Washington, Jan 9 (IANS) In a primetime address to the nation over the “growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the US-Mexico border, President Donald Trump said that all Americans were hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration.
“My fellow Americans, tonight I’m speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” CNN quoted Trump as saying in his speech televised live from the Oval Office on Tuesday night.
“All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration… It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.”
The immigration matter, Trump said, was “a crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul”.
The President said that the US could no longer accommodate immigrants who enter the country illegally.
“We are out of space to hold them and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country,” Trump said.
The President then went on to blame the Democrats for an 18-day partial government shutdown, saying the matter could be easily resolved if his political opponents cede to his demands on border funding.
“The government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: the Democrats will not fund border security,” Trump said.
Democrats have expressed support for border security steps like enhanced technology, but have refused to provide support for a border barrier.
Trump said he would resume talks with Democrats on Wednesday.
The President however, did not declare a national emergency due to the crisis, which could have allowed him to fund his promised border wall without congressional approval, CNN said.
Soon after his speech, the Democrats slammed Trump with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that the no president should demand “he gets his way or else the government shuts down”.
“No president should pound the table and demand he gets his way or else the government shuts down. Hurting millions of Americans who are treated as leverage” he said on late Tuesday night, speaking alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“We don’t govern by temper tantrum.”
Pelosi added: “President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government.”
Trump’s address on Tuesday comes before his scheduled visit to the US-Mexico border region on Thursday.