Donald Trump has issued a desperate plea to the nation to end what he deemed America’s “cycle of suffering”.
In his first ever prime-time address to the nation from the Oval Office, the President called for stronger border protection, saying the US has “run out of space” to hold the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border.
“America proudly welcomes millions of lawful emigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation,” he said in the impassioned speech. “But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration.”
Mr Trump said illegal migrants strained public resources, drove down jobs and wages, and served as a “pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs”.
Donald Trump has slammed the Democrats over the ‘cycle of human suffering’ at the US-Mexico border.
He described it as a “humanitarian crisis … of the heart and soul”, noting that 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the US last month. “This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end,” he said.
The President went on to acknowledge the violence migrants face in the transition to the US, stating: “One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico. Women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system. This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border.”
He said his administration had presented Congress with a “detailed proposal” to “secure the border and stop criminal gangs, drug smugglers and human traffickers”.
He has also issued an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support.
Mr Trump reiterated that law enforcement professionals had requested $US5.7 billion for a “physical barrier” to stop immigration across the border, claiming the wall would be paid for through a trade deal with Mexico.
The address to the nation came as the US entered its 20th day of a partial government shutdown over the border.
The President blamed the Democrats for the shutdown, saying: “The federal government remains shut down for one reason, and one reason only. Because Democrats will not fund border security.
“Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. But then why do politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t do it because they hate the people on the outside — they do it because they love the people on the inside.”
Referencing a series of murders at the hands of “illegal aliens”, he said: “How much more American blood must we shared before Congress does its job?”
“This is a choice between right and wrong,” he went on. “Justice and injustice. This is about whether we fulfil our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve. When I took the oath of office, I swore to protect our country. And that is what I will always do. So help me God. Thank you and goodnight.”
The President is now expected to head to the southern border to draw even more attention to the scene he claims needs a radical solution.