Trump demands United States border wall, sidesteps declaring emergency

President Trump speaks to reporters after meeting with members of Congress at the White House in Washington

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Mr Schumer said Trump "just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear and divert attention from the turmoil in his administration".

Global News will be streaming Trump's Oval Office address live at 9 p.m. ET on our website and on YouTube. About a quarter of USA agencies have been shut down since last month and hundreds of thousands of government workers are likely to miss paycheques this week.

The statements followed a 7 January interview when Pence told reporters that the White House was seeking a legal basis to justify a declaration of a national emergency, but in the interview, he said that no decision had been made as of 8 January morning.

Negotiations on wall funding could proceed in the meantime, they said.

Some argue that this is a way out of the impasse, as it could free Trump to build the wall and therefore to lift his blocking of the wider government funding.

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"The president was asked whether it [the national emergency option] is something he was considering, and he said it is something we are looking at...."

There was speculation whether Mr Trump would declare a national emergency allowing him to bypass Congress and order his controversial wall project to go ahead using military resources - a move that would have sent already heated political temperatures to boiling point. Trump is asking for over $5 billion for the fence, despite he has repeatedly promised that the cost of building the wall would be taken care of by Mexico.

Trump's remarks from the White House will also aim to shore up support among Republican lawmakers, who are wary of potential backlash from the public as the effects of the shutdown intensify.

"This barrier is absolutely critical to border security".

Trump has been discussing the idea of declaring a national emergency to allow him to move forward with the wall without getting congressional approval for the $5.7 billion he's requested.

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But with many Americans far from sold on Trump's lurid claims about illegal immigrants, criminals and terrorists overwhelming the border, the speech faces its own high barrier: credibility. Coons told Fox News, "I am someone who is willing to see more border fencing as long as we choose a technology that DHS says is going to be effective and I do think his moving towards steel slats rather than concrete wall, if it holds, is important".

Trump also plans a personal visit to the Mexican border on Thursday as he tries to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats in the shutdown standoff.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats and Republicans agree on the need to secure borders.

Trump used emotional language, referring to Americans who were killed by people in the country illegally, saying: "I've met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration".

The number of illegal border crossings is down from 1.6 million in 2000 to less than 400,000 past year. But even if blocked, Mr Trump could claim to his base that he had done what he could, while ending the damaging government shutdown.

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"The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must re-open the government", she said.

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