In January, Democrats derided President Donald Trump’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid along America’s southern border by denigrating the issue as an artificial crisis manufactured by the president.
Five months later, that tune has changed, as Senate Democrats have agreed to join Republicans and Trump to pass a $4.5 billion package of humanitarian aid proposed by the president — a deal that could still fall apart if House Democrats, who hold the majority in that chamber, refuse to come on board.
The deal was approved Wednesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee, The Hill reported.
In January, Trump gave an Oval Office address calling for action along the border.
“This is a humanitarian crisis. A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said, noting that the funding package he laid before Congress contained “an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support.”
As noted by The Hill, Democrats then trashed Trump’s call for more resources at the border.
“This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said at a joint news conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, NBC News reported.
Pelosi, meanwhile, criticized Trump for “his obsession with forcing American taxpayers to waste billions of dollars on an expensive and ineffective wall — a wall he always promised Mexico would pay for!”
Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont rebuked Trump by saying, “Mr. President, we don’t need to create artificial crises. We have enough real ones.”
And Mississippi Democrat Rep. Bennie Thomson slammed Trump on Twitter, writing, “The President has manufactured a humanitarian crisis. It is solely Trump’s fault NOT the Democrats.”
The President has manufactured a humanitarian crisis. It is solely Trump’s fault NOT the Democrats.
— Bennie G. Thompson (@BennieGThompson) January 9, 2019
However, that line of attack has collapsed under the weight of data showing the extent of illegal immigration.
Customs and Border Protection agents have reported a 135 percent increase in apprehensions over last year.
In May alone, 144,000 arrests were made for entering the U.S. illegally.
“I haven’t heard anyone say it’s a manufactured crisis for quite some time,” Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said, according to The Hill.
Even some Democrats agree.
“In recent weeks it’s gotten clearer and clearer there is a dramatic humanitarian crisis, again, at the border,” Democrat Sen. Christopher Coons of Delaware said, while still throwing shade at Trump for not addressing the crisis properly.
Still, Coons said, there is no mistaking the fact that the border has become a broad belt of misery.
“The phrase manufactured crisis could be misunderstood as suggesting it’s not a real crisis. It is a real crisis. There are people actually suffering. There are children dying. There are families in distress. It is a crisis,” Coons said. “The phrase ‘manufactured’ I think was used by some to emphasize the president’s role in making it worse.”
The change in attitude has been helped by Republican prompting.
“The president seemed to me to be getting more cooperation from Mexico than he is from congressional Democrats on dealing with the crisis at the border,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Tuesday, according to The Washington Post, when negotiations for a deal were at an impasse.
“Let me say again, this is not wall funding. This is a humanitarian crisis of gargantuan proportions. It needs to be dealt with.”
The Post reported that the deal agreed to in the Senate allocates $2.9 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to provide care for unaccompanied migrant children, with the Justice, Homeland Security and Defense departments splitting the rest.
Although senators were expected to approve the deal, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the House had objections and might not support it, according to The Post.
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