In his first-ever address to the nation from the Oval Office, Pres. Trump called on Congress to end the government shutdown by providing funding for additional fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border and additional resources to help end the ongoing surge of illegal border crossings.
Most of the debate has centered around Pres. Trump's $5.7 billion request to build additional fencing along the southern border. But the President also asked Congress for additional resources to help deal with the crisis.
"We have requested more agents, immigration judges and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy. Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support."
Pres. Trump said the funding would not be used to build a solid, concrete wall, but instead be used to build a wall of steel slates similar to the one that currently stands across some of the U.S.-Mexico border.
"... as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier. At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense."
More than 62,000 illegal border crossers were apprehended by Border Patrol officers in November 2018. That's the highest number of apprehensions since June 2014 when then-Pres. Obama requested $3.7 billion in supplemental funding to deal with the crisis. While border apprehensions aren't a measure of total illegal border crossings, it serves as an indicator to the actual number of illegal crossings.
Approximately 25% of the federal government has been shut down since just before Christmas when Congress failed to reach a deal on spending. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have said they will provide no more than $1.3 billion in border funding -- more than $4 billion short of Pres. Trump's request.
Updated: Wed, Jan 23rd 2019 @ 8:40am EST