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January 9, 2019 - President Donald J. Trump’s Address to the Nation on the Crisis at the Border.


Oval Office
9:01 P.M. EST

donald trump official photoTHE PRESIDENT:  My fellow Americans: Tonight, I am speaking to you because there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.

Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.  We are out of space to hold them, and we have no way to promptly return them back home to their country.

America proudly welcomes millions of lawful immigrants who enrich our society and contribute to our nation.  But all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration.  It strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.  Among those hardest hit are African Americans and Hispanic Americans.

Our southern border is a pipeline for vast quantities of illegal drugs, including meth, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90 percent of which floods across from our southern border.  More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War.

In the last two years, ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of aliens with criminal records, including those charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.  Over the years, thousands of Americans have been brutally killed by those who illegally entered our country, and thousands more lives will be lost if we don’t act right now.

This is a humanitarian crisis — a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul.

Last month, 20,000 migrant children were illegally brought into the United States — a dramatic increase.  These children are used as human pawns by vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs.  One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico.  Women and children are the biggest victims, by far, of our broken system.

This is the tragic reality of illegal immigration on our southern border.  This is the cycle of human suffering that I am determined to end.

My administration has presented Congress with a detailed proposal to secure the border and stop the criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers.  It’s a tremendous problem.  Our proposal was developed by law enforcement professionals and border agents at the Department of Homeland Security.  These are the resources they have requested to properly perform their mission and keep America safe.  In fact, safer than ever before.

The proposal from Homeland Security includes cutting-edge technology for detecting drugs, weapons, illegal contraband, and many other things.  We have requested more agents, immigration judges, and bed space to process the sharp rise in unlawful migration fueled by our very strong economy.  Our plan also contains an urgent request for humanitarian assistance and medical support.

Furthermore, we have asked Congress to close border security loopholes so that illegal immigrant children can be safely and humanely returned back home.

Finally, as part of an overall approach to border security, law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier.  At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.  This barrier is absolutely critical to border security.  It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need.  This is just common sense.

The border wall would very quickly pay for itself.   The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year — vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress.  The wall will also be paid for, indirectly, by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.

Senator Chuck Schumer — who you will be hearing from later tonight — has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past, along with many other Democrats.  They changed their mind only after I was elected President.

Democrats in Congress have refused to acknowledge the crisis.  And they have refused to provide our brave border agents with the tools they desperately need to protect our families and our nation.

The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.
My administration is doing everything in our power to help those impacted by the situation.  But the only solution is for Democrats to pass a spending bill that defends our borders and re-opens the government.

This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting.  I have invited Congressional leadership to the White House tomorrow to get this done.  Hopefully, we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.

Some have suggested a barrier is immoral.  Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their homes?  They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.  The only thing that is immoral is the politicians to do nothing and continue to allow more innocent people to be so horribly victimized.

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.  The life of an American hero was stolen by someone who had no right to be in our country.

Day after day, precious lives are cut short by those who have violated our borders.  In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history.  In Georgia, an illegal alien was recently charged with murder for killing, beheading, and dismembering his neighbor.  In Maryland, MS-13 gang members who arrived in the United States as unaccompanied minors were arrested and charged last year after viciously stabbing and beating a 16-year-old girl.

Over the last several years, I’ve met with dozens of families whose loved ones were stolen by illegal immigration.  I’ve held the hands of the weeping mothers and embraced the grief-stricken fathers.  So sad.  So terrible.  I will never forget the pain in their eyes, the tremble in their voices, and the sadness gripping their souls.

How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?

To those who refuse to compromise in the name of border security, I would ask: Imagine if it was your child, your husband, or your wife whose life was so cruelly shattered and totally broken?
To every member of Congress: Pass a bill that ends this crisis.
To every citizen: Call Congress and tell them to finally, after all of these decades, secure our border.

This is a choice between right and wrong, justice and injustice.  This is about whether we fulfill our sacred duty to the American citizens we serve.

When I took the Oath of Office, I swore to protect our country.  And that is what I will always do, so help me God.
Thank you and goodnight.

END            9:11 P.M. EST


Fact Sheet

President Donald J. Trump Calls on Congress to Secure our Borders and Protect the American People


"Now is the time—this is the moment—to finally secure the border and create the lawful and safe immigration system Americans, and those wanting to become Americans, deserve."

Donald J. Trump
President of the United States


THE CRISIS FACING OUR COUNTRY: We are facing a growing national security and humanitarian crisis at our Southern Border.  

  • This crisis is only worsening as 2,000 inadmissible migrants arrive at our border every day and overwhelm our immigration system.
    • We do not have the resources needed to hold them, and legal loopholes and activist court rulings prevent authorities from promptly returning them.
    • Immigration courts are overwhelmed, with a backlog of over 800,000 cases.
  • We must secure our border to protect our communities and make sure no more Americans fall victim to crimes committed by illegal aliens.
    • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested 266,000 aliens with criminal records in the last two years.
    • This includes aliens charged or convicted of 100,000 assaults, nearly 30,000 sex crimes, and 4,000 violent killings.
  • Deadly drugs are flowing across our borders, taking far too many American lives.
    • 300 Americans die every week from heroin, 90 percent of which comes across our Southern Border.
  • We are facing a humanitarian crisis as human smugglers exploit our immigration system for profit and drive migrants to make the treacherous journey north to the border.
    • 1 in 3 migrant women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek to the border.
    • 20,000 migrant children were illegally smuggled into the country last month alone.
RESOURCES NEEDED: The Trump Administration has requested additional funds relative to the Homeland Security funding bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • The Administration has requested $5.7 billion for construction of approximately 234 miles of new steel barrier on the Southern Border, a $4.1 billion increase over the Senate bill.
  • To protect our communities, the Administration requested $675 million to deter and detect narcotics, weapons, and other materials crossing our borders.
  • Among the Administration’s requests for more resources are:
    • $211 million to hire 750 additional Border Patrol agents
    • $571 million for 2,000 additional ICE personnel
    • $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, personnel, transportation, and detention alternatives
    • $563 million for 75 additional immigration judges and support staff
TIME TO ACT: President Trump is calling on Congress to fulfill their duty to the American people and finally take action to secure the border.  
  • The President is calling on Congress to stop the political games and come together and address the crisis we are facing.
  • Congress has a responsibility to protect the safety and security of the American people and it needs to meet that responsibility by providing the funding needed to secure the border.
    Source: Office of the White House