Sunday, July 21, 2024

“No Mr. President, DREAMers are Americans too.”

President Trump claimed to be calling for Americans to come together on the issue of immigration in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Unfortunately, he couldn’t resist painting immigration as an “us vs. them” struggle. Them: Immigrants, many of them violent gang members or terrorists. Us: native-born American citizens ― pointedly referred to using the same term often used for undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.

“Americans are dreamers too,” Trump said.

Trump is currently negotiating an immigration deal with Congress to avert a situation he caused: the imminent threat of nearly 700,000 undocumented young people losing their DACA benefits, which include a work permit and relief from deportation.

He made a dramatic, albeit politically popular, shift when he came out in support for a path to citizenship for about 1.8 million Dreamers, who consider themselves American in every way but on paper. But he’s demanding conditions that could sink a deal. Trump says, Dreamers can get relief as long as he can build a border wall, slash legal immigration, deport other undocumented people and end chain migration.

In order to prove the need for those policy changes, Trump highlighted immigrant stories in negative terms. He discussed the murder of two teenage girls at the hands of MS-13 gang members and also mentioned two terror suspects who legally immigrated to the country.

Trump’s immigration remarks not well-received by Democratic lawmakers, about 30 of whom brought Dreamers as their guests to the State of the Union and had plenty to say.

“DREAMers are Americans to” Tweeted House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the speech.