Trump threatens to "shut down" government if Democrats don't vote to build border wall

US President Donald Trump tweeted out on Sunday that he is willing to shut down the government if the Democrats refuse to vote in favour of his immigration proposals, including the construction of a US-Mexico border wall. Typically, the government only shuts down when Congress fails to pass a spending bill for the year, which happened in January when Democrats and Republicans couldn't reach a deal on how to handle immigration.

In a since-deleted tweet, Trump said that there are "consequences when people cross our Border illegally" and that those who do so are "using children for their own sinister purposes." This comment came as US officials follow court orders to reunite more than 2,300 children they originally separated at the border, though more than 700 have yet to be reunited with their parents.

Trump campaigned on the promise of building a border wall between Mexico and the US to deter illegal immigration, with the former footing the bill for it, which they refuse to do.

Congress has granted the president some money for the wall, but far from the $25 billion requested. He also wants changes to legal immigration, including a discontinuation of the visa lottery program and the end of the release of immigrants caught in the country illegally on the condition that they show for court hearings.

Both Democrats and Republicans have objected to some changes proposed, but with the budget ending on September 30, there is only a short window of time to approve a spending bill before funding expires. Lawmakers typically spend August in their own states campaigning for re-election, the House is in recess currently and the Senate is in session until a one-week break on August 6.

There would be a large political risk in waiting for the budget to lapse before agreeing on border spending, as November 6 is the midterm elections, which could put Republican control of the House and Senate at stake.

Released this month is a spending bill, footed by the Republicans, that provides $5 billion next year to build Trump's wall, which he supports. This is more than the $1.6 billion initially granted by Senate to the Department of Homeland Security, matching amounts Trump has gone after privately.

📸: Wikimedia