Jan. 14 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump said he will allow seasonal farmworkers to easily enter the country at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 100th annual convention in New Orleans.
Trump promised to pursue changes in immigration laws that will "actually make it easier for them to help the farmers because you need these people," while also referring to current U.S. immigration policy as "sick" and "demented" and to make a case for a border wall.
"A lot of people don't understand this. You need people to help you with the farms. I'm not going to rule that out," Trump said.
Trump's speech came on the 24th day of a government shutdown that has centered around an impasse between congressional Democrats and the president regarding his request for $5.7 billion to construct a barrier at the U.S.-Mexico border.
He said the implementation of border security in the form of a physical barrier would discourage migrants from attempting to enter the United States, except for those "we want to come," such as seasonal workers.
"The people that are sent to our country are not the people that we want," Trump said. "They come in through the lottery, they come in through chain migration."
The shutdown has suspended some federal aid for farmers and has left them without information provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, such as suggestions for the number of crops to plant, that allows them to plan their actions in advance.
Trump added that the Department of Agriculture is "doing everything within its power to help farmers deal with the ongoing shutdown."
Some of the federal aid that has been suspended due to the shutdown includes subsidies for farmers affected by tariffs against China as part of the ongoing trade war between the two countries.
Trump passed a sweeping $867 billion farm bill last month that provides aid to U.S. farmers.
"We have to take care of our farmers and ranchers, and we will take care of them," Trump said when he signed the bill in December.
The president only briefly discussed the China trade war, saying negotiations with Beijing are "going very well."