GOP lawmaker to bring DACA recipient to Trump’s State of the Union

Greg Nash

A centrist House Republican announced Friday that he will bring a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as his guest to President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday amid debate in Congress over whether such young immigrants should be permitted to stay in the U.S.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) has invited Adrian Escarate, who was brought to the U.S. from Chile when he was 3 years old, to be seated in the gallery overlooking the House chamber during Trump’s speech.

According to Curbelo’s office, Escarate graduated cum laude from St. Thomas University in 2011 and received a work permit through the DACA program, which went into effect a year later under then-President Obama.


The Trump administration is rescinding the DACA program, meaning that the roughly 700,000 recipients like Escarate would face deportation if Congress doesn’t enact a legislative fix.

“One of my chief legislative priorities this Congress and the last has been to forge a compromise on immigration that delivers a fair, permanent solution for young immigrants like him,” Curbelo said in a statement.

Curbelo added that he was “encouraged” by the immigration framework outlined by the White House on Thursday, which calls for granting a pathway to citizenship for nearly 2 million young immigrants in exchange for billions of dollars for Trump’s promised wall along the Mexican border and other policies to restrict legal immigration.

Scores of Democratic lawmakers are also inviting young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as their guests to the State of the Union on Tuesday. But Curbelo is so far the first Republican to make the same gesture.

Curbelo, who is running for reelection in a district won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, has positioned himself as a centrist on immigration issues.

He introduced legislation last year that would provide a path to legal status for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

Curbelo’s bill is more conservative than the DREAM Act, which Democrats are pushing along with a handful of other Republicans.

The DREAM Act would apply to qualifying young immigrants who had entered the U.S. before the age of 18 and lived in the country for at least four years. Curbelo’s measure, by comparison, would require qualifying immigrants to establish that they arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and lived in the country continuously since at least 2012.

Tags Carlos Curbelo Donald Trump Hillary Clinton SOTU 2018
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