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SOTU transcript: Migrants, minorities, foreign policy

US president's State of the Union covered immigration, African American unemployment, ISIL, Guantanamo and North Korea.

Here is everything President Donald Trump said about immigrants, minority communities in the United States and foreign policy, in his first State of the Union Address ...

On unemployment

"Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history."

On prioritising America's 'forgotten' over the world's needy

"The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as president of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America's children, America's struggling workers, and America's forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise."

On a four-pillar immigration plan

"In recent months, my administration has met extensively with both Democrats and Republicans to craft a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Based on these discussions, we presented the Congress with a detailed proposal that should be supported by both parties as a fair compromise - one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs.

Donald Trump, US president: Our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country.

Here are the four pillars of our plan:

The first pillar of our framework generously offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents at a young age - that covers almost three times more people than the previous administration. Under our plan, those who meet education and work requirements, and show good moral character, will be able to become full citizens of the United States.

The second pillar fully secures the border. That means building a wall on the southern border, and it means hiring more heroes like [Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent] CJ to keep our communities safe. Crucially, our plan closes the terrible loopholes exploited by criminals and terrorists to enter our country - and it finally ends the dangerous practice of 'catch and release'.

The third pillar ends the visa lottery - a programme that randomly hands out green cards without any regard for skill, merit, or the safety of our people. It is time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system - one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country.

The fourth and final pillar protects the nuclear family by ending chain migration. Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives. Under our plan, we focus on the immediate family by limiting sponsorships to spouses and minor children. This vital reform is necessary, not just for our economy, but for our security, and our future. In recent weeks, two terrorist attacks in New York were made possible by the visa lottery and chain migration. In the age of terrorism, these programmes present risks we can no longer afford.

It is time to reform these outdated immigration rules, and finally, bring our immigration system into the 21st century."

On defeating 'terrorist' groups

"Around the world, we face rogue regimes, terrorist groups, and rivals like China and Russia that challenge our interests, our economy, and our values. In confronting these dangers, we know that weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defence.

For this reason, I am asking the Congress to end the dangerous defence sequester and fully fund our great military.

As part of our defence, we must modernise and rebuild our nuclear arsenal, hopefully never having to use it, but making it so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression. Perhaps, someday in the future, there will be a magical moment when the countries of the world will get together to eliminate their nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, we are not there yet."

On ISIL

"Last year, I also pledged that we would work with our allies to extinguish ISIS [The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant armed group - ISIL, also known as ISIS] from the face of the Earth. One year later, I am proud to report that the coalition to defeat ISIS has liberated almost 100 percent of the territory once held by these killers in Iraq and Syria. But there is much more work to be done. We will continue our fight until ISIS is defeated.

Donald Trump, US president: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.

[Trump then recounts the story of one US soldier assisting a fellow troop in Syria's Raqqa]

Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil. When possible, we annihilate them. When necessary, we must be able to detain and question them. But we must be clear: Terrorists are not merely criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants. And when captured overseas, they should be treated like the terrorists they are.

In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of dangerous terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield - including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi."

On keeping Guantanamo open

"So today, I am keeping another promise. I just signed an order directing Secretary Mattis to reexamine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay.

I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists - wherever we chase them down."

On Afghanistan

"Our warriors in Afghanistan also have new rules of engagement. Along with their heroic Afghan partners, our military is no longer undermined by artificial timelines, and we no longer tell our enemies our plans."

On Jerusalem

"Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Donald Trump, US president: Dozens of countries voted in the UNGA against America's sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

Shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America's sovereign right to make this recognition. American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year.

That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends."

On Iran

"As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries.
When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.

I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal."

On Cuba and Venezuela

"My Administration has also imposed tough sanctions on the communist and socialist dictatorships in Cuba and Venezuela."

On North Korea

"But no regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland. We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening.

Donald Trump, US president: No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea.

Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.

We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies."


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