Not all Americans perceive new and potential immigrants the same way, as highlighted by the opposing themes and styles presented in Obama’s speech “Our Immigration System is Broken—and Everybody Knows It,” which contrasts sharply with Trump’s speech, “I Would Build a Great Wall.” An analysis of Obama’s speech and Trump’s speech emphasizes two conflicting perceptions of immigrants and how immigration should be monitored.
The theme of Obama’s speech is emphasized by his statement that “ we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too.” Obama also adds, “we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like.” Thus, Obama’s speech emphasizes support for illegal immigrants’ children and reminds Americans about their families’ former statuses as immigrants.
In contrast, Trump’s speech, “I Would Build a Great Wall,” targets a specific ethnicity of immigrants, Mexicans, blaming them for the drugs and crime in the country. Trump then postulates that he will build a Great Wall to prevent more illegal Mexican immigration from occurring. Furthermore, Trump also says, “I will immediately terminate President Obama’s illegal executive order on immigration,” referring to the DACA extension. Unlike Obama’s speech, Trump’s speech does not promote a feeling of togetherness, respect, or equality. Instead of uniting the country and its various ethnicities, Trump singled out one specific group of immigrants.
Thus, Obama’s speech highlights the notion of respect and equality by focusing on the fact that everybody’s family immigrated into the United States. In contrast, Trump’s speech singles out one group of immigrants, referring to them as criminals and rapists.