As the four lead negotiators came out of their meeting tonight to announce a deal in principle had been reached, the White House appeared to take a wait and see attitude on the agreement.
At an immigration rally in El Paso, Texas, President Trump said his aides were about to brief him on the progress moments before he was going on stage.
He told the crowd he chose to come out and speak to them instead: “Wait a minute I gotta take care of my people from Texas,” he said. “I don’t want to hear about it. So I don’t know what they mean when they say progress has been made.”
Sources have told CNN that the deal would include $1.375 billion dollars for barrier funding that will cover roughly 55 miles of new barrier — in the Rio Grande Valley, which had been a priority for the White House, and one of the Border Patrol’s highest priorities listed in its strategic plan. The 55 new miles represents double the amount of new miles provided in FY18 agreement.
The $1.375 billion figure is just slightly above the current funding level of $1.3 billion, and is less than a $1.6 billion Senate measure the President rejected last year. It’s also less than the $2.5 billion proposal floated by Vice President Pence that was rebuffed by Democrats and later by Trump himself.
The detention beds technically continue at their current funding level — 40,520, which ICE has surpassed by finding new money to use.
A congressional source also tells Manu Raju that the deal includes:
- Prohibitions on use of concrete walls and only “existing technologies” for border barriers can be built.
- There will be some restrictions in highly sensitive areas.
- There’s an $1.7B increase in overall DHS spending (primarily for technology, ports of entry security, customs officers, humanitarian aid)
White House aides are still digesting details of the agreement, according to an official. They are not yet signaling their support, and President Trump will need to weigh in.
The official says at this hour, nothing is being ruled out — be it signing this new agreement, declaring a national emergency, or securing wall funding elsewhere.
Already some Trump allies are expressing skepticism at the deal, meaning the White House wants to take time to see what exactly is in it before weighing in.
FOX News Host Sean Hannity, who the president is known to listen to, said on his show Monday night that, “Any Republican who supports this garbage compromise — you will have to explain.”