Donald Trump plans prime-time address and visit to border as government shutdown drags on – Donald Trump’s America
Mr Trump will likely highlight security concerns during his visit to the Mexico border this week. (AP: Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
US President Donald Trump plans to deliver a prime-time address to the nation on immigration and visit the US-Mexico border as his administration grapples with a partial federal shutdown that began 16 days ago over his demand for funding for a border wall.
- New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says building a wall is “immoral”
- Pressure to end the shutdown is likely to build amid possible cuts in food stamp programs and delayed tax refunds
- Mr Trump last visited the southern border in March
The Republican President showed no sign of backing off his pledge to build a wall, which he says is necessary to stem illegal immigration.
Democrats in Congress disagree, with new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling the building of a wall “immoral”.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders announced on Twitter that Mr Trump would make a trip to the border on Thursday (local time) and said details would be released soon.
The visit likely will highlight security concerns pushed by the administration as justification for the wall.
A short while later, Mr Trump said in his own Twitter post that he would address the nation at 9:00pm on Tuesday night (1:00pm AEDT on Wednesday) on the border situation.
Donald Trump tweet: I am pleased to inform you that I will Address the Nation on the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border. Tuesday night at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.
Politicians and Mr Trump hit an impasse last month over his demand that a bill to keep the federal government operational include money for a wall along the border with Mexico.
About 800,000 government workers are either on leave or working without pay.
Mr Trump said in December he would be “proud” to shut the government down over the wall and last week told politicians it could last months.
However, pressure to reach a deal is likely to grow as the effects of the shutdown are felt, including possible cuts in food stamp programs and delayed tax refunds.
Mr Trump skipped a planned trip to Florida to stay in Washington during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays after large chunks of the federal government were shut on December 22.
He exhorted Democrats in Congress to “come back from vacation” and approve funding for his wall.
Democrats returned to Washington in the new year, taking control of the US House of Representatives, and passed legislation to reopen all closed government agencies but did not include wall funding.
This week, they will pass a series of bills to reopen federal agencies after weekend talks between the Trump administration and Democratic negotiators failed to end a stalemate.
On Sunday, Mr Trump pledged not to bend in his demand for $US5.6 billion ($7.8 billion) to pay for the wall but said the barrier could be made of steel instead of concrete as a potential compromise with Democrats who refuse to fund it.
Mr Trump has argued the wall is necessary for national security and has tried to link terrorism to illegal immigration, without providing evidence, as justification for the plan.
Democrats say the wall is expensive and inefficient, as well as contrary to American values.
Mr Trump visited the southern border last March.