STANDING FIRM: Trump doubles down over threat to shut down government over funding of border wall

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Thursday doubled down on threats to shut down the federal government if Congress fails to pass funding to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Trump, who heavily campaigned on a promise to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. if elected, said building a wall is not a matter of racism, but of national security.

“We’re going to have our wall. The American people voted for immigration control. We’re going to get that wall,” Trump said to a crowd of cheering supporters at a Phoenix rally on Tuesday.

“Build the wall! Build the wall,” the crowd chanted in response.

As a Sept. 30 deadline approaches to continue funding the government, the president on Thursday reiterated his vow that, should Congress failed to pass a funding resolution, the government would shut down.

“Anybody who’s surprised by that has not been paying attention for over two years,” Trump administration aide Kellyanne Conway said told Fox News on Thursday. “So he’s telling Congress he’s building the wall, he expects the funding, and it’s up to them to work collaboratively. We hope they do.”

On Twitter, the president attacked GOP leaders, claiming they had ignored his instructions on debt ceiling legislation, which he referred to as a “mess.”

“I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval. They…..didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy-now a mess!” the president wrote of House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R)-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R)-Ky.

Last May, Trump’s 2018 budget proposal for border security asked for $2.6 billion, of which $1.6 billion of it would go to begin construction for a southern border wall. However, according to estimates, construction costs for the wall could reach as high as $15 billion (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-immigration-wall-exclusive-idUSKBN15O2ZN).

In addition to building the wall, Trump campaigned heavily on the promise of making Mexico pay for it. Thus far, the Mexican government has refused to do so. As a result, the president said he will force Mexico to reimburse the U.S. for the border wall through a series of economic and trade sanctions to recoup the cost. Until then, the president says funding of the wall through the use of U.S. tax dollars is a priority and must be approved by Congress.

Democrats were quick to lash out against the president over his threats to shut down the government on Thursday, with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leading a strong opposition to his demands.

“Last night, President Trump yet again threatened to cause chaos in the lives of millions of Americans if he doesn’t get his way. Make no mistake: the President said he will purposefully hurt American communities to force American taxpayers to fund an immoral, ineffective and expensive border wall,” Pelosi said in a released statement (http://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/82317/).

“The last time Republicans shut down the government, their callous recklessness cost the American economy $24 billion and 120,000 jobs. With a Republican House, Senate and Administration, Republicans have absolutely no excuses for threatening America’s families with a destructive and pointless government shutdown,” the statement continued.

“President Trump’s multi-billion dollar border wall boondoggle is strongly opposed by Democrats and many Republicans. Democrats will stand fast against the immoral, ineffective border wall and the rest of Republicans’ unacceptable poison pill riders.”

Rep. Don Beyer (D) – Va., echoed Pelosi’s comments on Twitter.

“Trump threatens to shut down the government unless we vote to put taxpayers on the hook for a wall he promised Mexico would pay for. Nope,” Beyer tweeted.

For his part, Speaker Ryan seemed unconcerned with the President’s comments when asked about them during a stop in Oregon.

“I don’t think a government shutdown is necessary, and I don’t think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included,” Ryan said.

When asked whether he thinks the president will follow through on his threats Ryan said he thinks Trump is merely “employing a strategy that he thinks is effective for him.”

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‘BUILD THE WALL!’: TRUMP ORDERS REGULATIONS EASED TO EXPEDITE BORDER WALL CONSTRUCTION

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Homeland Security announced late Monday Trump administration orders to waive environmental rules so extra barriers can be built to bar illegal immigrants from crossing the Mexican border into San Diego.

A DHS spokesperson says the move was necessary because the area is one of the busiest U.S. border sections with Mexico and is the sight of some of the highest volume of illegal entries.

“The sector remains an area of high illegal entry for which there is an immediate need to improve current infrastructure and construct additional border barriers and roads,” the DHS said.

According to DHS reports, more than 31,000 illegal aliens were taken into custody at the location and more than 9,000 pounds (4,000 kg) of marijuana and 1,317 pounds (597 kg) of cocaine were seized in the area in 2016.

“CBP officers maintain a strong work ethic and are committed to combating drug trafficking at our ports of entry,” said Pete Flores, director of field operations for CBP in San Diego, in a statement. “The drug trafficking organizations attempt to deceive us but we remain vigilant and will continue to apprehend those who attempt entry with contraband.”

The barriers, which will encompass about 15 miles of the frontier extending east from the Pacific Ocean, are part of President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

Government estimates put the cost of the wall at about $21 billion, an amount that President Trump insists he will force Mexico to cover, but thus far Mexico has refused to comply.

Environmentalists and anti-border activists have been quick to cry foul over the waiver despite a 2005 mandate that gives Homeland Security broad authority to waive any law that could impede expeditious construction of barriers and roads.

American Oversight, a watchdog committee that has sued the Trump administration over similar issues, said the DHS statement was “proof” that Trump will “barrel ahead” with his plan to build the wall, no matter the cost to environment.

“Given the widespread skepticism towards the effectiveness of the border wall by leaders in both parties … effective safeguards are more important than ever,” American Oversight’s executive director, Austin Evers, said in a released statement.

Despite the protests a Trump administration spokesperson said the president has no plans on backing down on his highly touted campaign promise to build the wall and said the waiver is just the first further proof of the president’s intent to keep his word.

The U.S. House of Representatives last week approved a $68 billion spending package that includes funds to begin the wall’s construction.

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MAKING AMERICA SECURE AGAIN: HOUSE APPROVES FUNDING FOR BORDER WALL

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump is one step closer to fulfilling one of his most famous campaign promises…the building of a wall to separate the U.S. from Mexico.

The House Appropriations Committee this week approved $1.6 billion in funds to be allocated toward construction of the southern border wall.

“Keeping Americans safe by protecting our homeland is a top priority. This funding bill provides the resources to begin building a wall along our southern border, enhance our existing border security infrastructure, hire more border patrol agents, and fund detention operations,” House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Carter said in a statement.

“Additionally, this bill will increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, support grants in cases of emergency and natural disaster, and provide critical resources to protect our cyber networks,” the statement continued.

The building of a wall to separate the United States from Mexico was an issue that proved central to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Since his inauguration in January, the Trump administration has cracked down on illegal immigration, calling it a matter of “justice and safety for the American people”.

“It will secure the border & save lives. Now the full House & Senate must act!” Trump said upon hearing the news that the funds had been approved.

In addition to securing the wall, Trump campaigned heavily on his promise to make Mexico pay for it. He made headlines last week while reiterating that pledge as he sat next to Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto while attending the G20 Summit.

“It’s great to be with my friend the president of Mexico, and we’re negotiating NAFTA and some other things with Mexico and we’ll see how it all turns out, but I think we’ve made really good progress so it’s great to be with you,” Trump said shaking hands with Nieto. When asked by a reporter, “Mr. Trump, do you still want Mexico to pay for the wall?”, Trump turned to the Mexican leader and replied, “Absolutely.”

Although Mexico has publicly refused to do any such thing, Trump says he will force the southern nation to do so by cutting off funding, which many economists say is vital for Mexico’s struggling economy.

“It’s an easy decision for Mexico,” Trump said of his plans, which he released earlier this year (https://www.washingtonpost.com/apps/g/page/politics/memo-explains-how-donald-trump-plans-to-pay-for-border-wall/2007/?tid=a_inl).

According to estimates, (http://tmz.vo.llnwd.net/o28/newsdesk/tmz_documents/design-build-structure.pdf) the wall expected to stretch over one thousand miles across the U.S. southern border.

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‘THE WALL OR ELSE’: RNC CHAIR WARNS VOTERS WILL WALK IF GOP DEFAULTS ON BUILDING OF WALL

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel is warning Republican leaders in Congress to okay funding for President Trump’s border wall or risk being voted out in the 2018 midterm elections.

McDaniel’s comments come as political insiders say some Republicans are backing down on their support of the wall, which then candidate Trump made the center of his presidential campaign, in the face of overwhelming pressure from their Democratic counterparts.

“Our base is going to walk away,” McDaniel warned her colleagues. “They’re going to feel like, ‘Hey, you said one thing on the campaign trail to get elected and you didn’t act on it.’”

McDaniel, the niece of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, also took her plea to the media in an effort to hold her fellow Republicans accountable.

“I was part of the Trump movement as a Michigan chair, and I know that our voters are going to hold us accountable in 2018 if we do not keep the campaign promises that were made,” McDaniel said during an appearance on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday.

“When you get to Washington, sometimes you forget what was said outside and it’s important that we bring that back to Washington and let them hear what the voters expect of this government and of the president.”

McDaniel also took the opportunity while on Inghram’s show to praise the president for the efforts he’s put forth during his first 100 days in office.

“You’ve seen jobs coming back. You’ve seen our national security standing rise in this country,” McDaniel said. “I mean, action after action that the president talked about on the campaign trail he has enacted in just a hundred days.”

“We have to make good on our campaign promises, and the president has already hit the ground running on that,” she added.

On the flip side, McDaniel said Republicans need to work harder than ever to get the long suffering ObamaCare replacement healthcare program passed and into action.

“They’re hurting. People are hurting under Obamacare,” said McDaniel. “It is a catastrophe what is happening to the American people right now. And they’re looking for help and relief and our party is the only party that is even focusing on that. The Democrats have walked away. But we’re going to have to find that for them.”

“We have to put people above politics,” McDaniel added. “We cannot become complacent as a party. Complacency will be our worst enemy. We won everything, but the Democrats have awoken and they’re coming back, and we have to fight just as hard.”

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SESSIONS WARNS ILLEGALS: ‘THIS IS THE TRUMP ERA…THE BORDER IS CLOSED. GO HOME.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has a message to those who still seek to come to the United States illegally…there’s a new sheriff in town.

That was the message Sessions sent while appearing Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity,” where the AG boasted of the change in status since president Trump’s inauguration.

“Can you believe that we have had the lowest number of entrances at the border in 17 years? This is the direct result of Donald Trump’s strong, clear leadership,” said Sessions.

“It has an impact. The most important thing for us is to send a message to the world that the border is not open. Please don’t come. You will be apprehended if you do come, and you will be deported promptly. And if you’re a criminal, you’ll be prosecuted. And if you assault our officers, we’re going to come at you with a ton of bricks,” he warned.

“This is the kind of message we need to send It is already being sent,” added Sessions. “It is having a dramatic effect so far. I knew strong presidential leadership unlike the wishy-washiness we’ve seen in the past would impact the flow, but not as much as we’ve seen already. The numbers are down 70 percent since President Obama left office. It is really a remarkable achievement.”

Sessions, who toured the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday, said during a press conference after the tour that he believes Trump’s get-tough approach to immigration prosecutions will help to clean up a lot of the “filth” brought into the U.S. by Mexican drug cartels.

“This is a new era. This is the Trump era,” he said. “The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch and release practices of old are over.”

Speaking of the soon-to-begin construction of Trump’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, Sessions said the wall will only aid in the war on drugs and crime.

“The barrier, the wall, will have a great and positive impact and will continue our ability to follow through on a commitment to end the lawlessness,” he said.

Critics blasted the initiatives touted by Sessions as racist fear-mongering and baseless in fact.

“Once again, Attorney General Sessions is scaring the public by linking immigrants to criminals despite studies showing that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than the native born. He and President Trump are wasting more federal taxpayer dollars going after illegal border crossers instead of protecting the American public,” said Gregory Z. Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Undeterred, Sessions said the tough new stance on illegal immigration will continue.

“When we talk about MS-13 and the cartels, what do we mean? We mean international criminal organizations that turn cities and suburbs into war zones, that rape and kill innocent civilians, and who profit by smuggling poison and other human beings across our borders,” Sessions said. “It is here on this very sliver of land—on this border—that we take our stand. It is a direct threat to our legal system, peace and prosperity.”

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