‘Illegals Over Americans’: Border Wall Talks Crumble As Trump Eyes Emergency Declaration

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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Border wall negotiations on Capitol Hill crumbled over the weekend, increasing the chances President Donald Trump declares a national emergency Friday, three sources close to the process tell The Daily Caller.

The negotiations stalled over a Democratic demand that detention bed funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house detained illegal immigrants be reduced in exchange for border wall funding. Lead Republican negotiator Sen. Richard Shelby told Fox News Sunday that the chances of a deal are “50/50,” after expressing optimism on Thursday.

An administration source directly involved in the process told the Caller that Trump began speaking more about declaring a national emergency Sunday after nearly a week of expressing optimism that the congressional talks could bear fruit. Trump also tweeted to that effect Sunday afternoon:

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said he “absolutely cannot” rule out a shutdown on Fox News Sunday, later saying on NBC News that Trump is “going to do whatever he legally can to secure the border.”

Trump has signaled to White House negotiators and Capitol Hill Republicans that he is willing to accept a $2 billion figure in border wall funding, two sources close to the process tell the Caller. Democrats, however, have made any acceptance of this figure contingent on an agreement to limit funding for ICE detention beds. (RELATED: Raid Leads To More Than 100 ICE Arrests In New York)

Boys play around, climbing the border division between Mexico and the US in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 26, 2017. US President Donald Trump on Thursday told Mexico's president to cancel an upcoming visit to Washington if he is unwilling to foot the bill for a border wall. Escalating a cross border war of words, Trump took to Twitter to publicly upbraid Enrique Pena Nieto. "If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting." / AFP / HERIKA MARTINEZ (Photo credit should read HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Boys play around, climbing the border division between Mexico and the US in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on January 26, 2017. AFP / HERIKA MARTINEZ

Democrats say that a cap on ICE detention beds will disincentivize the agency from detaining illegal aliens who have not committed crimes in the U.S.

“A cap on ICE detention beds will force the Trump administration to prioritize deportation for criminals and people who pose real security threats, not law-abiding immigrants who are contributing to our country,” Congressional negotiator Lucille Roybal-Allard said in a Sunday statement.

Republicans and ICE itself counter that putting a cap on the number of illegal aliens it is capable of detaining would in effect mean free rein for murderers and gang criminals convicted of felonies.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 09: U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd L) speaks to members of the media as (L-R) Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) listen at the U.S. Capitol after the weekly Republican Senate policy luncheon January 09, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump met with GOP lawmakers to shore up their resolve and support for his proposed border wall with Mexico as the partial federal government shutdown drags into a third week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

An administration source involved in the process expressed outrage at the demand to the Caller, noting that the Democratic lawmakers are essentially risking another government shutdown or a national emergency declaration to secure status for people in the country illegally.

“Illegals over Americans,” the source said to the Caller.

Trump also expressed outrage at the Democratic demand on Twitter Monday morning, saying:

Trump is likely to share his thoughts on the developments at a Monday evening rally in El Paso, Texas which is set to take place less than 1,000 feet from a border wall.