WASHINGTON – About 30 “Dreamers” – young undocumented foreigners brought to this country as children – will attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening at the invitation of Democratic lawmakers to demand the right to US citizenship.
Last week, the president proposed to Congress to reform the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has shielded these young people from deportation by making 1.8 million undocumented young people eligible for citizenship provided Congress provides special funding to US-Mexico border security, among other measures.
“His proposal was too divisive and is designed to criminalize other groups of immigrants, and so we hope that he offers us a path to citizenship without harming other people,” 25-year-old Guatemalan Melody Klingenfuss, who has been invited to the speech by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, told EFE.
Since Trump decided to eliminate DACA, about 18,000 young undocumented migrants have lost their protection from deportation and are now subject to expulsion back to their countries of origin.
For Klingenfuss, the presence of Dreamers in Congress on Tuesday evening is aimed at sending Trump a “clear” message that “The fight will go on until we find a permanent solution to our situation.”
Meanwhile, Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference that her aim is for Trump to “see the faces” of some of the people he is affecting with his anti-immigrant proposals.
The Democratic leader thanked the young people for their presence at the speech and praised Klingenfuss, who came to Los Angeles at age 9 without her parents and who recently graduated from California State University.
Meanwhile, Republican Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar said on Twitter that he has asked Capitol Police and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider asking everyone attending the State of the Union address to present identification and to arrest any “illegal immigrants.”
Congressional Hispanic Caucus chief Michelle Lujan Grisham said she regretted that it bothered Gosar that “young Americans ... as American as anyone else” were being invited to Trump’s speech.
Gosar’s action is “a terrible, negative, dangerous, hateful, political stunt,” Grisham said, adding that he is trying to interfere with the work of Democratic lawmakers, who have invited guests whom they deem appropriate.