Full Trump speech on government shutdown, border security

Full Trump speech on government shutdown, border security

President Donald Trump will tell Americans in a primetime speech Tuesday that the US-Mexico border is in "crisis" and Congress must approve construction of a wall to end a government shutdown now in its 18th day.

As seen from a window outside the Oval Office, President Donald Trump gives a prime-time address about border security.

Media captionFive questions about Trump's border wall What did President Trump say?

But the president would be accused of usurping Congress's constitutional power of the purse, and the move would be bogged down in a quagmire of legal challenges.

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.

Using blunt language in an attempt to win public support, Mr Trump said illegal immigrants and drugs flowing across the southern border posed a serious threat to American safety.

The current closure of a quarter of federal agencies is the second-longest in history, leaving hundreds of thousands of government workers unpaid. Vice-President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with Republican lawmakers later on Tuesday, before Trump's speech. Some say Trump's hardline policies are slowing processing for migrants, creating an overwhelming bottleneck at the border.

The number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to less than 400,000 previous year. There were almost 400,000 apprehensions at the border in the 2018 fiscal year, well down from the early 2000s when arrests regularly topped one million annually.

The paper reported it was unlikely Trump would declare a national emergency, citing sources familiar with Trump's planned remarks - although the president has been known to stray from the words put down on paper by aides. At the same time, the number of arrests of people crossing illegally from Mexico has been been falling since the early 2000s.

"They don't do it because they hate the people on the outside". It could potentially unlock military dollars for building the wall. But according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, most were trying to enter by air.

More news: Democrats set to counter Trump after Oval Office address

All major US television networks agreed to broadcast Trump's speech, prompting the Democrats to seek equal air time.

Democratic New Jersey Sen. Joe Manchin told CNN.

"If his past statements are an indication, (the speech) will be full of malice and misinformation", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the senior Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said in a statement.

"We don't think that's the American way", Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday.

Mr Trump will follow up with a rare trip to the Mexico border itself on Thursday.

Some correspondents have speculated that he may ultimately resort to such a declaration as a last-ditch tactic to allow him to reopen the government without losing face to Democrats. But even if blocked, Mr Trump could claim to his base that he had done what he could, while ending the damaging government shutdown.

Experts say if the shutdown persists, Canadians entering the US will see an escalating impact at the northern border, where Customs and Border Protection officials are working without pay because their jobs are considered an essential service.

There is an obvious solution: separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security.

Trump made his promise for a wall a signature issue in his 2016 White House run.

American democracy doesn't work that way. Two Guatemalan children have died in border custody, while images of border patrol officers firing tear gas at migrants have raised the ire of critics.

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