WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Sunday (Jul 29) that he was prepared to "shut down" the government if Democrats fail to support his demand for more spending on border security, including a wall on the Mexican border.
"I would be willing to 'shut down' government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!" he tweeted.
He called for an end to the visa lottery system, which provides visas for 50,000 immigrants a year but which Trump maintains is "riddled with abuse."
He also urged an end to what he calls the "Catch and Release" approach of letting undocumented arrivals remain in the US while their applications are being processed.
Calling for a purely merit-based immigration system, Trump added, "We need great people coming into our Country!"
The president had threatened in March to veto a US$1.3 trillion spending bill because it lacked funding for heightened security, including the US$25 billion "trust fund" he wanted for a border wall.
He eventually signed the bill, averting a shutdown crisis, though the bill provided only US$1.6 billion for a small stretch of border fencing and will keep the government open only until Sep 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
Securing Democrats' support, moreover, is not likely to be easy, particularly amid widespread anger over a Trump immigration policy that for a time was separating parents from their children - including infants - at the border.
The administration was forced to backpedal and, under federal court order, has been scrambling to reunite those separated.
But, doubling down, Trump tweeted on Sunday that "there are consequences when people cross our Border illegally," and that many people "are just using children for their own sinister purposes."