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Trump offers steel over concrete in border wall compromise

09 January 2019

Trump is insisting on $5 billion to fund his border wall, a figure Democratic leaders say is a non-starter.

NBC, Fox and CBS so far have said that they will air a Democratic response to President Donald Trump's primetime address on border security on Tuesday evening, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requested the time. For weeks he has dug in on a signature campaign promise to his base voters, the pledge to build an impregnable "beautiful" wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The president said in the address that the "growing humanitarian and security crisis" was hurting all Americans and that uncontrolled illegal immigration must be stopped. The vice president stressed that there is indeed a crisis, adding that it must be taken care of before the administration can move onto negotiating other parts of the USA national security funding.

Over the weekend, Trump threatened to declare a national state of emergency in order to use still-unspecified presidential "emergency powers" to force a border wall to be built. Pence did not say whether Trump had made a decision or if the White House had completed its legal review of such a declaration.

The situation at the border was dubbed a "humanitarian and national security crisis" by Trump in a Monday tweet announcing his speech. Democrats, who now control the House, have consistently opposed it, calling it an expensive, inefficient and immoral way of trying to resolve immigration issues. He said it strained public resources and drove down jobs and wages. He did not declare an emergency and instead talked about building a steel barrier rather than a wall. There were almost 400,000 apprehensions at the border in the 2018 fiscal year, well down from the early 2000s when arrests regularly topped one million annually.

The fact-checking nonprofit PolitiFact, run by the Poynter Institute, said on Twitter that it will live fact-check the president's address Tuesday night.

Pelosi said "we all agree that we need to secure our borders", noting the House passed legislation to reopen government on the first day of the new Congress. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) felt that Trump's willingness to compromise on the walls material could mean he was ready to negotiate.

Trump said on January 6 he's considering declaring a national emergency as the United States struggles to stop the aliens from entering the country without permission, noting that even his opponents admit he has the authority to do so.

During the campaigning he pledged Mexico would pay for the wall, but since taking office he has been unable to achieve this, and is now attempting to use United States taxpayer funds to the tune of US$5.7 billion (NZ$8.5b).

US President Donald Trump wants the Democrats to approve funding for a wall to end a government shutdown.

The impasse between the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives and the Republican president has forced Trump's hand to consider alternative funding, something a national emergency would provide through a military construction budget.

Trump offers steel over concrete in border wall compromise