Trump Mulls Declaring National Emergency Hours Before Address to Nation - Pence

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Trump will tell the American people that there is "a humanitarian and security crisis" at the border, Pence said in television interviews on Tuesday morning. But the president was not expected to make that declaration Tuesday night, said two people familiar with the White House plans, although it was possible he could change course.

All major television networks said they'll carry tonight's prime-time address by President Donald Trump on the escalating controversy over U.S. -Mexico border wall funding, which is causing a prolonged partial federal government shutdown.

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.

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.

"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. Some say Trump's hardline policies are slowing processing for migrants, creating an overwhelming bottleneck at the border.

Mrs Pelosi said: "The fact is: the women and children at the border are not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge".

"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.

The California congresswoman added: "And the fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government".

Mr Schumer was harsher in his criticism, accusing Mr Trump of throwing a temper tantrum and using millions of Americans as leverage.

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"I think it would probably end up in a lawsuit, so I'm not sure how productive it would be", Senator John Cornyn said.

He concluded: "The symbol of America should be the Statue of Liberty, not a 30-foot wall".

Amid his talk of crisis, Mr Trump is considering declaring the border situation a national emergency, which could get him out of an impasse by enabling him to bypass Congress' mandate to approve federal spending and to build the wall without its approval.

In fact, a study by the libertarian Cato Institute previous year found that crime rates among immigrants in Texas - both legal and unauthorized - were lower than those among native-born Americans.

Despite the focus on the border with Mexico, most immigrants living in the USA without authorization entered with visas and then stayed on when their documents ran out.

And research indicates that undocumented immigrants are much less likely to commit crime than native-born American citizens.

More should be revealed about Trump's eventual endgame for the shutdown tomorrow.

Democrats have vowed to block funding for a wall, which they say would be immoral and ineffective, and have called on Trump to reopen shuttered portions of the government while border negotiations continue.

A new opinion poll suggests just over half of Americans (51%) blame President Trump for the government shutdown. But he took little action to get it built during his first two years in office.

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