Any Government Funding Bill Must Address Crisis on US-Mexico Border: White House
The White House. (Photo: File)

Washington, January 9: Observing that the United State's border with Mexico is overwhelmed with illegal immigration, gang-violence, crime, drugs and human trafficking, the White House has asserted that any government funding by the Congress must include provisions for a steel barrier along the southern border.

US President Donald Trump has said he will "address the nation" on his demand for a wall along the Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration, the differences over which has resulted in a partial government shutdown for over a fortnight. Hours before the address, the White House said, "We cannot keep our country safe without adequate funding for border security, including a physical barrier and increased in funding for law enforcement." Donald Trump Threatens to Use Military to Close US-Mexico Border.

The southern border is overwhelmed with illegal immigration, gang-violence, crime, drugs and human trafficking, and as such Trump has requested a modest amount of funding to address these issues while the Democrats continue to resist in the name of politics, it said. Administration Reports Nearly 1,200 Families Separated at US-Mexico Border are Reunited.

In a note titled 'Congress must do more to address the border crisis', the White House said that any government funding bill must address the crisis on the southern border. The administration has requested additional funds to address the priorities, including USD 5.7 billion for construction of a steel barrier on the southern border with Mexico, an increase of USD 4.1 billion over the committee bill.

Trump on Sunday offered to erect a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall along the border to iron out differences with Democrats over the issue. The partial shutdown started on December 22 when funding for many federal agencies expired and the US president refused to sign any spending measure from the Congress that did not include USD 5 billion for his US-Mexico border wall.

Democrats controlling the House have agreed to fund only USD 1.3 billion for border security. The administration has requested USD 675 million, an increase of USD 631 million over the Committee bill, to deter and detect narcotics, weapons, and other materials that pose a threat to the United States. This will provide non-intrusive inspection technology for all incoming vehicle lanes of traffic at the US southwest Border Land Ports of Entry, as well as necessary canine and other support, the White House said.

It has also requested USD 211 million to hire 750 additional border patrol agents. This is an increase of USD 100 million over the Committee bill.

USD 800 million has been sought to fund enhanced medical support, transportation, consumable supplies and additional temporary facilities necessary to ensure the well-being of those taken into custody.

The White House has demanded that the Congress must fund additional immigration detention beds and law enforcement personnel. Prominent among these include USD 571 million for 2,000 additional immigration and customs enforcement personnel to enforce immigration laws, combat gang violence, nab drug smugglers and human traffickers.

Trump is asking for USD 4.2 billion to support 52,000 detention beds, personnel, alternatives to detention, and transportation to address the recent surge in illegal immigration across the southern Border. This is an increase of USD 798 million over the Committee bill. The administration has requested at least USD 563 million for 75 additional immigration judges and support staff to reduce the backlog of pending immigration cases. President Trump will work with the Congress to facilitate expanded in-country processing of refugee claims, it said.

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