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US border security deal reached to avert new shutdown

Media captionPresident Trump told supporters in El Paso, “we’re building the wall anyway”

Democrats and Republicans have reached an agreement in principle over border security to fund the US government and avert another partial shutdown.

The agreement contains only a fraction of the money President Donald Trump wants for his promised border wall and does not mention a concrete barrier.

The deal still needs to be approved by Congress and signed by the president.

Speaking later, Mr Trump did not say whether he would back the deal. “We’re building the wall anyway.”

The Democrats – who now control the House of Representatives – have refused to approve the $5.7bn (£4.4bn) Mr Trump’s border wall, one of his key campaign pledges.

The deal includes $1.375bn in funding for 55 miles (88km) of physical barriers, including “steel bollard” fencing, a fraction of the more than 200 miles promised by the president, reports say.

Lawmakers said the deal had been struck in a closed-door meeting in Washington after an impasse in negotiations.

Addressing supporters in El Paso, Texas, Mr Trump said he had had no time to study the agreement, but stressed that he would “never sign a bill that forces the mass release of violent criminals”.

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Getty Images

Image caption

The talks have been deadlocked on how to deal with undocumented migrants

A bill must be approved by Friday when funding runs out for some federal agencies. The previous shutdown – the longest in US history – lasted 35 days.

The shutdown is estimated to have cost the US economy $11bn (£8.5bn).

What is known about the deal?

It was clinched on Monday evening – after several hours of talks between Democratic and Republican negotiators.

Emerging from the talks, Republican Senator Richard Shelby said all outstanding issues had been resolved.

“We got an agreement on all of it,” he said. “Our staffs are going to be working feverishly to put all the particulars together. We believe that if this becomes law, it’ll keep open the government,” he said.

Media captionOther presidents got money for a border barrier – why not Trump?

Democrats’ gave up on a demand to limit the number of undocumented migrants already in the US who can be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Instead, it was agreed to bring down the number of beds in detention centres to 40,250 from the current 49,057, reports say.

Why is there the risk of another shutdown?

On 25 January, President Trump agreed to a three-week spending deal to end the shutdown and allow Congress to reach an agreement.

That funding ends at midnight on Friday.

Mr Trump made building a wall on the border with Mexico one of his key promises in the 2016 campaign.

The president has backed away from calls to make Mexico pay for a concrete wall but during his State of the Union speech last Tuesday – delayed because of the previous shutdown – he insisted on a “smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier”.

Media captionJust why did the US government partially shut down?

He has previously threatened to declare a national emergency and fund the wall without Congress. But this idea is disliked even by some fellow Republicans, and Democrats are likely to challenge it in the courts.

US border security deal reached to avert new shutdown

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