David Martosko, Daily Mail, January 31, 2018
Democrats assembled in Washington to hear Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech Tuesday night audibly booed, groaned and hissed at the president as he ran through his list of immigration priorities.
The president’s opponents sat on their hands as he demanded an expensive border wall between America and Mexico in exchange for a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors.
But when he insisted on an end to extended-family chain migration and a controversial ‘diversity’ visa lottery, it was too much for some in the House chamber.
Tuesday’s audible discontent marked the second time in two years that Democrats have booed Trump as he outlined his immigration philosophy before a Joint Session of Congress.
In 2017 it was the president’s announcement of a new Department of Homeland Security agency to provide services to victims of violent crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
The mention of ‘VOICE,’ short for Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement, drew scattered boos as Trump described it as a needed program for ‘those who have been ignored by our media and silenced by special interests.’
On Tuesday it was Trump’s contention that chain migration — what immigration advocates call ‘family reunification’ — permits a single green card holder to ‘bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives.’
Some Democrats shouted ‘No!’ and others groaned or booed. A few barked: ‘Lies!’
The White House said in December that family visa sponsorships accounted for about 70 per cent of all legal immigration to the U.S. between 2005 and 2015.
The U.S. permanently resettled about 9.3 million new immigrants on the basis of their family connections, according to statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Mexico topped the list in that category with 1.7 million family-based admissions during that 11-year stretch.
At least 600,000 can each from India and the Philippines. Another 80,000 came from Iran.
Trump tried to strike a tone of unity in some of his speech but rammed home his immigration policy in no uncertain terms on Tuesday
After Tuesday’s speech, Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin told DailyMail.com that he wasn’t among the loud dissenters.
‘I didn’t hiss,’ he insisted.
Trump’s plan for reforming chain migration calls for limiting sponsorships ‘to spouses and minor children,’ the president said.
The diversity lottery, a decades-old program, was intended to beef up U.S. immigration numbers from historically underrepresented parts of the world.
But the Trump administration sees it as a counterproductive randomization of who can live inside America’s borders – at a time when the nation needs new residents with specialized skills and education.
‘It’s time to begin moving towards a merit-based immigration system,’ Trump said Tuesday, ‘one that admits people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society and who will love and respect our country.’