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Trump Signs Budget without his Desired Border Wall Agreement

Different prototypes for the border wall near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

By Ed Diokno
Views From The Edge

Donald Trump said Friday that he has signed the 2,232-page, $1.3 trillion spending bill that the House and Senate approved Wednesday, funding the government through September and preventing a government shutdown.

The announcement came hours after the president threatened to veto the bill because it did not provide enough funding for the wall on the Mexican border or a final resolution for immigrants brought to the country as children under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

President Trump rescinded DACA, initiated by former President Obama, back in September 2017 and set up the March 5th deadline for a Congressional fix. Yet no solid progress has been made even almost a month after the “deadline.” Many believe Trump was only using DACA as a bargaining chip to pass his harsh, radical reform of immigration policies and to build his border wall.

Sen. Mazie Hirono

“While this agreement includes funding for many important programs for Hawaii and the country, I am deeply disappointed that it does not protect the 1.8 million Dreamers Donald Trump unnecessarily put at risk when he canceled DACA,” said Hawaii’s Sen. Mazie Hirono, reports Big Island Now.

“The president created this crisis, and he has sabotaged every effort we’ve made to protect Dreamers,” she added.

The fate of 130,000 Asian Dreamers out of the 700,000 to 800,000 young people in the DACA program is still up in the air after a federal judge ruled that the program must continue to operate until Congress can come up with a bill to resolve their uncertain status. Besides the Dreamers, hundreds of thousands of would-be DACA recipients who didn’t join the program also await the legislation that would settle their status.

“DACA recipients have been treated extremely badly by Democrats,” Trump said Friday afternoon, according to Newsweek. “We wanted to include DACA and include them in this bill…[but] the Democrats would not do it.” He neglected to say that he was the one to set an artificial deadline for the program’s end and that he shut down bipartisan proposals that included relief for the DACA recipients.


Democrats and some Republicans sought to extend the DACA program but Trump reportedly did not want to give the undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship as part of that deal, as Democrats wanted.

Trump was clearly irked by the reduced level of border security funding. While Republicans and Trump have said the bill funds Trump’s “wall,” it was far short of the $25 billion they initially wanted. Instead, only $1.6 billion will go to the wall.

“This bill reflects priorities that are very different from the president’s. In many ways—and particularly on education, affordable housing, healthcare, and clean energy—it is a strong repudiation of Donald Trump’s misplaced priorities,” said Hirono. “I hope this bill connotes a sustained Congressional commitment to stand up for our families and communities.” 

However, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-CA, who has opposed Trump in almost all other matters, was outraged by how hastily the bill was forced onto Congress and said on Twitter Friday that he supported a Trump veto.

The budget does include funding for the Japanese American Confinement Sites grant in the 2018 fiscal year, according to NBC News. This would provide grant money for World War II incarceration sites to preserve their histories and continue to share their experiences with the public.

Among the other items included in the bill:
  • Gun violence prevention: Modest steps to address gun violence by strengthening the background check system to prevent dangerous individuals from owning a gun — and explicit language that says that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can conduct gun violence research.
  • Health care: A $3 billion increase in funding for medical research — while not defunding Planned Parenthood.
  • Child care and education: A $610 million increase for Head Start, a program that helps educate kids whose families live below the poverty level.
  • Climate, environment: A rejection of this White House’s plan to cut the EPA by 30%. This bill will increase funding by $763 million, including $300 million each for Clean Water and Safe Drinking Water Funds.
  • 2020 Census: A funding increase of $1.4 billion — more than double what the flawed administration plan requested — to make sure we accurately count our population, and don’t leave anyone behind.
  • Opioids epidemic: A $3.2 billion increase in funding to fight the latest scourge.

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