But the president added he wants to try to negotiate an end to the partial government shutdown that includes funding for the wall.
There were two audiences for Donald Trump's address to the nation on Tuesday night. (According to the Toronto Star, the USA president had made almost 4,000 false claims as of December 5 for an average of 5.8 per day.) Recently, the White House has been trying to justify funding a wall on the notion that there is a new crisis at the southern border, when in fact the number of people trying to cross the border has been in decline for nearly two decades.
While Trump has frequently painted a picture of an "unprecedented crisis" of illegal immigration at the U.S. "The apprehension in the past year of 17,000 people at our border with previously criminal history". The president has been saying there's a "crisis" at the border practically since he first started campaigning for president. "The fact is the Congress should do its job and come to the table", Pence told CBS News.
The government has been partially shut down for 18 days, and although negotiations have been ongoing, President Trump has thus far failed to reach a compromise with House and Senate Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, both sides deadlocked over Trump's requested $5 billion for a border wall between the United States and Mexico. NBC News reported on Monday that US border protection officials stopped only six immigrants in the first half of 2018 whose names were on a list of suspected terrorists, in contrast to White House claims that the number was in the thousands.
Vice-President Mike Pence and senior administration officials did nothing to quell reports that a national emergency declaration is in the works, repeatedly echoing Trump's claim that "there is a humanitarian and national security crisis".
All major USA television networks agreed to broadcast Trump's speech, prompting the Democrats to seek equal air time.
"We don't think that's the American way", Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday. We can reopen the government AND continue to work through disagreements about policy. But even if blocked, Mr Trump could claim to his base that he had done what he could, while ending the damaging government shutdown.
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Federal employees will feel the pinch from the shutdown on Friday, when they will miss their paycheques for the first time, unless a deal is reached.
With Trump heading to the border on Thursday, few saw a speedy path to resolution for the partial shutdown, which has furloughed 380,000 federal workers and forced an additional 420,000 to work without pay.
One of the most common canards against immigration is the idea that illegal immigrants drive down the wages for native workers.
Trump made his promise for a wall a signature issue in his 2016 White House run.
Democrats, who ended the Trump presidency's dominance of domestic politics when they seized the House of Representatives from his Republicans in November, cried foul before a word was spoken. He said Mexico would pay for it, although Mexico was always clear it would not, and he has now turned to Congress for the money.
"This barrier is absolutely critical to border security".
Critics have decried the previous separation of migrant children from families, the use of tear gas at the border and the case of two Guatemalan migrant children who died in USA custody in December.