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(Win McNamee/Pool via AP)
(Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

Trump Announces Vision for Immigration & DACA Dreamers at the State of the Union Address

President Donald Trump called for a tough new immigration policy focused on protecting Americans during his first State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, announcing that  "Americans are Dreamers too."

The quote was a reference to the 800,000 so-called Dreamers, immigrants who are living int he United States under the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program and who have been caught in a fight between Democratice and Republican lawmakers about their future ability to stay in the US.

In a speech delivered by Trump to members of Congress and their guests and broadcast to the rest of the country, Trump laid out a vision for his next year in office that included his goal of offering a path to citizenship to Dreamers but ensuring that Americans' safety come first. He added that this bill should include funding for the building of a wall along the southern border, ending the visa lottery system, and limit the extension of visas to immigrants’ spouses and minor children.

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Trump's remark about "Americans are Dreamers too" was met with boos from Democratic lawmakers in a speech that provoked raucous reactions from both sides of the aisle. Trump invited the family members of two children killed by immigrants who were members of the gang MS-13 to attend his speech as his special guests. He pointed to them as he spoke about the danger posed by immigrants who commit crimes.

Throughout his speech, Trump took a tough approach toward domestic and foreign policy issues. In his remarks he discussed his administration’s accomplishments during his first year in office, including the passage of tax reform legislature, strong economic indicators, and military victories against ISIS throughout the middle east.

Trump said he was especially proud to announce that African-American and Hispanic unemployment numbers were at a historic low. The Los Angeles Times reports that while African-American unemployment is indeed the lowest it’s ever been, the claim was not quite accurate for Latino-Americans.

Trump also touched on U.S foreign aid, noting that the US “[does] more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world.”

While it’s true that the US has the largest foreign aid budget in terms of dollar amount, 10 other countries contribute more aid money per capita than the US, according to a Quartz media report.

For comparison, each American citizen contributes about $95 per year to foreign assistance, while every Norwegian provides over $800.

Though US spending on foreign aid accounts for only 0.15% of the country’s GDP, Trump suggested changes to this spending might be imminent by implying that every UN member state that voted against the US’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had violated America’s sovereign right to do so.  

“I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America's friends,” the president remarked.

Read More: Trump Proposes Cuts to Foreign Aid & EPA to Spend More on Military

Other policy proposals the president put on his 2018 agenda included lowering the cost of prescription drugs, extending paid family leave, and the possibility of prison reform, saying, “we will embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance at life.”

Aside from immigration reform, the president offered few details about how or when his policy initiatives will make their way into law over the coming year.

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