Donald Trump's border wall speech - in full

Trump has made building a wall- like these prototypes seen from Tijuana

Trump has made building a wall- like these prototypes seen from Tijuana

Trump wants $5.7 billion to build a wall or fence along the Mexican border.

She said: "The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government".

Leaders of the nonpartisan National Governors Association made public a letter Tuesday sent to Trump and congressional leaders a day earlier, calling on them to reopen the government, saying "a federal government shutdown should not be a negotiating tactic as disagreements are resolved".

But with many Americans far from sold on Trump's lurid claims about illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists overwhelming the border, the speech faced its own high barrier: credibility.

In 2006, senators Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden voted in favour of 700 miles (1,120km) of fencing on the almost 2,000-mile border under the Secure Fence Act.

Mr Trump is scheduled to visit the southwest border on Thursday and it was not clear whether he still might choose to make the national emergency declaration.

"President Trump has appealed to fear, not facts. America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation but all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled and illegal migration", Trump said.

Len Saunders, an immigration lawyer based near the border in Blaine, Wash., said those border guards - many of whom are supportive of the president's border-security efforts - may soon stop showing up for work as they begin to feel the shutdown's financial impact.

But the networks also carried Democrats' response, after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded equal time, predicting that Trump's speech would be "full of malice and misinformation".

Since the stalemate over funding is ongoing, Trump had no other choice but to take his case directly to American people in a speech planned for later in the day, the vice president said, as suspense continues to build over the possible big announcement.

Trump and top lawmakers fail to resolve shutdown after meeting
Democrats intend to introduce a pair of funding bills that would end the shutdown, but without federal funding for a border wall. More important, what extra money does come in will be from tariffs, which are paid by people in the USA , not Mexico.

"I think it would probably end up in a lawsuit, so I'm not sure how productive it would be", Senator John Cornyn said.

The number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to less than 400,000 previous year.

Migrants break through the US border fence just beyond the east pedestrian entrance of the San Ysidro crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, on November 25, 2018.

All the major TV networks have agreed to air the address, despite widespread backlash from critics who point to the president's routine falsehoods and say media outlets should not help him spread political propaganda.

And research indicates that undocumented immigrants are much less likely to commit crime than native-born American citizens.

The government has been partly shuttered since December 22, when Mr. Trump announced he would not sign a funding bill that did not contain wall funding.

Matt Dallek, a political historian at George Washington University, predicted that as the shutdown drags on, pressure will mount on Mr. Trump to back down from his demands.

But the president would be accused of usurping Congress's constitutional power of the purse, and the move would be bogged down in a quagmire of legal challenges.

Such a dramatic escalation of the standoff might allow him to access military spending to fund his barrier, which remains un-built two years into his presidency.

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