SCREEN CAPTUREU.S. Senator Kamala Harris panned the State of Unioin speech. 'It fell short of the truth," she said.
IMMIGRANTS were a big part of the State of the Union address by Donald Trump. He used immigrants and immigration as a wedge to further divide the nation in his 80-minute speech.
He began the topic of immigration by talking about MS-13, a violent criminal gang with ties to El Salvador that has been linked to grisly killings around the country.
Trump recognized two families from Long Island whose daughters had been killed by members of MS-13 as the camera focused on the grieved parents.
“Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors,” Trump said.
“Tonight I am calling on Congress to finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country,” Trump said.
He then went on to tout the “four pillars” of his immigration plan: creating a path to citizenship for an estimated 1.8 million Dreamers; $25 billion for border security; attacking family reunification visas for relatives of U.S. citizens; and ending the diversity visa lottery program.
Harris, formerly the Attorney General for California and a former D.A. in San Francisco, argued that Trump acted irresponsibly by citing MS-13 crimes in attempting to justify his demand that broader immigration reforms be attached to helping Dreamers.
“We’re not supposed to convince the American public of policy because we make them afraid. And that’s what this president apparently thinks he needs to do and it’s irresponsible,” Harris said.
Harris further blasted Trump, “MS-13 is an example of some of the worst of criminal gang behavior. To equate that with Dreamers and DACA was completely irresponsible and it was scapegoating and it was fear-mongering and it was wrong,” Harris said, speaking of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
“It was wrong technically in terms of the nature and character populations, and in terms of the difference — in terms of who they are and how they live their lives,” said the Indian/American senator. “And it was wrong because that’s not what leaders are supposed to do."
Dreamers are young adults who brought into the country as young children by their parents and became eligible for protection from deportation under the Obama-instigate DACA program set up in 2012.
U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., released the following statement after President Trump delivered his 2018 State of the Union Address:
“With the world watching, I hoped Donald Trump would finally remember some of the promises he made to the American people and display the leadership needed to unify this nation. I hoped he would present a serious infrastructure plan that makes the investments we desperately need to rebuild our crumbling roads, tunnels and bridges. I hoped he would offer a plan to rebuild rural communities that have been left behind like Cairo, Illinois. And I hoped he would finally propose a realistic bipartisan proposal to lift the inhumane threat of deportation countless Dreamers face because of him.
“Instead, the President engaged in more of the reckless rhetoric that divides instead of unites—and that already caused countless diplomatic crises and brought us to the brink of nuclear war with north Korea. He made little mention of smaller communities across America that he promised to help rebuild during his campaign. He failed to propose an infrastructure plan and focused only on public-private partnerships, which would force new tolls and taxes on middle-class families and fall seriously short of what is needed.
“We need our commander-in-chief to change course, try to forge bipartisan agreements on issues like immigration, and present the American people with a more positive and inclusive message that moves us forward as a nation. Tonight, President Trump failed on each of these counts.”
"Roughly 50,000 immigrants per year arrive on diversity visas and hundreds of thousands annually come on family-related visas. The Trump administration has linked a fraction of a percentage of those to terrorism.
"But while diversity lottery winners are chosen at random, it is not true that there are no requirements or screening before they actually receive permission to come to the US.
"By law, they are required to have at least a high school education or equivalent and work experience that requires specialized training, and they also must be screened for any form of ineligibility, including security risks, and interviewed before they receive a visa," said CNN.