The scenes of desperate Central American migrants breaching the porous US border fence and clashing with Mexican and US police are still fresh in most people’s minds.
It took tear gas and a lot of manpower to keep the US border secure. And the incident is likely to add weight to US President Donald Trump’s demands for a border wall.
As RAW reports, Trump told Politico he has had enough, insisting once again that his long-promised Mexico border wall needs to start going up. He says he would ‘totally be willing’ to shut down the federal government unless the required US$5 billion to fund the project is authorised by congress.
But Trump has also revealed this US$5 billion only covers structural costs. All other border security measures and maintenance costs would need to be additionally funded.
It’s no wonder then why the signature promise of his 2016 election campaign is taking so long to be fulfilled.
Of course, Trump has made similar threats to shutdown government in the past. However, he is yet to follow through with one.
Though this time does look different. With the recent midterms causing Trump’s fellow Republicans to lose control of the House of Representatives come January, it seems likely Trump will go back on his word.
But it’s more than Trump’s ‘go ahead’ that’s needed for this plan to come into action.
Barriers stopping the barrier
As the world knows, illegal immigration isn’t a new addition to Trump’s leadership agenda. Leading up to the midterms, this pressing issue was rekindled by a particular event. A caravan of migrants from Central America caused the deployment of nearly 5,800 US troops to the border.
Trump insisted on shutting down the border entirely, though Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray rejected this threat entirely.
And the obstacles don’t stop there.
By early next month, a spending bill must be passed by US lawmakers to fund related government agencies. These include the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees border and immigration.
Thanks to the recent midterms, this step has become a lot more complicated. Though Republicans maintain control of the Senate, they will need Democratic support for this spending legislation to pass.
Head of Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Republican Ron Johnson has also voiced his doubts regarding the reality of the wall. Though he stated that Trump ‘deserved to have better barriers funded’, he couldn’t deny that most government funds had already been issued. Any further security spending would likely be only for emergency provisions.
Johnson blatantly told Fox News:
‘It’s very difficult to shut down the government.’
Difficult, yes. But is it impossible?
Trump won’t take ‘no’ for an answer
Republican Orrin Hatch told NBC News he had ‘mixed emotions’ about the extra funding, but felt that both sides should be able to find a solution.
According to US House Speaker Paul Ryan, the House version of the spending legislation already includes the US$5 billion for Trump’s wall. However, Democrats now have a say in this legislation. And their current stance is support in border security measures other than the wall.
But Trump isn’t fazed. He insists the border battle was a ‘total winner’ for his party, even though it wasn’t ‘just for political gain’.
And if all else fails, Trump has a back-up plan. In an interview with the Washington Post this week, Trump said if the funding doesn’t get approved, that wall will go up in other ways. He talked specifically of the deployed troops’ work installing ‘barbed wire and fencing and various other things’.
It seems Trump has put all effort into getting this border up once and for all. He’s even put the 700,000-odd ‘Dreamers’ — young adults who were brought to the US illegally as children — on the backburner for now, so see how the courts play it out.
It’s the most solid foundation we’ve seen for this border wall. Time will tell if this really is Trump’s last straw.
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