President Donald Trump delivered an address to the American people from the Oval Office on Tuesday, speaking about the crisis on the Southern border.
“This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice,” Trump said in his eight-minute address, describing it as “a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.”
The president detailed the ongoing migration and illegal immigration crisis but did not declare an official State of Emergency, which would allow him to shift funding to fund border security without Congress.
“This is the cycle of human suffering I am determined to end,” he said.
He noted that migrant women and children were “victims” of the broken immigration system, specifically citing the more than 20,000 children brought illegally into the United States.
“These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs,” he said.
The president described the ongoing problems with drugs and crime coming across the border, endangering the lives of Americans.
He again stated his request for a $5.7 billion wall, but said that it would be a “steel barrier instead of a concrete wall.”
“This is just common sense,” he said.
He defended the concept of a border wall, disputing that it was “immoral” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted.
“Why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates outside their home?” he asked. “They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside but because they love the people on the inside.”
He argued that the steel barrier would pay for itself, and paid for indirectly by the new trade deal with Mexico.
Trump blamed Democrats for the government shutdown, noting that leaders used to support the idea of more border security.
“They changed their mind only after I was elected president,” Trump said. “Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis.”
He called for Democrats to reopen the government with a funding bill that included and invited them to the White House again to make a deal.
“The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: Because Democrats will not fund border security,” he said.
The president specifically mentioned the tragic death of Ronil Singh and other murders and rapes committed by illegal immigrants.
“How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?”
This is President Trump’s first address from the Oval Office in his presidency.
The president made his remarks as the partial government shutdown continued on the eighteenth day. Congressional Democrats remained resolute against a negotiation on a government funding bill that included funding for a wall on the southern border.
The fight will continue into the week, as Trump plans to attend the Senate Republican lunch on Wednesday with Vice President Mike Pence.
The president did not declare an official State of Emergency, allowing him to immediately shift border funding for wall construction.
On Thursday, the president plans to travel to the border to make his case for more funding.
“I swore to protect our country and that is what I will always do, so help me God,” Trump concluded. “Thank you and good night.”