Border Control

Road ahead: As Congress digests Mueller conclusions, it has plenty more on its plate
House will attempt to override Trump’s veto, while Senate takes up Green New Deal

A Capitol Visitor Center employee sets up a shade umbrella last Tuesday outside the CVC entrance. The Senate and House minority parties may need an umbrella to block the shade the majorities plan to throw at them this week amid votes on the Green New Deal and overriding a presidential veto. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Hill spent much of the weekend waiting to find out what special counsel Robert S. Mueller III discovered about Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 election. But as Congress digests the principal conclusions of his report, prepared by Attorney General William P. Barr, leaders will also try to get members to address other priorities.

Barr’s four-page letter sent to Congress on Sunday afternoon stated that Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in these efforts.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger says border deployment made up his mind on national emergency
Illinois Republican flew aerial surveillance missions with his Air National Guard unit

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, flew aerial surveillance missions over the Arizona border with the National Guard for two weeks. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Illinois, returned from a two-week Air National Guard deployment conducting aerial surveillance over the Arizona border and said the experience solidified his support for the president’s national emergency declaration.

Kinzinger supports President Donald Trump’s push for a wall at the southern border, and was deployed there two weeks ago with his Guard unit, his office reported.

Trump Ignites New Budget Fights by Targeting Pentagon Programs
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 99

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter flies over a piece of border fence on Nov. 7 in Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

 

CQ defense reporter John M. Donnelly spells out how President Donald Trump's emergency action to raid Pentagon accounts to pay for a border wall could affect military facilities and programs already stretched thin.

Legal fight expected for Trump’s national emergency declaration
Experts predict high court will back his power to do so, but maybe not accessing military monies

President Donald Trump, here addressing reporters on Jan. 10, will sign a government shutdown-avoiding bill and declare a national emergency at the border to access Pentagon funds for his proposed southern border barrier. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump will declare a national emergency at the southern border to redirect military funds to his border wall project after lawmakers gave him $4.3 billion less than his $5.7 billion ask. But the move is expected to bring court fights that could sink his plan. 

A House-Senate conference committee could only agree to give the president just shy of $1.4 billion for the barrier project as conferees struck a deal needed to avert another partial government shutdown. The president — who earlier this week said he couldn’t say he was happy about the contents of the compromise — reluctantly agreed to sign it into law after the Senate and House sign off during floor votes Thursday.

Ocasio-Cortez, other female progressive freshmen will vote against border deal
Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib have called for ending DHS funding, but the deal includes an increase

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, left, and Ilhan Omar attend a rally on Feb. 7 on the East Front of the Capitol to call on Congress to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna S. Pressley and Rashida Tlaib will vote against the massive spending measure agreed to by a bipartisan conference committee because they oppose an increase in funding to the Department of Homeland Security.

“This Administration continues to threaten the dignity and humanity of our immigrant population,” the lawmakers said in a press release Thursday. “The Department of Homeland Security does not deserve an increase in funding, and that is why we intend to vote no on this funding package.”

FDA commissioner outlines new opioid enforcement action
The agency used, for the first time, a new type of enforcement designed to control the illegal flow of opioids

The outside of the Food and Drug Administration headquarters is seen in White Oak, Md. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Food and Drug Administration released a warning letter to a top drug distributor on Tuesday, using for the first time a new type of enforcement authority that the agency’s head called an important step in controlling the illegal flow of opioids.

FDA's letter alleged that distributor McKesson Corp. sent drugs that were supposed to be opioids — but were missing pills or were not even opioids — to multiple pharmacy locations, raising questions about whether potent opioid painkillers were missing and where they may have gone.

Hispanic Caucus to Homeland Security conferees: No more money for immigrant detention or a wall
Letter also calls for more oversight of immigration enforcement agencies

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, pictured with his son, as House members were sworn in on the first day of the 116th Congress on Jan. 3, led a letter to the Homeland Security appropriations conference urging them not to approve any more money for immigration detention or a wall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro and 20 members of his caucus sent a letter to the Homeland Security conferees urging them not to appropriate any more money for immigrant detention or a border wall.

“We urge you to oppose increases in funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for the purposes of immigration detention, Trump’s deportation force, the border wall — and ensure that certain types of detention are not expanded or replaced in ways that conflict with the goal of reducing detention overall.”

‘We are bringing Jakelin Caal into the room with us’
Progressive Democrats clap back at Trump with pins bearing image of girl who died in U.S. custody at border

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., center, is seen in the House Chamber as President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Progressive freshman Democrats wore pins to the State of the Union Tuesday bearing the photo of Jakelin Caal Maquin, the 7-year-old girl from Guatemala who died in U.S. custody at the border last year. 

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib tweeted Monday that she would be wearing the pin into the House chamber during the president’s address. She was joined by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

House Democrats to put Trump’s child separation policy back under microscope
Judiciary, Homeland Security Committees announce oversight hearings for border policy

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will appear before the House Homeland Security Committee in March. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Homeland Security Department’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border will be back in the spotlight during a House Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled Feb. 12.

Chairman Jerrold Nadler and fellow Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the subcommittee on immigration and citizenship, announced a lineup of witnesses Monday in a joint press release. Those scheduled to testify Feb. 12 include the chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and top advisers from the Justice Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The emergency at the border isn’t national. It’s regional
We’re dealing with a regional humanitarian crisis that no wall can solve

Walls won’t cure the political unrest driving Central Americans to seek asylum, Brown and Ramón write. Above, a group of Honduran migrants are briefly detained in December in Tijuana, Mexico, after trying to cross into the United States. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — President Donald Trump has claimed again and again that the influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border constitutes a humanitarian and national security crisis that merits construction of a border wall to protect the country and deter people from making the perilous journey north.

He is half right. An honest assessment of what’s driving these people — often families with small children — to come to the United States shows we’re dealing with a regional humanitarian crisis that no wall can solve.