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Donald Trump, the President of the United States, in his first ever prime time address to Americans over the ongoing partial government shutdown termed the US-Mexico border situation a "growing crisis" and said "a barrier is absolutely critical to border security". Then, he offered nothing new.

His speech was a compendium of arguments, some of dubious nature, that he has made before: the border is being overrun by unsafe criminals who have committed violent crimes in the U.S.; 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. Trump is expected to discuss what he calls a "humanitarian and national security crisis", although reports conflict about whether he will actually declare an emergency, as he has previously threatened. "The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress". The impasse doesn't look likely to end soon. But he did not mention that Tuesday night. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that she wants to spend exactly $0 on the wall - no matter what it's made out of.

With Trump heading to the border on Thursday, few saw a speedy path to resolution for the partial shutdown, which has furloughed 380,000 federal workers and forced an additional 420,000 to work without pay.

Trump, who has long railed against illegal immigration at the border, has recently seized on humanitarian concerns to argue there is a broader crisis that can only be solved with a wall along the US-Mexico border.

And yet after asking the television networks to clear their schedules so he could address the American people on the subject, Mr Trump nearly seemed reluctant to use the word.

So our suggestion is a simple one: Mr. President: re-open the government and we can work to resolve our differences over border security.

He also has failed to persuade most Americans that he's right.

According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, 51% of Americans believe Trump "deserves most of the blame" for the government shutdown. The President and Vice-President Mike Pence will attend lunch with Republican senators as well.

Both sides see the wall as more than a steel or concrete structure.

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Trump will visit the Capitol on Wednesday to meet with Senate Republicans, and has invited Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to return to the White House to meet with him later that day.

Trump has struggled to change public opinion in part because this is not a new fight. We don't govern by temper tantrum. But the move also gave his opponents a high-profile platform to make their counter-argument. Three weeks into the shutdown, the strain was starting to show with hundreds of thousands of federal workers on track to miss paychecks this week.

Some correspondents have speculated that he may ultimately resort to such a declaration as a last-ditch tactic to allow him to reopen the government without losing face to Democrats.

Conservative radio and television pundits have encouraged Mr Trump to hold his ground.

"Devoid of any facts, the President continues to tout the lie that a wall is the only way to secure our border - it's not".

"Now that the television networks have chose to air the President's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime", they demanded in a joint statement on Monday night. Observing that some people have suggested that a barrier is immoral, Trump asked why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes.

Trump said on January 6 he's considering declaring a national emergency as the United States struggles to stop the aliens from entering the country without permission, noting that even his opponents admit he has the authority to do so.

Some Democrats have in the past been willing to negotiate some sort of wall funding in exchange for presidential backing of immigration changes that would allow people brought to the US illegally as children receive legal status.


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