Trump addresses nation over southern border crisis amid government shutdown
US President Donald J. Trump speaks to the nation in his first-prime address from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, Jan. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/CARLOS BARRIA / POOL
US President Donald J. Trump is seen through a window of the Oval Office as he delivers a televised address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, USA, Jan. 8, 2019. EPA-EFE/KEVIN DIETSCH/POOL
Migrants prepare to spend the night in a shelter for migrants on New Year's Eve in Tijuana, Mexico, Dec. 31, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/ALONSO ROCHIN
Washington DC, Jan 8 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Tuesday urged Democrats to approve funding for a wall along the border with Mexico, as a partial federal government shutdown entered its third week.
In a televised address to the nation, Donald Trump said there was a humanitarian crisis unfolding along the southern border, where thousands of Central American migrants, fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries, have been gathering over recent weeks and months in an attempt to enter the US.
"All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal immigration", Trump said, adding that this was a "crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul" and "a cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end".
The federal government was partially shutdown last month after Congress failed to approve a budget, with funding of the border wall a major sticking point between the Republican and Democratic parties.
The president blamed the shutdown on the Democrats, saying the "federal government remains shutdown for one reason only: because democrats will not fund border security."
Trump said he was seeking $5.7 billion to fund the barrier on the border with Mexico, stressing that protecting the country's borders was akin to building walls or fences around one's home.
"Why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside but because they love the people on the inside", he said.
The president listed several isolated accounts of gruesome crimes committed by immigrants who had entered the country illegally, before qualifying the crisis as "a choice between right and wrong, between justice and injustice".