Donald Trump, using the first Oval Office address of his presidency to stoke fears of illegal immigration, has repeatedly made dubious claims about his border wall and has offered no new solutions to the partial government shutdown.

“This is a humanitarian crisis – a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul,” Trump said, describing at the situation at the border. He argued that the current immigration system allows “vicious coyotes and ruthless gangs” to prey on immigrants, especially women and children.

“Law enforcement professionals have requested $5.7bn for a physical barrier,” he said. “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 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 $500bn a year, vastly more than the $5.7bn we have requested from Congress. The wall will also be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.”

It has been nearly three weeks into the shutdown, Trump did not offer fresh ideas to break the current political impasse and did not declare a national emergency so that he could bypass Congress, as had been speculated. Instead he said: “The federal government remains shut down for one reason and one reason only: because Democrats will not fund border security.”

Calling on Democrats to pass a spending bill, he added: “This situation could be solved in a 45-minute meeting … Hopefully we can rise above partisan politics in order to support national security.”

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