Trump signalled that he may declare a national emergency on Thursday as Democratic House majority leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer refused to budge on rejecting his request for $5.7 billion in funds to build a steel barrier along the US-Mexico border. The shutdown sparked by the border wall issue has affected over 800,000 federal government workers, with about a quarter of the federal government remaining closed over the border wall standoff since December 22.
Sputnik: Pastor Burns, you are a strong supporter of Donald Trump's border proposal. What would be your message to everyone who is opposed to it?
Pastor Mark Burns: I think it's important to understand that if you are a sovereign nation, a sovereign nation has borders. I think it is very clear according to the US Department of Homeland Security, and based on the reports coming from the FBI, that there are hundreds of thousands of violent crimes that are taking place right now through illegal immigration or from illegal immigrants that are entering our nation illegally. That is really an onslaught [against] citizens of the United States, and I think it's the duty of the president of the United States to number one, first and foremost, protect the citizens of the United States.
Sputnik: If built, what effect would the wall have on national security and illegal immigration to the United States?
Pastor Mark Burns: I'll give you a prime example. Just as of yesterday, President Trump visited the southern border along with ICE and other border protection agency leaders, and they are telling us just as of yesterday alone, before the president's visit, there were over 422 illegal immigrants that tried to cross the border. It wasn't just Hispanics or Mexicans. You're talking about Chinese, you're talking about Nigerians, you're talking about people from all over the world trying to enter our nation [illegally], along with several tons of narcotics, drugs that are entering into our country illegally.
Sputnik: We're currently seeing this US government shutdown. In your opinion, how long will it continue, and who really bears responsibility for it?
Pastor Mark Burns: Well I really think this is a [Chuck] Schumer and Nancy Pelosi government shutdown. I mean it is clear that they are choosing illegal immigrants over the American people, and that is sad because they were elected to represent the constituencies of their congressional districts. They are again choosing to use the government as a hostage to get what they want, which is to not build the wall, and which is to simply open up the borders so that whoever [wants to can] come into our sovereign nation…
President Trump is close to a deal, and it is getting closer and closer to where we can bring an end to this shameless government shutdown created by Democrats so that the American people and the thousands of employees who are part of the federal government can get back to work and get the paychecks that they deserve.
Pastor Mark Burns: I've been with President Trump on the campaign trail right from the very beginning when he was 'just a laughing matter' when he entered the race. And I know for a fact, [as] a black man who is married to a white woman in the Deep South, I've seen what real racism looks like. It is not Donald Trump.
I've been around the Ku Klux Klan, a real domestic hate group, and my grandfather had a flaming cross in his yard because my grandmother was too light-skinned and they thought she was a white woman. This is the culture I grew up in, where people are throwing rocks at you and calling you the n-word as a child. I've seen what real racism is. It is not Donald Trump; it is preposterous. Everybody loved Donald Trump until he ran for president of the United States of America as a Republican. Had he run as a Democrat, he would be the most-loved white president since Bill Clinton.
Pastor Mark Burns is a former Congressional candidate and evangelical Christian pastor at the Harvest Praise & Worship Center in South Carolina. The views expressed by Mr Burns are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.