Trump warns of im­mi­gra­tion dangers in State of the Union

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation/Dollars & Sense -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — Ad­dress­ing a deeply di­vided na­tion, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called for a “new Amer­i­can mo­ment” of unity Tues­day night and chal­lenged law­mak­ers to make good on long-stand­ing prom­ises to fix a dan­ger­ously frac­tured im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem, warn­ing of evil out­side forces seek­ing to un­der­mine the na­tion’s way of life.

Trump’s State of the Union ad­dress blended self-con­grat­u­la­tion and calls for op­ti­mism amid a grow­ing econ­omy with dark warn­ings about deadly gangs, the scourge of drugs and vi­o­lent im­mi­grants liv­ing in the United States il­le­gally. He cast the de­bate over im­mi­gra­tion — an is­sue that has long an­i­mated his most ar­dent sup­port­ers — as a bat­tle be­tween he­roes and vil­lains, prais­ing the work of an im­mi­gra­tion agent who ar­rested more than 100 gang mem­bers and salut­ing the fam­i­lies of two al­leged gang victims.

He also spoke fore­bod­ingly of cat­a­strophic dangers from abroad, warn­ing that North Korea would “very soon” threaten the United States with nu­clear-tipped mis­siles.

“The United States is a com­pas­sion­ate na­tion. We are proud that we do more than any other coun­try to help the needy, the strug­gling and the un­der­priv­i­leged all over the world,” Trump said. “But as pres­i­dent of the United States, my high­est loy­alty, my great­est com­pas­sion, and my con­stant con­cern is for Amer­ica’s chil­dren, Amer­ica’s strug­gling work­ers and Amer­ica’s for­got­ten com­mu­ni­ties.”

Trump spoke with ten­sions run­ning high on Capi­tol Hill. An im­passe over im­mi­gra­tion prompted a three-day govern­ment shut­down ear­lier this year, and law­mak­ers ap­pear no closer to re­solv­ing the sta­tus of the “Dream­ers” — young peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S. il­le­gally ahead of a new Feb. 8 dead­line for fund­ing op­er­a­tions. The par­ties have also clashed this week over the plans of Repub­li­cans on the House in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tee to re­lease a clas­si­fied memo on the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­volv­ing Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign — a de­ci­sion the White House backs but the Jus­tice Depart­ment is fight­ing.

The con­tro­ver­sies that have dogged Trump — and the ones he has created— have over­shad­owed strong eco­nomic gains dur­ing his first year in office. His ap­proval rat­ings have hov­ered in the 30s for much of his pres­i­dency, and just 3 in 10 Amer­i­cans said the United States was head­ing in the right di­rec­tion, ac­cord­ing to a poll by The As­so­ci­ated Press-NORC Cen­ter for Pub­lic Af­fairs Re­search. In the same survey, 67 per­cent of Amer­i­cans said the coun­try was more di­vided be­cause of Trump.

At times, Trump’s ad­dress ap­peared to be aimed more at val­i­dat­ing his first year in office than set­ting the course for his sec­ond. He de­voted sig­nif­i­cant time to tout­ing the tax over­haul he signed at the end of last year, promis­ing the plan will “pro­vide tremen­dous re­lief for the mid­dle class and small busi­nesses.” He also high­lighted the de­ci­sion made early in his first year to with­draw the U.S. from a sweep­ing Asia-Pa­cific trade pact, declar­ing: “The era of eco­nomic sur­ren­der is to­tally over.”

He spoke about po­ten­tial agenda items for 2018 in broad terms, in­clud­ing a call for $1.5 tril­lion in new in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing and part­ner­ships with states and the pri­vate sec­tor. He touched only briefly on is­sues like health care that have been at the cen­ter of the Repub­li­can Party’s pol­icy agenda for years.

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