President Donald Trump called on Democrats in Congress to "rise above partisan politics" to secure the country's border in a Tuesday night speech.
Trump spoke to the nation from the Oval Office for about nine minutes during a primetime address, where he addressed the "growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border."
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He said U.S. border patrol agents are encountering thousands of illegal immigrants trying to cross into the country and that it's difficult to "promptly remove them."
"Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroine alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border," Trump said. "More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War. In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings."
He went on to address how women and children were the biggest victims of the United State's "broken system" before discussing how border security law enforcement officials wanted to tackle illegal immigration.
"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 professionals at the border want and need," Trump said. "This is just common sense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal made with Mexico."
Trump then took a shot at Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) for previously supporting a "physical barrier" in the past along with other Democrats, adding they changed their minds after he was elected president and they are the sole reason the "federal government remains shut down."
"My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation, but the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and reopens the government. This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting," Trump said. "I have invited congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done. Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security."