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Quick Links and Notes on the State of the Union

Like many, you may be trying to wrap your mind around last night’s State of the Union. Here are some of my thoughts and links to resources you might find helpful.

On immigration:

  • Once again, Trump used xenophobic, fearmongering tactics to cast all immigrants as violent dangers and to shore up support for his hard-line immigration policies. What’s more, he tried to use women’s rights to justify building a border wall and cracking down on immigration. “Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate — it is actually very cruel. One in three women is sexually assaulted on the long journey north.”

  • We won't fall for this backward logic. The real answer to the dangers that women face as they migrate? Humanitarian aid and community support that makes the journey safer, fair and transparent immigration policies once they reach our borders, and help to start a new life once they get here.

  • Trump claimed that he wants immigrants to come "in the largest numbers ever" as long as they are "legal." This claim is hollow and misleading. His Administration is working to make legal immigration as hard as possible: such as by ending temporary protected status and removing protections for asylum seekers, including LGBTIQ people and survivors of domestic violence.

On peace and diplomacy:

On nuclear disarmament:

  • Denuclearization is not just about the Korean peninsula. It's about coordinated, multilateral action across the globe to control and end the threat of nuclear weapons. Trump's decision to withdraw the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty risks re-opening a new arms race and setting the anti-nuclear effort back a generation.

  • Trump also touted again his disastrous decision to withdraw the US from the Iran nuclear deal, an agreement that was working. Not only does this endanger effective measures like international inspections, but it also undermines US credibility to adhere to other agreements, a factor in upcoming negotiations with North Korea.

On climate change:

  • What did Trump have to say about climate change? Not a word. That’s not surprising, given that he’s an avowed climate skeptic, has gutted environmental regulations, and pulled the US out of the Paris Agreement, an international climate treaty.

  • Women are not waiting, either to secure their communities from the worst ravages of climate change or to advance progressive policies that will set us on a more sustainable path. Our partners, women climate defenders around the world, are doing the hard work to build seed banks and greenhouses, set up water projects, and take every action to protect against climate catastrophe. Their firsthand expertise makes them vital policy advisors, raising their voices in international climate talks and at the national level.

On women’s political participation and rights:

  • There were a new set of faces looking back at Trump last night. There are more women serving in Congress now than ever before, and many of them -- like Pramila Jayapal and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- are working to push a progressive agenda. That is a reason for hope.

  • Last night, Trump manipulated the promise of paid family leave to pivot to an attack on abortion rights, calling on Congress to pass new restrictions. We must work with progressive, feminist political leaders as key allies to confront threats like this to women’s rights.

Thanks for standing with MADRE and our partners around the world in demanding the kind of policies that we need to build the world we want to live in.

February 6, 2019