State of the Union Fails to Address Real National Concerns- Returns to His Favorite Topic– Scapegoating Immigrants
CHICAGO – February 5, 2019 – Tonight, President Trump’s State of the Union address started out with a call for unity, but quickly pivoted into fear-mongering targeting immigrant families and those seeking refuge. Oscar Chacón, executive director of Alianza Americas, issued the following statement in response:
“President Trump’s speech delivered another heavy dose of xenophobia, along with scare tactics and immigrant scapegoating, as he sought to justify yet more wasteful spending on militarized borders and walls. This is especially disturbing at a time when families in the United States and across the hemisphere are facing real threats in the form of deteriorating public infrastructure, volatile weather due to climate change, the grinding poverty of low wage jobs, lack of access to quality education or the deepening opioid epidemic.
If President Trump seriously wants to foster “compromise and the common good”, he could start by scrapping the border wall, and instead building out basic infrastructure for community wellbeing: affordable housing, clean, safe drinking water, public transportation, and other urgent needs. Rather than bragging about tax cuts for the wealthy, he could focus on fair and rigorous tax policies that would allow the United States to make much-needed investments in public education, health care, and a sustainable energy system to address climate change.
If he is serious about building a path toward a “modern” migration system, he could start by un-doing some of the damage his administration has already inflicted on immigrant communities. Top of that list of policy solutions are permanent protections for TPS, DED, and DACA beneficiaries, fully vetted and work-authorized immigrants, many of whom are business owners, parents of US citizen children, and sources of employment for U.S. citizens across the country. The cancellations of protections for these populations put millions of hardworking families at risk and threaten the well-being of communities both here in the United States and in countries of origin.
The real “danger” at the US-Mexico border is the one created by the Trump Administration’s policies of, separating children from families, returning asylum seekers to Mexico and spending billions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary detention and undermining humanitarian protections. Instead of demonizing immigrants, we need real leadership from both parties in Washington to respect and support internationally-recognized asylum laws that prioritize family unity and foster safety for all by ensuring due process and timely processing of asylum cases.
We reject attempts to pit workers, immigrants, and people of color against one another. We are all members of the same communities, and we see through the racist and xenophobic attempts to divide us. We reject the isolationist and militarized vision of “security.” We know that real shared prosperity and security will come only when we address the inequality, poverty, and violence that drive forced migration and that plague communities here in the United States.”
Alianza Americas is a network of 50 immigrant-led organizations representing more than 100,000 families across the United States. It is the only US-based organization rooted in Latino and Caribbean immigrant communities that works transnationally to create an inclusive, equitable, and sustainable way of life. Learn more at alianzaamericas.org.