Washington: Claiming that illegal crossings have dropped substantially in border areas where walls have been built, the White House on Tuesday told the Democratic leadership in Congress that any measure to fund the government must include responsible border security including a wall.
US President Donald Trump has made securing the country's southern border with Mexico a focal point of his presidency, with plans to beef up border security and create a wall as key components.
"Walls work where walls have been built, illegal crossings have dropped substantially. President Trump made clear that any government funding measure must include responsible border security, including a wall, to protect the American people from drugs, crime, terrorism, public health threats, and the severe straining of the social safety net," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said.
Sanders said Trump had a constructive dialogue with Democrat Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi during which they agreed to support the passage of historic Criminal Justice Reform and discussed significant progress with the Farm Bill.
But major disagreement remains on the issue of border security and transparency, she said.
"A nation without borders is no nation at all," Sanders said after Trump's meeting with Pelosi and Schumer.
"Illegal immigration is deeply unfair to American workers, wage-earners and taxpayers costing billions of dollars and thousands of innocent lives. So far, the Democratic Party has made it clear they would rather keep the border open than the government open," Sanders said.
The meeting inside the Oval Office was initially closed for the press but later a battery of White House reporters were allowed for a brief period.
"President Trump was grateful for the opportunity to let the press into the meeting so that the American People can see firsthand that while Republicans are fighting to protect our border, Democrats are fighting to protect illegal immigrants. This administration will always put Americans first," Sanders said.
The Trump administration, she said, will continue to pursue real solutions to defend the US and uphold its laws and hope Democrats will work with them in a bipartisan fashion to do so.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)