Trump threatens national emergency over Mexican wall dispute

7 Jan 19

US president Donald Trump has said he may declare a national emergency over immigration amid a partial government shutdown caused by a dispute about funds for a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

On Sunday, Trump said the he would consider a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall, as a potential compromise with the Democrats, who have said they will not sign off the $5.5bn for the wall. Democrats have called the wall “immoral”.

Talks to end the partial shutdown will resume this week. The shutdown is now in its third week, affecting more than 800,000 federal workers who are either working without pay or have been told not to come into work.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said: “I may decide a national emergency depending on what happens over the next few days.

“I have tremendous support within the Republican party.”

He said it was “a very important battle to win” and the wall was about safety and security for the US.

Vice president Mike Pence told reporters on Monday that Trump had "made no decision" on whether he would declare a state of emergency. 

The Democrats, who took power in the House of Representatives last week, have voted to pass a two-part funding plan, which would end the shutdown. But the Republican-led Senate has not approved it.

Nancy Pelosi, newly elected speaker of the House, said on Twitter last week: “Americans deserve to know: the government funding package passed by the House yesterday is the exact same plan passed by the Senate just weeks ago. And yet, now they refuse to vote on it.”

The Senate passed funding plans in December to prevent a government shutdown, which did not include money for the Mexican border wall.

Trump shut down a quarter of the government on 22 December after the government funding package did not include the $5.5bn for the wall he wants built on the Mexican border. 

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