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Trump calls for immigration fix in State of the Union

The US president also said Congress should unify to fix the nation's infrastructure.

Trump:
Trump: PA

Donald Trump called on Congress to unify to fix the nation's crumbling infrastructure and reform its fractured immigration systems in his State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday.

"To every citizen watching at home tonight, no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time," the president said. "If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything."

Despite overtures of co-operation, tensions are running high on Capitol Hill.

An impasse over immigration prompted a three-day government shutdown earlier this month, and Congress is no closer to resolving the status of the "Dreamers" - young people living in the US illegally ahead of a new February 8 deadline for funding operations.

The parties have also clashed over plans by Republicans in the House intelligence committee to release a classified memo on the Russia investigation involving Trump's presidential campaign, a decision opposed by Trump's own Justice department.

In an address that ran well over an hour, the president spoke at length about his first year achievements, touting the tax overhaul he signed at the end of last year, promising the legislation will "provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses."

First Lady Melania Trump and Albuquerque policeman Ryan Holet.
First Lady Melania Trump and Albuquerque policeman Ryan Holet. PA

Looking forward, he called for $1.5 trillion (£1.06 trillion) in new infrastructure spending, and redoubled his pledge to offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, part of a package that includes Trump's border wall, the end to America's visa lottery programme and wholesale reform of the current legal immigration system.

The president also alluded to his public spat with professional athletes who led protests against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem, declaring that paying tribute to the flag is a "civic duty."

Republicans led multiple rounds of applause, but for much of the speech Democrats sat somberly.

First lady Melania Trump, who has remained out of the spotlight since recent allegations of her husband's infidelity with a porn star, sat alongside Albuquerque policeman Ryan Holet, who decided to adopt the baby of a pregnant, homeless drug addict he met while on duty last year.

Also in the audience were the parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student arrested in North Korea in 2016, who died a year later after being returned to the US badly injured.

Kennedy:
Kennedy: PA

The Democratic rebuttal was delivered by Massachusetts congressman Joseph Kennedy III, a great-nephew of President John F Kennedy, who called the US a "fractured country".

The 37-year-old said: "Many have spent the past year anxious, angry, afraid.

"Bullies may land a punch. They might leave a mark.

"But they have never, not once, in the history of our United States, managed to match the strength and spirit of a people united in defence of their future."

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