Hoping to keep pressure on President Trump and Congress to find a legislative fix for Dreamers, nearly two dozen members of Congress, including seven Californians, are bringing people who entered the country illegally as children to the State of the Union tonight.
“What I want Donald Trump to see tonight are the faces of these Dreamers,” Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chairwoman Judy Chu said at a press conference Tuesday.
Chu said her guest, Jung Bin Cho, 23, of Springfield, Va., is representative of the country’s 130,000 Asian American Dreamers.
“All he asks is not to be deported to a home he never knew,” Chu said. “Here he has roots, community and a future, and there are so many others like him.”
California is thought to be home to 222,000 of the 700,000 people who got temporary deportation relief and work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Trump moved in the fall to end the program. He gave Congress until early March before fully shuttering the program, a move that has been put on hold by a federal judge.
Congress hasn’t been able to find a solution that both Democrats and Republicans will accept. Nonetheless, some Dreamers said Tuesday they want to know their future, and soon.
UCLA graduate Denea Joseph, 23, said she’s hoping to become a lawyer and help write immigration policy.
“But that dream is deferred until Congress can pass a long-lasting solution to a longstanding problem. We need a clean Dream Act now,” she said.
Joseph, the guest of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), is one of about 600,000 black Dreamers in the country.
At least one member of Congress had a problem with the Dreamers attending the State of the Union address. Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona said on Twitter Tuesday that he had contacted Capitol Police asking them to consider checking the identification of every person trying to attend the speech and “arresting any illegal aliens in attendance.”
The State of the Union address presents one of the busiest nights of the year for Capitol Police, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico pointed out that the officers aren’t going to go after people just trying to attend a speech.