One of the Senate’s top-ranking Democrats is back to stoking fears of an imminent government shutdown.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) criticized the Trump administration on Friday, calling plans to tighten border security an attempt to undermine bipartisan talks. Talks, Politico.com notes, which have prattled along for months.
While an end to negotiations may not be forthcoming, another important deadline is.
Durbin, along with other Democrats, is trying to ward off the deportation of Dreamers – illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. Granted temporary residence and work permits by the Obama administration, Trump too promised to protect them.
But in September, the president formally rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, calling on Congress to formulate a fast solution. If legislators don’t act within the next several months, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers could be detained and sent to homelands they may scarcely remember.
After reneging on a promise with top Democrats, Trump has taken to demanding funding for his controversial border wall in exchange for protecting Dreamers.
The only thing that's not serious is the Gang of Amnesty's ridiculous proposal: amnesty in the millions, no end to chain migration, use diversity-lottery green cards for TPS aliens (T = temporary!), & pittance for phony border security. Get real! https://t.co/Tm7LXrnjSx
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 5, 2018
“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall. With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction,” Durbin said in a statement. “It’s outrageous that the White House would undercut months of bipartisan efforts by again trying to put its entire wish list of hardline anti-immigrant bills — plus an additional $18 billion in wall funding — on the backs of these young people.”
Republicans, predictably, pushed back against Durbin. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), writing on Twitter, blasted liberal leniency on immigration, suggesting that the Left would rather concede to criminality than bolster border defenses.
“The only thing that’s not serious is the Gang of Amnesty’s ridiculous proposal: amnesty in the millions, no end to chain migration, use diversity-lottery green cards for TPS aliens (T = temporary!), & pittance for phony border security,” Cotton tweeted Friday afternoon. “Get real!”
The White House, writes Politico.com, has requested a massive amount of funding for an enhanced barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. According to documents obtained by the website, the administration may be asking for as much as $38 billion for a “border wall system.” The document was apparently dated toward the end of December.
An initial request would requisition $18 billion for 722 miles of construction – 316 of which would be brand-new, with the remaining miles being reworked or replaced.
“Border wall system is a critical capability that provides ‘impedance and denial’ giving the Border Patrol the ability to slow and stop illegal cross border activity,” the document says.
On top of building a longer and more effective barrier, the document also makes reference to other Trump administration demands – more detention facilities for illegal immigrants, the hiring of additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, and larger numbers of immigration judges and courts.