President Donald Trump made clear his strict conditions for any congressional deal that provides funding for his proposed wall along the U.S. southern border, at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.
“I will never sign a bill that forces the mass release of violent criminals into our country. I will never oppose or in any way mistreat our great heroes from ICE, border patrol and law enforcement,” Trump declared in his first campaign rally of the 2020 presidential election cycle, adding “we will always stand with those brave men and women. We will always be with them. We will take care of them just like they take care of us.”
Trump’s rally comes at nearly the exact same time as a tentative deal reached by congressional negotiators announced an agreement to avoid another government shutdown. The deal includes $1.375 billion in funding for a barrier along the U.S. southern border and funding for approximately 40,000 beds for ICE detention beds.
The agreement reached tonight would include:
-$1.375b for border barriers (55 new miles of bollard fencing)
-Dems drop call for new cap on ICE beds for detentions in interior
-Overall cap on detention beds drops from 49,057 to 40,520
Per congressional official.
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) February 12, 2019
Democrats notably dropped their demand in the agreement to limit the number of beds ICE is able to use for criminal illegal alien enforcement. Deputy ICE Director Matthew Albence stressed that the effort will be “extremely damaging for the public safety of this country” and that the policy in effect means “ICE is being asked to ignore the very laws that Congress has already passed.” (RELATED: Raid Leads To More Than 100 ICE Arrests In New York)
The ICE deputy director continued that any cap on bed space for the agency would require them to tell state and local law enforcement agencies requesting removal to just release criminal illegal aliens back into their communities after their sentences have finished.
Despite the loss of Democratic demands for an ICE detention bed cap, the White House has yet to signal whether it will accept this deal. Trump has kept open his option to declare a national emergency if necessary to begin construction on the wall if he does not like a deal that Congress delivers.
The White House has also not ruled out another government shutdown.