UNITED STATES (REUTERS) - United States President Donald Trump made his case for a wall on Thursday (Jan 10) at ground zero of the debate.
“This is common sense. They need a barrier. They need a wall,” said Mr Trump.
Appearing with border agents and local law enforcement and politicians, Mr Trump said undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs are streaming across the border from Mexico, despite statistics that show illegal immigration there is at a 20-year low and that many drug shipments likely are smuggled through legal ports of entry.
Democrats have called the wall, a project estimated to cost about US$23 billion (S$31.1 billion), ineffective and mediaeval.
"They say a wall is mediaeval. But so is a wheel! A wheel is older than a wall! There are some things that work. You know what? A wheel works. And a wall works. Nothing like a wall," said Mr Trump.
Mr Trump again threatened to use emergency powers to bypass Congress to get the money to build the wall. And while the President repeatedly claimed that “Mexico will pay for the wall”, he now says he meant figuratively.
“When I say Mexico is gonna pay for the wall, do you think they’re going to write a check for 20 billion or 10 billion or five billion or two cents? No! They’re paying for the wall in a great trade deal!”