President Trump Tuesday night took his campaign for funding for border security, including a “steel wall,” changed from concrete at the request of Democrats, to the American public, insisting the standoff with Congress can be resolved in a 45-minute meeting.
He said he invited congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday for that purpose.
The confrontation has been going on since before Christmas, when Democrats in Congress issued a flat refusal to provide any funding for a border barrier of any kind.
The president, pointing out that those same Democrats had supported building a barrier before he was president, said it was essential to include border security in the budget bill.
Lacking a funding bill, several federal agencies have been shut down.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has declared that building a wall on the border is immoral.
Not so, said the president, pointing out that some Democratic leaders have walls around their houses.
“Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside,” Trump said.
“The only thing that is immoral is for the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.”
Describing the breach of the southern border as a “crisis” for humanitarian and security reasons, Trump noted America welcomes millions of lawful immigrants.
“All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration,” he said. “It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages. Among those hardest hit are African-Americans and Hispanic Americans. Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl. Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border. More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.”
Border officers have made hundreds of thousands of arrests in recent years, including suspects in 4,000 “violent killings,” he said.
Children en route to the U.S. are abused and women are raped.
“This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end,” he said.
His proposal, based on the input of security professionals, includes more agents, more immigration judges and bed space for those being processed in the system.
“Our plan contains urgent humanitarian assistance and medical support,” he said.
Also, Congress should close security loopholes so children can safely be returned to their homes.
He is seeking $5.7 billion for border security and insisted a wall is a critical component.
“At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier, rather than a concrete wall,” said Trump.
He urged Americans to their representatives, noting many Democratic lawmakers have supported such measures in the past.
“They changed their minds only after I was elected president,” he said.
Citing the Americans killed by illegal aliens, he asked, “How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?”
On the Fox News Channel, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked of his fellow members of Congress: “Why did you give the money to Obama and Bush if it was a manufactured crisis?
“To my Democratic friends, how many caravans have to rush the border until you believe there’s a problem?”
Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, slammed Trump’s address.
“Let me be clear: Holding the government hostage and leaving 800,000 federal employees without pay in demand of $5 billion for an unnecessary border wall is NOT presidential — it’s cowardice.
“We don’t need a government shutdown that hurts hundreds of thousands of Americans in order to work on issues like immigration reform and national security. And we certainly don’t need more of Trump spreading lies on national television — as he did tonight — to score cheap political points while hundreds of thousands of federal employees face their third week of work without pay.”