A review of the 2018 State of the Union address

Richard Decker
Staff Writer

PHOTO FROM FACTCHECK.ORG

In his first State of the Union address, President Donald Trump took credit for a growing economy and a “new American moment.”

President Trump urged Congress to invest more in national defenses and infrastructure and promoted an immigration proposal that challenges the plan for citizenship for Dreamers.

Throughout the 80-minute speech, the third-longest State of the Union, Trump addressed several topics, including the national economy, the opioid crisis, MS-13, the North Korea crisis and foreign aid.

The address can be summarized into several topics:

America First

“There has never been a better time to start living the American Dream. All of us, together, as one team, one people and one American family can do anything,” Trump said.
He spoke of strictly domestic policy for the first hour of the address. Breaking from traditional State of the Union addresses, the president did not present any policy proposals, only requests.

Infrastructure

Trump said, “Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to produce a bill that generates at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment that our country so desperately needs. Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and, where appropriate, tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit. And we can do it.”

Furthermore, the president wants state and local governments to “partner” in infrastructure projects which may be simple in wealthy areas like New York City but more difficult for those in economic despair and those in most need of these projects, like Flint, Michigan.

Economy

“We have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone. After years and years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wage,” Trump said.

He continued, “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low, and — something I am very proud of — African American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”

Foreign Relations and Economics

“America has also finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs and our nation’s wealth,” said Trump. “As we rebuild America’s strength and confidence at home, we are also restoring our strength and standing abroad.”

In November 2017, the trade deficit stood at $50.5 billion, according to the Census Bureau, and it is up 3.5 percent from the time Trump took office last January. For reference, the U.S. imported $465 billion more in goods and services than it exported during Trump’s time in office — that is a $48 billion increase than the figure in the same period in 2016.

Immigration

Trump vocalized his plan to end the visa lottery, a program he said “randomly hands out green cards” to potential immigrants.

Applicants do not need to fulfill the requirements one must for employment-based immigration visa requests, but they must demonstrate they have a high school education, its equivalent, or “two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform,” according to the Department of State.

The president’s fourth and final pillar seeks to end chain migration, or immigrants bringing additional family members to the country.

While an immigrant who becomes a U.S. citizen could theoretically petition a parent, and that parent could eventually become a U.S. citizen and petition his or her siblings, the process takes time. There is a current waitlist of nearly 4 million, according to the State Department.

Future

Trump raised several points during his address, and time will show how these ideas evolve over the next few years.

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