PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Officers with the U.S. Marshal’s Office in Providence continue to protect and serve as the government shutdown reaches Day 21.

Around 16 essential employees are working without pay, according to U.S. Marshal Jamie Hainsworth.

The National Fish Hatchery in North Attleboro, Mass., is closed. At least one person is still working at the site to care for the fish, according to the national contingency plan.

"We've heard from people who are still working but not being paid,” explained U.S. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). “They're in a very difficult circumstance because their bills are not stopping while they're still working."

Reed says working Americans should not be penalized over policy issues.

President Trump is publicly considering other ways to fund the border wall. "I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” the president said Thursday. “I'm not prepared to do that yet. But if I have to, I will."

Reed believes the president is more than “prepared” to do it. "I think the president has decided no, he's going to push this for all it's worth for his own satisfaction, and that's probably some sort of declaration of emergency,” he said. He expects if that happened, the declaration would be challenged in court.

Members of the Coast Guard are still getting paid because they are on a separate pay schedule. If the shutdown continues beyond their next pay date, December 15, that may be a different story.

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