SEVERE WX : Tornado Watch - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts

Lawmakers reach deal on border wall funding

Congressional negotiators announced an agreement late Monday to prevent a government shutdown and finance construction of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, overcoming a late-stage hang-up over immigration enforcement issues that had threatened to scuttle the talks.

Posted: Feb 11, 2019 9:34 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional negotiators announced an agreement late Monday to prevent a government shutdown and finance construction of new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, overcoming a late-stage hang-up over immigration enforcement issues that had threatened to scuttle the talks.

Republicans were desperate to avoid another bruising shutdown. They tentatively agreed to far less money for President Donald Trump’s border wall than the White House’s $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of about $1.4 billion, according to a senior congressional aide.

“We reached an agreement in principle,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., appearing with a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers who concurred.

“Our staffs are just working out the details,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.

Details won’t be officially released until Tuesday, but the pact came in time to alleviate any threat of a second partial government shutdown this weekend.

Shelby had earlier pulled the plug on the talks over Democratic demands to limit immigrant detentions by federal authorities, but Democrats yielded ground on that issue in a fresh round of talks on Monday.

Asked if Trump would back the deal, Shelby said, “We believe from our dealings with them and the latitude they’ve given us, they will support it. We certainly hope so.”

Trump traveled to El Paso, Texas, for a campaign-style rally Monday night focused on immigration and border issues. He has been adamant that Congress approve money for a wall along the Mexican border, though he no longer repeats his 2016 mantra that Mexico will pay for it.

Democrats carried more leverage into the talks after besting Trump on the 35-day shutdown but showed flexibility in hopes on winning Trump’s signature. After yielding on border barriers, Democrats focused on reducing funding for detention beds to curb what they see as unnecessarily harsh enforcement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

The border debate got most of the attention, but it’s just part of a major spending measure to fund a bevy of Cabinet departments. A collapse of the negotiations could imperil budget talks going forward that are required to prevent steep spending cuts to the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

The negotiations hit a rough patch Sunday amid a dispute over curbing ICE, the federal agency that Republicans see as an emblem of tough immigration policies and Democrats accuse of often going too far.

A House Democratic aide said Republicans had already agreed to funding cuts that would require ICE to ramp down the number of detention beds to a range of 34,000-38,500 by the end of the year. ICE currently detains about 49,000 immigrants on average per day.

But a proposal to cap at 16,500 the number of detainees caught in areas away from the border — a limit Democrats say is aimed at preventing overreach by the agency — ran into its own Republican wall.

“ICE is being asked to ignore the laws that Congress has already passed,” said agency Deputy Director Matt Albence on a media call organized by the White House. “It will be extremely damaging to the public safety of this country. If we are forced to live within a cap based on interior arrests, we will immediately be forced to release criminal aliens that are currently sitting in our custody.”

According to ICE figures, 66 percent of the nearly 159,000 immigrants it reported detaining last year were previously convicted of crimes. Reflecting the two administration’s differing priorities, in 2016 under President Barack Obama, around 110,000 immigrants were detained and 86 percent had criminal records.

Few convictions that immigrants detained last year had on their records were for violent crimes. The most common were for driving while intoxicated, drugs, previous immigration convictions and traffic offenses.

Trump met Monday afternoon with top advisers in the Oval Office to discuss the negotiations. He softened his rhetoric on the wall but ratcheted it up when alluding to the detention beds issue.

“We can call it anything. We’ll call it barriers, we’ll call it whatever they want,” Trump said. “But now it turns out not only don’t they want to give us money for a wall, they don’t want to give us the space to detain murderers, criminals, drug dealers, human smugglers.”

The recent shutdown left more than 800,000 government workers without paychecks, forced postponement of the State of the Union address and sent Trump’s poll numbers tumbling. As support in his own party began to splinter, Trump surrendered after the shutdown hit 35 days, agreeing to the current temporary reopening without getting money for the wall.

The president’s supporters have suggested that Trump could use executive powers to divert money from the federal budget for wall construction, though he could face challenges in Congress or the courts.

___

Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

Terre Haute
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 75°
Robinson
Overcast
71° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 71°
Indianapolis
Overcast
81° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 83°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Casey
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 74°
Brazil
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Marshall
Overcast
75° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 75°
Storms Possible
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 156638

Reported Deaths: 7419
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook961864741
Lake10464429
DuPage9810491
Kane8151285
Will7382326
Winnebago3202106
St. Clair2386145
McHenry2309103
Kankakee144366
Madison128571
Rock Island123230
Unassigned1174201
Kendall106821
Champaign105717
Peoria71030
DeKalb65722
Boone64021
Sangamon55333
Jackson35919
McLean33415
Randolph3277
Ogle3194
Stephenson2876
LaSalle28017
Macon25422
Clinton25216
Whiteside22015
Union21419
Adams2041
Coles20217
Grundy1965
Tazewell1918
Iroquois1765
Knox1750
Monroe17013
Williamson1644
Warren1500
Cass14010
Morgan1344
Henry1221
Jefferson11717
Lee1092
McDonough10815
Vermilion902
Montgomery892
Pulaski850
Marion790
Macoupin723
Douglas610
Perry611
Jo Daviess551
Livingston552
Woodford532
Christian524
Franklin500
Jasper477
Jersey451
Bureau432
Ford421
Clark410
Effingham341
Menard320
Cumberland300
Mercer290
Johnson280
Mason280
Fayette263
Alexander250
Moultrie250
Washington250
Logan240
Edgar230
Wabash230
Bond222
Carroll212
Hancock211
Piatt210
Shelby211
Wayne211
Crawford200
De Witt180
Fulton170
Saline170
Massac160
Schuyler140
Lawrence130
Marshall130
Greene110
Brown100
White100
Richland90
Clay80
Henderson80
Pike80
Gallatin70
Hamilton70
Stark60
Edwards50
Out of IL30
Calhoun20
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 52685

Reported Deaths: 2775
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12192697
Lake5764251
Elkhart372061
Allen2988135
St. Joseph223570
Hamilton1779101
Cass16519
Hendricks1482100
Johnson1366118
Porter86738
Vanderburgh8586
Tippecanoe79510
Clark72844
Madison68564
LaPorte63928
Howard61758
Bartholomew60945
Kosciusko5874
Marshall57412
Noble52628
Boone49744
LaGrange49110
Delaware48452
Jackson4813
Hancock47236
Shelby46225
Floyd42544
Monroe37528
Dubois3447
Morgan34431
Grant33426
Henry30618
Montgomery29720
Clinton2913
White28110
Warrick27929
Dearborn27723
Vigo2638
Decatur25732
Lawrence25325
Harrison22022
Greene20032
Miami1972
Jennings18012
Putnam1758
DeKalb1714
Scott1669
Wayne1656
Perry16010
Daviess15117
Jasper1422
Orange14023
Steuben1403
Ripley1357
Gibson1332
Franklin1288
Wabash1203
Carroll1142
Starke1103
Fayette1087
Whitley1086
Newton10110
Huntington932
Jefferson932
Wells841
Randolph814
Fulton791
Knox730
Jay720
Posey680
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay655
Rush633
Spencer621
Owen541
Sullivan541
Benton510
Adams491
Brown461
Blackford412
Fountain382
Tipton361
Crawford350
Switzerland320
Parke280
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren161
Pike150
Union150
Unassigned0193