News

Actions

Trump to visit US-Mexico border amid government shutdown, battle over wall funding

President Trump Returns To The White House After Day Trip To Camp David
Posted at 9:24 AM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-07 13:23:45-05

(CNN) - President Donald Trump will visit the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday, the White House's latest attempt to call attention to what it is calling a "crisis" on the southern border.

The announcement of the trip comes as the government shutdown begins its third week, with Trump and congressional Democrats at an impasse over Trump's demand for nearly $6 billion in federal funding to build a wall on the southern border.

During the trip, Trump will "meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Monday morning on Twitter.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has flatly rejected providing any funding for a border wall to resolve the stalemate. And Trump has threatened to drag on the shutdown for months or even years if he does not get funding for the border wall.

As the shutdown continues, more Americans are beginning to see its effects. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are furloughed or working without pay. Transportation Security Administration officers at major airports around the country are not showing up for work. Conditions at national parks are deteriorating and the Department of Housing and Urban Development is running out of money for a key housing program.

But for now, both sides are sticking to their positions and negotiations over the weekend between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic congressional staffers yielded little progress.

Trump administration officials have pointed to a surge in migrant families crossing the border to make their case that the situation at the southern border is reaching critical proportions.

But Trump and his top officials have also pointed to misleading statistics to suggest terrorists are attempting to enter the United States through the southern border. Sanders, for example, falsely claimed on Sunday that "nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally," even though the overwhelming majority of those individuals are blocked from entering the U.S. at airports.

Pressed about the terrorism claims during an impromptu Rose Garden news conference last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed to another statistic: that more than 3,000 "special interest aliens" have tried to enter the US through the southern border, suggesting those individuals "have travel patterns that are identified as terrorist travel patterns or they have known or suspected ties to terrorism."

But those individuals could also simply be coming from countries "where terrorism is prevalent, or nations that are hostile to the United States," as Nielsen's predecessor John Kelly previously defined the term.

RELATED STORIES: