US President Donald Trump has offered to erect a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall along the southern border with Mexico to iron out differences with Democrats over the issue, which has led to a partial government shutdown for a fortnight now.
The partial shutdown started on December 22 over the $5 billion funding of US-Mexico border wall.
Read the details here.
Democrats only willing to spend $1.3 billion for border security
It all started when funding for many federal agencies expired, and President Trump refused to sign any spending measure from Congress that didn't include $5 billion for his US-Mexico border wall. Democrats controlling the House have agreed to fund only $1.3 billion for border security.
Trump's remarks came after meetings with Democratic congressional aides
Trump's remarks came yesterday after meetings between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic congressional aides, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Trump believes that the shift in materials might appease Democrats.
"We've been in touch with a lot of people, and I informed my folks to say that we'll build a steel barrier. Steel. It'll be stronger," Trump said.
Steel barrier is both stronger and less obtrusive: Trump
V.P. Mike Pence and group had a productive meeting with the Schumer/Pelosi representatives today. Many details of Border Security were discussed. We are now planning a Steel Barrier rather than concrete. It is both stronger less obtrusive. Good solution, and made in the U.S.A.
Democrats' opposition: Wall is a matter of morals and effectiveness
Responding to a question, Trump said Democrats didn't like the option of a concrete wall along the Mexico-border, so he has offered them with a steel one.
He argues that a physical barrier along the US-Mexico border is essential to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the US.
Democrats have said their opposition to the wall is a matter of morals and effectiveness.
Invest in technologies rather than wall to secure border: Democrats
Democratic lawmakers have argued the wall wouldn't be a good deterrent to illegal immigration, and that investments should be made in technology to secure the border.
The disagreement has been at the center of a partial government shutdown.
"They don't like concrete, so we'll give them steel. Steel is actually more expensive than concrete, but it'll look beautiful and it's very strong," said Trump.
Wall needed to stop criminals and human traffickers, explains Trump
Explaining the need for a physical barrier, Trump said, "What we need is we need a strong border. We have criminals coming in. We have human traffickers coming in. We have drugs pouring in. We have things happening that you don't want to even know about."
"And it's been that way for decades, and we can't have it anymore," Trump said.
'We're looking at a national emergency because we have one'
Trump also threatened to impose a national emergency to build the wall. "We are looking at a national emergency because we have a national emergency," he said. Trump didn't specify the mode of payment for the border wall if he declares a national emergency.
The partial shutdown will mark its 22nd day on January-12
January 12 would mark its 22nd day, setting a new record for US shutdowns.
The longest on record lasted 21 days under President Bill Clinton, from the end of December 1995 through the start of January 1996.
The current shutdown has already taken a toll across the country.
About 800,000 federal workers are furloughed or working without pay.