Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Trump Calls Border Security a ‘Crisis’ as Democrats Challenge Claims

Here’s how Trump’s shutdown hurts millions of Americans who don’t even work for the federal government WATCH LIVE: Donald Trump’s speech on U.S.-Mexico border wall funding
Charles Bowen | 09 January, 2019, 16:09

Trump said in his speech that there is a "growing humanitarian and security crisis" at the southern border, although crossings have fallen in recent years. The Democratic senator Bob Menendez told reporters that the televised address should come with a "warning to viewers". The other was Republicans in Congress, who Mr Trump needs to keep in the fold if he is going to get anything out of this extended political confrontation.

Smith also informed his information-challenged audience that that new trade deal with Mexico that's supposed to pay for all this isn't actually a thing yet: "As for the trade deal he mentioned with Mexico, which he said would pay for the wall, that trade deal is not yet complete".

Democrats passed legislation the day they took control of the House that offered $1.3 billion for border security, including physical barriers and technology along the US southern border.

The partial shutdown started on December 22 when funding for many federal agencies expired and the US president refused to sign any spending measure from the Congress that did not include United States dollars 5 billion for his US-Mexico border wall.

Mr Trump's decision to use peak television airtime shows he is trying to reach beyond his base to garner support.

As he's done since the beginning of his presidential campaign, Trump cherry-picked uncited statistics and cases to illustrate his unproven belief that undocumented immigrants are synonymous with crime.

It seems unlikely that the president said anything on Tuesday that will move the needle with the public at large. The president has been saying there's a "crisis" at the border practically since he first started campaigning for president. Almost half the GOP Senate caucus is up for re-election next year, putting added pressure on them to get the shutdown over with. However, we sharply disagree with the President about the most effective way to do it.

What's the reality at the border?

While the number of families coming over the border has risen sharply, the number of border arrests - the leading gauge of how many people are trying to cross illegally - is actually one-quarter of what it was in 2000, dropping from 1.6 million then to 400,000 in 2018.

Multiple studies from social scientists and the libertarian think-tank Cato Institute have found that people here illegally are less likely to commit crime than US citizens, and legal immigrants are even less likely to do so.

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The White House suggested at the weekend that thousands of terrorists were caught attempting to cross the US-Mexico border, but in fact all but a handful were stopped at airports.

How much support does President Trump have?

Responding in their own televised remarks, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of misrepresenting the situation on the border as they urged him to reopen closed government departments and turn loose paychecks for hundreds of thousands of workers.

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

A new opinion poll suggests just over half of Americans (51%) blame President Trump for the government shutdown.

A man holds on to the border wall along the beach in Tijuana, Mexico.

What would an emergency declaration achieve?

Mr Trump has asserted that he has the authority to build a wall without congressional approval if he declares a national emergency, but the White House hasn't explained the legal justification. The next presidential election is nearly two years away, but his campaign is already paying for TV adverts condemning Democrats for opposing his policy.

Ultimately, there will have to be an agreement to reopen the government, though exactly on whose terms remains the sticking point.

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