US State Department Cancels Border Security Conference Amid Shutdown
An international conference on border security that was to be hosted by the State Department has been canceled, due to the partial shutdown of the U.S. government over border security.
The State Department said 250 experts on export control and border security from 85 countries were expected to participate in the conference scheduled for mid-February in Edinburgh, Scotland.
CNN was the first to report that the director of the State Department's Office of Export Control Cooperation, Kathryn Insley, sent a letter Jan. 16 to at least 55 U.S. embassies and missions worldwide, asking them to let officials in their countries know the conference has been called off.
The letter said the decision was made because of the "uncertainty associated with the continuing partial U.S. federal government shutdown." Insley's letter stated officials "are working to identify alternative dates" and would be in contact with participants "as soon as we are operational again."
"In light of the very limited funding available during the lapse in appropriations, the Department will exercise judicious use of limited, remaining resources," a State Department spokesperson told The Hill newspaper. "Travel, hiring, contracting, public affairs, and other activities will continue to operate in a constrained manner."
The partial government shutdown has extended into its 32nd day, affecting more than 800,000 federal workers across the country.
Border security is at the center of the fight between U.S. President Donald Trump and the Democrats that has paralyzed a quarter of the federal government.
Trump is demanding $5.7 billion to build a wall along part of the U.S.-Mexico border that he says is crucial for U.S. national security. The Democrats have refused his demand, creating a stalemate.