In his first speech as President, Donald J. Trump reaffirmed his 18-month continuous campaign promise to implement immigration policies for the benefit of American workers.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families."
Making American workers the priority of all immigration policy decisions was a central part of Pres. Trump's campaign since the rollout of his first official policy paper on it in August of 2015. But since the election, Mr. Trump has made some comments that led many in the news media to speculate that he might instead in some instances prioritize the interests of foreign-labor-seeking businesses and of foreign citizens over the needs of American workers.
His references to immigration in his Inaugural Address to the nation today were reassurances that his campaign promises will now be turned into administrative actions. I hope we will be reporting some of those actions by early next week, and maybe even before.
We at NumbersUSA's headquarters here in our nation's Capital make our own pledge to the more than 8 million members of our on-line network of citizens that we will monitor this Administration as closely as we did that of Pres. Clinton, Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama. In language of an earlier President, we begin with trust that Pres. Trump will quickly live up to the hopes contained in his campaign promises on immigration, but we will always verify.
In the quote above, Mr. Trump included trade, taxes and foreign affairs along with immigration as policies that must first serve American workers. In so doing, he signaled that his long-time pledge on immigration is consistent with a larger approach dealing on other fronts, as well. He followed that statement with this:
We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs."
For all of us who marveled as successive Administrations sent our troops to risk their lives securing the borders of other countries, we were heartened by this in the Address:
We've defended other nations' borders while refusing to defend our own."
And the following comment was a robust rendering of some of our goals for why we want to end extreme high levels of immigration and move back toward immigration moderation. With around 50 million working-age Americans not in the workforce at all -- 12 million more than in 2000 -- high immigration simply helps perpetuate all kinds of negative trends in our society toward dependency, lost productivity and lives hollowed of purpose.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules -- buy American and hire American. "
One part of the Address was a good fit for the true meaning of the Statue of Liberty which was given by the French people to symbolize the role of America as a model of freedom and rule of law for other nations to follow. Policies in which the United States government puts the interests of its own citizens first are to be done and justified . . .
. . . with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow. "
These short sections of the Address may sound like such common sense that they seem like trite platitudes. But for decades, if a President has mentioned immigration policies in a major speech like this, the focus is nearly always on how to better serve the interests of citizens of other nations who want to have American jobs. I can't blame those foreign citizens for wanting that. But tens of millions of Americans living in poverty with no job or jobs with depressed wages have to appreciate a different priority expressed today.
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Feb 3rd 2017 @ 12:25pm EST