President Donald Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address was described as “the best speech he has ever given” by his son Donald Trump Jr. Americans overwhelmingly viewed the speech as unifying and optimistic, with 76 percent approving of the speech.
Why was Trump’s State of the Union so successful? Much of the rave can be attributed to the common sense immigration initiatives he proposed in his speech.
Trump called for a historic increase in legal immigration to the U.S. Trump said America needs more legal immigration largely due to its low unemployment rates, which currently hover at 4 percent. It’s simple — America is in the midst of an economic miracle and presents opportunities for legal immigrants to contribute to the economy.
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Seventy-two percent of American viewers approved of the immigration policies Trump outlined in his speech. This overwhelming support for Trump’s immigration policies is no surprise, as the president has common sense solutions to our broken immigration system. Simply put, a wall on parts of our southern border is not a “keep out” sign — rather, it is a request to use the door.
Most recently, Trump signed a spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown. A recent Fox News poll found that 2 out of every 3 registered voters in America support a budget deal that includes money for a border barrier. Despite support from the public, the bill signed by Trump included only $1.375 billion of the $5.7 billion requested for border security. Because of this funding request shortage, Trump also took executive action to appropriate additional funding for the border wall.
While the immigration debate focuses on Trump’s signature border wall, many Democrats fail to acknowledge that Trump’s proposal is a holistic immigration reform package. In addition to 234 miles of new steel barriers along the 1,954 mile Mexican border, the package also includes 750 additional border patrol agents, 75 immigration judges, $675 million for new border technology to combat narcotics and human trafficking, and $800 million for humanitarian purposes to ensure that families are not separated and no further children die at our country’s border.
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Yes, this is the exact proposal that Democrats, particularly, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, rejected and called “immoral.” In 2013, Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Barack Obama and every Senate Democrat — 36 of whom still serve today — supported 700 miles of border fencing under the Gang of Eight bill. Unsurprisingly, after Trump’s election in 2016, Democrats flipped their position simply to obstruct Trump, despite their previous support for border security.
Democrats — members of a party that has historically called for tax increases to fund additional government programs — seem to have flip-flopped their philosophy when Pelosi called Trump’s border package “expensive.” It’s awfully convenient that this marks one of the few times Pelosi has shown concern for fiscal responsibility in her 32 years as a career politician.
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Meanwhile, as Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, pointed out, the $5.7 billion requested by Trump equates to just .0014 percent of the total federal budget for Fiscal Year 2018. The federal government spends that much every 12 hours.
Trump understands the importance of compromise in negotiating deals. That’s why he proposed a three-year reprieve from the deportation of 700,000 undocumented migrants brought to the U.S. as children, who are now protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Additionally, Trump offered protection for 300,000 immigrants from nations who qualify for Temporary Protected Status. In true “willing to compromise” fashion, Democrats refused this compromise before Trump even proposed it.
Schumer and Pelosi have supported many of Trump’s policies before he was elected, and they now say “no” solely to restrict Trump’s success. Americans have seen Democrats turn a blind eye to immigration reform and instead resort to calling Trump expletives. Democrats would do well to start working for the American people and stop playing political games to obstruct Trump at the cost of endangering national security.
Ryan Christens ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in marketing and business management. He is also the recruitment director of the College Republicans of UW-Madison. Alec Bukowiec ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in marketing and information systems. He is also the social media director of the College Republicans of UW-Madison.