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Trump urges 'safe, lawful, secure' US immigration system

  • Published at 08:48 am February 6th, 2019
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, US, January 25, 2019 Reuters

The early portion of Trump’s speech was aimed at offering to create a spirit of compromise

President Donald Trump told Americans in his State of the Union address on Tuesday that he wants a US immigration system that is “safe, lawful, modern and secure” as he seeks funding for a border wall rejected by Democrats. 

“We meet tonight at a moment of unlimited potential,” Trump said in the highly anticipated speech before a joint session of the US Congress, with his main Democratic adversary, new House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, watching over his shoulder.

“We stand ready to work with you to achieve historic breakthroughs for all Americans.”

The early portion of Trump’s speech was aimed at offering to create a spirit of compromise, but whether Trump and his opponents would follow through was far from clear as both sides are entrenched in long-held positions and girding for 2020 elections.

Trump appeared in the House chamber just weeks after his demand for $5.7 billion in wall funds triggered a historic 35-day partial government shutdown that more than half of Americans blamed him for, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling.

Millions of Americans were expected to watch the address on television, giving Trump his biggest opportunity to date to explain why he believes a barrier is needed on the US southern border with Mexico. The speech was delayed for a week because of the shutdown, which ended on January 25.