Trump equates illegal immigrants with paedophiles in attempt to justify need for border wall

Donald Trump has claimed that thousands of illegal immigrants who have sexually abused children are currently in prisons in Texas, upping his rhetoric as he seeks to justify funding for his border wall.

Mr Trump was quoting John Jones of the Texas Department for Public Safety (DPS). Late last week, Mr Jones appeared at an immigration roundtable at the White House and said that more than 4,000 have been incarcerated for sexual assault in the last seven years. “Sixty-two per cent of them are sexual assault against children.”

Statistics from the Texas DPS show that between 2011 and the end of 2018, 2,837 people were convicted of a sexual assault or sexual offence from 5,580 arrests. The statistics do not show how many of those arrested were charged, or how many of those offences were against children. The statistics also do not show how many of those offenders are still in prison.

Mr Trump has claimed the thousands number despite not being able to fully justify that figure, as he hardens his rhetoric over the border wall - the central issue in a government shutdown that is now the longest in US history at 23 days. In his tweet he said that the crime could be ended "easily" with a wall.

Mr Trump has spent the last week - including an address to the nation from the Oval Office - trying to convince the public that there is an immigration crisis on the southern border, with criminals and drugs pouring into the country.

Democrats have accused the president of “misinformation and malice” over his stance.

Mr Trump has reportedly told advisors he sees the shutdown as a win for him. But as the pressure increases on the president to find a solution to the shutdown, his frustration is clear.

Democrats have stood firm in saying they will not sign-off the president’s request for $5.7bn in wall funding as part of any legislation to open the government, offering $1.3bn in general border security funding and accusing Mr Trump have throw a “temper tantrum” over the wall.

More than half of American’s say that the president and Republicans are responsible for the closure.

Fifty-three per cent of the public blamed the White House and Mr Trump’s party for the shutdown, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Sunday, 29 per cent blamed the Democrats and 13 per cent a combination of the two. A separate CNN said that 55 per cent people blamed Mr Trump for the stoppage, with 32 per cent blaming the Democrats and nine per cent blaming both.