His Third Address to a Joint
Meeting of Congress
President Donald J. Trump is scheduled this week to make his second State of the Union Address and his third address, overall, before a joint meeting of Congress. The text of his remarks was not available at the time of this writing. However, it is anticipated that he will use the occasion as an opportunity to continue the harsh rhetoric he has often employed against immigrants and immigration, generally, and to renew his call for the appropriation of funding for the construction of a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
In remarks that were peppered throughout with references to immigrants and immigration, the President at that time painted a dark, dystopian image of immigrants and immigration It was devoid of any mention of the positive attributes of immigrants past or present. Instead, he portrayed immigrants as a threat to public safety, a threat to jobs for Americans, and a drain on public resources.
The president made seven different references or mentions of immigrants or immigration during that Address. In all, he devoted 937 of the 5,037 words in that Address to the two subjects. Both the number of references and the number of words devoted to them were records for presidents making Addresses to Congress. By contrast, President Obama devoted just 37 words to the subject in his first Address to Congress.
While the President gave a nod to the possibility of enactment of bipartisan immigration reform legislation in his remarks, he spoke of that possibility in terms of protecting the U.S. from those who would do the nation harm, and he did not at all address his view of what the fate should be of the millions of undocumented migrants currently living in the United States.
It did not take President Trump long to bring up the subject of immigration. His first reference to the subject came just eight paragraphs into his 135 paragraph address:
"We've defended the borders of other nations, while leaving our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross, and for drugs to pour in at a now unprecedented rate. And we've spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas, while our infrastructure at home has so badly crumbled."
"my administration has answered the pleas of the American people for immigration enforcement and border security. By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions and billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone. We want all Americans to succeed, but that can't happen in an environment of lawless chaos."
"We must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders. For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border."
"As we speak tonight, we are removing gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens. Bad ones are going out as I speak, and as I promised throughout the campaign. To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this one question: What would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or their loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?"
"Our obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States. We are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism.
"According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted of terrorism and terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home, from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and, yes, even the World Trade Center. We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany, and all over the world.
"It is not compassionate, but reckless to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur.
"Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values. We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America, and we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.
"That is why my administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe, and to keep those out who will do us harm."
"I am going to bring back millions of jobs. Protecting our workers also means reforming our system of legal immigration.
"The current, outdated system depresses wages for our poorest workers and puts great pressure on taxpayers. Nations around the world, like Canada, Australia, and many others, have a merit-based immigration system.
"It's a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially. Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon.
"According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs American taxpayers many billions of dollars a year. Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, we will have so many more benefits. It will save countless dollars, raise workers' wages, and help struggling families, including immigrant families, enter the middle class. And they will do it quickly, and they will be very, very happy, indeed."
"I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: To improve jobs and wages for Americans; to strengthen our nation's security; and to restore respect for our laws.
"If we are guided by the well-being of American citizens, then I believe Republicans and Democrats can work together to achieve an outcome that has eluded our country for decades."
"We must support the victims of crime,” he said upon introducing this idea. Continuing, he said, “I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE, Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement. "We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests.”
Delivered on January 30, 2018, in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives, the President devoted even more words in that Address to the subjects of immigrants and immigration than he did in his first, record-breaking Address. Indeed, in all, 1,013 of hi second Address's 5,146 words were on the two subjects.
The President began the immigration portion of his remarks by talking about criminal aliens but went on to discuss an immigration plan he wanted Congress to take up that included a path to citizenship for some measure of the undocumented population currently living in the United States, stepped up border security and interior immigration practices and policies, a cutback in family-based legal immigration, and elimination of the Diversity Visa program,
With respect to criminal aliens, the President declared that "For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives."
He pointed to two families he invited to sit in the House gallery whose family members were victimized by six members of the MS-13.street gang and asserted that "Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.."
Said he about the situation:
""Tonight, I am calling on the Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country. We have proposed new legislation that will fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.
"So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. 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."
Said he of the 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 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 program 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."
Abrams spoke of immigration during her unsuccessful 2016 gubernatorial campaign, expressing opposition to the immigration policies of the Trump Administration. And she opposed legislation pushed by the immigration restrictionist community while in the Georgia legislature..
During her 2016 gubernatorial campaign, Abrams penned an open letter to the immigrant community in Georgia;
"You strengthen our state, and you are vital to its future. Your success lifts us all, and I stand with you.
"I talk every day about my mission to build a Georgia where everyone has the freedom and opportunity to thrive. And I want to be clear: I do mean everyone who resides in our state. Nearly one in ten Georgians migrated here from another country. Together, though, we have one of the nation’s strongest economies and a legacy of civil and human rights. When every person in our state is included in Georgia’s progress, our communities and economy grow stronger.
"Our mission is to build a state of excellent public schools where we educate children from cradle to career; to expand access to health care; to build a thriving and diverse economy with jobs that create wealth and opportunity; and to support entrepreneurs of all backgrounds to start and grow small businesses. We must do all of this hand in hand with the diverse immigrant communities across our state.
"My faith demands that I speak up for the voiceless and the vulnerable – that a soul finds rest only by doing the most for the “least of these.”
"My soul rests with those seeking asylum and refuge, with new Americans, naturalized citizens, and all those on the long, arduous path toward citizenship. I know this journey is not easy – but believing in the promise and potential of America, and seeing yourself as a part of its future, is the first step.
"My soul rests with those who have made Georgia home – those who took the original promise of the Statue of Liberty, “Mother of Exiles,” to heart – and now fight to hold her promises true for others.
"Only then can we make Georgia a better place to live and raise a family – for EVERY family.
"For some time, and particularly in the last few years, you have shown incredible strength in the face of brutal attacks. The anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions of this administration are cruel, inhumane, and must be opposed in the strongest terms.
"United, we have the power – and the duty – to transform our Georgia for the better.