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The Latest: Bargainers complete bipartisan border compromise
February 14, 2019
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on congressional border security negotiations and President Donald Trump (all times local):
Congressional bargainers have completed a bipartisan border security compromise that gives President Donald Trump less than a quarter of the $5.7 billion he wanted to build a wall with Mexico.
Summaries of the legislation say that besides nearly $1.4 billion to build new barriers, there’s over $1 billion for other border security programs.
That includes money for inspection equipment for border ports of entry. There is more than $400 million in humanitarian aid for detained migrants plus funds to buy aircraft and to hire 600 more customs officers and additional immigration judges.
The measure would begin reducing the number of unauthorized immigrants the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency can detain.
The bill would prevent a partial federal shutdown that would begin Saturday. Congressional approval is expected Thursday and Trump’s signature is considered likely.
U.S. active-duty troops from dozens of units around the country are flowing to the southern border, as part of the latest plan to send 3,750 new forces to beef up surveillance and install more wire barriers.
As of this week, the military had installed about 105 miles of wire barriers along the border, and plans to put in another 140 miles of concertina wire. The bulk of that will be in California and Arizona, in locations between ports of entry that are identified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as vulnerable.
Many of the troops who have been serving on the border mission are going home. As of Monday, there were a bit more than 2,000 active-duty forces there. That number is expected to go up to more than 4,300.
President Donald Trump says the wall he envisions in some places along the southern border would be harder to scale than Mount Everest.
Even by Trump standards of exaggeration, that’s a huge leap.
The estimated height for some proposed barriers runs as high as 30 feet. Mount Everest stands nearly 30,000 feet high.
Trump made the claim during a speech Wednesday to a conference of the Major County Sheriffs and Major Cities Chiefs Association.
He says the wall is “very, very on its way” and says people will have to be in extremely good physical shape to scale it. He says migrants trying to cross illegally “would be able to climb Mount Everest a lot easier.”
President Donald Trump says he and his aides will be “looking for land mines” when they review the final text of a border security agreement. The deal would keep the government open, but provide just a fraction of the money Trump has been demanding for his border wall.
Asked by reporters whether he planned to back the deal, Trump said Wednesday he would be taking “a very serious look,” but declined to tip his hand.
He says, “we’re going to look at the legislation when it comes and I’ll make a determination.”
Still, Trump reiterated his desire to avoid another government shutdown, following the 35-day partial closure that left hundreds of thousands of federal workers without paychecks, saying another closure “would be a terrible thing.”
Trump is also insisting that, no matter what, “We’re going to have a great wall.”
President Donald Trump says he’s not expecting the government to shut down again, a signal that he’s leaning toward accepting a budget deal that denies him most of the money he’s sought for a southern border wall.
Trump says he isn’t happy with the compromise and has yet to say he will sign the tentative deal if it passes Congress as expected. A budget bill must be signed into law by midnight Friday to avoid a second shutdown this year.
Lawmakers from both parties have reached a deal that would provide nearly $1.4 billion for border barriers. That’s about one-fourth of the money Trump demanded for a wall separating the U.S. and Mexico.
Trump says he’s looking to supplement border wall funding with money from other parts of the government.
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