Coalition Responds to President Trump’s Joint Address to Congress

March 1st, 2017

Last night, President Trump gave his first major speech to a joint session of Congress. Despite rumors of support for legalization of undocumented immigrants, President Trump continued to scapegoat immigrant communities for America’s economic troubles, defend his discriminatory refugee and “backdoor” Muslim ban, and generalize immigrants as “criminals,” including the creation of a new office called Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE). The President also suggested that he is in favor of replacing the country’s successful, longstanding commitment to a family-based immigration system with an untested new “merit-based” immigration system.

The following is a statement from Steven Choi, executive director of New York Immigration Coalition:

“Make no mistake - President Trump’s words and actions towards immigrant communities is simply more of the depressing same. The President continues to paint a divisive, dangerous and deceitful picture of immigrants as people who want to harm America - instead of the real truth, that immigrants continue to bring tremendous value to America and have made this country great for centuries.

“President Trump’s speech shows that he has no interest in keeping America’s families together. Instead of any mention of the fate of America’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, Trump doubled down on a draconian enforcement agenda that wrongfully characterizes immigrants as criminals and terrorizes our communities. Trump’s suggestion of a merit-based system would also fundamentally - and negatively - change the fabric of our country away from a tremendously successful family reunification policy. In addition, he continues to justify his “travel ban” by using bigoted and short-sighted rhetoric that targets all Muslims.”

“We remain unconvinced by President Trump’s shallow attempts at compromise; we call for more than empty words, and continue to demand dignity and justice for


The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.