President Trump is asking for $18 billion to fund a portion of his promised border wall in exchange for allowing hundreds of thousands of Dreamers—young immigrants brought to the US illegally—to stay in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. According to the New York Times, the wall funding is part of a $33 billion list of demands released by the Department of Homeland Security on Friday that also includes 10,000 new immigration officers, 10 years of border security improvements, and policy changes affecting immigration. The $18 billion would expand the physical barrier on the US-Mexico border from its current 654 miles to nearly 1,000 miles—about half of the total border. At one point during his campaign, Trump estimated it would cost $10 billion for the entire 2,000-mile border, NBC News reports.
Democrat and Republican senators have been negotiating for months on a deal to protect Dreamers while increasing border security. Some say this list of demands from the White House could derail those negotiations. Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin accuses the Trump administration of holding Dreamers hostage to get its "entire wish-list of hard-line anti-immigrant bills" passed. The list released Friday includes banning sanctuary cities from receiving federal grants and restrictions on people sponsoring relatives for immigration. "President Trump has said he may need a good government shutdown to get his wall," Durbin says. "With this demand, he seems to be heading in that direction." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls the list "alarming," and a Senate Democratic aide says it's "obviously not a serious proposal." (Read more border wall stories.)