Stephen Miller Doubles Down on Trump’s Promise to Shut Down the Government

The president wants $5 billion for his border wall by next week—or else.

Ron Sachs/ZUMA

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Top White House aide Stephen Miller made a combative Face the Nation appearance Sunday, doubling down on President Donald Trump’s promise to shut down the government if Democrats don’t approve funding for a wall spanning the United States’ 1,933-mile border with Mexico in the next week.

“Absolutely,” Miller affirmed when asked if a government shutdown was on the table.

The border wall holds great symbolic significance to Trump and his most fervent supporters after it featured loudly in his 2016 campaign. The cost of such a wall would be astronomically expensive—one internal government report obtained by Reuters put the price tag at more than $21 billion. Trump has been demanding Democrats approve $5 billion for the border wall in an upcoming spending package.

While Democrats have argued the wall is expensive, unnecessary, and unlikely to deter illegal immigration or smuggling, recent Border Patrol crackdowns on immigrants and asylum seekers have shed light on the dangers already faced by people attempting to cross into the United States.

In early December, a 7-year-old girl identified as Jakelin Caal Maquin died of dehydration in federal custody after traveling with her father from an impoverished region of Guatemala. Her death has sparked outrage among immigrant rights advocates and some Democrats, who say it is symbolic of an already dangerous system that would be made even more deadly if the wall is built.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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