Chris Chmielenski's picture


  by  Chris Chmielenski

During his third State of the Union address, Pres. Trump focused his immigration remarks on policies that protect American workers and national sovereignty. It was a message reminiscent of 2016 when, as a candidate, he consistently appealed to voters by calling for immigration policies that put Americans first.

In nearly every instance, Pres. Trump explained how his policies would protect the safety of Americans and defend American workers and their jobs and wages.

On border security:

To defend American Workers and Families from every walk of life, my Administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to secure the Southern Border of the United States.

On interior enforcement:

A better tomorrow for all Americans also requires us to keep America safe.  That means supporting the men and women of law enforcement at every level, including our nation’s heroic ICE officers.

On sanctuary cities:

The United States of America should be a sanctuary for law-abiding Americans, not criminal aliens.

On the topic of legal immigration, Pres. Trump didn’t devote as much time compared to his previous two State of the Union addresses, including just one sentence.

To build on these historic gains, we are working on legislation to replace our outdated and randomized immigration system with one based on merit, welcoming those who follow the rules, contribute to our economy, support themselves financially, and uphold our values.

— Pres. Trump, State of the Union, Feb. 4, 2020

It was a remarkable change in tone compared to last year’s State of the Union, where Pres. Trump called for people to come in the “largest numbers ever”, and a recent interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, where he said the country had a worker shortage and needed more foreign workers.

A White House fact sheet provided more information:

President Trump wants a merit-based immigration system that protects American workers and serves the national interest.

-- White House Fact Sheet, Feb. 4, 2020

We know that the White House continues to work on legislation aimed at remaking the existing system by ending chain migration and the visa lottery and replacing the current employment-based system with one based on merit.

In a State of the Union address that is being dubbed as a campaign speech, Pres. Trump essentially promised the voters that he would push for a legal immigration system that didn’t adversely affect workers. It’s a vastly different message than that of a D.C. business lobby that is constantly pushing for more immigration with little regard for workers.

The question moving forward is whether the White House immigration plan will deliver on Pres. Trump’s promise to protect and defend American workers.

CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Deputy Director for NumbersUSA

Updated: Wed, Feb 19th 2020 @ 1:20pm EST

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