Will the border-wall battle lead to a government shutdown?

A migrant holding a U.S. flag, right, speaks with others waking up at the Benito Juarez Sports Center that's serving as a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Mexico, early Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city and says that he has asked the United Nations for aid to deal with thousands of Central American migrants who have arrived in the city. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

WASHINGTON — A debate is developing in Congress over how to handle the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, and whether President Trump will get the billions of dollars he’s seeking for a border wall.

While lawmakers don’t agree on much, members of both parties are concerned a standoff over border wall funding could lead to a partial government shutdown when a spending deadline hits on Dec. 7.

Some Democratic lawmakers have criticized the response to violence near Tijuana, which included the use of tear gas against young parents and their children as people rushed the border over the weekend. U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the tear gas was deployed because of a risk to agents’ safety.

Sen. Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the situation at the border is a “humanitarian problem” that should be addressed in a better way.

“There’s an orderly process that should be used in order to handle this,” Cardin said Monday. “But instead, the Trump administration has a policy where they will not even allow those who have legitimate claims for asylum to seek it in a proper manner.”

Cardin said in his view, “a bad situation was made much worse because of Trump policy.”

Several Republicans have defended the administration’s response to the situation and said it’s another example of why money is needed for the border wall.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican from North Carolina who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, tweeted on Monday that congress needs to fund the wall in December and that “It’s now or never.”

President Trump on Monday also renewed his call for lawmakers to approve money, with a tweet that ended with, “Congress, fund the WALL!”

The House is backing $5 billion for the wall, while a Senate plan calls for $1.6 billion. President Trump has said he needs at least $5 billion and that he’d be willing to shut down the government if lawmakers don’t provide more money.

Cardin said building a wall would be a “waste of money” and that border security could be improved in other ways, along with immigration reform.

“The United States should always be a beacon for those are truly being persecuted, to know that there’s safety in this country,” Cardin said. “There shouldn’t be the type of fear that’s being instilled by the current policies.”

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