US President Donald Trump's administration accused the opposition Democrats of holding American citizens hostage Saturday after lawmakers failed to agree a stop-gap spending deal before a midnight deadline.
"We will not negotiate the status of unlawful immigrants while Democrats hold our lawful citizens hostage over their reckless demands," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
Democratic leaders have blamed the breakdown of a possible deal on Trump`s refusal to fund a program that protects 700,000 "Dreamers" -- undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as children -- from deportation.
The US government officially shutdown today for the first time in five years after lawmakers failed to agree on a spending deal.
Donald Trump blamed Democrats for the shutdown which comes exactly a year after he was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
The shutdown began at 12:01 am (local time) soon after the Senate rejected a short-term spending bill to keep federal government running.
The bill was passed by the House on Thursday.
This is part of the Democrats strategy to force President Trump and the Republicans to negotiate with them on illegal immigrants who are facing deportation.