WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump claimed there was a "growing humanitarian crisis" on the U.S. border with Mexico in a televised speech Tuesday night amid a partisan fight over his proposed border barrier.
In his first national address from the Oval Office since assuming presidency, Trump described the situation on the southern border as "a crisis of the heart, a crisis of the soul," making his case that a "steel barrier" is "absolutely critical for border security."
The president's remarks came amid his contentious fight with congressional Democratic lawmakers over the appropriation of more than 5 billion U.S. dollars he demanded for erecting the barrier to keep out illegal migrants and drug traffickers.
The dispute caused a lapse in congressional appropriations for nine cabinet-level departments and other federal agencies, triggering a partial government shutdown that has entered the 18th day.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer jointly responded to Trump's speech immediately after its conclusion, accusing the president of "manufacturing a crisis" and urging him to reopen the government.