State of a Fractured Union

MPAC Responds to the 2020 State of the Union Address

February 5, 2020


On February 4th, President Donald Trump delivered his fourth State of the Union address. Contrasted with nearly all of Trump’s statements is the hard reality of American life which his administration has had a leading role in creating. Ultimately, he presented a campaign speech including a vision of American values to justify his administration’s litany of abuses.  

Trump credited the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with securing our nation’s borders, while failing to mention the culture of violence he has institutionalized at the border, with the expressed intent of deterring immigration from South and Central American migrants. Lost in Trump’s address was mention of the public charge rule, family separation policies, border securitization, and extralegal violence perpetrated by ICE. Instead, Trump weaponized tragedy in order to justify his criminal actions against immigrants and families. Under a Trump administration, the border has become a danger zone for those whose citizenship status requires the utmost care. 

Trump’s callous disregard for immigrants and communities of color was a common theme throughout the night. In one illustrative example, Trump repeatedly used faulty employment statistics to claim that his economy was a success. Not only do his claims not stand up to scrutiny, but they obscure what really hurts our economy: a broken and inefficient immigration system. We need to fix our immigration system so that there is a working process for people to earn citizenship and work here in a legal, fair, and safe way. That process includes action to pass the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act, which would defund the adminisration’s public charge rule, and to cleanly pass the No Ban Act, which would repeal the Muslim Ban and limit executive authority to pass future such bans. 

Nowhere was Trump’s flagrant hypocrisy on greater display than in his statements on religious freedom. Under a Trump administration, religious freedom has either been ignored outright, as is evident in the rise of hate crimes against religious communities since Trump took office, or has functioned as a cudgel to pass further restrictions on civil rights and religious freedom. Trump’s Muslim Ban is the most egregious example of his administration’s core commitment to religious discrimination. As a candidate, Trump promised a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the country. As president, Trump has inflicted considerable harm upon Muslims all over the world. Just last week, the Trump administration announced they were expanding the Ban to include 6 other countries. In just the past two months, Trump has signed an executive order sanctioning the BDS movement and proposed an Israeli-Palestinian “peace” plan which didn’t even include the input of Palestinians. The 187 federal judges which Trump mentioned as having installed have also been at the forefront of narrowly reinterpreting religion and religious freedom to exclude Islam and Muslims. Trump obscured all of these actions through his vacuous invocation of religious freedom. 

Any honest reckoning with the state of our union would have included mention of these infringements on the right of many religious communities to freely express themselves. Through our engagement with legislators and our civil society partners, we will continue to work to address the issues ignored by the President, which nevertheless shape the material realities of the American Muslim community and all other American citizens.




Help us continue our work with a quick
one-time or monthly donation.

MAKE A DONATION