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Tentative border deal provides $1.375B for 55 miles of ‘barriers,’ not a wall

The U.S. Congress during a State of the Union address. (The White House/Released)
February 12, 2019

Lawmakers have tentatively come to a compromise on border security funding that would avert a second government shutdown this year, although it does not contain President Donald Trump’s requested $5.7 billion for a border wall.

According to reports, the “agreement in principle” – which Trump has not commented on publicly yet – would contain $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border fencing, senior lawmakers said Monday night.

The agreement also includes funding for 40,520 detention beds for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which is less than what Democrats originally requested, according to Politico.

“We reached an agreement in principle between us on all the homeland security and the other six bills,” said one of the lead Republican negotiators, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, Politico reported. “The White House has been consulted all along.”

Trump has held firm on his request for nearly $6 billion for border security. The government was partially shut down for 36 days – the longest stint in history – late last year into January of this year, until Trump signed a temporary 3-week funding measure that expires this Friday, Feb. 15.

Talks up until last night made it seem as if the country would be headed for another government shutdown, given the lack of concession and cooperation in Congress.

Trump last week said the U.S. “will build a Human Wall if necessary” at the southern border with Mexico.

He had tweeted, “Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!”

The President has also said he is considering a national emergency to build the border wall if Congress won’t provide the funds for it.

The Pentagon announced earlier this month that an additional 3,750 U.S. troops would be deployed to the southern border to assist Customs and Border Protection and help lay wire fencing.

Trump recently re-opened the federal government after he and Congressional Democrats could not come to an agreement over border wall funding.

Trump wants nearly $6 billion for border security that would include a wall, or steel slats, as he has pointed out.

Democrats have in the past refused to pass any appropriations bill that would include funding for a border wall.

Before he reopened the government, Trump had proposed a compromise that included allowing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) programs for some immigrants to temporarily continue, in exchange for the nearly $6 billion he wants for border security.

The proposal included $5.7 billion for strategic deployment of physical barriers, or steel slats, along key points of the U.S. borer with Mexico; $800 million in “urgent humanitarian assistance;” $805 million for drug detection technology; an additional 2,750 border agents and law enforcement officials; and 75 new immigration judge teams in order to reduce the court backlog of nearly 900,000 immigration cases, Trump had said.