Trump addresses the nation, Democrats respond
President Trump said, “All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal immigration.”
It’s very difficult to know exactly how much or little undocumented immigrants cost the United States. Many experts contest the notion that undocumented immigrants are a strain on the economy. A 2017 analysis noted that undocumented immigrants “make considerable tax contributions,” for example.
Similarly, a 2018 study by the libertarian Cato Institute, which reviewed criminal conviction data from the Texas Department of Public Safety, found that immigrants—legal or illegally—are less likely than native-born Americans to be convicted of a crime. Throughout the country, there is also generally a decrease in the number of violent crimes, according to the FBI.
President Trump opened his first Oval Office address to the nation warning of "a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border," one that most experts say is at odds with facts.
The immigration matter, Trump said, is "a crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul."
Speaking from behind the Resolute Desk, Trump said 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.
"All Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal migration," Trump said "It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages."
President Trump is speaking from the Oval Office.
Here's his opening line:
My fellow Americans, tonight I'm speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.
President Donald Trump will declare to an American television audience Tuesday there is a crisis at the US southern border and that a wall is the best and only remedy -- an exceptional step, at odds with facts, to fulfill his central campaign promise.
After weeks of a partial government shutdown, Trump and his negotiators have made little headway in convincing Democrats a barrier is needed before agencies can reopen and federal workers can begin receiving paychecks again.
The administration has steadfastly refused to take steps that would restore funding to some agencies, believing the shutdown is its best leverage to secure the wall funds. Fearing he could lose a messaging battle as more Americans feel the pain of a shuttered government, Trump will escalate his warnings that the country is unsafe without the border wall he promised as a candidate.
In making his case, Trump is turning for the first time to one of the most recognizable symbols of the American presidency -- an eight-minute direct-to-camera evening address from the Oval Office. He will continue his push in the following days, meeting with Republican senators during their weekly lunch on Wednesday. On Thursday he'll pay a visit to the Texas border town of McAllen. Trump, however, will address Americans suffering a credibility lapse after he and his aides have repeated multiple false claims about immigration.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer just tweeted a montage of President Trump telling supporters Mexico will pay for the border wall, minutes before the President is due to give an Oval Office address to the nation appealing for taxpayer funds to build that wall.
President Trump has been working the phones and asking for advice from friends and aides in recent days about whether he should declare an emergency at the border in order to secure funding for his wall, a source close to the President said.
Here's what they're telling them: Trump has been told by several of his allies and advisers that declaration "probably won't work" from a legal standpoint, the source said. This doesn't mean he's closed the door to the possibility but this is the feedback he's received. Trump is urgently looking for a political win to sell to his base as he has become increasingly concerned about the Mueller report, the source added.
A separate source and adviser to Trump said the President has been receiving advice telling him he should declare that state of emergency so he has something to sell to his base. If it goes to the courts, Trump can say he tried.
This adviser put the stakes for Trump in very stark terms: If he doesn't get his wall, this adviser said, "it will absolutely be something that we have to deal with in the reelection." The adviser said Trump runs the risk of projecting weakness to his base should he fail in securing the funding for his wall. "At some point you're either a chief executive or not."
President Trump will urge Democrats to come back to the negotiating table to reopen the government and address the “crisis” at the border in his prime-time speech tonight, according to a GOP source familiar with the address.
Trump is expected to address the nation at 9 p.m. ET from the Oval Office.
President Trump is fundraising off tonight’s address to the nation.
The Trump campaign sent an email to his supporters this afternoon, asking to help raise $500,000 today.
"I want to know who stood with me when it mattered most so I’ve asked my team to send me a list of EVERY AMERICAN PATRIOT who donates to the Official Secure the Border Fund," the email said, citing the President.
President Trump will address the nation tonight, on the 18th day of the government shutdown. Funding for parts of the government lapsed last month after lawmakers couldn't reach a deal as the President demanded funding for his long-promised border wall.
During the shutdown, Trump himself and administration officials have repeatedly made calls for border security. In doing so, some officials have touted misleading statistics and unclear claims.
We've set the record straight on some of these. Here are the facts that you need to know before tonight's address:
- Only 12 non-US citizens on the terror watch list were stopped at the border last year. Vice President Mike Pence misleadingly claimed that nearly 4,000 terrorists were caught trying to enter the US last year. The truth is just 12 individuals who are not US citizens and are on the terror watch list were encountered on the southern border between October 2017 and October 2018. The vast majority tried to enter through airports.
- The majority of hard narcotics the US seizes come through ports of entry. The Trump administration gave a border security presentation last week. It cited a "dramatic spike in illegal drugs at the southern border" as a reason to build a physical wall. However, the majority of hard narcotics seized by Customs and Border Protection come through ports of entry either in packages, cargo or with people who attempt to enter the US legally.
- About 800 people with gang ties were stopped at the US border. The same security presentation said "6,000 gang members" were "apprehended at the southern border and removed by ICE." The way this number is presented appears to be misleading. Immigration and Customs Enforcement removed or deported 5,872 gang members in fiscal year 2018, per its latest numbers. And the latest statistics for fiscal year 2018 (which do not include the month of September) show that Border Patrol apprehended 808 people affiliated with gangs at the border and across the nation. The way this category is worded could leave readers under the impression that 6,000 gang members were arrested solely at the Southwest border.
- A lot of people crossing the border with criminal records committed nonviolent crimes. The border security presentation stressed that "17,000 adults at the southern border with existing criminal records" were arrested in fiscal year 2018. This was in a section of the presentation claiming that officials are "fighting an influx of dangerous people." But it should be noted that large portions of the immigrants being arrested at the Southwest border committed nonviolent crimes, like illegal entry or re-entry and driving under the influence of alcohol.
- While border apprehensions increased in October and November, they didn't surge in an unprecedented fashion as the administration is claiming. Pence claimed Tuesday that 60,000 people were attempting to enter the county illegally. The Trump administration has also repeatedly pointed to recent figures to back up its claim that there is a border crisis. But of the 62,456 individuals who were apprehended or deemed inadmissible at the southern border in November, 10,600 presented themselves at legal US ports of entry and were ultimately deemed inadmissible, according to CBP statistics. Same goes for the 60,722 figure for October. It includes 9,771 who showed up at legal US ports of entry and were subsequently deemed inadmissible into the country.