Trump uses televised address to try to create a border crisis

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In his address, he also claimed that "the federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only-because Democrats will not fund border security".

Media captionFive questions about Trump's border wall What did President Trump say?

One of the most common canards against immigration is the idea that illegal immigrants drive down the wages for native workers.

The government has been partly shuttered since December 22, when Mr. Trump announced he would not sign a funding bill that did not contain wall funding.

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To keep the broader public from feeling much pain from the shutdown, however, the administration has taken a series of unusual steps: national parks remained open, tax refunds will be issued, and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget told House Republicans on Tuesday that low-income people will continue to receive food stamps.

"America's heart broke the day after Christmas, when a young police officer in California was savagely murdered in cold blood by an illegal alien, who just came across the border", Donald Trump said in his address.

In fact, a study by the libertarian Cato Institute a year ago found that crime rates among immigrants in Texas - both legal and unauthorized - were lower than those among native-born Americans. In a country where 80 percent of people are living paycheck to paycheck, every day could spell catastrophe. Those numbers mean a person's odds of becoming a victim of homicide in tightly packed, diverse New York City were about the same as they were in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. "Division, not unity", the NY senator said.

The wall was the first major promise of Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, and a rallying cry for his supporters. For example, he has said the deal will dissuade some USA companies from moving operations to Mexico and he credits that possibility as a payment by Mexico for his wall.

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The President also repeated an assertion that the wall will be paid for by Mexico through the new U.S. -Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump stated inaccurately that it's "brand new". The deal has yet to be ratified in any member country and its chances of winning legislative approval are not assured.

What followed, however, was much of the racist and xenophobic rhetoric we've heard from Trump for the past three and a half years-including the false claims that undocumented immigrants as a whole are risky to the United States and that the only solution to questions over our border security is a $5 billion wall. How and when did the conditions at the border reach the point of becoming a humanitarian and national security crisis such that they demanded a nationally televised address and maybe a national emergency? Two sick children recently died in the administration's custody after making the journey to the U.S.

Just a couple days later, Trump repeated the same notion.

While the number of families coming over the border has risen sharply, the number of border arrests - the leading gauge of how many people are trying to cross illegally - is actually one-quarter of what it was in 2000, dropping from 1.6 million then to 400,000 in 2018.

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The ripple effects are endless: Amidst all the talk about protecting US borders, a large number of TSA agents are calling in sick due to working without pay, increasing safety risks in airports nationwide. Newly empowered Democrats, meanwhile, have been urged by their base to fight Mr Trump's signature campaign pledge.