Dreamers react to Trump's State of the Union proposals on immigration

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Karla Estrada, who turns 27 next month, has been an immigrant-rights activist for 10 years.

The Mexican immigrant brought to the U.S. by her parents when she was five admits to having become somewhat cynical over time.

So, heading into President Donald Trump's first State of the Union address, her expectations were low.

"I knew in the State of the Union, he would would wrap us his ideology because it was mostly towards his base," Estrada said.

Before outlining a four-pillar immigration proposal, Trump said he was extending an open hand to work with Democrats and Republicans to protect citizens of every background, color, religion and creed.

"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," Trump said.

Estrada takes issue with Trump's "Americans are dreamers too" statement, saying she thinks he and his base don't understand what people mean when they call themselves DREAMers. The term dates back to the 2001 Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, the DREAM Act.

Trump's immigration proposal includes a 12-year pathway to citizenship for about 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, building the border wall, ending the visa lottery and ending what Trump describes as "chain migration".

"Under the current broken system, a single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives," Trump said.

However, while citizens and green-card holders can petition for immediate family members, it's not feasible to admit an unlimited number of family members, according ABC News' fact check of the State of the Union address.

"They're even hindering legal migration into the country so it's complete nonsense, they don't know what they're talking about," Estrada said.
The president also acknowledged the families of Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, two teens killed by MS-13 gang members, blaming loopholes in immigration law for their entry into the U.S.

"He's trying to paint all immigrants into these violent gang members as if all undocumented immigrants or actually immigrants as a whole which are brown, are violent offenders and that's not the case," Estrada said.

Following the State of the Union, Rep. Joe Kennedy delivered the Democratic Party's response.

"And to all the 'Dreamers' watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar," Kennedy said in English and Spanish. "You are are part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away."

Estrada, a DACA recipient whose family is now in Mexico and depends on her financial support, said Kennedy's words are appreciated.

But with DACA set to end on March 5, she's looking for actions.

"Thank you for your words but what are you doing about it in terms of legislation or not even legislation, in terms of just something that will shield us from that immediate danger that we're facing every day?"
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