The Trump administration reportedly asked the Congress for $18 billion to fund President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall project.
However, after just a day after the request, the commander-in-chief once again reassured the nation that Mexico will pay for the wall.
“I believe Mexico will pay for the wall,” he informed reporters at Camp David, where Republican leaders convened to plan for the 2018 mid-term elections.
The blueprint sent to the senators by U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed the administration has asked Congress for $18 billion to fence 316 miles and fortify 407 miles of existing barriers.
If this work is completed, The Guardian estimated, more than half of the 2,000-mile border would have some kind of blockade.
On the other hand, Mexico has flat out refused to contribute to the wall in any way.
Trump seems to be using the wall as some kind of bargaining chip. He demanded the border wall in exchange for protection against the deportations of young immigrants who were brought into the U.S. as children, who also known as Dreamers.
The 800,000 immigrants were previously protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, introduced under former President Barrack Obama's administration.
This situation is unsettling because Trump seems to be aware of the importance of DACA, but he still seems adamant on blackmailing Democrats to accept his wall plan in order to continue the program.
“We all want DACA to happen but we also want great security for our country,” Trump said during the news briefing at Camp David.
Whether he ends DACA or builds his horrendous wall, Trump’s motives are clear: Make the entry way into the U.S. narrower for non-white immigrants.
Trump also wants to dismantle the Diversity Visa Lottery program, which allows people hailing from countries underrepresented in the U.S. to win a visa to the country, as well as what he derogatorily terms “chain immigration” that lets naturalized citizens petition for family members to enter the U.S.
Although Democrats are willing to negotiate on border security, they are firmly opposed to Trump’s wall, the funding of which still appears to be massive challenge for the Trump administration.
The negotiations are likely to be complicated. Democrats are planning to leverage the federal budget, which must be passed by Jan. 19 and requires Democrat support, against the wall. If the budget is not passed, a governmental lockdown will ensue.
“President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall,” Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said in a statement in response to the administration’s proposed border plan. “With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction.”
Spotlight/Banner: Reuters, Yuri Gripas