US President Donald Trump on Sunday said that he would consider shutting down the government if Democrats refuse to vote for his immigration proposals, including a US-Mexico border wall. Republicans, trying to protect their majority in Congress, are playing down the chance of a shutdown as the November election nears. Trump, however, isn't backing away from the idea.
"I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!" Trump tweeted. "Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT!
"We need great people coming into our Country!" Trump said.
Trump returned to the idea of shutting down the government over the border wall after meeting at the White House last week with House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to discuss the fall legislative agenda.
McConnell, asked about a shutdown during a Kentucky radio interview, said it was not going to happen. He did acknowledge, however, that the border funding issue was unlikely to be resolved before the midterm elections.
Trump campaigned on the promise of building a border wall to deter illegal immigration and making Mexico pay for it. Mexico has refused.
Congress has given the president some wall funding but far from the $25 billion he has requested. Trump wants changes to legal immigration, including scrapping a visa lottery program.
In addition, he wants to end the practice of releasing immigrants caught entering the country illegally on the condition that they show up for court hearings. Trump has also demanded that the US shift to an immigration system, based more on merit and less on family ties.
Democrats and some Republicans have objected to some of the changes Trump seeks.