President Trump delivered his first-ever Address to the Nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday, slamming Democrats refusal to "fund border security" as the "one reason" the federal government remains partially shutdown.
During his remarks, Trump stressed the need to address the “humanitarian and security crisis” at the border and the need for Congress to approve his request for $5.7 billion in funding to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
He said that not only are U.S. immigration enforcement overwhelmed by the "thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country," but illegal drugs and "aliens with criminal records" threaten Americans' security.
Trump added that "women and children are the biggest victims by far of our broken system," who are "used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs."
"This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border," said the president. "This is the cycle of suffering that I am determined to end."
Trump said that the White House has offered Congress a proposal drawn up by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that would make American "safer than ever." He said that the proposal includes not only a provision for a physical barrier, but also "cutting edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, [and] illegal contraband," requests for more agents, immigration judges, and "bed space to process" migrants, an "urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support" at the border, and a request for Congress to "close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home."
He went on to say that the border wall is proposed as "a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall" as a compromise to Democrats.
“At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall,” said Trump, adding that a wall is "absolutely critical to border security."
"It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need," he continued. This is just commonsense. The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico."
Trump slammed Democratic leader Sen. Chuck Schumer as well as other Democrats who have "repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past."
"They changed their mind only after I was elected president," he alleged, adding that they refuse to acknowledge the current crisis at hand.
"The federal government remains shutdown for one reason and for one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security," Trump fired.
Watch the full address below.