GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) President Donald Trump says in an Oval Office address that there is a "growing humanitarian and security crisis" at the U.S.-Mexico border, though crossings have fallen in recent years.
The president said Tuesday night that all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled illegal immigration. He says it strains public resources and drives down jobs and wages.
The president says among those hit hardest by illegal immigration are African-Americans and Hispanics, though he did not provide any evidence to back that up.
The president is trying to convince Americans that the flow of immigrants into the U.S. illegally at the southern border is a crisis.
He asserts that the government remains shut down because Democrats won't fund border security.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the president has "chosen fear" in making the case to the American people for the border wall and Democrats "want to start with the facts."
Pelosi said Tuesday night in a rebuttal to President Donald Trump's Oval Office address that "we all agree that we need to secure our borders."
She noted that the House passed legislation to reopen government on the first day of the new Congress. But Trump rejects that legislation because it doesn't have funding for his border wall.
She says: "The fact is: President Trump must stop holding the American people hostage, must stop manufacturing a crisis, and must reopen the government."
President Donald Trump takes center stage Tuesday and the spotlight is on border security.
At 9 p.m. across all the major networks, Trump will address what he is calling a crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.
"He is going to make the case that a physical structure, a wall if you Will, is a necessary condition to keeping the borders of the United States safe," ECU Political Science Professor Jonathan Morris said.
The Executive Director of AMEXCAN, Juvencio Rocha-Peralta, does not think the country needs walls, instead it needs to start collaborating and addressing the issues.
AMEXCAN is a Mexican and Latino advocacy and support organization based out of Greenville. Like much of the country, immigrants are frustrated that this wall seems to be the sticking point in negotiations to reopen the government, now in day 18 of the partial shutdown.
"I don't think this is fair for the United States citizens to go through this based on his radical platform for pushing immigrants out," Rocha-Peralta said.
Even though Gallup polling suggests that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the border wall, Tuesday's address is meant to help persuade the public the funding for the wall is necessary.
"We have a term called 'going public' and that's when the President uses the national stage, the authority of office, to make a direct appeal to the American people in an effort to circumvent Congress," Morris said.
The Trump Administration is already talking about declaring a national emergency to all Trump to move forward on the wall without Congress approving the $5.6 billion he wants.