Viviana Andazola Marquez, the daughter of an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, will be the guest of Democratic Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 30.
Marquez, who is attending Yale University and wants to become an immigration lawyer, says she’s looking forward to bringing her story to Washington.
“What I think that I’d like to say to the rest of the lawmakers, the Democrats and Republicans alike, is that the policies that they are enacting are having real day-to-day consequences on people all across the nation — their constituents included,” she told the Denver Post in an interview.
This is the second time her father, Melecio Andazola Morales, has been deported. In 1997, he was convicted of “knowingly possessing a false identification document and intending to use that document to defraud the United States,” and sentenced to three years of probation.
He returned to Colorado a year later and stayed for 20 more years before being sent back to Mexico.
“He learned English, he was paying taxes — doing everything right,” Perlmutter said of Morales. “These wrong-headed, I think, very cruel and stupid policies of the Trump administration are just causing such pain and anguish to people who don’t deserve it.”
At the time of reporting, Yahoo Lifestyle could not find evidence to support Perlmutter’s claim that Morales had paid U.S. taxes. In an editorial in the New York Times published last October, Marquez wrote that her father “pays his taxes and plays by the rules. He himself has been a perfect citizen.” She did not supply documents to support the claim that her father had paid taxes.
The story of the Morales family came to national attention last year when Morales was detained by immigration agents while in the process of applying for permanent residency.
The story has become one of many flash points in the debate about immigration, a central part of President Trump’s platform as a candidate.
Earlier this month, the government temporarily shut down over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after negotiations between leading Democrats and the White House failed. After a three-day closure of the government, a short-term spending bill to reopen the government was passed.
“I have offered DACA a wonderful deal,” wrote Trump on Twitter, “including a doubling in the number of recipients & a twelve year pathway to citizenship, for two reasons: (1) Because the Republicans want to fix a long time terrible problem. (2) To show that Democrats do not want to solve DACA, only use it!”
I have offered DACA a wonderful deal, including a doubling in the number of recipients & a twelve year pathway to citizenship, for two reasons: (1) Because the Republicans want to fix a long time terrible problem. (2) To show that Democrats do not want to solve DACA, only use it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2018
DACA shields people who immigrated illegally to the U.S. as children. Democrats have made defense of these immigrants a core part of their party platform and have clashed numerous times with the president over the issue.
On a state level, some Democrats have vowed to oppose the policies of the federal government.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week introduced language into his budget plan that would provide free public college tuition to DACA recipients. He also said that regardless of federal actions he would ensure that the recipients could also apply for state Medicaid benefits.
“The federal government’s failure to take action to protect DACA recipients is appalling, un-American, unjust and puts hundreds of thousands of children at risk. Here in New York we will do everything in our power to protect DACA recipients and ensure they receive health care,” wrote Cuomo in a statement.
Last September, Trump announced the DACA program would end and be phased out over two-and-a-half years.
This decision puts the future of some 800,000 DACA recipients into question. That group has been included more recently in the larger group of “Dreamers” that total, in some estimates, 3.6 million undocumented immigrants.
The name “Dreamers” comes from the DREAM Act, or the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, legislation seeking to qualify such immigrants for conditional and then permanent residency.
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