Donald Trump makes case for border wall to tackle 'humanitarian crisis'

US President Donald Trump will visit the US-Mexico border

Camera IconUS President Donald Trump will visit the US-Mexico

"The women and children at the border are not a security threat", Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a televised rebuttal, as she accused Mr. Trump of "manufacturing a crisis".

The partial government shutdown reached its 18th day, making the closure the second-longest in history. It could also provide an easy, face-saving path from the political quagmire, though Democrats have said they would challenge an emergency declaration in court.

Trump's address will air at 9 p.m.

In response to Trump claiming his wall would stop drug trafficking across the border, Smith said, "Government statistics show much of the heroin actually comes not over the unguarded border but through ports of call".

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.

Make no mistake: Democrats and the President both want stronger border security.

In 2006, senators Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden voted in favour of 700 miles (1,120km) of fencing on the almost 2,000-mile border under the Secure Fence Act.

American democracy doesn't work that way. "How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?"

On Thursday he heads to the south-western border. We don't govern by temper tantrum.

There is an obvious solution: separate the shutdown from the arguments over border security. Previewing his remarks, expected to last eight minutes, Vice-President Mike Pence told TV interviewers that Trump would outline "a genuine humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border". "Division, not unity", the NY senator said. But the New York Democrat says the 'symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall'.

In a 2018 report, the agency said the most common trafficking technique by transnational criminal organizations is to hide drugs in passenger vehicles or tractor-trailers as they drive into the USA though entry ports, where they are stopped and subject to inspection. But he did not mention that Tuesday night. We can secure our border without an expensive, ineffective wall.

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It seems unlikely that the president said anything on Tuesday that will move the needle with the public at large.

Senator Schumer said Mr Trump "just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration".

What's the reality at the border?

The number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to fewer than 400,000 past year.

The president often highlights such incidents, though studies over several years have found immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. On Monday, Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, admitted that this was "an unfortunate misstatement" as most of the individuals were stopped at airports.

Trump called on Democrats to return to the White House to meet with him, saying it was "immoral" for "politicians to do nothing".

Her fellow Republican senators, Susan Collins of ME and Cory Gardner of Colorado, issued similar appeals last week.

Meanwhile, a Reuters poll also conducted in the first week of the year found that 51% of Americans believe Trump "deserves most of the blame" for the shutdown.

Such a dramatic escalation of the standoff might allow him to access military spending to fund his barrier, which remains un-built two years into his presidency.

Democrats have rejected the idea as an illegal overreach of presidential authority but Republican lawmakers - who repeatedly challenged former president Barack Obama's attempts to exert executive authority - have been relatively quiet.

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