President Trump heads to South Texas as partial shutdown continues

President Donald Trump meets the crowd after arrive at McAllen International Airport on Thursday. (SBG San Antonio)

President Trump is heading to South Texas on Thursday to take a look at the border wall between the United States and Mexico and to talk border issues as the country enters Day 20 of the partial federal government shutdown.

In advance of his visit to Texas border city of McAllen, the president described illegal immigration as a "humanitarian crisis" that only a border wall can stop.

"The border wall would very quickly pay for itself," he said in a televised speech this week. "The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year, vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress."

In McAllen, the current wall consists of sections of metal fencing that has stood for years. Border Patrol agents say it does help to stop immigrants. Crews are getting ready to fill in the gaps, but they'll have to cut through private property and park land, including a butterfly preserve.

The new fencing has already been funded by Congress. Construction starts next month, regardless how this shutdown showdown ends.

Border Patrol agents have been working through the shutdown and Friday is payday. It's unlikely they will get their checks on time. The same goes for Secret Service and other federal agents working to protect the president and Air Force One on Thursday.