Trump says he wants largest number of legal immigrants
Fresh off of the longest shutdown in U.S. history, Trump said Republicans and Democrats "must join forces again to confront" illegal immigration before the government runs out of funding in 10 days.
Trump did not, however, threaten to shut down the government if lawmakers do not provide him with more than $5 billion in funding for a border wall. The government shut down in December because Democrats disagreed with Trump's demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding, though Trump relented, allowing the government to re-open in late January.
Trump also did not say he would call for a national emergency to build the wall if lawmakers don't agree to funding the project.
"This is a moral issue," Trump said. "The lawless state of our Southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all Americans. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. Legal immigrants enrich our nation and strengthen our society in countless ways. I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally."
Trump's remarks on legal immigration went off script and contradicted hardline immigration policies his administration has pursued.
"Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is cruel," he later added.
Trump insisted "walls work" and "walls save lives" in concluding this portion of his speech.