Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Culture | By Jeremy Gray

Pelosi and Schumer reply to Trump's border wall speech - in full

Pelosi and Schumer reply to Trump's border wall speech - in full

The lunch, in the White House's Roosevelt Room, came hours before Trump delivered his prime-time address to the nation on Tuesday night - but the President made clear that he doubted the speech and border visit would be effective, the report claimed. And Senate Democrats have approved similar funding year after year.

His speech was a compendium of arguments, some of dubious nature, that he has made before: the border is being overrun by risky criminals who have committed violent crimes in the USA; migrant women and children are being victimised; the opioid crisis stems directly from a flood tide of illegal drugs crossing the southern border; his plan to secure that border includes advanced technology, more law enforcement personnel and, yes, a barrier costing $US5.7 billion ($8 billion) that would be made of steel slats, in deference, he said, to Democrats who oppose a concrete wall - a change Democrats say they never asked for.

Democrats largely agree with those types of measures, and in their bills have backed spending $1.3 billion for scanning equipment and adding more border personnel.

If you're a cord cutter who wants to watch the speech and rebuttal online, the address is slated to begin at 9 p.m. ET and will stream live on C-SPAN or the YouTube channel for PBS NewsHour.

And research indicates that undocumented immigrants are much less likely to commit crime than native-born American citizens. He also suggested that his proposal to build the wall from steel, rather than concrete, was a concession to Democrats.

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.

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Mr Trump had spent days mulling declaring a state of emergency along the border that would have given him powers to bypass Congress, which has so far refused to fund the wall project, and draw funds from the military to build the border barrier.

A March study by the journal Criminology found "undocumented immigration does not increase violence".

US Senator for Maryland Ben Cardin said the President was continuing to "peddle fear to sell his wall". "Division, not unity", the NY senator said.

"They don't do it because they hate the people on the outside".

Those numbers mean a person's odds of becoming a victim of homicide in tightly packed, diverse New York City were about the same as they were past year in Montana. But the president was not expected to make that declaration Tuesday night, said two people familiar with the White House plans, although it was possible he could change course. Trump may hope he can get his wall by other means than compromise; Democrats may think they can crush Trump right at the start of a new Congress. The trade pact contains no provision for Mexico to pay for the wall. Trump stated inaccurately that it's "brand new".

Calling the immigration matter "a crisis of the heart and soul", Trump said the United States is "out of space" to accommodate illegal migrants, adding that it "strains public resources and drives down jobs" that "hurt all Americans". The president alleged that the Democrats in Congress had failed to acknowledge the crisis and refused to provide the border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect families and the nation. Two sick children recently died in the administration's custody after making the journey to the U.S. Whether he is right or wrong, Trump has exaggerated the problem by repeatedly promoting the discredited notion that terrorism suspects are pouring into the US from Mexico by the thousands. There is bipartisan legislation - supported by Democrats and Republicans - to re-open government while allowing debate over border security to continue. He ordered U.S. troops to take up stations on the border.

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