On January 30, 2018, President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address. Immigration was something I was eager to hear about because of the controversy over Trump’s proposed solutions, especially involving immigration reform. I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard.
The Diversity Visa Lottery system
The Diversity Visa Lottery system in place provides too many opportunities for dangerous people to gain entry to the country — its only requirement is to have a high school education or two years of experience in a job that required training. Since there’s no background check required, this system leaves too much room for error and loopholes that allow criminals into the country. It is a threat to national security.
Trump is moving to change the visa system to a merit-based system that supports those with education, vocational skills and a clean record. This is especially important because of the recent terrorist attack in New York that was carried out by an immigrant who used the current system. There cannot be room for error when the threat it poses is terrorism.
The Chain Migration system
Chain Migration allows U.S. citizens and permit residents to apply to have relatives gain entry to the country, but it’s another huge loophole criminals can use to enter the country undetected. It does not give the government enough control to keep the safety of the country a top priority. According to the President, this has been a big issue with a specific gang, MS-13, whose members are responsible for 17 deaths in the past two years. The Trump administration proposed to only allow direct spouses and children to use the Chain Migration system. This will help keep gangs such as MS-13 out of the country and keep American families safe.
A path to citizenship and DACA
The President also proposed a plan that will offer a path to citizenship for immigrant youth that were brought here through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA’s lack of citizenship path and its open parameters need to be changed before the program continues: all programs that allow people to continually live in this country should lead them to citizenship. This is possible through Trump’s proposal, by way of a 12-year period which will welcome the 1.8 million children who want to be in America, and encourage them to stay.
Border control plans
Finally, President Trump proposed to have higher border security by hiring more ICE officers and building a stronger border wall. The wall has been a topic of controversy in the media because it’s been presented as a way to shun Mexico. But in an article about a congressional meeting that included both parties, reporters noted that Trump “conceded that ‘We don’t need a 2,000-mile wall,’” and that “Republicans and Democrats both said they believed Mr. Trump was using the term ‘wall’ to describe border security, not necessarily a giant physical barrier.” This diffused misconceptions, helping me understand the end goal for the Trump administration’s immigration plan. It gave me perspective, allowing me to feel less like the country was shunning Mexico and kicking out illegal immigrants: the plan is more about increasing public and border safety. Considering what I know about the kinds of threats that are already in our country because of weak borders, these things are necessary.
The Trump administration has been highly criticized in its first year in office, but its overall goal is to put the needs and safety of Americans first, which is something that is evident in their new immigration policy. The need for change is obvious and it’s not always negative, even if it has Donald Trump’s name on it. Any American should be able to see that the systems in place could benefit from the President’s proposals, even if they don’t support him. I used to be a huge critic of Trump and his policies, but now I’m convinced that the new policies that his administration has laid out show a different side to the President that I am just beginning to see – and I hope that others can see it too.