Trump: ‘Lives Will Be Lost If We Don’t Act Right Now’ on Wall
By Jason Devaney
President Donald took his case for border security in front of the American people Tuesday night, saying in a nationally televised address that American lives are at stake.
“All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration,” Trump said from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.
“Thousands of more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.”
Trump said his administration has put together a comprehensive border security package that includes a steel barrier, rather than a concrete wall he has touted since 2015.
“At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier, rather than a concrete wall,” he said.
The cost of that barrier, Trump noted, will be indirectly borne by Mexico via the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the updated version of the NAFTA trade deal between the three North American countries.
The government has been partially shut down since Dec. 22 after lawmakers could not agree on funding for a border wall. With Democrats now in control of the House, the likelihood of having a border barrier constructed has decreased.
Trump cited statistics and examples of violence against American citizens at the hands of illegal aliens, along with the illegal drugs that are brought across the border, to make his case.
Trump said he is “determined to end” human suffering.
Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, 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.
Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was “immoral” for “politicians to do nothing.”
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 U.S.-Mexico border. But critics say the security risks are overblown and his administration is at least partly to blame for the humanitarian situation.
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 Tuesday night.
Democrats have vowed to block funding for a wall, which they say would be immoral and ineffective, and have called on Trump to reopen shuttered portions of the government while border negotiations continue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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