U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, a Harrison Democrat who represents Westchester and Rockland counties, said she will bring Pearl River resident Hugo Alexander Acosta Mazariego, a so-called "Dreamer," as her guest at Tuesday’s first State of the Union address by President Trump.
“I want to be clear: Dreamers are Americans,” Lowey said in a news statement. “They contribute to our economy, our communities, and our strength and stability as a nation. Hugo is no exception. When I read Hugo’s letter to my office, I was inspired by his life’s story, his courage to speak out, and his love for the United States."
"And I know he will inspire and energize other young Americans facing an uncertainty future," Lowey said. "I am proud to have him as my guest at the State of the Union Address, and I look forward to continuing to fight for the safety and security of Hugo and the 800,000 other Dreamers this Administration is holding captive with the threat of deportation.”
Trump will deliver his State of the Union speech starting at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 30 in the Capitol, marking the first year of his presidency. The State of the Union will be streamed live on C-SPAN and on Twitter. It will also be aired on network and cable television across the country.
“Life in El Salvador, where I was born, was dangerous and brutal, which is why my father moved us to America in 2005,” said Acosta Mazariego. “I am grateful every day for all the opportunities presented to me here. I feel it is so important to continue achieving, setting goals, and giving back to my community. It would break my heart to lose my home and my life here in New York.”
Acosta Mazariego came to the United States from El Salvador in 2005 at the age of 15 and attended school in Ramapo. He currently resides in Pearl River with his wife and works as a technology specialist at Apple.
Lowey invited Acosta Mazariego to join her at the State of the Union after receiving a letter from him requesting a meeting to discuss the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era program that protects certain young undocumented immigrants—known as Dreamers—from deportation.
In December 2017, President Trump announced his plan to end the program, putting 800,000 "Dreamers" at risk of deportation. Acosta Mazariego’s DACA status expires in November 2018.
Trump is likely to blast current immigration policies, an issue at the center of last week’s government shutdown and the current sticking point between Republicans, Democrats, and the White House. Democrats are pushing Republicans and the Trump administration to work with them on a legislative fix for DACA.
Trump will deliver the State of the Union as a historically unpopular figure, with approval ratings well below those of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies. According to a FiveThirtyEight average of polling, 39 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 56 percent disapprove. At the same time in their presidencies, Barack Obama sat at 49.4 percent approval, George W. Bush at 78.6 percent, and Bill Clinton at 54.4 percent.
It is likely Trump will tout the Republican tax bill passed in December, and the state of the U.S. economy and stock market.
Trump and the GOP say they also want a DACA fix, but with certain concessions. It’s not entirely clear what those concessions are beyond Trump’s continued support for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
The White House on Thursday unveiled a framework for immigration reform and border security, which contains a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million young people brought to the US as children — including DACA recipients — and $25 million for a border wall and other security measures.
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