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US govt shutdown: Trump offers Democrats deal on immigration in exchange for wall money

The announcement comes as amid the longest-running US government shutdown in history.

Image: Manuel Balce Ceneta via PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has offered Democrats a deal on immigration in exchange for border wall funding in a bid to end the government shutdown.

He has offered three years of legislative relief for 700,000 young immigrants brought to the US illegally as children in exchange for $5.7 billion of funding for the US-Mexico border wall. He said this extension will give them protection from deportation.  

“I am here to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on our southern border,” Trump said. 

“If we are successful in their effort, we will then have the best chance in a very long time at real, bipartisan immigration reform.” 

Trump is also offering to extend protections for immigrants who came to the US as a result of war or natural disasters in their home countries.

He also laid out his plans for the design of the border wall. 

“The lack of border control provides a gateway … for criminals and gang members to enter the United States,” Trump said. 

He said his plans are “a common sense compromise both parties should embrace”. 

Trump says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring the proposal for a vote in the Senate this week.

The federal government has been shuttered for four weeks over Trumps insistence that a wider federal budget measure include billions of dollars for a border wall – and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to go along.

The shutdown is now the longest in the country’s history- and there is no sign of a compromise.

The standoff has left about 800,000 federal employees either sent home or, if their jobs are deemed “essential,” working without pay. 

All are expected to receive back wages once the shutdown ends, but in the meantime, many have had difficulty paying bills or even feeding their families.

Democrats

Minutes before Trump was to unveil his plan at the White House, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said his forthcoming proposal for ending the 29-day partial government shutdown is a “non-starter.”

The California Democrat said Trump’s expected offer is “not a good-faith effort” to help the immigrants and could not pass the House.

Trump has regularly warned of what he says is a serious threat from undocumented migrants entering the country, which is grappling with a surge in arrivals by families and children. 

He warned again today about “caravans” moving northward toward the US, saying, “This country cannot be secure” without a wall. 

A group of 2,000 Central American migrants are currently moving towards the United States, and hundreds of them on Friday crossed the border illegally from Guatemala to Mexico.

Another caravan of about 200 migrants set out Wednesday from El Salvador and had reached southern Mexico.

With reporting by AFP and Associated Press

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