Trump to address Americans amid fears of national emergency

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The White House said that the speech will be about a humanitarian and national security crisis at the border, something that Vice President Mike Pence echoed in interviews on network morning shows on Tuesday.

Global News will be streaming Trump's Oval Office address live at 9 p.m. ET on our website and on YouTube.

Democrats have said they support increased border security measures such as additional USA border agents and technology, but have rejected the administration's claims about the security risks at the border and have raised concerns that Trump will use his speech to present a false narrative.

President Donald Trump has told Americans in a prime-time speech Tuesday that the US-Mexico border is a "crisis of the soul" and Congress must approve construction of a wall to end a government shutdown now in its 18th day. For weeks he has dug in on a signature campaign promise to his base voters, the pledge to build an impregnable "beautiful" wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump has reportedly considered declaring the border situation a national emergency, which could enable him to bypass congressional review and build his wall without its approval.

Though Mr Trump did not declare a national emergency on Tuesday night, analysts say he may still do so before the shutdown is resolved.

Experts say if the shutdown persists, Canadians entering the US will see an escalating impact at the northern border, where Customs and Border Protection officials are working without pay because their jobs are considered an essential service.

The president said among those hit hardest by illegal immigration were African-Americans and Hispanics, though he did not provide any evidence to back that up. Trump is refusing to accept any Congress proposal to fund the government that does not include the money he is demanding for the wall.

"At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall". There were almost 400,000 apprehensions at the border in the 2018 fiscal year, well down from the early 2000s when arrests regularly topped one million annually.

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"The border wall would pay for itself".

"As part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested US$5.7 billion for a physical barrier", Trump said.

Trump explained in his speech the barrier was critical to security with thousands of Americans killed by those who had illegally entered the country. While Trump has previously described the situation on the border that way - including when he directed active duty troops there ahead of the midterm elections- he has never signed an official proclamation.

The president had "chosen fear" in making the case to the American people for the border wall and Democrats "want to start with the facts", she said.

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.

During the campaigning he pledged Mexico would pay for the wall, but since taking office he has been unable to achieve this, and is now attempting to use U.S. taxpayer funds to the tune of US$5.7 billion (NZ$8.5b).

Leaning on Senate Republicans, some of whom are growing anxious about the impact of the shutdown, Pelosi said the House would begin passing individual bills this week to reopen shuttered federal agencies, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds.

Democrats, who ended the Trump presidency's dominance of domestic politics when they seized the House of Representatives from his Republicans in November, cried foul before a word was spoken.

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