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Pentagon Preparing Options To Build Barriers If Trump Declares National Emergency

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The Pentagon is formulating options to build barriers on the Southern US border in the possibility that President Donald Trump declares a national emergency there, according to USA Today.

“The Department of Defense is reviewing available authorities and funding mechanisms to identify options to enable border barrier construction,” said Navy Capt. Bill Speaks, a Pentagon spokesman. “As there has not been such a declaration made, it would be inappropriate to comment further on those efforts.”

The verification of the preparations comes after Trump on Thursday gave his most definitive guidance yet that he was considering a declaration of a national emergency as a method of freeing up funds for a border wall if talks with Democrats fail to yield a deal on his signature issue, in the midst of the partial government shutdown.

“If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it – I would almost say definitely,” Trump said. “We have plenty of funds if there’s a national emergency.”

Trump’s declaration of an emergency at the southern border would authorize the Army Corps of Engineers to design barriers and let contracts to build them.

Money would come from the Pentagon’s budget for construction projects approved by Congress but not yet spent. 

Rep. Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said in an interview that he opposed diverting money from the Pentagon’s, or any other department’s budget, to pay for the border barriers. Diverting the money from the military would prevent it from, for example, building barracks to house troops.

In a follow-up statement to the Texas Tribune, Thornberry elaborated on his view.

“It is disappointing that the best interests of the country do not seem to be everyone’s top priority,” he said. “We should fund the rest of the government and improve border security, leaving the political posturing behind.”


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Trump Says He’ll Make a ‘Major Announcement’ Saturday Afternoon About Shutdown, Border

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Washington (AP) — Trump says he will make a ‘major announcement’ on Saturday afternoon about the government shutdown and border security.

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Trump Administration Separated Thousands More Migrants Than Previously Known

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The Trump Administration separated thousands more migrant kids from their families at the border than it previously acknowledged, and the separations started months before the policy was announced, according to a federal audit released Thursday morning.

“More children over a longer period of time” were separated at the border than commonly known, an investigator with the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office told reporters Thursday morning.

“How many more children were separated is unknown, by us and HHS” because of failures to track families as they were being separated, he said.

HHS officials involved in caring for the separated children and reunifying families estimated “thousands” of additional children are separated at the border, the inspector general said.

The report sheds new light on the Trump administration’s efforts to deter border crossings by separating migrant families. House Democrats who’ve condemned the separations as inhumane have vowed to investigate the administration’s handling of the policy and its health effects on separated children, and the inspector general said additional investigations are in the works.

The inspector general report said some family separations continued, even after President Donald Trump in June 2018 ended the policy amid uproar and a federal court ordered his administration to reunify the families. The June 2018 court order called on the administration to reunify about 2,500 separated children in government custody. Most of those families were reunited within 30 days.

However, HHS received at least 118 separated children between July and early November, according to the report. DHS provided “limited” information about the reason for those separations. In slightly more than half of those cases, border officials cited the parent’s criminal history as a reason to separate the families, although they did not always provide details. The court order requiring reunifications said family separations should only occur if border officials could specify when parents posed possible dangers to children or were otherwise unfit to care for them, the inspector general noted.

Federal investigators said they had no details about how many of the “thousands of separated children” who entered the care of HHS before the June 2018 court order had been reunited.

“We have no information about the status of the children who were released prior to the court order,” Maxwell told reporters. [POLITICO]

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Prince Phillip Involved in Car Crash

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#BREAKING Duke of Edinburgh involved in car crash near Sandringham Estate but not injured, Buckingham Palace says.

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