Trump, Inching Toward Border Security Deal, Says Shutdown Would Be ‘Terrible’ – The New York Times

“I’m trying to maintain an open mind, but I need details,” said Representative Veronica Escobar, a freshman Democrat whose district includes most of El Paso.

“The barriers are going to be an issue,” she added, noting that she would prefer no funding for the Department of Homeland Security until it is audited.

At least one legislator, Representative Juan Vargas, Democrat of California, said he would vote against the bill, criticizing the inclusion of new steel-post fencing.

“I think most people just want to get this thing over with,” he said. “I’m not one of those people.”

For some Democrats, the biggest issue is detention slots under the control of the Trump administration. The agreement authorizes the Department of Homeland Security to fund about 40,000 beds for detainees, many of them in centers run by for-profit companies and ICE near the border in Texas, Arizona and California.

House Democratic aides described the language as a “glide path” from the current level of 49,000 detention beds to Obama-era levels of 35,000 or fewer.

But a summary of the provisions drafted by Senate Republican staff members placed the average number of beds funded under the deal at a much higher number — 45,274, including 2,500 for families. And that could rise to as many as 58,500 beds, Republican aides asserted in internal communications, because federal cabinet departments have latitude in how they use funds.


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