Congress met on Wednesday for the first time in over three weeks to work toward an agreement that would end the shutdown of the federal government, now in effect for its 13th day.
President Trump and his opposition in congress have thus far failed to agree to favorable terms; the former has dug in his heels over requiring $5.6 billion for a border wall, while the latter has only gone so far as to propose just over $1 billion of funding for border security, none of which would be allotted for the wall that the President campaigned on.
Significant Effects on Migrants, Low-Wage Contractors
The shutdown has exacerbated existing challenges in the immigration system, including the already long waits that migrants face to have their cases heard. The Washington Post reported immigration courts are already backlogged by upwards of 1 million cases. Because of the shutdown, fewer people are staffed to process these cases; the people whose court dates have been canceled won’t be able to reschedule until 2021.
The publication also reported that, for the time being, border patrol agents no longer have places to send migrants who have crossed the border. Many of those border crossers are families and children who are being turned out onto the streets of border towns.
Yesterday, thousands of people came out in the snow and cold because they believed we can be a nation governed by opportunity. We're building a movement together, and we need you to join us: https://t.co/Hz91NGE8hB pic.twitter.com/nHpuBncXIf
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 11, 2019
Nearly 800,000 federal employees are affected by the shutdown, putting a strain on their finances with no resolution in sight. While many of these employees will be owed back pay following an agreement to end the shutdown, many of the contractors who are employed by the government have no recourse to cover these losses, putting them at risk to face serious consequences, financial and beyond. The government hires contractors to cover low-paying positions like janitors, security guards, and food service workers.
Ignoring the Facts Behind Border Wall
The current administration continues to have no qualms about placing the blame for the shutdown on Democrats. Katie Waldman, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, read from a prepared statement that emphasized that the President’s opposition were refusing to learn the facts behind his insistence upon a border wall. “Democrats in the room either don’t care that there is a humanitarian crisis on the border or just prefer ignorance.”
President Trump, meanwhile, described the existing border fence as a “sieve” that allows the bad guys in — you know, the drug dealers, criminals, and rapists, not the asylum seekers fleeing for their lives. He also insisted, falsely, that most of the wall has already been completed and that it has already been funded by Mexico.