Thank you, Speaker Pelosi, for re-inviting me to deliver this address. You withdrew your earlier invitation—something not done to any president before—but you changed your mind, and here I am. So, thanks. If you want to use an Air Force jet to go on a junket, I’ll consider it.
I’ll begin by discussing briefly the successes my administration has produced. The unemployment rate is at its lowest point since the 1960s and is projected to fall to 3.5 percent by the end of 2019. Manufacturing is strong. Our military is effective now in countering terrorism. The tyrannical state that ISIS created in Iraq has been broken up. My administration is planning to bring home our fighting men and women wherever it is possible. We are negotiating with North Korea to eliminate a nuclear threat that endangers America and the world. We are also confronting Russia over its violation of the treaty limiting intermediate range missiles, its troublemaking in Ukraine, and its use of assassins in Great Britain.
In the area of trade, we are taking a strong stance against unfair practices. My administration is striving to make America prosperous and safe and I believe we are making America great again. A great America benefits all Americans of whatever race, religion, or economic status. It also benefits the world, for a great America can be a force for peace and prosperity for all mankind.
This brings me to the issue that caused the limited shutdown of the federal government. For decades, politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, have promised to do something about illegal immigration. Little or nothing has been done, and now anywhere from 11 million to 22 million illegal immigrants are living in America. This benefits some by providing cheap labor, and others by giving them political power. These special interests shouldn’t hinder our efforts to protect Americans.
Whatever you want to call it—a wall, a fence, a barrier—we need a structure to limit illegal immigration along our border with Mexico. Most Americans agree that something must be done. In 1995, in this very chamber, President Bill Clinton, in a State of the Union address, said, “All Americans, not only in the states most heavily affected but in every place in this country, are rightly disturbed by the large numbers of illegal aliens entering our country. The jobs they hold might otherwise be held by citizens or legal immigrants. The public services they use impose burdens on our taxpayers.”
Senator Chuck Schumer—Is he here? Wave Chuck, so we can see you—said in 2009, “First, illegal immigration is wrong, and a primary goal of comprehensive immigration reform must be to dramatically curtail future illegal immigration.”
In 2015, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while in New Hampshire seeking the Democratic nomination for president, said, “I voted numerous times when I was a senator to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in and I do think that you have to control your borders.”
In the recent past, Democrats have voted overwhelmingly for a border barrier, but they don’t want it now. What changed? Well, illegal immigration is still booming, so it isn’t that.
I think it’s me.
Democrats don’t like me, and they think that by denying money for a wall they will score a humiliating political victory over me. Maybe so, but I don’t think they realize that many Americans see this as betraying the trust the people have given them. They don’t want to lose their jobs to workers willing to take peanuts. They don’t want drugs to stream into their cities. They want their families to be safe from criminals, who, like wolves in sheep’s clothing, sneak into America amid the thousands of illegal immigrants. Sticking it to me by blocking my efforts may please my opposition but it won’t benefit America.
I understand that Representatives Jimmy Gomez and Bonnie Watson Coleman have invited illegal aliens who worked for my company to attend this event. I believe these invitations were made to embarrass me for hiring illegal immigrants. I’m not embarrassed. Thousands of American businesses have been misled into employing illegal aliens instead of American citizens. I’m sure those invited here today are nice people, but they chose to violate our laws and should face the consequences. They could have applied like other immigrants to enter legally, but they didn’t. Their attendance here is an insult not to me but to legal immigrants. There are legal ways for immigrants to come to our country, and thousands are welcomed. Let me tell you about one.
Ronil Singh came to America legally from Fiji. He worked hard to improve his English and he became a respected police officer in the small California city of Newman. It was there, on the day after Christmas, that he pulled over a vehicle with no license plate. Its driver, an illegal immigrant, shot and killed him.
Opponents of a wall claim illegal immigrants commit fewer crimes than American citizens but the percentage of illegal immigrants who commit crimes doesn’t matter to Officer Singh’s wife and 5-month-old son. Their lives have been changed forever by a man who shouldn’t have been in this country. If he had been kept out, Officer Singh would be alive today. There are thousands and thousands of Americans murdered, raped, and maimed by illegal immigrants. Those victims would fill this assembly many, many, many times over.
Speaker of the House Pelosi has said that a border wall is immoral and that she won’t approve a single dollar to build one. Officer Singh’s life was worth more than a dollar. I ask you now to honor his life and the lives of so many others destroyed by illegal immigration by securing America with a border wall. Not doing so would be immoral.
If Congress will not act, then I will, using the powers given to me by law.
Thank you for this opportunity, and God bless America.
Photo Credit: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images