President Donald Trump will build his border wall “one way or another”, the White House said on Sunday, as Democrats and Republicans prepared to begin three weeks of negotiations to strike a deal and avoid another government shutdown.
As federal employees return to work on Monday after a bruising 35 day absence, Democrat and Republican leaders are to form a bipartisan ‘conference committee” to start the difficult process of finding common ground before the February 15 deadline.
For his part, the US leader remained steadfast this weekend in his determination to secure $5.7 billion to fund a structure on the southern border with Mexico.
And on Sunday he ramped up the rhetoric by claiming there were 25 million illegal immigrants in the US – more than double the previously reported 11 million, while at the same time highlighting the financial burden.
Mr Trump tweeted: “We are not even into February and the cost of illegal immigration so far this year is $18,959,495,168. Cost Friday was $603,331,392. There are at least 25,772,342 illegal aliens, not the 11,000,000 that have been reported for years, in our Country. So ridiculous!”
t was unclear where he found the figures he refers to. “I’m not exactly sure where the president got that number this morning,” said Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff.