Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Donald Trump makes case for border wall to tackle 'humanitarian crisis'

A man prepares to climb on the U.S.-Mexico border wall A man prepares to climb on the U.S.-Mexico border wall
Stacy Diaz | 09 January, 2019, 05:08

The dispute over wall funding - with Mr Trump demanding $5.7 billion just for this year to help build it - led to a stalemate in Congress over funding for parts of the government.

But critics say the security risks are overblown and his administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.

All major television networks said they'll carry tonight's prime-time address by President Donald Trump on the escalating controversy over U.S. -Mexico border wall funding, which is causing a prolonged partial federal government shutdown. Initially, Trump insisted Mexico would pay for the boarder wall.

That partial government shutdown has brought Washington's partisan dysfunction into ordinary Americans' homes across the country, raising the stakes for lawmakers who must face their voters as the chaos drags on. The vice president stressed that there is indeed a crisis, adding that it must be taken care of before the administration can move onto negotiating other parts of the USA national security funding.

There was speculation whether Mr Trump would declare a national emergency allowing him to bypass Congress and order his controversial wall project to go ahead using military resources - a move that would have sent already heated political temperatures to boiling point. "Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern". Democrats, who now control the House, have consistently opposed it, calling it an expensive, inefficient and immoral way of trying to resolve immigration issues.

Earlier, Vice President Mike Pence told ABC television that Mr Trump would lay out the "real humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border". He asserted that the government remained shut down because Democrats wouldn't fund border security. There were almost 400,000 apprehensions at the border in the 2018 fiscal year, well down from the early 2000s when arrests regularly topped one million annually.

"This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It would very quickly pay for itself". But the president was not expected to make that declaration Tuesday night, said two people familiar with the White House plans, although it was possible he could change course.

"The president was asked whether it [the national emergency option] is something he was considering, and he said it is something we are looking at...."

Leaning on Senate Republicans, some of whom are growing anxious about the impact of the shutdown, Pelosi said the House would begin passing individual bills this week to reopen shuttered federal agencies, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds.

The government shutdown entered day 17 on 8 January after a series of discussions between the Trump administration officials and Democrats failed to yield an agreement on funding for the wall. Recent reports and studies show that illegal border crossings have actually dropped and a majority of Americans are against the wall, but such studies go against the Trump narrative of a grave crisis at the Southern border that required a massive wall across 2000 miles.