Tonight is President Trump’s first official State of the Union address. Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution mandates that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
Since Woodrow Wilson, presidents predominately use this speech to publicly share their vision on issues currently facing the nation. Tonight, Americans are likely to hear about a wide range of topics such as infrastructure, foreign policy, healthcare, and immigration.
Immigration is still one of the biggest issues that the United States faces, and frustration with the system under President Obama was a primary reason why Donald Trump was elected president. Therefore, it makes sense that it should be one of the primary focuses in his speech tonight.
While there are many things Trump could educate the American people about concerning immigration, here are five things people need to know about the state of the immigration system in America today:
- The costs associated with illegal immigration into the United States is unacceptably high.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform estimates that illegal immigration costs American taxpayers $116 billion annually. That’s nearly $100 per household, annually. In California, that burden is a whopping $1,800 per household. This is money that taxpayers shouldn’t ever lose.
- Amnesty is not the answer.
Providing amnesty to illegal aliens, especially without making it contingent on true immigration reforms, only encourages future illegal migration. Before accepting any kind of compromise that would include status or citizenship for illegal aliens, reforms such as the enacting mandatory E-Verify, ending chain migration, and building an effective border barrier must already be in place.
- The Democratic Party currently values illegal aliens over the interests of American citizens.
Democrats kicked off the year by holding the paychecks of hardworking government employees hostage to their demands of full amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. This was a clear betrayal of our national interest and shows voters what their true priorities are.
- Chain migration is unfair.
Chain migration unfairly favors extended family ties over immigration applicants who demonstrate potential that could benefit the United States. Currently, only 7 percent of visas issued by the United States government are skills-based. Immigration into the United States has essentially devolved into a sort of caste system where your admission depends on your family relations.
- Merit-based immigration encourages diversity and innovation
Currently, the majority of immigrants who enter the United States based on skill come from diverse countries such as India, China, and Mexico. This dispels the racist myth that a merit-based system favors migration from European nations (those that push this myth are essentially saying that non-white immigrants don’t have the ability to pass a merit-based system). Furthermore, changing to a system that favors skill and merit over simply family ties would open our doors to innovators who could improve the United States’ technological standing in an increasingly global economy.
Simply put, the state of the immigration system in the United States is that it is broken. According to a recent Harvard-Harris poll, 81 percent of Americans want to see a reduction in immigration levels into the United States. The same poll also showed that 79 percent Americans think our immigration system should focus on “a person’s ability to contribute to America as measured by their education and skills…”
If President Trump wants to deliver on his campaign promises to the American people, he should assure the American people that steps will be taken to enact meaningful immigration reform on issues like these, then follow through with those promises by bringing proposals before Congress.