Border Security

Trump Will Shut Down Government Over Border Wall Funding

Chief executive warns of consequences if his immigration enforcement policies aren't met by looming September 30 federal budget deadline

President Donald Trump threatened to shut down the federal government in September if Democratic lawmakers continue their obstruction and “do not give us the votes for Border Security [and] … the Wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall! Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

“Build the Wall” on the U.S. border with Mexico was among Trump’s signature promises during his 2016 presidential bid, as he campaigned heavily on tighter immigration enforcement.

But the nominally Republican Congress has struggled to reach any consensus on funding the border wall and implementing other key items on Trump’s immigration agenda.

Although Trump demanded action on immigration as part of Congress’ $1.3 trillion spending package, passed in March, he signed the bill without those measures to avoid a government shutdown. He warned at the time that he would never sign “another bill like this” again.

“There are a lot of things we shouldn’t have had in this bill, but we were, in a sense, forced if we want to build our military, we were forced to have,” Trump said in March. “There are some things we should have in the bill. But I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again.”

With the federal fiscal year ending September 30, the president warned that he would accept nothing less than wall funding and the other three tough immigration reforms he has repeatedly asked Congress to enact.

Trump also doubled down Sunday on defending his administration’s tough immigration enforcement policies amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the since-scrapped zero tolerance policy, which separated illegal immigrant children from their parents at the border.

Related: Illegal Immigration Now Far More Dangerous Than Five Years Ago

“Please understand, there are consequences when people cross our Border illegally, whether they have children or not — and many are just using children for their own sinister purposes. Congress must act on fixing the DUMBEST & WORST immigration laws anywhere in the world! Vote ‘R,'” Trump tweeted, referring to the 2018 midterm elections and the GOP’s need to hold its congressional majority.

Trump administration officials said Thursday that they had reunited all eligible children — a total of 1,442 — with their parents following a court order to do so. But more than 700 illegal immigrant children not “eligible” who aren’t eligible for reunification remained in federal custody as of Thursday.

The president’s renewed call for border wall funding, immigration reform, and strict enforcement measures came as Democrats appeared to be looking for a different campaign centerpiece from their recent calls to abolish the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

(photo credit, homepage image: Donald TrumpCC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore).

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].