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New Shutdown Impasse Isn't About a Wall

2 sides can't agree on number of immigrants that can be detained; deadline is Friday
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2019 10:05 AM CST
In this Thursday photo, President Trump speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – Don't look now, but the three-week reprieve that ended the recent government shutdown expires this week. If negotiators can't reach a deal before midnight Friday, a new shutdown begins, notes CNBC. What's worse, talks aren't going well. This time around, the big sticking point isn't about money for a border wall, reports the Washington Post. Instead, it revolves around the number of undocumented immigrants that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can detain in the country. Democrats want to cap the number of ICE detention beds at 16,500—they say that would force ICE to focus on dangerous criminals, reports the New York Times. Republicans, however, say criminals shouldn't be included in the cap of 16,500.

"A cap on ICE detention beds will force the Trump administration to prioritize deportation for criminals and people who pose real security threats, not law-abiding immigrants who are contributing to our country," says Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, one of the Democratic negotiators. On Monday, Trump sought to blame Democrats for the impasse. "The Democrats do not want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens!" he tweeted. "This is a brand new demand. Crazy!" Adviser Kellyanne Conway struck a similar theme Monday in laying the blame on Democrats in an appearance on Fox News, reports Politico. "They're the ones at the table that can't get this done," she said. "They're the ones hurtling us towards a shutdown.” (Read more government shutdown stories.)

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