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Trump vows in State of the Union speech to build border wall

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump vowed in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday to build a border wall and said Democratic attempts at "ridiculous partisan investigations" could damage US prosperity.

Mr Trump spoke to a joint session of the US Congress facing political discord over his demands that Democrats end their opposition to funding for a US-Mexico border wall which he says is needed to stem illegal immigration and smuggled drugs.

During his 82-minute speech, he outlined his political priorities without providing specific policy details.

Mr Trump called illegal immigration "an urgent national crisis" but stopped short of declaring a border emergency that would allow him to bypass Congress for wall funding. Instead, he urged Democrats and Republicans to find a compromise by a Feb 15 deadline.

"In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built," Mr Trump said in the House of Representatives chamber, with new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi watching over his shoulder.

Democrats call the wall a waste of money and ineffective. During the speech, Democratic Representative Pramila Jayapal tweeted her opposition to the wall, saying: "The border is more secure than ever. Enough."

Mrs Pelosi, who frequently sat stony-faced through Mr Trump's address, has shown no sign of budging from her opposition to his border wall demand.

In the Democratic response to the speech, Ms Stacey Abrams, who lost a race for governor of Georgia last November, said that while Democrats stood ready to secure the ports and borders, "America is made stronger by the presence of immigrants - not walls." - REUTERS

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