SALT LAKE CITY — With another potential government shutdown looming, 17 House and Senate members settled on a border wall deal “in principle” on Monday night — one that would provide funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but much less than the amount originally demanded by President Donald Trump.
The deal is "in principle" because it has not yet been finalized or approved.
The deal must pass both the House and the Senate and receive Trump’s signature by Friday night in order to avert a second government shutdown three weeks after the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
According to The New York Times, lawmakers expect to put the finishing touches on the deal as early as Tuesday.
Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know about the proposed border wall deal.
What’s in the deal?
The bulk of the proposed deal represents a compromise on two fronts: a border wall and detention facilities.
First, it would allocate $1.375 billion for 55 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although this is a far cry from the $5.7 billion the president was seeking to construct 200 miles of barrier, it represents a significant compromise on the part of Democrats, who originally refused to allocate any funds at all for a wall, according to the Times.
Trump had also requested that the wall be made of steel and concrete, but the proposed deal calls for bollard fencing, the Times reported. A bollard is a short, thick post, such as those installed on sidewalks to prevent cars from hitting pedestrians, according to Reliance Foundry. It’s unclear how tall the posts would be if implemented on the border.
A particularly contentious part of the deal, however, revolved around detention of illegal immigrants.
On Sunday, negotiations stalled when Democrats called for a limit on how much space in detention facilities could be used to detain illegal immigrants arrested within the United States, USA Today reported. Currently, federal law enforcement agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement oversees around 49,000 detention beds for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. Democrats wanted this number dropped to 34,000, the number funded during the Obama administration, the Times reported.
Democrats wanted to decrease the amount of beds because the lack of detention space would force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop doing unnecessary sweeps and roundups of immigrants, instead focusing on "pursuing hardened criminals," according to the Times.
This demand held up negotiations for a while, as Republicans feared that a lack of detention beds would force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to soften their tactics, resulting in a rise in illegal immigration. Ultimately, the Democrats dropped their demand and agreed to fund 40,520 detention beds, the number allocated in the previous budget, the Times reported.
Democrats had hoped that Republicans would compromise on this point after the Democrats agreed to allocate some funding for a wall.
“We started at zero on the wall, and we compromised a lot after that, and we are now asking them to change, too,” Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., told the Times.
When Trump heard about the Democrats’ demand to decrease the number of detention beds, he tweeted Monday:
In addition, the proposed deal would allocate $1.7 billion for increased border security measures, including technology at ports of entry, an increase in the amount of Department of Homeland Security officers, and humanitarian aid, according to the Times.
The deal would also fund the government through the end of September, The Washington Post reported.
What do party leaders think about it?
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., who was involved in the negotiations, told The Washington Post that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had seen the proposal and approved it.
Republicans and Democrats expressed unity over the idea they don’t want to enter another government shutdown.
“What brought us back together I thought, tonight, was we didn’t want (a shutdown) to happen,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who was the lead Republican in the negotiations, the Post reported.
“Some may be happy, some may not be happy,” Lowey told the Post. “We did the best we could.”
The negotiators also expressed confidence that party leadership was in support of the deal, according to the Times.
"I don't think Democrats or Republicans want a shutdown. One option or another, we will resolve this," Lowey said, according to USA Today.
Will Trump sign it?
Shelby said he thinks the president will be willing to sign off on the proposed deal, and other conservative lawmakers echoed this sentiment, the Times reported.
But prominent Republicans have expressed disdain for the deal, which could put pressure on Trump to not sign it.
“Any Republican that supports this garbage compromise, you will have to explain,” said Sean Hannity, a Fox News host and Trump confidant, as part of commentary he gave on air during the president's rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday. “Look at this crowd. Look at the country. Look at CBS News, even they say 72 percent of American people want the heroin to stop, the cartels to stop, the gang members to stop and those that wish us ill.”
During the El Paso rally, Trump said, “Just so you know — we’re building the wall anyway.”
He also alluded to Democrats’ desire to limit the number of detention beds during the rally, saying, “I will never sign a bill that forces the mass release of violent criminals into our country. And I will never abolish or in any way mistreat our great heroes from ICE and Border Patrol and law enforcement.”59 comments on this story
According to a 2018 CNN fact-check, Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 105,140 illegal immigrants in fiscal year 2018 who were convicted criminals. That's out of a population of about 10.7 million illegal immigrants who currently reside in the U.S., according to CNN. As of 2018, there were 83,573 prison inmates who are illegal immigrants, which is less than 6 percent of the total prison population, CNN reported.
If Trump doesn't sign the bill, the government will enter another shutdown, and lack of funds will affect myriad agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Internal Revenue Service.