WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - US President Donald Trump lashed out at Democrats on border security on Tuesday (Dec 11), saying if they don't provide funding for his proposed border wall, he will order the military to build it.
Mr Trump's comments on Twitter came ahead of a meeting with the party's congressional leaders aimed at avoiding a partial government shutdown over spending.
"If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall," Mr Trump said in a stream of Twitter messages on Tuesday that included some unsubstantiated claims.
"Democrats," Mr Trump wrote, "for strictly political reasons and because they have been pulled so far left, do NOT want Border Security. They want Open Borders for anyone to come in. This brings large scale crime and disease."
Mr Trump said he is looking forward to his meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the White House on Tuesday, as lawmakers and the administration negotiate spending legislation to avoid a partial government shutdown after Dec 21.
"In 2006, Democrats voted for a Wall, and they were right to do so. Today, they no longer want Border Security. They will fight it at all cost, and Nancy must get votes for Speaker. But the Wall will get built," he wrote.
Despite Mr Trump's repeated claims to the contrary, Democrats in Congress have never proposed doing away with border rules.
They generally have supported a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants - but only those who meet certain criteria.
Democrats in 2013 led the charge to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, an effort that would have bolstered border security measures, but which stalled because of opposition from Republicans, who controlled the House.
Mr Trump touted the border wall he campaigned on in 2016 as a better solution to securing the US border with Mexico than the military, which has been deployed to prevent migrants from Central America from entering.
"Ice, Border Patrol and our Military have done a FANTASTIC job of securing our Southern Border," Mr Trump said Tuesday on Twitter.
"A Great Wall would be, however, a far easier & less expensive solution."
A group of about 6,000 migrants from Central America has massed in temporary shelters near Tijuana.
The Associated Press reported many of them have begun girding for a lengthy asylum process by seeking work in Mexico.
Mr Trump said - without citing evidence - that the mobilisation of military and US Customs and Border Patrol agents has been successful.
"They are now staying in Mexico or going back to their original countries."