Trump Calls Border Security a ‘Crisis’ as Democrats Challenge Claims

09 January, 2019, 07:27 | Author: Ethel Goodwin
  • Trump has made building a wall- like these prototypes seen from Tijuana

Though both Democrats and Republicans agree there is a crisis at the border, critics have accused Mr Trump of greatly exaggerating the problem.

She said: "The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government".

The statements followed a 7 January interview when Pence told reporters that the White House was seeking a legal basis to justify a declaration of a national emergency, but in the interview, he said that no decision had been made as of 8 January morning.

President Donald Trump called on Congress on Tuesday (Jan 8) to give him US$5.7 billion ($7.7 billion) this year to help build a wall on the USA border with Mexico but stopped short of declaring a national emergency to pay for the wall with military funds.

"At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall".

Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to circumvent Congress and move forward with the wall.

"Now that the television networks have chose to air the President's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime", they demanded in a joint statement on Monday night.

With his use of a formal White House speech instead of his favoured Twitter blasts, Trump is embracing the ceremonial trappings of his office as he tries to exit a political quagmire of his own making.

Curbing illegal immigration was one of the main campaign promises Mr Trump made when he ran for president.

Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer based near the border in Blaine, Wash., said those border guards - many of whom are supportive of the president's border-security efforts - may soon stop showing up for work as they begin to feel the shutdown's financial impact.

After the networks agreed to air Trump's address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer released a joint statement demanding the chance to respond to the president, whose speech they claimed "will be full of malice and misinformation".

"I think it would probably end up in a lawsuit, so I'm not sure how productive it would be", Senator John Cornyn said.

"The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a thirty-foot wall".

The number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to fewer than 400,000 a year ago.

Democrats argue that maintenance of existing border fencing, hi-tech tools to scan vehicles crossing at ports of entry, and hiring more personnel would be cheaper and more effective than a wall.

In the past, Trump's talks to the nation have been carefully scrutinized for false information.

The White House suggested at the weekend that thousands of terrorists were caught attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, but in fact all but a handful were stopped at airports.

Ms Pelosi noted that Mr Trump had rejected bipartisan legislation to reopen the government agencies shuttered as a result of the fight over the wall.

According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, 51% of Americans believe Trump "deserves most of the blame" for the government shutdown.

How much support does President Trump have?

Such a dramatic escalation of the standoff might allow him to access military spending to fund his barrier, which remains un-built two years into his presidency.


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