President Trump Reinforces Commitment to Border Security in State of the Union Address
By Heather Ham-Warren | February 8, 2019
On Tuesday night, President Trump finally delivered his 2019 State of the Union address to highlight portions of his administration’s agenda for the next year. Congress currently has a little over one week to come to a spending agreement before another partial shutdown takes hold; and unsurprisingly, the president reiterated that timeline when discussing the importance of border security and immigration reform during his speech.
Right off the bat, the president emphasized that the current border crisis is, at its core, a humanitarian one. Regarding American citizens and lawful permanent residents, the president touched on how illegal immigration threatens the safety, security, and financial well-being of all Americans. He emphasized how a porous southern border has led to an influx of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and fentanyl. Finally, he reminded the American people that MS-13—a particularly savage Central American gang— is now active in twenty different American states.
However, President Trump was quick to remind Americans that those harms do not begin at our border. The president said, “Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate— it is cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north. Smugglers use migrant children as human pawns to exploit our laws and gain access to our country. Human traffickers and sex traffickers take advantage of the wide open areas between our ports of entry to smuggle thousands of young girls and women into the United States and to sell them into prostitution and modern-day slavery.”
To humanize these points, President Trump was accompanied by a few guests who have been personally affected by illegal immigration in terrible ways. Last month, Gerald and Sharon David of Reno, Nevada, were tragically murdered in their home by an illegal alien. The terrible loss has devastated both their community and their family. The cameras panned to the Davids’ tearful daughter Debra, granddaughter Heather, and great-granddaughter Madison as the president told their story.
The president was also accompanied by Elvin Hernandez, a Special Agent with the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations division. He has more than 18 years of federal law enforcement experience investigating narcotics, gangs, and human trafficking; and during his current seven-year assignment, Elvin has conducted numerous successful international human trafficking investigations involving transnational organized crime groups. Following Special Agent Hernandez’s introduction, the president promised never to abolish Hernandez’s agency, a nod to the radical “Abolish ICE” movement that has taken hold of the Democratic Party.
While the president’s guests demonstrated a clear position that border and interior enforcement is necessary to protect the interests and security of the American people, Democrats, on the other hand, remained steadfastly on the side of illegal aliens. Representatives Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) both invited illegal aliens who previously worked at the president’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Additionally, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) invited a mother and daughter from Guatemala who were denied asylum in the U.S. and eventually were separated for two months after they were caught illegally crossing the southern border.
In response to the speech Dan Stein, president of FAIR said, “President Trump made a clear and compelling case to the American people about the need for securing our borders and addressing loopholes in our laws that are driving a growing wave of new illegal immigration. The president reiterated that secure border barriers – a position that until fairly recently enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress – are essential to controlling the border. Such barriers, where they are in place along our southern border and around the world, dramatically reduce illegal immigration and deter people from risking their lives attempting to violate the laws of other nations. In addition, as the president noted, border barriers dramatically improve public safety and combat cross-border crime.”