Trump demands nuclear option for border statute

AP
US President Donald Trump demanded Monday that Congress pass new border legislation using the "Nuclear Option if necessary" to muscle it through the Senate.
AP

US President Donald Trump demanded Monday that Congress pass new border legislation using the “Nuclear Option if necessary” to muscle it through the Senate — a drastic change in rules the Republican leader has previously dismissed.

Trump tweeted that the US must build a border wall, but argued that “Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!” He also said that a deal to help “Dreamer” immigrants is “dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act.”

Trump has previously called for the “nuclear option” — changing Senate rules to end the filibuster. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed that option, saying Republicans will welcome the filibuster when they return to being the Senate minority.

The White House did not immediately answer questions about Trump’s tweets.

The US$1.3 trillion funding package Congress passed last month included US$1.6 billion in border wall spending. But much of that money can only be used to repair existing segments, not build new sections. Congress also put curbs on the types of barriers that can be built.

Trump began tweeting over the weekend on immigration from Florida, threatening to pull out of a free trade agreement with Mexico unless it does more to stop people from crossing into the US. He claimed they’re coming to take advantage of protections granted to certain immigrants.

He said Mexico must “stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!” The US, Canada and Mexico are participating in tense negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement at Trump’s insistence. Trump says NAFTA is bad for the US.

“Mexico has got to help us at the border,” Trump, holding his wife’s hand, said before the couple attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near his Palm Beach, Florida home.

Former President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to provide temporary protection and work permits to hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are living in the US illegally after being brought here as children. Trump ended the program last year, but gave Congress six months to pass legislation enshrining it.

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