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Trump Preparing for Another Immigration Fight on Spending Bill

President’s speech to NRA frequently veers from guns

President Donald Trump addressed the press before departing for Dallas, Texas where he made an appearance at the National Rifle Association convention on May 4, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)
President Donald Trump addressed the press before departing for Dallas, Texas where he made an appearance at the National Rifle Association convention on May 4, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump signaled Friday he’s preparing for another immigration fight as part of the fiscal 2019 spending bill.

“We are going to demand Congress secure the border in the upcoming CR,” Trump said during a speech at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum in Dallas, Texas. “It’s going to be very soon.”

Trump did not elaborate on what that demand would entail but has pushed for funding to follow through on his campaign promise to build a wall along the southern border. He said it’s “disgraceful” what Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and the Democrats are doing on the wall and immigration.

“We believe that politicians who put criminal aliens before American citizens should be voted out of office immediately,” Trump said. 

Watch: Trump Thanks Kanye Again, Mocks Obama on N. Korea

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The fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill Congress passed in March and Trump signed into law included $1.6 billion for border security, but the language regarding a barrier on the southern border only authorized construction of fencing, not an actual wall. 

If Congress were to pursue a continuing resolution or CR, as Trump called it, they would simply be extending that fiscal 2018 spending and policy. So if the president wants to fight for new border security funding he’d need to push for a new fiscal 2019 spending bill, whether that be a massive omnibus measure or some smaller packing of individual bills. 

Trump did not say what he would demand in a spending bill but he reiterated some of the items on his immigration policy wish list, like ending “catch and release” laws that prevent detention of certain undocumented immigration and prohibiting funding for “sanctuary cities” that decline to share information on undocumented immigrants with the federal government.

To make a point the president evoked his first 2016 campaign speech, saying he was criticized for his comments about Mexican immigrants. He did not repeat the word “rapists” he used at the time but reiterated his belief that criminals are coming into the country. 

“They’re not sending their finest, that I can tell you,” he said. 

Immigration was just one of several topics Trump touched on during the speech that veered away from gun rights, the focus of the event. 

“Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw I doubled my African-American poll numbers,” he said in one such diversion. “We went from 11 to 22 in one week. Thank you Kanye.”

Trump had opened the speech vowing that Second Amendment rights “will never, ever be under siege as long as I am president.”

Later he went more in-depth about his views on guns, saying he supports the Second Amendment not just because it’s a constitutional right but because he trusts the American people to do the right thing.

“In America, we trust the people to be wise and be good, to take responsibility for themselves,” he said.

Along those lines, Trump repeated his view that “highly trained teachers” should be able to carry concealed weapons in schools, along with “highly trained security guards.” He said signs depicting schools as gun free zones are inviting to potential mass shooters. 

“They are cowards,” he said. “When they know there’s guns inside, they’re not going in.”

Despite previously expressing openness to stricter gun laws, such as increasing the age for purchasing assault rifles, Trump criticized Democrats for pushing gun bans.

“It seems like if we’re going to outlaw guns like so many people want to do … we are going to have to outlaw immediately all vans and trucks,” he said, noting motor vehicles have turned into killing machines. 

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