During tonight’s State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump got some of his loudest applause of the evening so far — at least from the Republican side of the room, of course — with a line that said that American citizens were also “dreamers,” referring to a term popularized by Democrats for illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.
As part of a larger discussion about immigration reform, Trump introduced Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens, whose teenage daughters Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens were murdered while walking in their hometown of Long Island. Six members of the MS-13 gang have been charged with their murders.
“Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ‑- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school,” said Trump.
The President then called for Congress to “finally close the deadly loopholes that have allowed MS-13, and other criminals, to break into our country, [to] fix our immigration laws, and support our ICE and Border Patrol Agents, so that this cannot ever happen again.” Congress is currently debating a legislative fix to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which President Barack Obama enacted via executive order and offers certain limited protections against deportation.
The United States is a compassionate nation. We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the needy, the struggling, and the underprivileged all over the world. But as President of the United States, my highest loyalty, my greatest compassion, and my constant concern is for America’s children, America’s struggling workers, and America’s forgotten communities. I want our youth to grow up to achieve great things. I want our poor to have their chance to rise.
So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties — Democrats and Republicans — to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.