February 2, 2018
President Trump recently delivered his first State of the Union to the American people. During this speech, he made a plethora of future plans and boasted about his administration’s accomplishments.
List 1 – Trumps’ Plans
There were a plethora of talking points President Trump had during his State of the Union, including lowering the cost of prescription drugs and revitalizing our nuclear weapons program to deter rogue actors such as North Korea. Although these two issues may seem very important the Trump administration prioritized two other plans: immigration and infrastructure.
One of the largest themes of the State of the Union was the number of illegal immigrants entering the United States and the devastating impact of illegal immigration to our people. His plan had four pillars. First, it would offer a pathway to citizenship for nearly 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States by their parents at a young age. Second, it would completely secure the border via a border wall. Third, it would end the visa lottery (a program that randomly hands out green cards which according to the Trump administration is handed out without any regard for skill, merit, or safety of America’s people. Finally, it would bring an end to chain migration. According to the Trump administration, a single immigrant can essentially bring an unlimited number of distant relatives.
There are many issues with this bill. First, the Trump administration claims that the visa lottery program blindly gives out visa lotteries but that is not true. Immigrants do not automatically get a visa but have to be eligible to even apply for it. According to the U.S. State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the individual must have at least a high school education or two years of work experience. In addition, the visa lottery is not randomly chosen. Applicants must pass a vetting process which includes passport, police/medical records, and photographs. The agency claims that “National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications.”
Secondly, the Trump administration claimed that once an immigrant enters this country they can bring an endless amount of relatives to this country. According to The Hill “The administration’s claims are demonstrably false.” Current law does not allow for you to bring an infinite amount of family members but only the closest family members (spouse, children, parents, and siblings). The Trump proposal would only spouses and children leaving parents and siblings out. There are currently no reunification paths for more distant family members.
In addition to the immigration plan, Trump promised a plethora of other things. One other one is updating and renewing our crumbling infrastructure. As with immigration, this plan lacks a clear plan on how the infrastructure will be built or even funded. The recent tax reform may also add to more problems as many companies may struggle to find new revenue sources. According to Patrick Sisson, “There also weren’t any specific calls to create new funding sources for the plan.”
List 2 – Accomplishments
There was a countless amount of accomplishments the Trump administration was boasting about. The biggest accomplishment that Trump spoke about was the economy. He claimed that black unemployment is the lowest it ever has been, he has added a total of 2.4 million jobs (200,000 of them in manufacturing), and claimed that the tax overhaul that passed Congress gave 3 million workers a tax bonus and was the largest tax cut in history.
It is true that black unemployment is the lowest it ever has been true but the Trump administration is conveniently leaving out other necessary facts. When Trump took office in January 2017, the black unemployment was already at 7.8% (the lowest it had been in nearly 10 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Under Trump, that number has fallen to 6.8% continuing its downward trajectory. Although Trump takes credit for accomplishing this, it is important to know that black unemployment was going down long before he took office (started falling from 16% in 2010 under the Obama Administration).
The Trump administration has also claimed that they have added nearly 2.4 million jobs and 200,00 manufacturing jobs. Although these numbers may be true, the pace of job growth has slowed twelve percent during Trump’s first eleven months in office. Even though there are jobs being added to the market it is at a slower rate than other past presidents. Finally, the Trump administration has claimed that they have given 3 million workers a tax bonus. While this may be true, according to the Labor Department the workers that got a tax bonus were only 3 million workers out of 154 million (only about 2%). Furthermore, Trump claimed that it was the largest tax cut in American history which is a false statement. Trump gave a tax cut of around 1.7% while Obama had a 1.8% cut in 2013 and Reagan had a 2.9% cut in 1981.
This brief was compiled by Vaibhav Kumar. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.