00:20 GMT +316 November 2019
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    Trump to Make Major Announcement on Govt Shutdown, Border Security on Saturday

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    US President Donald Trump said via Twitter on Friday he will make a "major" announcement on Saturday at 3 p.m. EST (2000 GMT) on "the humanitarian crisis" and the partial US government shutdown.

    The government shutdown was caused by a standoff between Trump and congressional Democrats over the president's demand for funds to build a wall along the southern US border with Mexico.

    Trump is asking Congress to approve $5.7 billion to build the wall, but Democrats refuse to provide the funds to construct such a barrier. The impasse has left the US federal government partially closed for a record 28 days.

    On Friday, the Trump administration grounded all government aircraft to prevent US lawmakers from making business trips without the White House's permission.

    On Thursday, Trump informed House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she would not be allowed to use a US military plane to travel to Afghanistan until the ongoing government shutdown is resolved. Trump also canceled his delegation's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    Moreover, about 800,000 federal workers have either been sent home or forced to work without pay since the US government impasse began on 22 December.

    Trump said earlier on Friday that a new caravan of migrants was moving toward the United States, underscoring the need to meet his demand for funds to build a barrier along the southern border with Mexico. However, it was unclear which caravan of migrants Trump was referring to in his statement. Similar caravans of migrants have arrived regularly to the United States over the past two decades, crossing into the US largely unnoticed, but Trump has cast a spotlight on the issue to highlight the need for enhanced border security.

    READ MORE: Trump Enacts Bill on Compensation for US Govt Employees Amid Shutdown

    The first 7,000-strong migrant caravan set out from Honduras in the direction of Mexico and the United States last October, with thousands of Central American asylum-seekers following suit later in the year. At the moment, somewhere from 6,000 to 9,000 migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are reported to have concentrated on the US-Mexican border.

    In response to the migration crisis, over 5,200 US soldiers have been deployed to the country's southern border.

    In late November, US law enforcement and members of a Central American caravan clashed on the border after a group of around 500 of the migrants attempted to storm into the United States, but were thwarted by US authorities with tear gas and rubber bullets.

    The US president has repeatedly hinted that he could declare a national emergency in order to secure funds to build a wall along the border with Mexico, though he has said he would prefer to reach a deal with US Congress on the matter.

    In early January, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration was considering to use the funds from a bill approved for providing disaster relief to Puerto Rico, Texas, California and Florida to construct a border wall on the US southern border.

    READ MORE: Two Child Rapists Caught Entering US With Illegal Migrant Caravan – Report


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