Address Recap: Immigration’s Impact on Jobs, Crime, and National Security Front and Center

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President Donald Trump, in his first address to a joint session of Congress, laid out his vision for key immigration policy changes. In the hours leading up to the speech, speculation mounted that Trump would call for some kind of amnesty for illegal aliens who have not committed serious crimes. However, Trump did no such thing, instead calling for immigration policies that strengthen national security, improve wages, and restore the rule of law.

From the outset, Trump focused on 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,” Trump declared. “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.” Trump then addressed two of his key campaign promises—building a wall on the southern border and immediately removing dangerous criminal aliens. “We will soon begin the construction of a great, great wall along our southern border [and]as we speak tonight, we are removing gang members, drug dealers, and criminals that threaten our communities and prey on our very innocent citizens,” he said. Trump then spoke squarely to the body before him that must play a key role in implementing his border security and immigration enforcement agenda. “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?”

Noting that “[his administration’s]obligation is to serve, protect, and defend the citizens of the United States,” Trump pledged to continue taking strong measures to ensure that terrorists are unable to exploit our immigration system. After rattling off notable terrorist attacks carried out within our borders, as well as recent attacks in Europe, Trump declared that, “those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values.” He added, “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America [and]we cannot allow our nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.” Trump then hinted at an upcoming executive order to replace the freeze on admitting people from countries that are hotbeds for terrorism, which is currently blocked by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. “My administration has been working on improved vetting procedures and we will shortly take new steps to keep our nation safe and keep out those who will do us harm,” he said.

Trump also discussed his vision of a legal immigration system that is merit-based and serves the interests of taxpaying American workers. “The current, outdated [legal immigration system]depresses wages for our poorest workers, and puts great pressure on taxpayers,” Trump said. He also noted that other nations, such as Canada and Australia, already have a merit-based system. “It’s a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially,” Trump went on to say. “Yet, in America, we do not enforce this rule, straining the very public resources that our poorest citizens rely upon.” Trump’s willingness to switch away from the current system of lower-skilled immigration was a tacit endorsement of Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and David Perdue’s (R-Ga.) RAISE Act (S. 354). This important piece of legislation would take the first crucial step in moving the immigrant selection process to a more merit-based system while returning immigration to more historic levels.

After urging Americans to support the men and women of law enforcement, Trump said that victims of crime must also be supported—including those who suffered at the hands of illegal aliens. “I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims,” he said. The office, according to Trump, will be called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE), as it will “provide a voice to those who have been ignored by the media and silenced by special interests.” Specifically, the office would provide services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and the families of such victims. It will also provide the public with quarterly reports on the effects of the victimizations by criminal aliens present in the U.S.

Lastly, Trump acknowledged his special guests seated alongside First Lady Melania Trump in the gallery, including four individuals whose relatives were killed by illegal aliens. “Joining us in the audience tonight are four very brave Americans whose government failed them,” he said. “Their names are Jamiel Shaw, Susan Oliver, Jenna Oliver, and Jessica Davis.” Jamiel Shaw’s son, Jamiel Jr., was gunned down by an illegal alien gang member in 2008. Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver (joined by her daughter Jenna) are the widows of Placer County Detective Michael Davis, Jr. and Sacramento Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver. These two California law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2014 by an illegal alien gang member with multiple deportations. Their names were memorialized in the 114th Congress by the Davis-Oliver interior enforcement bill, which aims to increase cooperation between federal and local officials in the enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. While the Davis-Oliver bill is yet to be introduced in the current Congress, Trump voiced support for it on the campaign trail and would likely sign it into law if it landed on his desk.

“President Trump demonstrated a studied understanding of the market forces at work that are displacing American workers and depressing working class,” said FAIR President Dan Stein, who lauded the address to Congress and the American people.  “He once again showed that he empathizes with the thousands of American families who have needlessly lost love ones to illegal immigrants who should not have been in the country in the first place. Acting on behalf of the American people, he has a vision for key policy changes that will address all of these problems,” he said.

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About Author

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RJ Hauman joined FAIR in 2015, bringing valuable legislative, regulatory, and political experience to the organization. In his role, he oversees the Government Relations department and leads FAIR’s advocacy efforts before Congress and the administration. RJ also serves as a FAIR media spokesperson on a variety of immigration issues and pending legislation. During his time on Capitol Hill, RJ gained immigration policy experience as an aide to former Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), who chaired the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement. RJ holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Clemson University.

16 Comments

  1. avatar

    We Don’t Need IA Farmers

    Its ingenuous and doesn’t address the real threat:

    Gardeners
    House Cleaners
    Care Givers
    House Construction
    Cabs
    Restaurant
    etc, etc….

    The open border sanctuary city tax evaders don’t want legal commercial rates like $20/30 hr given to American citizens, with 40 hr weeks and “decent” health care policies without huge deductibles before it kicks in [Obamacare].
    Or the now recently useless Medicaid [Medicare too?], watered down to be a joke…

  2. avatar
    Anand hARISHARMA on

    The one area that needs immediate reform is H1B. Companies bring consultants mostly from India (there are a lot of candidates with fake resumes in this group) and treat them as slaves. They are forced to forge their resumes, and displace American workers by the greedy consultancies. These consulting companies often take half or more of the actual bill rate as their cut. What is happening in this sector is atrocious and need to be addressed.

    There is also the crowd of students from foreign countries that come to US for studies and then get to work with OPT/CPT. These students are then recruited by these consultancies and forced to forge resumes (often these students are marketed with 10+ years of experience :-0). Indian companies are by far the largest culprits in these fraud schemes.

    I am happy that legislators (both Republican and Democrats) are now beginning to act. The argument that America does not produce enough STEM graduates is just bologna. There is more student than ever from these steams that are not getting jobs upon graduation. Please do what ever possible to support their initiatives: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/180.

  3. avatar

    I would believe that the immigrant worker program would not really be affected to much ………………except that when they are done working they would have to leave our country….the immigrant problem is way out of control………I am assuming to get a work visa you have to register……but some of these immigrants are going beyond that………this is a bad situation…..It is taking jobs away from our citizens and money out of our pockets to help pay some of their WELFARE…..I would rather see that money going to helping our citizens through Medicare and other low income projects…….I do not think we need to pay aide for these people that want to come to our country if they cannot hold up their end of the bargain………….we have laws that allow us to control how many people come into our country…..we have more people than new sustainable jobs coming in………the people that come across the border are breaking a law….why can’t the politicians see this ………what has happened in this country is because you give one person a break ,the next one comes along and wants it to and if they can’t get it they can scream.net prejudizse and the government caves….lets just stick to the enforcing the border laws…..If you find a immigrant is hear illegally send him home…..no trial or anything he is not a citizen .we should not have to pay for anything about this …..go before the judge ….if you can’t produce evidence you belong here send them home…..how about all of us co operate with the laws and maybe can get our country out of debt…………….

  4. avatar

    One thing trump has not addressed is how farmers are going to get crops picked without illegals. I live in the country and do not see any Americans out there picking crops. Do you or your friends and kids want to go pick crops? I doubt it. We used to have a seasonal program to bring in people to pick the crops and then they were bussed home. I’m not sure why they no longer use it. If trump insists on sending home all illegals with no alternative plan it will be a disaster for the American farmers as well as for food prices and availability of produce.

    • avatar

      this is a problem with our society ….we should instill in our kids if you want to go to college you need to take what ever job necessary….you do not deserve to be holding down jobs that take away from people that are supporting a family until you get out of high school………when I was young you didn’t see all of these kids working in grocery stores working mothers were working in them…..I new a girl when I was coming down to Florida asked me if I would come to work with her ….she was a n American and she picked produce out of tourist season in tourist season she worked as a waitress……….when she picked she got piece work ………I believe most people don’t even apply because the immigrants have it all tied up……………. another problem I see these big corporations bringing people in from out of our country to hold top paying jobs………this is not right ………..when you see all of this happening you can see why our country is going to hell in a hand basket…..no patriotism………..no laws in our home, no laws in our country………….

    • avatar

      There is a program for seasonal workers but a lot of farmers prefer to keep using illegals. A lot of produce is now imported anyway. Farmers in Florida left a lot of crops unpicked this winter because Mexican tomatoes were undercutting their prices. Farmers can also move to things like hydroponic farming which is basically vegetables grown in containers. It’s more expensive to set up but the yields are greater.

      • avatar

        “but a lot of farmers prefer to keep using illegals” That is not true…..the actual demand of these workers i 3/4 times bigger therefore you have more illegals,,,,,,

        • avatar

          More babble. The growers have to provide housing for visa workers. That’s why they like illegals.

          • avatar

            You are so dumb sometimes with your own facts n -5 year old conclusion m belief….What I said is public knowledge….R u one if those that create fake news?

          • avatar

            No I don’t create fake news. You however create numerous fake troll names to post under.

          • avatar

            Leland educate yourself..! 3/4 of the work force is illegal as a few years ago and only one third of the permits are available….

  5. avatar
    Patricia Scott on

    All the American money put in to help the illegal immigrants should not happen. They are utlizing the school funds, the hospitals, medicare, welfare, government housing subsidies, college funds, food stamps, etc. The money for these programs come from funds that all of who worked were made to pay for. Now they want to give it to illegal criminals. Americans cannot get the monies that our government gives to illegals. We are tired of it. SEND THEM HOME. A.S.A.P. ALMOST ALL OF US lEGAL CITIZENS WANT THIS

    • avatar

      agreed…why can’t the politicians see this and stop condemning Trump with so much vigor……… once we get this straightened out we can start bringing down our deficit and implementing a decent health plan and maybe putting money back into social security that they borrowed………our politicians have gotten us into a mess…They could take some lessons from people that live on a couple thousand per month salary