President Donald Trump’s game of Uncle is not working for Congress or the American people. His effort to force legislators into submission to address illegal immigration by building his $5.7 billion wall between the U.S. and Mexico has merit but lacks credibility, and his prime-time speech on Tuesday before the American people failed to change minds.
Also, why is it that Trump turns to African Americans when he believes his message to his base is failing? He did it during his presidential campaign at a time when he, and a vast number of American voters, believed he could not win the presidency. It was then that he spoke directly to African Americans before a crowd of very few African Americans in Michigan where he asked them the most absurd question, “What the hell do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump?” And during his first primetime speech on Tuesday he invoked African Americans again by stating “all Americans are hurt by uncontrolled, illegal migration” and “among those hardest-hit are African Americans and Hispanic Americans.”
It is true that America’s illegal immigration policy impacted all low-wage workers, including African Americans, who were replaced in low-paying jobs by those who would work for even less. Opportunities for immigrants were created by American employers who saw them as cheap labor, and there was little to no effort by lawmakers to ensure they received a fair wage or to protect the American workers. So here we are today, raising wholesale fear about this segment of the American labor force by calling them all “criminal gangs, drug smugglers, and human traffickers” who need to be kept out of this country by “a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall.” A $5.7 billion structure to be paid for by the American taxpayers — including those presently furloughed due to Trump’s government shutdown — and not the Mexican government as he promised.
What once was a universally accepted unauthorized workers industry mostly in farming and construction, has today become a “humanitarian and security crisis.” What Trump wants is $211 million to hire 750 additional Border Patrol agents, $571 million for 2,000 additional ICE personnel, $4.2 billion for 52,000 detention beds, personnel, transportation, and detention alternatives, and $563 million for 75 additional immigration judges and support staff.
That is what Trump wants to make America great again, and that African Americans and Hispanic Americans will be the beneficiaries. We’re not ready to cry uncle.