Texas’ Black Congressional Delegation Sounds Off
By: Darwin Campbell
WASHINGTON- As President Donald Trump made his first public case to the American people in his joint session prime time address to Congress, several African-American lawmakers from the Lone Star State were less than impressed with the Commander and Chief’s plans for the nation.
Much of the objection centers on the proposed policies on immigration, working Americans and the building of a wall between Mexico and the United States.
“Despite much of the rhetoric, what was sadly lacking was talk of a sincere thoughtful approach of how we will join together and work together for the betterment of the country.” said 18th District Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee and senior member of the Homeland Security Committee. “America will always be a nation of values such as the belief in democracy and fairness and the respect and dignity of all people.”
In his speech, Lee said the President had the task to reinforce those values and help heal this country, but despite his words, those words were then trampled on by talk of building a wall.
“The word immigrant is not synonymous with crime,” she said. “This is a nation of immigrants and laws… And I think that sends a very wrong message. I wanted the President to say that we’re a friend to the world.”
Congresswoman Eddie Berniece Johnson of Dallas released her response to President Trump’s first address to Congress.
Congresswoman Johnson-D- Dallas made it clear that the president is going down the wrong path with his immigration message.
“A border wall will not achieve the goal that President Trump seeks to accomplish and I disagree with its premise to keep all immigrants out of our country,” she said. “Furthermore, building a 2,000 mile long wall along our southern border is not only a knee jerk reaction to our issues with immigration, it is fiscally irresponsible.”
Johnson added that refusing entry to people who seek safety from danger and violence is anti-American and unconscionable.
“Comprehensive immigration reform, not constructing yet another barrier, is the best solution to resolve this issue,” she said.
Congressman Al Green refused to attend the Joint Session of Congress expressing his displeasure over President Trumps policies.
“Although my desire was to attend tonight’s Joint Session of Congress, I cannot in good conscience do so given the action taken one day ago by the now Trump Justice Department to withdraw its longstanding claim that the Texas Voter ID law intentionally discriminated against minorities,” Green said in a statement. “My action is more than a refusal to attend the joint session, it is my resistance and protestation to the normalization and legitimization of our President’s harmful behavior.”
According to Green either by accident or design, the Justice Department is providing Texas with the cover it needs to avoid being placed back under federal supervision, which is what a finding of intentional discrimination could lead to.
“It appears that the Obama Justice Department, which sought to prevent discrimination, has become the Trump Injustice Department which seeks to protect those who discriminate,” he said.
Congressman Marc Veasey of Fort Worth said President Trump’s joint session address mirrored his inauguration’s pessimistic view of America and greatly exaggerated his Administration’s accomplishments during his first month in office.
He pointed to the sacrifices that ordinary Americans and those who fear how the changes may affect their household bottom lines.
“President Trump rattled off a list of policies that he claims will ‘make America great again,’ but I heard little about how his plans to expand school vouchers, cut regulations, and implement massive tax cuts for the wealthy will play out for the average American family working to make ends meet,” Veasey said. “During the next four years, we must do all we can to prioritize the needs of Americans still struggling to put food on the table. Compromise will be necessary – but it cannot come at the cost of our national values or obligations to our fellow citizens.”
On immigration, Veasey provided a live account of a citizen who had great difficulty under the new rules coming into the United States.
“As President Trump continued his calls for his unconstitutional travel and refugee ban, my guest Bothina Matar listened in the gallery,” he said. “Despite his claims that our refugee vetting process needs serious reevaluation, Bothina and her family can attest to the significant security measures they passed before they were allowed to finally resettle their family in the United States.”
Johnson also shared concerns about the fate of The Affordable Care Act. It is in danger of being repealed or altered by the Republican majority.
It did not just provide health insurance for millions of Americans, but it also reformed payment systems and introduced innovative care delivery reforms.
“Over the past six years, nearly 30 million Americans have gained reliable coverage and seen an end to many of the unfair practices of the pre-Affordable Care Act insurance industry including the end of lifetime limits, no discrimination for pre-existing conditions, and free preventive care,” she said. “We will not idly stand by and allow Republicans to dismantle the health and economic security of hard-working Americans. My hope is that we will find a way to work with Republicans in a bipartisan manner to come up with real policy solutions to repair the Affordable Care Act and continue to provide healthcare for all Americans.”
Jackson Lee is concerned about the lack or priority for spending money for public school education and the environment.
“…What was sadly lacking was talk of a sincere, thoughtful approach of how we will join together and work together for the betterment of the country.” she said. “…That’s not unifying, nor is it a way of protecting the sovereignty of this nation.”