Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address by President Donald Trump, some Congress members from Queens have announced that they will bring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients as their guests.
Congressman Joseph Crowley, who represents Astoria, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights and College Point, announced today that he will bring Queens resident Romer Cisneros to the address.
Cisneros, who used to intern for Crowley, came to the United States from Peru with his family when he was 7 years old. He is currently a senior at John Jay College of Criminal Justice studying to become an attorney.
“Romer, a former intern of mine, is an incredible young man who also happens to be one of 800,000 DREAMers. Romer is worth fighting for, and he is part of my motivation to find a resolution for DREAMers,” Crowley said. “I hope in his address, President Trump will deliver a strong vision for America, one that includes ways to strengthen the country through investments in health care, education, job creation and our aging infrastructure. DREAMers like Romer also deserve an answer on their future.”
Cisneros said attending the address is “of great importance.”
“I want to personally see the direction President Trump plans to take our country and express clearly the direction I, and thousands of other DREAMers, hope our country will move in,” he said.
In September 2017, President Trump announced he would end DACA and called on Congress to come up with a permanent solution for 800,000 people in the program. But Congress has not been able to reach a bi-partisan agreement and the government briefly shut down from Jan. 20 through Jan. 23.
The president has given Congress a March 5 deadline to provide a legislative solution and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he intends to bring a DACA bill to the floor by Feb. 8.
“This is not about President Trump. This is not about the Democrats and Republicans,” Suozzi said in a press conference. “This is about human beings. This is about people that live here in my hometown, in my community and throughout the United States of America that are great examples of people that we want to encourage to live in the United States of America and not to try to push them underground or to force this anxiety that is happening in our country right now.”
Melgar, who graduated from Glen Cove High School, worked two jobs to afford college. He attended Nassau Community College and Hunter College and is seeking to go to law school, Suozzi said.
“I grew up in this country admiring the American dream,” Melgar said. “I grew up in this country admiring American history and admiring American civil discourse and I feel disheartened that things have become the way they’ve become. I love this country and I’d like nothing more than to be successful here and contribute to this country.”
Congresswoman Grace Meng, who recently visited Puerto Rico to check the status of recovery after Hurricane Maria, will bring a displaced Puerto Rican president to the address. She represents Elmhurst, Middle Village, Glendale, Forest Hills, Flushing, Bayside, Fresh Meadows and Kew Gardens.
Omar Miguel Nieves Delgado, 33, was living in San Juan when Hurricane Maria struck and severely damaged his home. He is a dancer and lost his source of income due to the widespread destruction. Ten days after the storm, he and his partner boarded a ship with a carry-on bag and relocated to Queens to live with Delgado’s close friend.
“It has been more than four months since Hurricane Maria struck, and our family, friends and hundreds of thousands of other Americans in Puerto Rico are still dealing with no power, closed businesses and the consequences of losing any opportunity for a bright future,” Delgado said in a statement. “The job is still not done and we feel as if we have been forgotten.”
Meng is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, the committee responsible for funding all federal agencies, programs and projects within the United States. She visited the island on Jan. 25 and 26 to assess the damage.
“We cannot forget our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who are still suffering acutely from the damage caused by Hurricanes Maria and Irma,” Meng said. “I am proud to amplify Omar’s story of resilience, and I hope his attendance at the State of the Union will remind the president, and my congressional colleagues, of our obligation to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney will bring Diego de la Vega, an intern from her New York office, who is a DREAMer. She will also wear all black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement. She represents Astoria, Long Island City and Woodside.
She called de la Vega an “outstanding young man” who “exemplifies why we are fighting so hard to secure Dreamers’ futures.”
Maloney also added that she has introduced two bills to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
“The #MeToo movement and the Time’s Up campaign are linked by one very important message: unity. I’m proud to join with the other members of DWWG in wearing black to the State of the Union, as we say, ‘We hear you. We’re with you. We are fighting for you.'”
Congressman Gregory Meeks, who represents Jamaica, the Rockaways, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, Springfield Gardens, Rosedale, Queens Village and Laurelton announced he will not attend the address.
“He does not respect me or the communities I represent, so I cannot in good conscience sit idly on the House floor and listen to his scripted speech,” Meeks said at an appearance on MSNBC.
Meeks attended the pre-SOTU address given by members of the Congressional Black Caucus and also wore black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement.
The State of the Union address will air at 9 p.m. on CBS.