- The Washington Times - Friday, January 4, 2019

The White House on Friday released the border briefing President Trump tried to get Democratic leaders to see during a meeting earlier this week, saying the public should see the information behind the president’s case for why he wants a border wall.

The briefing, which was to be given by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, details increases in drug seizures, arrests of criminals and the surge of illegal immigrant children and families who the administration says are overwhelming agents.

But attendees said Democrats’ top leaders interrupted Ms. Nielsen and wouldn’t let her give the briefing.

“Some of those present did not want to hear the presentation at the time, and so I have instead decided to make the presentation available to all members of Congress,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to lawmakers Friday, with the briefing slides attached.

“In crafting a Homeland Security bill, it is essential that we make decisions based upon the facts on the ground — not ideology and rhetoric — and that we listen to the law enforcement personnel on the front lines,” he wrote.

Mr. Trump sent the government into a partial shutdown after announcing he would not sign any more spending bills unless they include money for his border wall plans.

The shutdown is now two weeks old and there’s little sign of a deal on the horizon. Democrats say they won’t negotiate border security until the government is reopened, and Mr. Trump says that’s a no-go for him.

In his Friday letter Mr. Trump quoted Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s previous strong statements against illegal immigration, which the New York Democrat had called “wrong, plain and simple,” and pointed out that Mr. Schumer, with then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, voted for hundreds of miles of double-tier fencing in 2006.

But Mr. Trump also expanded his demands, saying Congress should also tackle legal “loopholes” illegal immigrants have figured out how to exploit to gain a foothold in the U.S.

He said that includes ending the Flores settlement, a court-imposed agreement whose 2015 update helped spark the new surge of parents bringing children, and amending the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which makes it tougher to deport illegal immigrant children to their home countries.

The briefing details came as Mr. Trump was scheduled for a sit-down at the White House to talk the shutdown and border with congressional leaders.


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