President Trump, citing a “crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” made an impassioned appeal to save lives and even save money by building a $5.7 billion border wall, in a direct prime time address to the American people Tuesday night.
“There is a growing humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border,” Trump said. “All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration.”
Trump cited a loss of jobs in American minority communities and spoke about thousands of deaths from the flow of drugs and a long list of murders by illegal immigrants, as well as the trafficking in children — “human pawns” — and women migrants who are sexually abused.
“This is a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said. “Women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system … this is the tragic reality of uncontrolled migration on our southern border.”
Trump said his proposal to Congress has both medical and other resources to deal with the flow of migrants, as well as law enforcement, and a $5.7 billion “steel barrier,” which he said was a concession to Democrats, rather than a concrete wall.
“These are the resources they have requested to properly conduct their mission,” Trump said. “This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself.”
Trump added that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and other Democrats once supported the idea of a wall and “they changed their mind only after I was elected president.” He also referred to the walled enclaves that rich and powerful people live behind as an example of hypocrisy in opposing a wall.
“The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only. Because Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said. “How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does it job?”
As Trump presses his case that the situation at the southern border is a crisis warranting emergency action, Democrats have dug in as roughly 800,000 federal employees affected by the shutdown inch closer to missing paychecks.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in his response said Trump should reopen government amid talks over the wall because there’s “no excuse for hurting millions of Americans.”
He said Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to secure borders but, “We don’t govern by temper tantrum.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also agreed “we need to secure our borders,” but she said Trump has “chosen fear” in making his case for the border wall and Democrats “want to start with the facts.”
House Democrats are expected to begin passing piecemeal funding bills today for each of the affected federal agencies, a move aimed to pressure Republicans as the shutdown comes close to entering its third week.
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