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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Former White House speechwriter talks immigration at GW YAF event

Alexander Welling | Photographer

A former White House speechwriter spoke to roughly 40 students about immigration policy in the Marvin Center Wednesday.

Marc Thiessen, the White House director of speechwriting under former President George W. Bush and a columnist for The Washington Post, discussed his views on illegal immigration in light of President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border earlier this year. The event was sponsored by GW’s chapter of Young America’s Foundation.

The talk took place days after the GW Police Department began investigating the removal of at least 300 posters promoting the event.

Thiessen said congressional Democrats have “leverage” to land an immigration deal with Trump following the government shutdown but have “taken a path of obstruction” instead. After declaring a national emergency at the southern border, Trump signed a spending bill in February that allotted some funds toward building a fence along the border.

“They’re not interested in cutting a deal with Donald Trump because they don’t want to give Donald Trump a victory,” he said.

But Thiessen also condemned Trump for tweeting last week that the country is “full” and cannot accept any more immigrants. He referenced former President Ronald Reagan’s farewell address, in which he said that “if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here.”

“The walls must have doors,” Thiessen said. “I would add to Reagan’s phrase. There should be a sign above the door that says, ‘Welcome to America,’ not ‘Sorry, we’re full.'”

Thiessen also compared illegal immigration to the recent college admissions scandal in which parents allegedly spent thousands of dollars to ensure their children were accepted into elite universities. Thiessen referenced actress Lori Loughlin, who was indicted for allegedly paying bribes to increase her two daughters’ chances of being accepted to the University of Southern California.

“She cheated,” Thiessen said. “She essentially cut the line. That’s how legal immigrants feel about illegal immigrants.”

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