In the last two years, our brave ICE officers made 266,000 arrests of criminal aliens, including those charged or convicted of nearly 100,000 assaults, 30,000 sex crimes, and 4000 killings or murders. We are joined tonight by one of those law enforcement heroes, ICE special agent Elvin Hernandez.
When Elvin was a boy, he and his family legally immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. At the age of 8, Elvin told his dad he wanted to become a special agent. Today, he leads investigations into the scores of international sex trafficking. Elvin says that if I can make sure these young girls get their justice, I’ve really done my job.
Thanks to his work and that of his incredible colleagues, more than 300 women and girls have been rescued from the horror of this terrible situation and more than 1500 sadistic traffickers have been put behind bars.
Thank you, Elvin.
We will always support the brave men and women of law enforcement, and I pledge to you tonight that I will never abolish our heroes from ICE. Thank you.
My administration has sent to the Congress a commonsense proposal to end the crisis on our southern border. It includes humanitarian assistance, more law enforcement, drug detection at our ports, closing loopholes that enable child smuggling, and plans for a new physical barrier, or wall, to secure the vast areas between our ports of entry.
In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall but the proper wall never got built. I’ll get it built.
This is a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier — not just a simple concrete wall. It will be deployed in the areas identified by the border agents as having the greatest need, and these agents will tell you, where walls go up, illegal crossings go way, way down.
San Diego used to have the most illegal border crossings in our country. In response, a strong security wall was put in place. This powerful barrier almost completely ended illegal crossings. The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country, and considered one of our nation’s most dangerous cities.
Now, immediately upon its building, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country. Simply put, walls work and walls save lives.
So let’s work together, compromise, and reach a deal that will truly make America safe.
As we work to defend our people’s safety, we must also ensure our economic resurgence continues at a rapid pace. No one has benefitted more from a thriving economy than women, who have filled 58% of the newly created jobs last year.
You weren’t supposed to do that. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. All Americans can be proud that we have more women in the workforce than ever before.
Don’t sit yet. You are going to like this.
And exactly one century after Congress passed the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote, we also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.
That’s great. Really great. And congratulations. That’s great.
As part of our commitment to improving opportunity for women everywhere, this Thursday we are launching the first ever government-wide initiative focused on economic empowerment for women in developing countries. To build on – to build on our incredible economic success, one priority is paramount — reversing decades of calamitous trade policies. So bad.
We are now making it clear to China that after years of targeting our industries, and stealing our intellectual property, the theft of American jobs and wealth has come to an end.
Therefore, we recently imposed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and now our treasury is receiving billions and billions of dollars. But I don’t blame China for taking advantage of us. I blame our leaders and representatives for allowing this travesty to happen.
I have great respect for President Xi, and we are now working on a new trade deal with China. But it must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.
Another historic trade blunder was the catastrophe known as NAFTA. I have met the men and women of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Hampshire, and many other states whose dreams were shattered by the signing of NAFTA. For years, politicians promised them they would negotiate for a better deal. But no one ever tried — until now.
Our new US-Mexico-Canada agreement, the USMCA will replace NAFTA and deliver for American workers like they haven’t had delivered to for a long time. I hope you can pass the USMCA into law so that we can bring back our manufacturing jobs in even greater numbers, expand American agriculture, protect intellectual property, and ensure that more cars are proudly stamped with four beautiful words: Made in the USA.
Tonight, I am also asking you to pass the United States Reciprocal Trade Act, so that if another country places an unfair tariff on an American product, we can charge them the exact same tariff on the exact same product that they sell to us.
Both parties should be able to unite for a great rebuilding of America’s crumbling infrastructure. I know that Congress is eager to pass an infrastructure bill and I am eager to work with you on legislation to deliver new and important infrastructure investment, including investments in the cutting edge industries of the future. This is not an option. This is a necessity.
The next major priority for me, and for all of us, should be to lower the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.
Already, as a result of my administration’s efforts, in 2018, drug prices experienced their single largest decline in 46 years. But we must do more. It’s unacceptable that Americans pay vastly more than people in other countries for the exact same drugs, often made in the exact same place. This is wrong, this is unfair, and together we can stop it. And we will stop it fast.
I am asking the Congress to pass legislation that finally takes on the problem of global freeloading and delivers fairness and price transparency for American patients, finally.
We should also require drug companies, insurance companies, and hospitals to disclose real prices to foster competition and bring costs way down. No force in history has done more to advance the human condition than American freedom.