Trump’s “America first” inaugural speech doesn’t bode well for immigrants
President Donald Trump declared during his inaugural address Friday that the United States will come first in every policy decision made under his administration, signaling an end to America’s longstanding leadership in welcoming immigrants and promoting free trade throughout the world.
“From this date forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump said. “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first — America first.”
After taking the oath of office, Trump delivered a speech that outlined in broad strokes his plan to make good on his campaign promise to “make America great again.”
“Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families,” he said. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.”
Moments after Trump finished his speech, the official White House website was updated with several new pages that further outline the president’s positions on foreign policy, trade, and other issues. The “America First Foreign Policy” page says the Trump administration is “committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.”
Trump is expected to sign several sweeping executive orders in the coming days and weeks ahead that deal with immigration and other key issues that were central to his campaign. A Trump transition team member told Reuters on Thursday that the president’s advisers have vetted more than 200 potential executive orders for him to sign.
In October, Trump said he would “cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum, and order issued by President Obama,” in his first 100 days in office. That will likely include ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
About 750,000 immigrants who entered the U.S. without authorization before they turned 16 have enrolled in DACA, and another 750,000 are eligible. The program allows qualified applicants to obtain work permits, apply for a Social Security number, get driver’s licenses, and re-enter the country after traveling abroad. Trump has pledged to “immediately terminate” DACA on his first day in the White House.
Trump has also vowed to dramatically restrict admissions of refugees from countries afflicted by terrorism, going so far as to propose a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Trump’s executive order on immigration is expected to be based on nationality rather than religion, according to Reuters.
A record total of 38,901 Muslim refugees from Syria, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and a handful of other countries entered the U.S. in the 2016 fiscal year, according to the Pew Research Center.
Trump vowed in his speech Friday to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth,” but suggested the U.S. would do only when it directly benefits U.S. interests.
“We defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own,” Trump said. “And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.”