House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats will fill the balcony with DACA recipients and other immigrants during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address next week.
That’s right—when Trump looks out into the crowd gathered on Capitol Hill to hear his speech next Tuesday, he’ll be looking into the faces of the very immigrants he promised to protect.
Pelosi and more than 23 other Democrats in Congress each plan to bring a Dreamer—a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—to Trump’s annual message to a joint session of Congress, according to Politico and ABC News.
The State of the Union address is the event where the president traditionally outlines his legislative plans for the coming year. And at the top of that agenda is expected to be immigration—and the DACA act.
On Thursday, the White House released a one-page framework for legislation that includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers. The proposal, the work of senior White House adviser Stephen Miller, was offered as a bipartisan compromise to give young undocumented immigrants a legal foothold in exchange for more than $25 billion in increased border security and a sharp reduction in future legal immigration.
According to Politico, Miller characterized the deal as a major concession to his more hardline proposals that lead to a short government shutdown from last Friday to the beginning of this week.
In a statement released early Friday, Pelosi called the White House’s latest immigration framework “an act of staggering cowardice which attempts to hold the DREAMers hostage to a hateful anti-immigrant scheme.”
Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said,
While the president is busy mingling with the biggest beneficiaries of the GOP tax scam in Davos, Stephen Miller is once again running loose in the White House with his own hateful anti-immigrant agenda. Now, Miller is trying to ransom the lives of innocent Dreamers for a $25 billion anti-immigrant wish list. The White House strategy of moving the goalposts every time the president isn’t paying attention continues to complicate this process.
In addition to illegal immigrants, Democrats also intend to bring women’s rights activists and female victims of sexual assault.
The issue of sexual harassment and assault has been a painful issue in Congress in recent months after several male Democratic and Republican lawmakers were accused, leading figures like Democrats Al Franken and John Conyers as well as Republican Trent Franks to resign.