US President Donald Trump cited an illegal immigrant from Pakistan in his argument to build a wall along his country’s Mexican border as he stepped up the ante in a drawn-out battle with Congress over release of funds amid a government shutdown. Flanked by border agents who are going without paychecks during a government shutdown, Trump threatened to use emergency powers to bypass Congress to pay for a wall on the US-Mexico border. Trump flew to the Texas border with Mexico to try to bolster his case for the border wall as a partial US government shutdown tied to the issue stretched into its 20th day with no sign of new talks to resolve the impasse. During the tour, a law enforcement officer told Trump that a greater percentage of apprehensions in recent weeks had involved people from places other than Mexico and Central America. He cited people from Pakistan, China and India as specific examples. Raul Ortiz, a local border patrol official, told Trump and reporters that 133 people from countries other than Mexico and those in central America – including India, Pakistan, China and Romania – had been apprehended in the stretch of territory around McAllen. Standing along the Rio Grande dividing the US and Mexico, Trump said “a lot of the crime in our country is caused by what’s coming through here”, adding, “They came in last week or this week, from Pakistan and different people. They got them.” A day after he stormed out of a meeting with Democratic leaders, Trump attacked them for refusing his demand, calling them harder to deal with than China, a rival power. “I find China, frankly, in many ways to be far more honourable than Crying Chuck and Nancy. I really do,” Trump said, referring to House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer. Trump said his lawyers had told him he had the power to invoke national emergency powers to get his wall funded. “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I’m not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to, I will.” The Washington Post, citing two unnamed sources, reported that the White House was laying the groundwork for declaring an emergency that would let Trump build sections of a wall, possibly using funds from the Army Corps of Engineers. Published in Daily Times, January 12th 2019.