During his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Trump called for immigration reform to end what he termed the "crisis on the southern border."
The president’s speech came on the coattails of a 35-day historic government shutdown triggered by a dispute over his call for $5.7 billion in funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Negotiators face a Feb. 15 deadline for a compromise, or another shutdown may occur.
“The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security, and financial well-being of all Americans,” Trump said. “We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens.”
Trump repeated his assertions that a wall would sharply reduce the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs over the border. "It will get built," he said, describing the wall as "a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier – not just a simple concrete wall."
During his 80-minute address, Trump also:
• Mentioned the passage of historic VA reforms, "so we can finally terminate those who mistreat our wonderful veterans."
• Pushed for pulling out of Afghanistan, saying, “great nations do not fight endless wars.”
• Addressed the calmness on the Korean peninsula, saying a second round of talks with Korean leader Kim Jong will be held at the end of February. “If I had not been elected president of the United States, we would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea."
• Discussed his decision to back out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, in response to violations by Russia, which has since also pulled out of the treaty. "Perhaps we can negotiate a different agreement, adding China and others, or perhaps we can't, In which case, we will outspend and out-innovate all others by far."
• Saluted three World War II veterans who participated in D-Day in attendance, including Irving Locker, a member of American Legion Post 347 in Florida. In 2014, Locker was interviewed by The American Legion for a story and video on his experiences in the Battle of the Bulge.