US negotiators reach deal to prevent another shutdown, funding steel fencing but not border wall

The US Congressional said they had reached an “agreement in principle” on Monday night in order to prevent United States from another partial federal shutdown that would fund the border security but would not involve any funds for the US President Donald Trump’s demand of US-Mexico border wall.

According to NBC News reports, the agreed bill will match 2018’s funding level which officials described as a new border fencing that includes steel slats along with other “existing technologies” but would not include a concrete wall at the border. It further said the bill would include an additional fund worth $1.7 billion for homeland security priorities such as new technologies and extra customs officers at the border, several sources told NBC News.

House negotiators and Senate from both the parties – Democrats and Republicans – after the meeting did not offer any further details as they said officials were still working on last-minute logistics.

Senate appropriations committee chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told reporters: “We reached an agreement in principle. Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to be putting all the details together, and that’s all we can tell you now.”

The agreement has been just ahead of the “Make America Great Again” rally which Trump was held in Texas and El Paso on Monday’s night. The White House also did not comment over agreement and Trump, at the rally, said: “We probably have some good news but who knows.”

According to multiple sources, the details of the agreement were as follows:

  • $1.375 billion for border barrier enhancements like steel slats and other “existing technologies,” but no concrete wall
  • The money would fund about 55 miles of new barrier
  • Geographic restrictions on where the new fencing could be built, likely limited to the Rio Grande Valley sector of the border
  • DHS would receive $1.7 billion in new funding for border security that could include technology at ports of entry, additional customs officers and humanitarian aid
  • No cap on the number of beds for enforcing immigration laws in the country’s interior
  • Funding for approximately 40,520 detention beds for detained immigrants

Trump tweeted Sunday that negotiations were going poorly. “The Border Committee Democrats are behaving, all of a sudden, irrationally. Not only are they unwilling to give dollars for the obviously needed Wall (they overrode recommendations of Border Patrol experts), but they don’t even want to take murderers [sic] into custody! What’s going on?”

Democrats have appeared to back off of the demand on Trump immigration policies and while speaking at his rally, Trump said, “I will never sign a bill that forces the mass release of violent criminals into our country.”

At the White House, early on Monday, Trump said, “These are people, they kidnap people. These are people the Democrats want to come into our society. I don’t think so. I don’t know, maybe we’re in a different country than I know of.”

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said: “Let’s say the hard-core left wing of the Democrat Party prevails in this negotiation and they put a bill on the president’s desk with, say, zero money for the wall, or $800 million, an absurdly low number. How does he sign that?”

Republicans have started their plan to discuss the idea of proposing a one-year continuing resolution of funding at current levels, but it is still unclear whether Democrats would approve or whether Trump would further sign it.

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