REPORT: Dispute over ‘family separations’ forced Nielsen’s resignation as Homeland Security Secretary

WASHINGTON — Last week’s resignation by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was prompted in large part by her refusal to enforce president Donald Trump’s policy of separating illegal immigrant families at the border, says an NBC report.

“I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside,” Nielsen wrote in a resignation letter to Trump, according to a report published by The New York Times. “I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse.”

White House insiders say the president’s no-nonsense approach to illegal immigration was just too tough for Nielsen to abide by. Her resignation comes just days after Trump rallied against the crisis at the border, demanding that Mexico “to their part” in curbing the influx of illegals crossing the southern U.S. border.

Undeterred, President Trump confirmed Nielsen’s resignation on Sunday, announcing that Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will take over as Acting Secretary.

“Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for @DHSgov. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!”

A senior administration official told NBC the president feels strongly that family separation has been the most effective policy at deterring illegal immigration.

Democrats have often called out this policy as “racist” and declared enforcement of such policy as “unconstitutional.”

“Hampered by misstep after misstep, Kirstjen Nielsen’s tenure at the Department of Homeland Security was a disaster from the start,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement.

“It is clearer now than ever that the Trump administration’s border security and immigration policies — that she enacted and helped craft — have been an abysmal failure and have helped create the humanitarian crisis at the border.”

President Trump campaigned heavily on promises of securing the nation’s borders during his 2016 presidential campaign. The issue will remain a large part of his efforts at re-election in 2020.

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PRESS SECRETARY: Dems leaving Trump ‘no choice’ on border

WASHINGTON — Democrats are leaving President Donald Trump “no choice” but to crack down hard on border security, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee- Sanders said on Tuesday, and the president will do “whatever it takes” to protect the American people.

“Democrats in Congress are leaving us no choice,” Sanders said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” referencing the president’s vow to close the southern border. “This is not the path the president wants to take. They’re leaving us no choice because they’re unwilling to fix the problem. They’re too busy playing politics.”

Sanders’ comments come one week after Trump threatened to shut down the border between the U.S. and Mexico after House Democrats refused to authorize funds needed to build the wall.

Mexico, Sanders said, must step up its efforts to stop the flow of illegal immigration into the U.S. or face the financial ramifications.

“That’s certainly a big part of this process, is Mexico stepping up and helping the United States do more by helping stop people from coming across our border by stopping them in Mexico,” Sanders said. “We need them to continue to do that so that we aren’t forced take drastic action like closing the ports of entry at our border because we simply have no choice.”

“The president is the one that is responsible for the last two years of economic growth, economic boom, and the number of jobs that we have in this country. We don’t want to see that hurt,” Sanders continued. “But at the same time, the president’s No. 1 responsibility is to protect American life.”

Despite pushback from the left, border patrol agents have come out in support of the president’s plan to shut down the border, claiming doing so will better help them gain better control of illegal immigration.

“If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States [through] our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING the border, or large sections of the Border next week,” the president vowed last week on Twitter. “This would be so easy for Mexico to do, but they just take our money and “talk.” Besides, we lose so much money with them, especially when you add in drug trafficking etc.), that the Border closing would be a good thing!”

Democrats, angered by the president’s commitment to shutting down the U.S. border have called his threats “racist” and a “violation” of his presidential authority.

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TRUMP MEETS DEMS IN BORDER SHOWDOWN: Says government shutdown ‘could be a long time’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday met with Democratic and Republican leaders in another failed effort to resolve the ongoing government shutdown.

During a Cabinet meeting at the White House, his first public appearance of the new year, Trump said the shutdown will last “as long as it takes” as he works to convince Democrats to approve a $5 billion budget bill to fund a wall between the United States and Mexico.

“Could be a long time or could be quickly,” he told reporters.

The president’s comments come as the country entered it’s the 12th day of a partial shutdown, resulting from the Democrats’ refusal to fund the wall, which the president insists is a matter of national security.

Saying the current border is “like a sieve”, Trump said tougher security at the wall is essential in deterring the flow of illegal immigration.

“If they knew they couldn’t come through, they wouldn’t even start,” Trump said at the meeting, joined by Cabinet secretaries and several of his top advisers, including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump.

In a jab at House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who spent the holiday break vacationing at a luxury resort in Hawaii, Trump complained that he had been “lonely” at the White House, having skipped his getaway to Mar-a-Lago in Florida to work instead on securing the nation’s border. He said his only companions during that time were the “machine gunners,” referring to security personnel, adding “they don’t wave, they don’t smile.”

In response, Pelosi blamed Trump for the ongoing shutdown, claiming that the president is the one who is refusing to cooperate.

“We are giving the Republicans the opportunity to take yes for an answer,” she wrote in a letter to colleagues of the Democrats’ plan to “end the Trump Shutdown” by passing legislation Thursday to reopen the government.

“Senate Republicans have already supported this legislation,” Pelosi wrote, “and if they reject it now, they will be fully complicit in chaos and destruction of the President’s third shutdown of his term.”

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TRUMP TO MEXICO: ‘Ship migrants home or face permanent shut down of border’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday warned Mexican officials to send migrants massed in Tijuana and threatening to crash the U.S. border “back to their countries” or face a permanent closure of the border.

“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries,” the president tweeted. “Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”

The president’s comments come in response to a wave of backlash from left-leaning news agencies and political pundits who criticized Trump’s authorization of tear gas use on migrants who stormed the border.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it suspended northbound and southbound crossings for both pedestrians and vehicles at the San Ysidro port of entry at the president’s order.

A CBP spokesperson added that some demonstrators “attempted to illegally enter the U.S. through both the northbound and southbound vehicle lanes at the port of entry itself. Those persons were stopped and turned back to Mexico.”

U.S. border agents confirmed Monday that they had shot several rounds of tear gas at migrants who began throwing rocks at U.S. authorities and who had attempted to break through secured points along the border.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also confirmed through a statement that some migrants “attempted to breach legacy fence infrastructure along the border and sought to harm CBP personnel by throwing projectiles at them.

“As I have continually stated, DHS will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons,” Nielsen said. “We will also seek to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who destroys federal property, endangers our frontline operators, or violates our nation’s sovereignty.”

President Trump has characterized the vast majority of asylum claims as fraudulent and said use of deady force would be authorized if necessary to secure the U.S. southern border.

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BUILD THE WALL: Protesters chant ‘Out!’ at migrants camped at US border

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Hundreds of Tijuana residents congregated around a monument in an affluent section of the city south of California on Sunday to protest the thousands of Central American migrants who have arrived via caravan in hopes of a new life in the U.S.

Tensions have built as nearly 3,000 migrants from the caravan poured into Tijuana in recent days after more than a month on the road, and with many more months ahead of them while they seek asylum. The federal government estimates the number of migrants could soon swell to 10,000.

U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.

On Sunday, displeased Tijuana residents waved Mexican flags, sang the Mexican national anthem and chanted “Out! Out!” in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc, 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) from the U.S. border. They accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana. They also complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.” And they voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group.

“We don’t want them in Tijuana,” protesters shouted.

Juana Rodriguez, a housewife, said the government needs to conduct background checks on the migrants to make sure they don’t have criminal records.

A woman who gave her name as Paloma lambasted the migrants, who she said came to Mexico in search of handouts. “Let their government take care of them,” she told video reporters covering the protest.

A block away, fewer than a dozen Tijuana residents stood with signs of support for the migrants. Keyla Zamarron, a 38-year-old teacher, said the protesters don’t represent her way of thinking as she held a sign saying: Childhood has no borders.

Most of the migrants who have reached Tijuana via caravan in recent days set out more than a month ago from Honduras, a country of 9 million people. Dozens of migrants in the caravan who have been interviewed by Associated Press reporters have said they left their country after death threats.

But the journey has been hard, and many have turned around.

Alden Rivera, the Honduran ambassador in Mexico, told the AP on Saturday that 1,800 Hondurans have returned to their country since the caravan first set out on Oct. 13, and that he hopes more will make that decision. “We want them to return to Honduras,” said Rivera.

Honduras has a murder rate of 43 per 100,000 residents, similar to U.S. cities like New Orleans and Detroit. In addition to violence, migrants in the caravan have mentioned poor economic prospects as a motivator for their departures. Per capita income hovers around $120 a month in Honduras, where the World Bank says two out of three people live in poverty.

The migrants’ expected long stay in Tijuana has raised concerns about the ability of the border city of more than 1.6 million people to handle the influx.

While many in Tijuana are sympathetic to the migrants’ plight and trying to assist, some locals have shouted insults, hurled rocks and even thrown punches at them. The cold reception contrasts sharply with the warmth that accompanied the migrants in southern Mexico, where residents of small towns greeted them with hot food, campsites and even live music.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants’ arrival an “avalanche” that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. Gastelum has appealed to the federal government for more assistance to cope with the influx.

Mexico’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that the federal government was flying in food and blankets for the migrants in Tijuana.

Tijuana officials converted a municipal gymnasium and recreational complex into a shelter to keep migrants out of public spaces. The city’s privately run shelters have a maximum capacity of 700. The municipal complex can hold up to 3,000.

At the municipal shelter, Josue Caseres, 24, expressed dismay at the protests against the caravan. “We are fleeing violence,” said the entertainer from Santa Barbara, Honduras. “How can they think we are going to come here to be violent?”

Some from the caravan have diverted to other border cities, such as Mexicali, a few hours to the east of Tijuana.

Elsewhere on Sunday, a group of 200 migrants headed north from El Salvador, determined to also find safety in numbers to reach the U.S. Edwin Alexander Gomez, 20, told AP in San Salvador that he wants to work construction in New York, where he hears the wages are better and the city is safer.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who sought to make the caravan a campaign issue in the midterm elections, used Twitter on Sunday to voice support for the mayor of Tijuana and try to discourage the migrants from seeking entry to the U.S.

Trump wrote that like Tijuana, “the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!”

He followed that tweet by writing: “Catch and Release is an obsolete term. It is now Catch and Detain. Illegal Immigrants trying to come into the U.S.A., often proudly flying the flag of their nation as they ask for U.S. Asylum, will be detained or turned away.”

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Associated Press writers Yesica Fisch, Amy Guthrie, Julie Watson, and Marcos Aleman contributed to the contents of this report.

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TRUMP: Trade deal returns US to ‘manufacturing powerhouse’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump hailed his revamped North American trade deal with Canada and Mexico on Monday and vowed to sign it by late November. But it’s not the final step in the lengthy path to congressional approval on an issue that has served for two decades as a political football for U.S. industrial policy and the loss of manufacturing jobs.

Embracing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement during a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump branded the trade deal the “USMCA,” a moniker he said would replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. With a satisfied smile, the president said the new name had a “good ring to it,” repeating U-S-M-C-A several times.

But Trump noted that the deal would need to be ratified by Congress, a step that could be affected by the outcome of the fall congressional elections as Democrats seek to regain majorities in the House and Senate. When told that he seemed confident of congressional approval after his announcement, he said he was “not at all confident” — but not because of the deal’s merits or defects.

“Anything you submit to Congress is trouble no matter what,” Trump said, predicting that Democrats would say, “Trump likes it so we’re not going to approve it.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had opposed the deal until very recently, but he said Monday that his country was in a more stable place now that it had completed the negotiations. He said the deal needed to be fair since one trading partner is 10 times larger. He said Canada did not simply accept “any deal.”

“We got the right deal. We got a win-win-win for all three countries,” Trudeau said.

Trump said the accord would return the United States to a “manufacturing powerhouse.”

In fact, the U.S. has always been a manufacturing powerhouse and by some projections — before the current deal — expected to be No. 1 in 2020.

The economic agreement was forged just before a midnight deadline imposed by the U.S. to include Canada in a deal reached with Mexico late in the summer. It replaces NAFTA, which Trump has lambasted as a job-wrecking disaster that has hollowed out the nation’s industrialized base.

The agreement gives U.S. farmers greater access to the Canadian dairy market. But it keeps the former North American Free Trade Agreement dispute-resolution process that the U.S. wanted to jettison. It offers Canada protection if Trump goes ahead with plans to impose tariffs on cars, trucks and auto parts imported into the United States.

NAFTA reduced most trade barriers in North America, leading to a surge in trade between the three countries. But Trump and other critics said it encouraged manufacturers to move south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican wages, costing American jobs.

Trump had threatened to go ahead with a revamped NAFTA, with or without Canada. It was unclear, however, whether he had authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico.

Flanked by Cabinet members on a sunny morning at the White House, Trump said the pact was the “most important deal we’ve ever made by far,” covering $1.2 trillion in trade.

For Trump, the agreement offered vindication for his hardline trade policies that have roiled relations with China, the European Union and America’s North American neighbors while causing concerns among Midwest farmers and manufacturers worried about retaliation. Trump’s advisers view the trade pact as a political winner in battleground states critical to the president’s 2016 victory and home to tens of thousands of auto workers and manufacturers who could benefit from the changes.

Trump said he would sign the final agreement in late November, in about 60 days, and the pact is expected to be signed by Trudeau and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto before he leaves office Dec. 1. Trump said he spoke to Trudeau by phone and told reporters that their recent tensions didn’t affect the deal-making. “He’s a professional. I’m a professional,” Trump said, calling it a “fair deal.”

Canada, the United States’ No. 2 trading partner, is by far the No. 1 destination for U.S. exports, and the U.S. market accounts for 75 percent of what Canada sells abroad.

But the president said his administration had not yet agreed to lift tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, a contentious issue between the two neighbors.

Trump has used U.S. tariffs on billions of dollars’ worth of imported goods from China and other nations as a negotiating tactic and said the North American deal offered evidence that his approach was working. “Without tariffs, we wouldn’t be standing here,” he said.

The future of the agreement has also been a major issue in Mexico, where Pena Nieto will be replaced by President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in December. Uncertainty over the fate of NAFTA talks had threatened to batter Mexico’s currency and economic outlook.

Mexico’s incoming foreign relations secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, said during a news conference that “finishing this process of renegotiation provides certainty for financial markets, investment and job creation in our country.” He said, however, that some of the new regulations may pose challenges for companies to adapt to.

The new pact will require regional content of 75 percent for automobiles, and also that 40 to 45 percent of vehicles be produced in plants paying at least $16 per hour. Pena Nieto said via Twitter on Monday that the deal negotiated over the last 13 months “achieves what we proposed at the beginning: a win-win-win agreement.”

Ratifying the deal is likely to stretch into 2019 because once Trump and the leaders from Canada and Mexico sign the agreement, the administration and congressional leaders will need to write legislation to implement the deal and win passage in Congress.

___

Associated Press columnists Rob Gillies and Paul Wiseman contributed to the contents of this report.

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SECURING THE BORDER: Trump administration deported 53,764 illegal Mexicans during first quarter of 2018, says report

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Human rights and immigrant advocates are calling on the Mexican government to devote more resources to supporting the growing number of Mexicans deported from the United States.

Mexican government data show that the U.S. deported 53,764 Mexicans in the first three months of the year, up 40 percent over the same quarter a year earlier. Deportations had fallen during President Donald Trump’s first year in office, but this year’s figures have now surpassed the total for the same period in 2016, the final year of Barack Obama’s administration.

Eunice Rendon of Migrant Agenda said Wednesday at a news conference with Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission that Mexico must provide additional funding for reintegration.

Rendon says the longer immigrants have lived in the U.S. the fewer ties they have in Mexico.

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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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