President Trump in a prime-time address Tuesday said a wall along the southern border is key to national security, as he called for lawmakers to fund it and end a partial government shutdown that is days away from becoming the longest in U.S. history.
In the televised address from the Oval Office, Mr. Trump’s first in his nearly two years as president, he said a barrier is necessary to prevent the movement of illegal drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, and he shared stories of human trafficking.
“This is a humanitarian crisis—a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” said Mr. Trump, sitting at the Resolute Desk. “This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic congressional leaders, issued an immediate televised response to the president, rejecting the idea of a wall as unnecessary.
“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government,” Mrs. Pelosi said.
Mr. Schumer said Democrats are united with the president on the need for stronger border security, but said: “We sharply disagree with the president about the most effective way to do it.”
Earlier Tuesday evening, Senate Democrats prevented the chamber from moving to consider a package of bills aimed at boosting security assistance for Israel and other Middle Eastern policy provisions. Republicans hold 53 seats in the Senate, where most bills need 60 votes to clear procedural hurdles.
Ron Paul on the Wall
Former Congressman and libertarian icon Ron Paul has some advice for President Trump.
Instead of building a wall along the southern border to keep out illegal immigrants, maybe he should instead try removing the incentives that attract them to the US in the first place - incentives like a relatively easy path to citizenship and easy access to welfare benefits.
After Paul said the shutdown "isn't significant in the scheme of things," Paul's interviewer, Squawk Box's Andrew Ross Sorkin, asked if he supported Trump's border wall, Paul responded that he "doesn't like walls" (though he didn't say outright that he opposes Trump's plans).
"I don't like walls. I'm a libertarian I don't want to wall people in and wall people out."
"I don’t want free, open borders either," he continued.
"I think you have to remove the incentives for people to come. They come because there's a welfare system here, there's easy access to citizenship its politicized one group wants them here because they think they can get the votes."
Passing legislation to end benefits like Paul suggests is a non-starter. It will not happen.
But there is an easy way: The E-verify system If employers were forced to use it, with big penalties for not doing so, the problem would vanish immediately. It is the only effective way to halt illegal immigration. We have a system, why not force employers to use it?
Trump might want to try it himself given that he hires illegals.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock