Donald Trump stops short of declaring national emergency over border wall, blames Democrats for Government shutdown – Donald Trump’s America
US President Donald Trump has again laid out his case for a border wall. (AP: Orlin Wagner (file photo))
US President Donald Trump has used a nationally televised address to once again pitch his concept of a steel barrier at the border between the United States and Mexico to the American people, without taking the extreme step of declaring a national emergency.
Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Mr Trump argued for funding on security and humanitarian grounds as he sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats amid an extended partial Government shutdown.
He declared there was “a humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul” behind the border debate.
Mr Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was “immoral” for “politicians to do nothing”.
“As part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $US5.7 billion for a physical barrier,” he said.
“At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.
“This barrier is absolutely critical to border security.
“Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis.”
Mr Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall along the US-Mexico border.
But critics say the security risks are overblown and his administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.
Mr Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to circumvent Congress and move forward with the wall. But he made no mention of such a declaration on Wednesday.
Democrats have vowed to block funding for a wall, which they say would be immoral and ineffective, and have called on Mr Trump to reopen shuttered portions of the government while border negotiations continue.