Trump dislikes congressional deal but does not expect shutdown

Erika Holt
February 13, 2019

Trump was just about to participate in a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday night when he heard that a tentative deal was reached. He cited the number of people who have died trying to enter the United States since 650 miles of fencing went up along the southern border over the past decade. "Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities", Trump said. He challenged us. We have, say, 35,000 people tonight, and he has, say, 200 people, 300 people, ' Trump said.

The aide said none of the money would be for a "wall", which Trump has been touting since he launched his campaign for president in 2016.

A fact check by the El Paso Times found that the crime rate was decreasing in the city before the border fence came along 2008-2009, as crime rates fell nationwide from high levels in the 1990s. But going by the jubilation of an El Paso crowd that was happy to trade in the usual "Build the Wall" signs Monday for ones emblazoned "Finish the Wall", you might not want to bet on it.

"I said, 'Look, that's not the relationship I have with my people, '" he said. At another rally - less than two miles away - was Robert "Beto" O'Rourke, who recently served as a three-term US representative from El Paso. There were also signs decrying Trump and his border wall - such as "Trump made America hate again" - and chants from the crowd that included "Make tacos, not walls!"

The trouble here for Trump, of course, is the same as it's been for months: immigration hawks who were promised a $25 billion wall aren't thrilled at the prospect of trading that promise for pennies on the dollar.

USA Today: "El Paso braces for Trump rally, as another border community deflects images of unsafe city" - "Lyda Ness-Garcia listened with stunned dismay last week as President Donald Trump said her hometown was 'once considered one of our nation's most risky cities, ' then announced a campaign rally here to draw support for his border wall and re-election next year". The rally O'Rourke spoke at, following a mile-long march, drew at least 7,000 people, The Texas Tribune reports. "It might be 10,000 with the people outside", watching on monitors.

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O'Rourke directly took on Trump over border security and Trump's desire for a wall or other physical barrier.

"We know that walls do not save lives; walls end lives", O'Rourke also told those gathered at his rally. "We are going to show the country who we are".

"We will not take advantage of them", O'Rourke added about immigrants. "The rest of the country could stand to learn a lesson from the way in which the El Paso community engages with people". "We will not send them back to certain death". He told them the idea of Clinton being convicted of crimes - apparently related to her use of a private email server as secretary of state - as looking like a better and better idea. "Instead, we welcome them with open arms".

He repeated his warnings about drugs and human traffickers coming over the border, and argued Democratic attempts to bolster security at ports of entry won't help. Democrats signaled earlier in the day that they were more interested in cutting a deal than digging in as the Friday deadline neared, and they largely backed down by late Monday.

Unlike in the fight over billions in funding for a border wall, which a majority of Americans oppose, Republicans say they are on strong political ground if the debate becomes focused on whether ICE has free rein to detain convicted or suspected criminals.

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