Graham says Trump isn't giving in on border wall

President Trump retaliates to the Democrats' refusal by refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.— AFP  File

President Trump retaliates to the Democrats' refusal by refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.— AFP File

A Republican senator warned on Sunday that if President Donald Trump declares a national emergency on the southern border in order to fund the construction of a border wall, the move is "going to go to court and the wall won't get built".

Mr Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had urged the president on Sunday to temporarily reopen government to get negotiations started again.

"Last we looked in one of the two funds there's about $1.2 billion of unobligated dollars", Cassidy said Saturday on Fox News.

Democrats have refused to give the president funds for his wall, sparking a partial government shutdown which has reached the longest in us history. On Saturday, day 22, members of Congress were out of Washington, Donald Trump was unmoved in the White House, his border wall unbuilt, and around 800,000 federal workers were still without pay and facing mounting hardship.

Trump walked out of a White House meeting last week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, when they refused to approve a border wall, even if he reopened the government and negotiated over border security for the next 30 days. "That's why I'm depressed".

"I do think if we reopen the government, if the president ends this shutdown crisis, we have folks who can negotiate a responsible, modern investment in technology that will actually make us safer", Coons said.

Trump reiterated his argument that crime, illegal drugs, and human trafficking are creating a national security and humanitarian crisis at the border, and that a wall is needed.

Democrats have strongly opposed the idea.

The "wall plus" plan could include an extension of temporary protected status for about 400,000 immigrants in the U.S. because of disasters back home in El Salvador and elsewhere, and renewable three-year work permits for young, undocumented "Dreamers", he said.

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A national emergency would allow Trump to divert money from other projects to pay for the wall, which was a central promise of his 2016 campaign.

An attempt Thursday by moderate Republican senators to broker a deal that would have traded immigration protections for undocumented "Dreamers" brought to the U.S. as children in return for wall money collapsed after Vice President Mike Pence rejected it.

Many lawmakers spent the weekend in their home states - often hearing constituents' complaints about the shutdown - but will return to Washington on Monday. It would take me 15 minutes to get a deal done, and everybody could go back to work. "The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay".

According to the Associated Press, senior White House aide Jared Kushner - Mr Trump's son-in-law - is among those who have cautioned the president against declaring a national emergency.

Trump tweeted that "to understand" his plan, "you would have to understand the fact that I won the election, and I promised safety and security for the American people".

"Most conservatives want it to be the last resort he would use", said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who speaks to Trump frequently.

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, said on CNN's "State of the Union" that he'd "hate to see" an emergency declaration by Trump. At least one airport planned to close a concourse as absences rose among security screeners who haven't received their wages.

They are classed as essential employees and required to work, but many are calling in sick to protest the situation. Such a move, should Trump ultimately go that route, would nearly certainly be challenged in the courts.

House Democrats as well as a smattering of Republicans voted this week in favor of bills to reopen portions of the government.

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