During a roundtable discussion at the White House, President Trump actively rooted for a government shutdown if his immigration demands weren’t met.
With just two days before funding for the federal government is set to run out based on the continuing resolution signed in January, Trump is holding his immigration demands over the heads of federal lawmakers and threatening to allow funding for critical federal agencies like the FDA, the CDC, and paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers to expire at the end of the week.
“If we don’t get rid of these loopholes where killers are allowed to come in to our country and continue to kill…if we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown,” President Trump said at a White House roundtable discussion with members of Congress and law enforcement officials about the MS-13 gang. “We’ll do a shutdown, and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.”
While Trump didn’t specify at the meeting what specific loopholes in immigration law would be addressed, he was responding to comments by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) in which he relayed complaints from Texas officials about how hard it was to deport immigrants. In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump capitalized on the recent death of NFL linebacker Edwin Jackson — who was killed after an undocumented immigrant crashed into him on Sunday night — by pushing for more stringent immigration policies.
So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2018
Trump has, of course, unsuccessfully tried to tie his proposed border wall with Mexico to government funding bills in the past, and has also attempted, without success, to make the continuation of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program (also known as DACA, which hundreds of thousands of immigrants with clean criminal records and who are either employed, enrolled in school, or in the military qualify for) contingent on the construction of the wall.
Trump didn’t specifically mention DACA recipients in his response to Rep. McCaul threatening a government shutdown, but White House Chief of Staff John Kelly implied that those who didn’t apply for an extension of their DACA status didn’t do so because they were “too lazy to get off their asses.”
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.