Democrats to Bring DREAMers, Muslims to Trump’s First Speech to Congress


Several congressional Democrats reportedly plan to bring Muslim clients of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and recipients of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to President Donald Trump’s first joint address to Congress Tuesday evening.

According to the Hill, several of the Muslim ACLU clients these Democratic lawmakers are taking as their guests this evening have been affected by Trump’s temporary travel ban.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) is reportedly bringing Sara Yarjani, an Iranian graduate student who was detained for 23 hours at Los Angeles International Airport and later deported; Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) will bring Hameed Darweesh, an Iraqi who was detained for 18 hours at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last month; Rep. Jim Langevin’s (D-RI) guest is Dr. Ehsun Mirza, a Muslim American immigrant; Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) will host Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, founder of the Syrian Community Network; and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) will bring Aneelah Afzali, founder of the American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN), as her guest.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who sponsored the BRIDGE Act, which seeks to continue President Barack Obama’s DACA policy, has invited a Muslim American DACA recipient as his guest.

BRIDGE stands for “Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also sponsored the bill.

According to Politico, Durbin invited Aaima Sayed, a medical student whose parents brought her to the U.S. when she was three, to the address.

“Would the United States be better off if Aaima is deported to Pakistan, where she hasn’t lived since she was a toddler, instead of using her talent as a physician to help low-income Americans? The answer is clear,” Durbin reportedly said in a statement. He added, “I am honored to host this gifted young medical student as my guest. I hope her presence reminds President Trump what’s at stake in the debate over DACA: the lives of more than 750,000 innocent young people and the well-being of entire communities.”

According to the Migration Policy Institute, 67 percent of DACA-eligible individuals in the United States come from Mexico, five percent come from Guatemala, three percent from El Salvador, another three percent come from Korea, and two percent hail from Honduras.

Politico reported that other Democrats who plan to bring DACA recipients to Trump’s address include Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI).

During a recent press conference, Trump said, “We’re gonna show great heart. DACA is a very, very difficult subject for me.” He added, “To me, it’s one of the most difficult subjects I have because you have these incredible kids. … I love these kids. I love kids. I have kids and grandkids. And I find it very, very hard doing what the law says exactly to do, and, you know, the law is rough.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz.


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