Donald Trump demands $5.7 billion for steel barrier on US-Mexico border


The situation along the USA border with Mexico is a "growing crisis", President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (Jan 8), stressing that uncontrolled illegal immigration is hurting millions of Americans.

"America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled and illegal migration", Trump said.

The President had an ally in Senator for Georgia David Perdue who tweeted that Mr Trump "showed leadership" by speaking directly to the American people.

With the partial government shutdown going on for over a fortnight now, there is increasing panic in the two camps and both sides are trying to reach out to Americans to explain their position on the stalemate. The next presidential election is nearly two years away, but his campaign is already paying for TV adverts condemning Democrats for opposing his policy.

The standoff has closed one quarter of the federal government since December 22.

Following Mr Trump's run down of crime by illegal immigrants, pundits on Twitter were quick to point out mass murders and criminals are often white Americans.

ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS have all announced on Monday that they are going to cover Trump's speech as he delivers it live from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, according to CNN.

Noting that his administration was doing everything in its power to help those impacted by the situation, Trump said the only solution was for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends the borders and reopens the government.

Mr Trump said an as-yet-unratified revamp of the North American Free Trade Agreement would pay for the wall, a claim previously disputed by economists. Trump's shtick is getting old and boring, Republicans are slowly breaking from his creed, the first rumblings are being heard today.

Mr Trump deployed about 5,800 troops to the border and described the migrants as an "invasion".

The unexpected length of the shutdown has raised the prospect that Trump would begin to lose support among Republicans anxious to reopen the government and doubtful of the White House strategy.

"We don't govern by temper tantrum", Schumer said. In fact, House Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security.

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The Mexican government has refused to provide such funds.

But media organisations are preparing to fact-check the president as he speaks.

It seems unlikely that the president said anything on Tuesday that will move the needle with the public at large.

He will meet with Republican lawmakers at the Capitol on Wednesday. On Thursday he travels to the border.

What's the reality at the border?

TRUMP: "Democrats will not fund border security".

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

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says the group had a "robust exchange" and 'questions were asked and answered'.

His most loyal supporters would have loved it. He also suggested that his proposal to build the wall from steel, rather than concrete, was a concession to Democrats.

Her fellow Republican senators, Susan Collins of ME and Cory Gardner of Colorado, issued similar appeals last week. Whether he is right or wrong, Trump has exaggerated the problem by repeatedly promoting the discredited notion that terrorism suspects are pouring into the USA from Mexico by the thousands.

A man passes a Mexican migrant baby to her mother after they jump the border fence to get to the USA side.

What would an emergency declaration achieve?

Newly empowered Democrats, meanwhile, have been urged by their base to fight Mr Trump's signature campaign pledge. Such a move would likely be met with a court challenge. We can re-open the government AND continue to work through disagreements about policy.