Arizona Dems to bring children of deported woman to Trump's speech to Congress

Arizona Dems to bring children of deported woman to Trump's speech to Congress
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President Trump next week will address the full Congress for the first time since entering the White House. And some Democrats are going out of their way to make his visit to the Capitol as uncomfortable as possible. 
 
Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Ruben Gallego, both Arizona Democrats, announced Friday that their guests in the House gallery during Trump’s speech will be the children of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, an undocumented immigrant who was deported to Mexico earlier this month. The a 35-year-old mother of two was among the first people to be removed after Trump signed an executive order directing immigration enforcement officers to clamp down on those in the country illegally.
 
Democrats and immigrant rights advocates roared, accusing the new president of reneging on vows to prioritize criminals and others who pose a threat to public safety and national security. 
 
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Grijalva and Gallego are hoping the attendance of Garcia de Rayos’s children, Jaqueline and Angel, will send that message when Trump addresses a rare joint session of Congress on Tuesday. 
 
“Jaqueline and her brother have shown tremendous courage in speaking out against Trump’s abhorrent immigration policies,” Grijalva said Friday. “Their example is a bright light of hope for immigrant communities across this country who are fearful that Trump will come for them next.”
 
Gallego cited another reason for the unique invitations: The Democrats, he said, want Trump “to face the people who have been victimized by his disastrous policies.” 
 
Garcia de Rayos, who’d come to the U.S. at age 14 with her parents, was arrested in 2008 during a raid on the water park where she worked. She was convicted of using a fake Social Security number to gain employment — a felony — and as part of her sentencing agreement had reported each year to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials in Phoenix. 
 
In 2013, a judge ordered her to be deported, but she was never removed due to the Obama administration’s policy of focusing almost exclusively on those deemed a threat to public safety and national security. 
 
That arrangement changed on Feb. 8, when Garcia de Rayos was arrested during her annual ICE check-in. She was deported to Mexico the next morning.
 
Trump on Friday defended his "law-and-order" approach, saying criminals remain the focus of his enforcement policies.
 
“We're getting bad ones out. Those are the ones that go first, and I said it from day one,” Trump said during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington. “Basically all I've done is keep my promise."
 
But in the eyes of Democrats, the country is hardly better off for the removal of Garcia de Rayos.
 
“As a result of Trump’s immigration enforcement efforts, Phoenix lost a longtime member of the community, and two young Americans lost their mother,” Gallego charged Friday.
 
The move by the two Arizona lawmakers melds with a larger Democratic campaign to select guests to Tuesday’s speech who have been negatively impacted by Trump’s policies. 
 
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), for instance, has invited a Queens convenience store owner who was the victim of an anti-Muslim hate crime. And Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) is bringing an Iranian graduate student, now studying in California, who was denied entry to the U.S. last month before Trump’s travel ban was blocked by the courts.
 
“Mr. Trump needs to see the people he has hurt,” Chu said Thursday. “And it is our obligation to take every opportunity we can to ensure that our country — an example of freedom and opportunity to the world — never again targets individuals because of their religion, nationality or race."