Trump makes his immigration case to a skeptical Congress

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump promotes a White House immigration plan that he says can get bipartisan support in Congress.
  • The plan has drawn resistance on both sides of the aisle.
  • "This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen," Trump said of immigration reform.
Trump: For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities

President Donald Trump promoted his immigration proposal Tuesday night to a Congress filled with skepticism across the ideological spectrum.

In his first State of the Union address, the president put the burden on bipartisan lawmakers to back the White House's immigration compromise that both Democrats and Republicans appear reluctant to support. The Trump administration proposal is "one where nobody gets everything they want, but where our country gets the critical reforms it needs," the president said.

"For over 30 years, Washington has tried and failed to solve this problem. This Congress can be the one that finally makes it happen," Trump said.

As Trump walked through the conservative pieces of his plan and called it a "down the middle" compromise, Democratic leaders looked on stone-faced without applauding.

Democrats and many Republicans have sought a bill to enact protections for young undocumented immigrants shielded by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which starts to phase out on March 5. Republicans want increased border security funding and changes to extended family migration and the visa "lottery" system included in a deal.

The White House proposal aims to check all of those boxes. It would offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, calls for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, ends the lottery system and limits family sponsorships.

However, it is unclear if Trump's proposal will get any closer to passing than other bills put forth by Congress in recent years. Democrats and some Republicans say the plan would too severely curb legal immigration.

Some conservatives have criticized the number of young immigrants the deal would shield.

Trump made concessions to conservatives as he promoted a bipartisan deal.

"My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too," he said, referencing the "dreamer" title given to the young immigrants.

In highlighting the need to reform the immigration system, Trump told the story of two teenage girls who were killed by MS-13 gang members who he said took advantage of "glaring loopholes" in the immigration system. Their parents, who were in attendance, grew teary-eyed as attendees gave them a standing ovation.

WATCH: We crafted a bi-partisan approach to immigration reform

Trump: We crafted a bi-partisan approach to immigration reform