Donald Trump reacts after delivering his first address as President to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo – Pool/Getty Images)
By NAN Editorial Team
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. Mar. 1, 2017: Donald Trump may have won praise in some quarters last night for a great acting performance done with a scripted speech that was meant to sell policy short on details as usual, but the 45th President of the United States continued right on scapegoating immigrants and selling fake news.
In the hour-long speech, Trump again blamed immigrants for taking away jobs from Americans and claimed that, “According to the National Academy of Sciences, our current immigration system costs America’s taxpayers many billions of dollars a year.”
But that’s not exactly what that report says.
It says immigrants “contribute to government finances by paying taxes and add expenditures by consuming public services.”
The report found that while first-generation immigrants are more expensive to governments than their native-born counterparts, primarily at the state and local level, immigrants’ children “are among the strongest economic and fiscal contributors in the population.”
And it said found that the “long-run fiscal impact” of immigrants and their children would probably be seen as more positive “if their role in sustaining labor force growth and contributing to innovation and entrepreneurial activity were taken into account.”
But Trump’s scapegoating did not stop there.
He began his speech by proudly touting the ramped up enforcement of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents in immigrant communities, claiming immigration enforcement will make America safer.
“Bad ones are going out as I speak tonight and as I have promised,” he said.
But law enforcement experts say that’s false even as the ACLU slammed Trump on Twitter for what it called “more empty pablum” that are “completely divorced from the reality of harm he has inflicted on vulnerable communities.”
“If we want to be proud of the progress we’ve made in our 250th year as a nation, we should stop ripping families apart now,” the organization Tweeted.
Trump also revealed that “construction of a great wall along our southern border” will begin soon.
“It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime,” he added to applause from Republicans in Congress but did not reveal how it will be paid for.
Meanwhile, using three grieving families who were guests of the First Lady, Trump again reiterated the fake news that immigrants are killing Americans in big numbers and he revealed he has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American Victims.
“The office is called VOICE –- Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement,” he said, even though the data clearly shows that crime rates among immigrants is lower than among US citizens and several studies, over many years, have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States.
Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette Clarke was quick to Tweet: “Grandson of immigrants @realDonaldTrump falsely claims that immigrants are responsible for crime. The facts tell a different story.”
While Cecelia Wang, Deputy Legal Director of the National ACLU, added by Tweet: “Immigration status is not predictive of crime. Using grieving families to fan flames of xenophobia is sick.”
Although there was some talk Tuesday afternoon of an immigration reform plan from the administration, Trump offered up only a “merit-based immigration system” like Canada and Australia.
“It is a basic principle that those seeking to enter a country ought to be able to support themselves financially,” he said. “Switching away from this current system of lower-skilled immigration, and instead adopting a merit-based system, will have many benefits: it will save countless dollars, raise workers’ wages, and help struggling families –- including immigrant families –- enter the middle class.”
Jamaican roots US Senator Kamala Harris insisted on Twitter: “We need pathways to citizenship, not un-American & unrealistic plans to break up families.”
Overall, while the administration may have sought to strike a conciliatory tone, it was clear the pointed shots at immigrants and the blatant lies failed to achieve that goal.
The National Immigration Law Center summed up the speech aptly on Twitter, tweeting: “Trump made it clear he will continue scapegoating #immigrants and terrorizing our communities.”