelated to opening the government until Sen. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans allow a vote on the bipartisan bills the House passed to open the government,” Van Hollen tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence held a meeting with congressional leadership staff on Sunday afternoon, but after the meeting there was little indication they were getting close to a deal to reopen the government.
During Sunday’s meeting, a letter from Acting Budget Director Russell Vought was handed to the congressional staff officially outlining some of the new requests for money on top of what’s already been included in the Senate’s FY 2019 bill. It included:
— $5.7 billion for what is now called a “steel barrier” for the Southwest Border (which is an increase of $4.1 billion over the Senate funding). The letter says: “Central to any strategy to achieve operational control along the southern border is a physical infrastructure to provide requisite impedance and denial.”;
— $800 million to address “urgent humanitarian needs,” such as additional funding for enhanced medical support and additional temporary facilities for processing and short-term custody of migrants taken into custody;
— Additional $798 million for more detention beds — bringing the total request to $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, citing an increase of people attempting to cross the border;
— $571 million for an additional 2,000 law enforcement personnel;
The letter also includes a new policy proposal put forward by Democrats. The proposal, which appears similar to one rolled out during the Obama administration, would allow for in-country asylum processing for Central American minors. The letter notes that additional statutory change “would be required to ensure that those who circumvent the process and come to the United States without authorization can be promptly returned home.” It’s unclear if this means that those who approach the southern border would be denied asylum.
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