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Trump plans border visit as government shutdown lurches into third week

Democrats have made clear they see a wall as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security.

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Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Donald Trump is planning a live address to the nation and a visit to the Mexico border to highlight his demands for a border wall as pressure grows over a partial government shutdown.

With no breakthrough in sight to end the shutdown, newly empowered House Democrats — and at least a few Republican senators — are stepping up pressure on the president and Republican legislators to reopen the government.

Mr Trump said he would discuss the “Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border” on Tuesday evening.

He maintains that more than 5 billion dollars (£4 billion) for a wall is necessary to secure the border.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted on Monday that he will use the visit on Thursday to “meet with those on the front lines of the national security and humanitarian crisis”.

As the shutdown lurched into a third week, many Republicans watched nervously from the sidelines as hundreds of thousands of federal workers went without pay and government disruptions hit the lives of ordinary Americans.

Mr Trump has offered to build the barrier with steel rather than concrete, billing that as a concession to Democrats’ objections to a solid wall.

They “don’t like concrete, so we’ll give them steel”, he said.

But the Democrats have made clear they see a wall as immoral and ineffective and prefer other types of border security funded at already agreed levels.

White House officials affirmed Mr Trump’s funding request in a letter to Capitol Hill after a meeting with senior congressional aides led by vice president Mike Pence at the White House complex yielded little progress.

The letter from Office of Management and Budget acting director Russell Vought sought funding for a “steel barrier on the Southwest border”.

The White House said the letter, as well as details provided during the meeting, sought to answer Democrats’ questions about the funding request.

Democrats said the administration still failed to provide a full budget of how it would spend the billions requested for the wall from Congress. Mr Trump campaigned on a promise that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico has refused.

Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi intends to begin passing individual bills to reopen agencies in the coming days, starting with the Treasury Department to ensure Americans receive their tax refunds.

That effort is designed to squeeze Senate Republicans, some of whom are growing increasingly anxious about the extended shutdown.

PA Media