HC Wake-Up Call: Government Employee Union On The Partial Shutdown, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Statement Following Migrant Boy’s Death & Trump’s First Visit To A War Zone

Good morning Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds — we’re all only human, after all. 

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.) 

Government Employee Unions Sets The Record Straight On The Partial Shutdown

President Trump over Christmas claimed that federal employees support the partial federal government shutdown, but the largest government employee union responded, setting the record straight. 

“They understand what’s happening. They want border security,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday, The Huffington Post reports. “Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, ‘Stay out until you get the funding for the wall.’ These federal workers want the wall.”

The American Federation of Government Employees, which has a union of over 700,000 federal employees, response was not even close to the president’s statement. “They unequivocally oppose using shutdowns as a means of resolving policy disputes,” said union president Jeffrey David Cox Sr. in a statement. “This is not about a wall, this is about 800,000 real people with real families and real bill to pay.” He continued, “They are eager to get back to work.” 

The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, with a union over 80,000 workers across the U.S. and Canada, had a similar stance. “We have not heard from a single member who supports the President’s inaction. Most view this as an act of ineptitude,” said union president Paul Shearon in a statement. 

Negotiations for over border security has reached dead end. President Trump has demanded $5 billion for a wall, but Democrats have decided on $1.3 billion border security package that does not include a wall. Since no decision has been reached, a quarter of the federal government ran out of funding on Friday at midnight. This includes the State, Transportation, Agriculture, and Justice Department. Multiple government agencies weren’t affected as they were already funded earlier this year including the Departments of Defence, Labor, Health and Human Service, Education, and Energy. But 400,000 federal workers are currently being told to not come into work and another 400,000 are still working without pay, NPR reports. 

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Releases Statement Following Death Of The 8-year-old Boy’s Death In U.S. Custody 

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen released a statement on Wednesday, after the death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy who died in the U.S. custody. Nielsen blamed the death on “smugglers, traffickers,” “activist judges” and “those who seek open borders.” She also confirmed that the DHS will take steps to prevent migrant children dying in its custody in the future. 

“Our system has been pushed to a breaking point by those who seek open borders,” Nielsen said in a statement. “Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north. This crisis is exacerbated by the increase in persons who are entering our custody suffering from severe respiratory illnesses or exhibit some other illness upon apprehension. Given the remote locations of their illegal crossing and the lack of resources, it is even more difficult for our personnel to be first responders.” 

She also claimed that “it has been more than a decade since [Customs and Border Patrol] has had a child pass away in their custody.” 

In response to the death or 8-year-old Alonzo-Gomez, Nielsen said the agency will give “more through” medical screenings to the immigrant children who are detained. She also asked Mexican officials to investigate “the causes of these illnesses on their side of the border.” It’s important to note that the cause of death has yet to be confirmed, and we do not know whether or not Alonzo-Gomez contracted his illness in Mexico. Nielsen also plans to visit the border later this week to see what kind of medical screenings children are given. 

She continued to say how the DHS doesn’t have “the resources we need to execute the mission as directed by Congress,” and blamed the increase of family migration to the U.S. on “bad judicial rulings from activist judges.” Nielsen then asked lawmakers to give the DHS more “authorities and resources.” 

President Trump & The First Lady Made Their First Trip To Visit Troops In Iraq 

The New York Post reported on Wednesday that Donald and Melania Trump visited troops in a war zone area in Iraq for the first time since becoming president. The surprise visit comes in the midst of a partial federal government shutdown. 

The president and the first lady met with troops at the Al Asad Air Base near Baghdad, according to Reuters. Both were accompanied by a couple aides, reporters, and Secret Service agents. This was the first time that Trump has visited troops in a war zone area since taking officer almost two years ago. As Reuters reports, Trump was “looking for some positive headlines” after the stock market plummeted in the U.S. history’s worst Christmas Eve trading day. The Dow Jones Industrial Averages dropped 653 points on Monday, NBC News reported.

During his visit on Wednesday, Trump told troops that he has “no plans at all” to withdraw any remaining American soldiers from Iraq, according to the Associated Press. He also explained that he may use the country as a ground to launch operations in Syria. Earlier, he announced plans to withdraw American troops from Syria and claimed that ISIS had already been defeated. 

“If we see something happening with ISIS that we don’t like, we can hit them so fast and so hard they really won’t know what the hell happened,” Trump said, according to The New York Times. 

What To Look Out For...

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