President Trump is reviving his border wall budget battle with Democrats in Congress, asking for $8.6 billion for the wall in his new budget request.
The border wall, one of his biggest campaign promises, received nearly $1.4 billion from Congress during the recent government shutdown battle. But that was only one-fourth of what the president had asked for to build part of the wall, so he declared a national emergency in an attempt to acquire more funding.
"We need the wall and it has to be built and we want to build it fast," Trump said.
Approximately 120 miles of the wall has already been completed or is in progress, but the president wants to build more than 700 miles of border fencing. If Congress were to grant him the additional $8.6 billion, which is highly unlikely since Democrats have vehemently opposed the effort, Trump would be able to build another 300 miles of new border wall.
The new $8.6 billion request comes at a crucial point as a report indicates more than 76,000 migrants were able to cross the US-Mexico border illegally in February alone. That's a huge spike over previous levels, and the Trump administration says it's proof that the border situation is a true "crisis" that supports the need for the president's emergency declaration.
House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) released a press statement condemning the request, warning President Trump of another government shutdown
"President Trump hurt millions of Americans and caused widespread chaos when he recklessly shut down the government to try to get his expensive and ineffective wall, which he promised would be paid for by Mexico," Schumer and Pelosi said. "Congress refused to fund his wall and he was forced to admit defeat and reopen the government. The same thing will repeat itself if he tries this again. We hope he learned his lesson."
Still, White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow says the president won't back down. "He's gonna stay with his wall," Kudlow said. "And he's gonna stay with the border security theme. I think it's essential."
In an attempt to reiterate the crisis at the border and the promise of the wall, President Trump took to Twitter.
"Border Patrol and Law Enforcement has apprehended (captured) large numbers of illegal immigrants at the Border," tweeted Trump. "They won't be coming into the U.S. The Wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future, and now!"
Border Patrol and Law Enforcement has apprehended (captured) large numbers of illegal immigrants at the Border. They won't be coming into the U.S. The Wall is being built and will greatly help us in the future, and now!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2019