Culture

Trump doubles down on push for border wall in televised address

Trump doubles down on push for border wall in televised address”

Trump stretched credulity even more by comparing the wall money he wants from Congress to the cost of the entire drug problem in the U.S.: "The border wall would very quickly pay for itself".

In a nationally televised address on Tuesday night, Trump asked: "How much more American blood must be shed before Congress does its job?" referring to murders he said were committed by illegal immigrants.

As he's done since the beginning of his presidential campaign, Trump cherry-picked uncited statistics and cases to illustrate his unproven belief that undocumented immigrants are synonymous with crime.

Over the course of the nine minute speech, Trump claimed that the ongoing government shutdown is the result of Democrats' unwillingness to fund border security and accused the party of refusing to "acknowledge the crisis" and provide border agents with the tools they need.

She noted that the House passed legislation to reopen government on the first day of the new Congress.

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 United States; 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.

By using a Democratic majority to ram those bills through the House, Pelosi is hoping enough Senate Republicans back her up and abandon Trump's wall gambit.

Mr Trump said the wall is not "immoral" as he said wealthy politicians build walls and fences around their homes because they love the people on the inside, not because they hate people on the outside. But that legislation didn't authorize the kind of wall Trump has always been advocating since he launched his campaign. New York City, for example, has the nation's largest population of immigrants living in the country illegally - about 500,000 - and a year ago had only 289 murders among a total population of 8.5 million people, according to preliminary data.

"They don't build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside. Division, not unity", the NY senator said. The trade pact contains no provision for Mexico to pay for the wall. For example, he has said the deal will dissuade some US companies from moving operations to Mexico and he credits that possibility as a payment by Mexico for his wall. Trump stated inaccurately that it's "brand new". The deal has yet to be ratified in any member country and its chances of winning legislative approval are not assured. What's more, only 42% view the current situation at the southern border as a "crisis", and just 44% support the construction of a border wall at all. Two sick children recently died in the administration's custody after making the journey to the U.S.

Later in the day, Trump is scheduled to host bipartisan congressional leaders to see if they can break the deadlock.

The debate is much sharper over whether a national security crisis exists at the border.

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

Watch the full statements by both Trump and the Democrats.



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