Sandra Sanchez, KRON4, February 5, 2020
In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his commitment to build hundreds more miles of border wall on the Southwest border, end sanctuary cities and thwart human traffickers and those who come to the United States illegally.
Touting his speech as “The Great American Comeback,” Trump spent a majority of his 90 minutes before Congress espousing the economic gains his administration has achieved during the past three years. But, sprinkled within repeated examples of economic prosperity, factory additions and plugs for more school choices, he reiterated the need to block migrants from illegally entering the United States, citing their criminal record, drain on American healthcare resources and their inability to migrate lawfully through the U.S. court system.
“Before I came into office, if you showed up illegally and were arrested, you were simply allowed to be released into our country never to be seen again. My administration has eliminated catch and release,” Trump said. “Our borders are secure, our families are flourishing, our values are renewed and our pride restored … the state of our union is stronger than ever before.”
Trump said that healthcare for non-citizens “would raid the Medicare benefits of our seniors … and be a powerful lure for illegal immigration.”
He called the building of a barrier along the Southwest border “a long, tall and very powerful wall” and said over 100 miles have so far been built. He said he expects 500 miles to be built within the year.
“My administration has undertaken an unprecedented effort to secure the southern border of the United States,” Trump said to repeated standing ovations from half of the gallery.
Paul Perez, president of the National Border Patrol Council – Local 3307, which includes the Rio Grande Valley said: “The Rio Grande Valley’s Local of the National Border Patrol Council can attest to the truth behind the statements made by President Trump during the SOTU address tonight. We know better than anyone how much his policies and, in some cases, just his words alone, have changed the border mission as we know it. Never before have we been as empowered to do the job the way it’s supposed to be done, free of political and ideological roadblocks. The men and women on the front lines know the best way to secure the border, and under his administration, we’ve been given the freedom and the tools necessary to finally secure the border the right way.”
“The wall, as evident in the locations where it currently stands, will undoubtedly continue to serve as a very effective physical deterrent and as a necessary tool in our fight to control our borders and protect our nation. We need the support of Congress in order to ensure that the policies that drive illegal immigration to our borders are changed through legislation that creates a fair and merit-based immigration system,” Perez said.
Trump touted “historic” Asylum Cooperation Agreements, or ACAs with several Latin American countries that have agreed to accept deported migrants from the United States, including El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. He also credited a dramatic decrease of migrant apprehensions by over 70% since the summer to these agreements, as well as tougher entry policies implemented by the Department of Homeland Security.
“We are Americans, we are pioneers. We are the path finders. We settle the new world and we embrace the eternal truth that everyone is created equal by the hand of the almighty God,” Trump said toward the end of his speech.