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Immigration ‘Deal or No Deal’

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President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address attempted to strike an overall tone of bipartisanship and optimism for the country’s future. He failed.

The speech largely focussed on immigration reform as he further touted the four-part deal his administration released a week prior. The deal included a path to citizenship for the millions of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. It also included a $25 billion dollar trust fund to build a Mexican border wall.

The Trump administration has put this into negotiations as a way for the 689,800 DACA recipients (according to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services) to be allowed to stay in this country. The United States is the only country many of them have ever really known. Yet, during his State of the Union address, Trump might have extinguished any hopes of Democrats accepting said deal. We believe they’d be smart not to.

For much of his address, Trump continued to push his agenda to criminalize immigrants. This left several Democrats in the crowd irritated. Many appeared stone-faced for the majority of the evening.  Boos and hisses even ensued when he turned to the subject of recent terrorist attacks in New York City. The attacks were committed by legal immigrants. Trump’s mention of this was seen by many to be another not so subtle attempt to paint all immigrants with one brush.

Trump would finally get the funding he needs to build a partial Mexican border wall if Democrats were to accept his deal. This win would make it easy for him to further his vitriol against all immigrants.

A quote posted in an article on The New York Time’s website from California House Rep. Nancy Pelosi reads, “The president presents himself as generous toward Dreamers, but he’s holding them hostage to the most extreme anti-immigrant agenda in generations. We heard more insulting words of ignorance and prejudice — prejudice toward patriotic immigrant families last night.”

Trump getting his border wall would also mean he will have delivered on his biggest campaign promise. This would put him and the rest of the Republicans in an advantageous position moving forward. This is especially true for the upcoming midterm elections in November. An article by Alaina Plott on theatlantic.com said it best. “[Republicans are] banking on immigration reform to help them coast into November.”

One of President Trump’s obvious goals for his first State of the Union address was to strike a tone of unity. His continued assault on immigrants ultimately undermined that goal.

Democrats accepting this deal could give Trump more ammunition to spew hate. Building the wall would also renew and/or reaffirm Trump’s supporter’s faith in him. This would hardly be in the best interest of the Democratic Party with midterms only months away.  

We feel that Democrats should try to negotiate a better deal. One that still includes a path to citizenship for DACA recipients but doesn’t give Republicans an edge at the polls and the opportunity to advance their hateful rhetoric against immigrants.

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Immigration ‘Deal or No Deal’