Dreamers, advocates respond to Trump's address with Brentwood rally
Immigrants and advocates for so-called Dreamers rallied Wednesday in Brentwood in response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address.
They say the speech was upsetting since he did not speak about issues related to temporary protected status (TPS) or a solution to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
In his address to the nation, President Trump said, "My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans — to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American dream. Because Americans are dreamers too."
The president laid out his four-pillar plan on immigration that included a pathway to citizenship for people brought to the country illegally as children, construction of a wall along the Mexican border, getting rid of the U.S. visa lottery system and limiting "chain" migration to spouses and children.
Julia Fenster, of Huntington, spoke at the rally in favor of chain migration. She says she emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, along with 22 members of her extended family.
“This is the America I grew up knowing,” says Fenster. “Forty years later, my family, who came with little else but hope for a better life have contributed to this country at every level.”
France Duffoo, a Dreamer from Bay Shore, said President Trump is "using Dreamers and immigrants as a pawn in his political game."
"We need comprehensive immigration reform that is just and fair for our communities and doesn't separate families," she said.
Advocates at the Make the Road New York rally say they want a clean Dream Act to be passed.
The president's plan does have support in Congress, including from Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-1st District). In a statement, he said in part, "I am confident that as early as the next six weeks, we can achieve a really great immigration bill…I look forward to working with the president and my colleagues in Congress to fix our nation's broken immigration."
Full State of the Union Address: