Democrats face a quandary over President Trump’s request for $4.5 billion in additional border funding. “House Democrats are in no mood to simply hand over the cash after condemning Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies over the past two years,” Politico’s Sarah Ferris and Heather Caygle report. “They also don’t want to ignore a mounting humanitarian crisis.”
The money in question wouldn’t be for Trump’s promised wall along the border with Mexico. The administration says it needs more funding to shelter and care for a surging number of migrants coming to the United States and address the growing humanitarian needs. Some of the money would be used for border security, including an increase in the number of detention beds.
Democrats are split on how to respond. Some argue that the administration can’t be trusted or worry about being seen as validating Trump’s claim of a security crisis, even as they want to address the developing humanitarian one.
“Democrats contend that the president brought this housing crisis on himself with his push to scoop up as many noncitizens as possible, rather than prioritizing those considered dangerous, as previous administrations did,” The New York Times explains in an editorial. “Instead of asking for more money, Democrats assert, ICE should redirect existing resources to the border.”
The Times editorial suggests that the White House would have been wise to set aside its request for more money for detention beds, a hot button issue. Nevertheless, it urges Democrats to relent, arguing that “until better policies are in place, Democrats need to find a way to provide money for adequate shelter” — and that both sides should look to avoid blame-game politics and be flexible in trying to solve the problems at hand.
But the complicated politics at play won’t make that easy. “The result” of the Democrats’ intraparty divide, Ferris and Caygle write, “is likely to be a weeks-long battle within the Democratic Caucus that will expose deep splits on immigration and complicate Washington’s next big funding fight. And with Trump gearing up for his reelection campaign, the issue is only going to get hotter.”