At 8:00 O’Clock last Tuesday, college Republicans and Democrats began filing into the GU Politics office to join in watching President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address. By 8:30, the space had overflowed, leaving a large remainder of students scrambling for a nearby classroom.
The speech itself introduced a slight shift in the President’s more commonly harsh rhetoric. He began with an attempt to forge unity in celebration of 2017’s economic victories, such as a falling unemployment rate, rising wages, and a booming financial market. He then proceeded to praise his long sought tax overhaul, reiterating its positive implications for the future, and touted the fact that no other president in history has deregulated more in his first year.
But, beyond taking a victory lap, President Trump re-issued the agenda for the rest of his term. He spoke of lowering prescription drug prices and conquering the opioid epidemic, of trade policy and a massive infrastructural spending bill, and of educational and criminal justice reform.
Where the crowd both in the Capitol and the GU Politics office became much more visibly divided was in the President’s discussion about his immigration plan, a proposition comprised of four pillars:
- A path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants brought to America by their parents.
- A plan to secure the border with a wall, increased border patrol, and the closing of some extant loopholes.
- Ending the visa lottery to be replaced by merit-based immigration system.
- Eliminating the policy of “chain migration.”
The line that perhaps best summarizes Trump’s controversial stance on the current immigration debate and his more general approach to border security was this: “Americans are Dreamers too.” It was phrase, like the address at large, that was lauded by some and resented by others.