Tensions are high after a 35-day long government shutdown over how funds should be allocated for the year. It’s the longest, and most controversial government shutdown in U.S. history fueled by the unwillingness of both Democrats and Republicans to work together, as well as a president who’s hellbent on the complete funding and creation of a border wall. Occurring at governmental officials’ detriment, the shutdown forced many to scramble for alternative ways to subsidize their living.
January 25th marks the end of the government shutdown, that’s if congress and the president come to an agreement on the border wall’s implementation and funding. Congress has approved spending for the next 3 weeks but unless an agreement is made, Americans are due for a second lengthy shutdown. Donald Trump stated $5.7 billion will go into the creation of a border wall and, based on his conversations about what color of paint the San Diego border will be, there will be little compromise available. In 5 days, the government will shut down again, but this time President Trump has found other methods to get what he wants.
Promising a wall over 200 times during his run for office and spending a fifth of his State of the Union Address on border security worries politicians because loopholes to avoid asking for congressional approval have emerged. Declaring that the country is in a state of emergency allows funds to be allocated towards construction of the border wall uncontested. During his speech he called illegal immigration an “urgent national crisis” insisting the walls creation will stop murders committed by illegal immigrants. The phrasing can be used as a clue as to what options the President intends to use.
In 1976, the National Emergencies Act was passed. This allows the president the right to put the country in a state of emergency for any reason because there is no guideline for when it is appropriate to use this Act. This is likely his last resort because allocating existing funds to an area it is not intended to go will prove extremely difficult. The Washington Post reports, “the White House is looking at multiple ways to redirect taxpayer money for the construction of a wall along the Mexico border, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said.” A National Emergency as well as an Executive Order are the only ways to avoid going through congress.
230 miles of wall is Trump’s goal and compromise is in the works. Democrats are asking for less detention center beds in return for the creation of the wall. This seems odd at first glance but directly effects how many people ICE can detain and how aggressive they can be in detaining immigrants. Ankle monitoring systems are what Democrats are hoping to use as an alternative to capturing and holding immigrants at detention centers.
“There’s a small light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). “We’ll just hope it’s not a train coming the other way.”