Mexico border situation a 'growing crisis': Donald Trump

US federal budget deficits and government shutdowns since fiscal year 1989 US politics Trump shutdown wall

The government shutdown entered day 17 on 8 January after a series of discussions between the Trump administration officials and Democrats failed to yield an agreement on funding for the wall.

But the president would be accused of usurping Congress's constitutional power of the purse, and the move would be bogged down in a quagmire of legal challenges.

Mr Trump wants $5.7 billion to build a wall or fence along the Mexican border. About a quarter of US agencies have been shut down since last month and hundreds of thousands of government workers are likely to miss paycheques this week.

Mr Trump cited cases of gruesome murders of American citizens that he said had been committed by undocumented immigrants. But Trump has not budged on his demands for $5.7 billion in wall funding, and Democrats have not moved from their opposition, while many Republicans watch anxiously from the sidelines.

"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...."

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President Donald Trump will stop short of declaring a national emergency when he speaks to the nation in a prime-time address from the Oval Office tonight.

"If his past statements are an indication, (the speech) will be full of malice and misinformation", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the senior Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said in a statement.

Such a dramatic escalation of the standoff might allow him to access military spending to fund his barrier, which remains un-built two years into his presidency. The vice president stressed that there is indeed a crisis, adding that it must be taken care of before the administration can move onto negotiating other parts of the USA national security funding.

"Now that the television networks have made a decision to air the President's address, which if his past statements are any indication will be full of malice and misinformation, Democrats must immediately be given equal airtime", their statement read.

Trump will continue pressing his case for the wall with a trip to the border on Thursday.

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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 faced its own high barrier: credibility.

Trump is expected to discuss what he calls a "humanitarian and national security crisis", although reports conflict about whether he will actually declare an emergency, as he has previously threatened.

Harrowing tales are starting to emerge from the fallout due to the shutdown, including airport security workers calling in sick because they have not been paid and therefore can not make it to work. But even if blocked, Trump could claim to his base that he had done what he could, while ending the damaging government shutdown.

The unexpected length of the shutdown has raised the prospect that Trump would begin to lose support among Republicans anxious to reopen the government and doubtful of the White House strategy.

Some correspondents have speculated that he may ultimately resort to such a declaration as a last-ditch tactic to allow him to reopen the government without losing face to Democrats.

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