Trump demands US border wall, sidesteps declaring emergency

Carla Harmon
January 9, 2019

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.

U.S. President Donald Trump made his case for more funding for a border wall in a prime-time address.

"Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders", Mr Trump said.

As many as half a dozen GOP senators have said the government should reopen while border security negotiations with Democrats continue.

"The women and children at the border are not a security threat", Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a televised rebuttal, as she accused Mr. Trump of "manufacturing a crisis".

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

"This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border", he added.

Mr Trump cited cases of gruesome murders of American citizens that he said had been committed by undocumented immigrants.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says "only a small percentage" of heroin seized by US authorities comes across on territory between ports of entry.

The President also repeated an assertion that the wall will be paid for by Mexico through the new U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement.

With the partial government shutdown nearing its third week and no end in sight, US President Donald Trump says he is considering declaring a national state of emergency as a way to the necessary funds for the border wall, or steel barrier.

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. Democrats, who now control the House, have consistently opposed it, calling it an expensive, inefficient and immoral way of trying to resolve immigration issues.

His speech was a compendium of arguments, some of dubious nature, that he has made before: the border is being overrun by risky criminals who have committed violent crimes in the USA; migrant women and children are being victimised; the opioid crisis stems directly from a flood tide of illegal drugs crossing the southern border; his plan to secure that border includes advanced technology, more law enforcement personnel and, yes, a barrier costing $US5.7 billion ($8 billion) that would be made of steel slats, in deference, he said, to Democrats who oppose a concrete wall - a change Democrats say they never asked for. The other was Republicans in Congress, who Mr Trump needs to keep in the fold if he is going to get anything out of this extended political confrontation.

However, 77% of Republicans said they supported his refusal to approve a budget without taxpayer dollars for the US-Mexico border wall, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll.

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.

The wall was the first major promise of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, and a rallying cry for his supporters.

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. Ninety per cent of which floods across from our southern border.

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.

Other reports by iNewsToday