President Trump appealed directly to the American people for increased border security and funding in his Oval Office address on Tuesday night. He made a clear case that his Democratic opponents shoulder the blame for the current impasse.
“Sen. Chuck Schumer… has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past along with many other Democrats. They changed their mind only after I was elected president. Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis, and they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation,” Trump said.
“The Federal Government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security… The only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government,” Trump continued, “This situation could be solved in a 45 minute meeting.”
Before the president’s address, the White House released its plan for using the requested funds. They include $5.7 billion to construct 234 miles of new physical barriers along the border. The president is also looking for $675 million for equipment to detect and deter narcotics, weapons and other contraband attempting to be brought across the southern border.
“Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs including meth, heroine, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border,” Trump said. “More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.”
The administration wants an additional almost $6 billion to hire more border patrol agents and immigration judges and for the housing, medical and transportation costs associated with those detained at the border.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have both verbalized opposition of further funding for a border wall or barrier. Pelosi has called a wall between nations an “immorality.”