Donald Trump to cite ‘moral duty’ to stop illegal migrants in address

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Published: February 6, 2019 8:38:19 AM

Trump’s address comes with a second partial government shutdown looming in just 10 days if the president and congressional Democrats can’t resolve their differences over funding for his proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

The Republican-controlled Senate rebuked Trump for his Syria and Afghanistan policies hours before the speech. (File)

President Donald Trump will cast his fight against illegal migration to the U.S. as a moral duty to protect the poor from politicians and wealthy people who support open borders, according to excerpts of his State of the Union address.

“We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens,” Trump plans to say in the speech, according to excerpts released by the White House. “No issue better illustrates the divide between America’s working class and America’s political class than illegal immigration.

“Wealthy politicians and donors push for open borders while living their lives behind walls and gates and guards,” he plans to say.

Trump’s address comes with a second partial government shutdown looming in just 10 days if the president and congressional Democrats can’t resolve their differences over funding for his proposed wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. His speech was delayed by a week because of the shutdown, which ended Jan. 25 after Trump capitulated to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who refused to consider money for the wall while the government was closed.

Trump’s attempt to cast his position in moral terms rebuts opponents including Pelosi and Pope Francis. She has called Trump’s proposed wall “immoral,” and the pope has said of the president’s immigration stance that “a person who only thinks of building walls, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

Pelosi will sit on the dais in the House chamber, watching over his shoulder as Trump delivers his speech. The divisions between the two parties are expected to be on stark display, as many female lawmakers on the Democratic side of the chamber plan to wear suffragette white.

Trump also defended his efforts to get the U.S. out of long-running conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan.

“As a candidate for president, I pledged a new approach,” Trump will say, according to the advance excerpts. “Great nations do not fight endless wars.”

The Republican-controlled Senate rebuked Trump for his Syria and Afghanistan policies hours before the speech, a rare step for the body. The measure, passed 77-23, included a provision authored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that urges Trump not to exit military conflicts in the two countries.

Trump vowed in December to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria “now,” though he and his aides have since tempered the promise saying the move would be gradual.

In Afghanistan, Trump wants to bring home 14,000 American troops without plunging the country into chaos. After losing more than 2,300 U.S. soldiers and spending more than $900 billion in Afghanistan since 2001, critics say the U.S. risks losing hard-won gains in what has become America’s longest war.

His administration is seeking an agreement with the Taliban that would include a commitment to prevent terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State from continuing to use Afghanistan as a base of operations.

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