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Schumer: Trump will be blamed for shutdown over wall

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned President Trump on Tuesday that he will be blamed if the government shuts down because of a fight over the border wall. 

 

"If the president goes down that path and insists on the wall or shut down the government, which he said back in September, make no mistake about it, a government shutdown will fall entirely, entirely on his shoulders," he said from the Senate floor. 

 

Trump's demand that a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border be included as part of any immigration deal has emerged as the largest hurdle to getting a government funding bill. 

 

Congress has until Jan. 19 to prevent a government shutdown, and Democrats want a fix for the Deferred Acton for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program included in any agreement. Trump last year announced he would end the Obama-era program, which protects immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation, but gave Congress time to come up with a solution.

 

Schumer, on Tuesday, said he would support a "few places where a secure fence makes sense" but called a 2,200-mile border wall "completely ineffective and absurdly expensive." 

 

"President Trump is fighting for an empty symbol rather than smart policy that will actually produce better security at our borders. ... A medieval wall that you can't see through across the length of the southern border will not make us any safer," he said.

The president has requested $18 billion to build and repair roughly 700 miles of border structures.

Republicans are accusing Democrats of hypocrisy on border security, noting they supported a 2013 bill that included a host of new security provisions. 

 

But that bill would have overhauled the entire immigration system, granting new legal protections to the 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally. A DACA deal, by comparison, would affect only a sliver of the larger community. 

 

Trump is meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday to try to narrow the differences on any immigration agreement. 

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