Many Californians Disappointed by Characterization of Immigrants in the President’s State of the Union Address

  • Apr 4 2018

President Donald Trump, in his recent State of the Union Address, clearly intended to impress his listeners and to broaden his base of support. As far as many Californians are concerned, however, his positive claims of economic success and positive immigration reform rang hollow. Not only have his words and behavior during his first year in office belied his claims that he is trying to unify the nation, but the words he spoke regarding immigration during the speech itself were patently divisive. If you are dealing with immigration issues in California — being threatened with or fearing deportation, or simply having difficulty navigating the complex bureaucratic system, it’s time for you to contact a strong, knowledgeable immigration attorney to protect your rights.

President Associates Immigration with Gang Violence

If you are an immigrant in the U.S., or if you have loved ones who are immigrants here, it was hardly reassuring to hear President Trump open the section of his speech concerning immigration with a focus on the MS-13 gang. For his staunch supporters, this mention of gang violence relative to immigration was red meat, reinforcing the idea that immigrants are dangerous enemies we have to wall out.

For immigrants and those who support them, however, his association of gang brutality with the  immigrant population insinuates that immigrants are representatives of a criminal population. Perhaps if Trump hadn’t made previous statements describing Mexicans as “rapists,” declared that a group of demonstrating Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members contained “some fine people,” and referred to Haitians, El Salvadorians, and Africans as coming from “sh–hole countries,” his recent statements about love and unity might carry more weight.

Instead of recognizing that the Hispanic immigrants in this country are the people most endangered by the MS-13 gang, the president declared in his State of the Union speech that immigrants “have caused the loss of innocent lives,” and featured two families who had lost their young daughters to gang violence, also praising a Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent who arrested hundreds of gang members. While no one disputes the need to punish and deport vicious criminals who come from other countries, it is hardly fair to characterize the millions of immigrants who work hard to succeed and help our country to thrive as “criminals.”

What’s wrong with the DACA deal?

The majority of Americans agree that DACA recipients, who, though brought into this country illegally as children, are now contributing members of society, should be allowed to remain in the only country they have ever known. President Trump, however, made reference in his State of the Union speech to those who “took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors” and then ended up murdering American citizens. There is no question that crimes have been committed by some illegal immigrants, but several studies show that the immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States

Trump’s proposal for immigration reform, although at first glance appears to be positive, is meeting vigorous objections from the Democratic community. This is because his proposed reform uses the bait of giving more than 1.8 million Dreamers a pathway to citizenship to slip in other punitive policies. His plan is to cut legal immigration by one-third and stop what he refers to as “chain migration.” He uses this derogatory term to describe the process by which immigrants who have worked hard to bring their parents, siblings and other close family members to join them in this land of opportunity. Perhaps even more disturbing, he wants to institute a “merit-based” system of immigration, filtering would-be immigrants by their levels of wealth, education, and skill levels — a plan with which the Statue of Liberty clearly disagrees.

This is definitely a difficult time to be an immigrant to the United States. Though the cards may seem to be stacked against you and your family, it is important to remember that, in spite of nasty political rhetoric, the majority of Americans are on your side. Almost everyone in this country is descended from immigrants, most of whom came here poor, uneducated, and unskilled and became the farmers, bankers, factory workers, teachers, technicians, engineers, doctors, nurses, lawyers and shop owners who have kept this country constantly revitalized. We want you and your loved ones to have the same opportunity. Don’t try to fight the ever-changing immigration system alone. Protect yourself and your family by consulting with an experienced immigration attorney with up-to-date knowledge and evolving legal strategies as soon as possible.

Posted in: Immigration Law