Trump and Democrats take their wall dispute to prime time

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Several people see the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, on television, from his home, in Miami, Florida (USA). The dispute over the wall on the southern border of the United States jumped today to prime time in that country, with speeches by US President Donald Trump, and Democratic leaders of Congress, who fail to bring positions to reopen the Administration. EFE / Archive

The dispute over the wall on the southern border jumped today to prime time in that country, with speeches by President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders of Congress, who fail to bring positions to reopen the Administration.

On day 18 of the partial paralysis of the government Administration, the second longest facing the country since 1976, Trump and Democratic leaders returned to exchange complaints about the approval of the budget for this fiscal year.

“My dear Americans, today I speak to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis on our southern border,” Trump said in an eight-minute message he addressed to the country from the Oval Office.

Trump considered that the construction of a wall in the border is absolutely critical for the border security of the country.
“It’s common sense (…) It’s a choice between good and evil, between justice and injustice,” he added.

The president reiterated his demand that $ 5,700 million be approved for the barrier, which he insisted expected to be built with steel, instead of concrete.

Trump argued that the wall would be paid “on its own”, considering that it would interrupt the arrival of illegal drugs, which cost the United States. about 500,000 million dollars a year, according to his calculations.

Despite Trump’s continued assertions about the border crisis that the United States is currently experiencing, the number of people who have been detained on the border with Mexico has dropped dramatically in recent decades.

In 2000, 1.6 million people were arrested trying to cross the southern border into the United States, a number that fell to less than 400,000 in 2018, according to official data.

The presidential address was preceded by uncertainty about the possibility of Trump declaring the national emergency, a mechanism that would allow him to use military funds in the construction of the border barrier.

In 1976, the US Congress passed the National Emergency Law, which allows the president to declare a national emergency at his discretion and that does not offer any concrete definition of “emergency” or the required criteria.

This law activates a set of powers by which Trump could order the construction of the border wall, one of his promises star during the election campaign.

Among others, Trump would be able to reallocate military spending on construction projects to build the border wall, which would then be considered “a necessary structure for national defense,” according to the legislation.

As soon as the presidential address was concluded and in an unprecedented event, the Democratic leaders responded for eight minutes, the same time on the air that the main television channels granted the president, his affirmations.

“President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, stop making a crisis and reopen the Administration,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat.

The leader of the House of Representatives regretted that Trump has chosen to keep the Administration closed due to the dispute that Democrats and Republicans maintain over the funds to build a wall on the border with Mexico, instead of accepting a Democratic proposal that would reopen part of the Government.

On January 3, the same day of the installation of the new US Congress, Pelosi approved items to finance some agencies affected by the paralysis of activities, but did not include funds for the wall.

To become law, the initiatives endorsed in the House of Representatives must be discussed by the Senate, with a Republican majority, so it is anticipated that they will not reach the expected support.

In addition to various agencies that have had to suspend some of their functions due to lack of resources, around 420,000 employees considered essential have continued working without earning salary, while another 380,000 remain on leave, also without remuneration, local media recalled.

Trump, who will meet tomorrow with the Democratic Headquarters, will move next Thursday to the southern border, where he will meet with the authorities to learn first hand the situation in the area.

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