In his address to the nation from the Oval Office, President Donald Trumpannounced that “there is a growing humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border.”

He has requested funding for such things as more agents, immigration judges and bed space for detaining undocumented aliens. And he wants $5.7 billion for a physical barrier.

The Democrats are refusing to provide the money he is requesting for the physical barrier.

John Feehery may have been right when he said that the Democrats oppose funding the physical barrier for the same reason that they insisted that George H.W. Bush sign a tax increase back in 1990: “They want to destroy Trump’s credibility, especially with his base.”

Unfortunately, Trump has made it easier for them by basing his request on claims about who is crossing the border that can be disputed readily, such as that many of them are terrorists or criminals.

He should base his otherwise correct argument instead on the numbers — on the fact that the sheer number of illegal crossings has overwhelmed our immigration courts, creating a backlog crisis that has made it virtually impossible to enforce our immigration laws, and that the border cannot be secured when illegal crossers are allowed to remain here indefinitely.

Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.