Saturday, 19 January, 2019


Trump pleads on TV for wall funding to fix border ‘crisis’

US President Donald Trump will visit the US-Mexico border Camera IconUS President Donald Trump will visit the US-Mexico
Hannah Rogers | 10 January, 2019, 00:15

"This is about whether we fulfil our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve", Trump said. He accused the Democrats of being defenders of open borders.

Standing behind a small podium, the pair fired back at Trump, saying his rhetoric has been "full of misinformation and even malice", just minutes after the president made his case to the nation for the need of a southern border wall.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered televised rebuttals to Trump's speech.

He said he was conceding to the Democrats in making the wall steel rather than concrete, as he painted illegal immigrants as criminals and drug dealers who put a strain on public resources and fuel the deaths of Americans by drugs.

The president often highlights such incidents, though studies over several years have found immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. He talked about drug crossings at the border but government statistics show that much of the heroin actually comes not from over the unguarded border, but through ports of call.

Trump plans a visit to the border Thursday as he continues to argue for the wall that was a signature promise of his 2016 presidential campaign. The trade pact contains no provision for Mexico to pay for the wall.

Instead, he renewed his notice that he might declare a national emergency and try to authorise the wall on his own if Congress wouldn't approve the $5.7bn he's asking for.

Democrats and some Republicans warned that this would be seen as a risky escalation of the row and would be challenged in court.

In his first primetime Oval Office speech of his presidency, President Donald Trump doubled down on calls to fund the border wall to address the "growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border".

The government has been partly shuttered since December 22, when Mr. Trump announced he would not sign a funding bill that did not contain wall funding.

The Democrats have "refused to provide our fearless border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation", he added.

Negotiations on wall funding could proceed in the meantime, they said. But the party now uniformly opposes the wall.

Moreover, the majority of Americans themselves aren't buying Trump's claim that the Democrats shoulder the blame for the current shutdown.

Mr Trump's remarks came 18 days into the partial Government shutdown, now the second-longest closure in history. Almost half the GOP Senate caucus is up for re-election next year, putting added pressure on them to get the shutdown over with.

Pelosi and Schumer also emphasized an obvious fact: On the first day that the 116th Congress was in session, House Democrats, who now hold the majority, passed government spending legislation that was almost identical to what Senate Republicans passed at the tail-end of the 115th Congress.

The bottom line? There wasn't any new information in Trump's first Oval Office address; it was the same old racism and the same old xenophobia.

The number of people arrested trying to cross the border has dropped 75 per cent since its high in 2000.

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