Things That Matter

Latina Activist, Undocumented Immigrants Will Attend President Trump’s State Of The Union

After weeks of postponement due to the government shutdown, President Donald Trump will be addressing the public in his State of the Union Feb. 5. While it has yet to be determined what the president will be discussing, speculators say immigration will be at the center of his speech. One indication that his focus will be on immigration and the border wall is by the president himself.

People are already assuming that immigration will be the focus of President Trump’s State of the Union address.

The president also hinted at the possibility of demanding billions for the border wall by declaring a state of emergency, which would bypass a Senate vote and give him direct access to the money. Whatever Trump discusses during the State of the Union, he will have to face some very important people in the audience.

Regardless of Trump’s focus, all eyes have been on who elected officials will bring as their guest.

Lawmakers are allowed to bring a guest to the event and usually use the moment to bring people who have been impacted by the recent governmental decisions. The guests usually fuel the political discourse and shed light on issues ongoing in the country.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s guest will be activist Ana Maria Archila, who confronted Republican Jeff Flake during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings.

“I’m proud to announce that my #StateOfTheUnion guest will be @AnaMariaArchil2,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Ana Maria is the NY14-er who famously jumped into the elevator with Sen. Flake to elevate the stories of survivors everywhere. She‘s living proof that the courage within all of us can change the world.” She added: “She wasn’t planning on leaping into that elevator ahead of the Kavanaugh vote, but after hearing the stories of survivors across the country, she went in. A defining moment.”

About the invite, Archila told The Intercept: “I just feel particularly moved that in her first participation in the State of the Union, she is inviting me to join and inviting that moment of the elevator, my confrontation with the men who do not understand the life of women and the lives of people who are not in power, that she’s inviting that into the imagination of people again.”

California Rep. Jimmy Gomez said he will bring Trump’s former employee who disclosed her undocumented status.

“When I first met Sandra, I was inspired by her story and her courage,” Gomez said in a statement. “It’s no small feat for a migrant from Costa Rica to stand up to a bully and hypocrite in the White House. She is living proof that President Trump couldn’t be more wrong — both morally and factually — when he demonizes those who come to America seeking a better life. Apparently, the Trump Organization had no problem with hiring undocumented immigrants like Sandra to polish their golf clubs, serve them drinks, and make their beds. Treating these hardworking people with dignity, however, was clearly a bridge too far.”

California Rep. Gil Cisneros invited student and DACA recipient Miriam Tellez

“It is a privilege to host Miriam at tomorrow’s State of the Union Address,” Rep. Cisneros said in a statement. “She is a leader in her community at CSU Fullerton as an advocate for supporting our DREAMers and TPS holders who are seeking higher education degrees. DREAMers are students, service members, neighbors, and our friends. Above all, they are real people. And it is crass and inhumane for the President to try and leverage them, their families, and the DACA program he is responsible for ending to extract a senseless border wall. DREAMers are so much more than bargaining chips, they are valued community members who want nothing more than to contribute to the country they love.”

New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman will bring another undocumented former Trump employee.

“Immigrants, by and large, are hardworking, trustworthy, and skilled people who simply want to work and build better lives here,” Watson Coleman said in a statement. “For years these kinds of people were loyal and dedicated enough to be Trump Organization employees. I hope that in his State of the Union address, Donald Trump will finally acknowledge the real face of immigrants in this country — women, and children fleeing violence, law-abiding, tax-paying people who would do almost anything to be Americans. And if he can’t, I’ve invited Victoria so that he may look her in her eyes to tell his lies to a familiar face.”

Other guests for Feb. 5’s SOTU include trans servicemembers, parents who lost their children in the Parkland high school shooting, and federal workers affected by the government shutdown.

Trump’s State of the Union will air Feb. 5 at 9:00 p.m. EST/6:00 p.m. PST on all local channels.


READ: These Tweets Show The Impact Trump’s Government Shutdown Is Having On American Families

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Donald Trump Refused To Condemn His White Supremacists Pals And In fact, Told Them To ‘Stand By’

Things That Matter

Donald Trump Refused To Condemn His White Supremacists Pals And In fact, Told Them To ‘Stand By’

Spencer Platt / Getty

Last night’s first presidential debate of the 2020 election gave us about as much optimism and assurance of safety as his past four years in office. Particularly because when it came to the moments when our current president was given a chance by moderator Chris Wallace to condemn white supremacists and “militia” groups while also demanding that they stand down as opposed to inciting violence, he refused.

Even if you’ve yet to watch Tuesday night’s debates, you’ve undoubtedly heard that throughout the night Donald Trump acted like a child who had never once been taught by a teacher to wait his turn to speak. Or, to simply answer a question. Shockingly, Trump stuck to this approach in one of the most critical aspects of the debates that could have gained him followers or at least assuaged Americans and their fears about his leadership and morality.

When it came to the moment when he was asked to condemn white nationalists and militia groups Trump pussyfooted around then gave a pretty damning response.

During last night’s debate when asked to denounce those groups, Trump gave non-committal answers.

When asked by debate moderator Chris Wallace asked if he was willing and ready to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and tell them to stand down during the current and ongoing demonstrations taking place across the country, Trump told one group to “stand back and stand by.”

What’s more, he asserted that violence at the protests was not being instigated by conservatives.

“Sure,” Trump responded. “I’m willing to [tell them to stand down] but I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right wing. I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

“Say it. Do it. Say it,” Biden urged Trump in response to his non commital answers.

“Who would you like me to condemn?” Trump shot back, turning his attention to Wallace. “Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I’ll tell you what. I’ll tell you what. Somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not a right-wing problem.”

The Proud Boys are a far-right men-only organization that has been spotted at multiple 2020 Trump campaign rallies wearing black and yellow polo shirt uniforms.

The group promotes and often engages in political violence.

This is why Trump’s non-committal responses like “Sure” to requests from Wallace and Biden to condemn these groups are worrisome. Even more so why, when pressed by Wallace and Biden who pointed out repeatedly that “sure” is not the same as actually doing so was so troubling as well. Moreover, it’s important to note that Trump’s response to “I would say almost everything I see is from the left-wing, not from the right-wing” is another “all lives matter” kind of way to denouncing white supremacist groups.

Of course this is not the first time the president has defended the actions of white supremacists.

In August, Trump refused to condemn the actions of his supporters in Portland, Oregon, and Wisconsin who used pepper spray to attack demonstrators. In the past, Trump has also defended Kyle Rittenhouse, a shooter who attempted homicide in Kenosha, Wisconsin at a BLM protest, saying that he had been “very violently attacked.”

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As Trump Rushes To Build More Border Wall Before The Election, Here’s A Timeline Of His Border Wall Failures

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As Trump Rushes To Build More Border Wall Before The Election, Here’s A Timeline Of His Border Wall Failures

Saul Loeb / Getty Images

With just 34 days to go until the election, Trump is in an all out mission to build as much border wall as he can. Throughout his 2016 campaign and his time in the White House, he has made his vanity project a key component in his identity as president.

He’s used it to ratchet up xenophobia and to implement his draconian immigration policies while also using it to build support among his die hard MAGA-loving supporters. But there’s just one problem: Trump has completely failed in his mission to deliver a border wall to his supporters.

Since the 2016 election, according to the LA Times, the Trump Administration has only built 5 new miles of border wall – yes, just five miles of border wall along a 1,954 mile long border.

However, the larger point is that we are still wasting billions of dollars to built an apartheid wall twice as tall as the Berlin Wall. It’s a complete waste of money and it’s wreaking havoc on our environment, politics, and security.

Trump is racing to complete more border wall in time for the November election.

The election is just over a month away and the Trump administration is quickly realizing that one of Trump’s biggest promises to his supporters, remains unfulfilled. This has led to an all out push to construct additional border wall, with construction crews now adding nearly two miles per day. It is an unprecedented pace toward meeting one of Trump’s signature 2016 campaign promises.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) say that the rate of construction has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year, accelerated by the government’s ability to cut through national forests, wildlife preserves and other public lands already under federal control.

The rapid pace of construction has had the biggest impact in Arizona. There, crews have literally blasted through protected areas and federal lands — areas where the administration is able to bypass environmental laws, archaeological reviews and other safeguards.

In fact, crews have been using dynamite to level the steep sides of Guadalupe Canyon, a rugged span where the cost of the barrier exceeds $41 million per mile. Across the state at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, border agents have forcefully broken up protests by members of the O’odham Nation attempting to block the bulldozers near ancestral burial sites and a fragile desert oasis.

Officials hope to hold a ceremony celebrating 400-miles of new border wall before the election.

Trump is hoping to celebrate the 400-mile mark with a major celebration touting his great success on the border wall. But as earlier figures show, it’s all a sham. Most of the border wall that’s being built is not new.

However, Mark Morgan, the acting CBP commissioner, told reporters that the president has proved his doubters and critics wrong.

“Even as the nonbelievers, the folks who have been out there for a very long time who said we were never going to get this done, what I refer to as the judicial activism of lower courts that have tried to stop our construction of the wall, the false narratives and, quite frankly, the lies out there about the effectiveness and need of the wall — despite all that — this president has remained steadfast in his commitment, his commitment to the American people and to the men and women of CBP,” said Morgan, erroneously claiming the government was building 10 miles per day.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden says he will shut down border wall construction if elected president.

As with so much else, the future of the wall project is contingent on the outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

Biden has been very open about his plan to immediately end construction of the border wall if elected. This could be a big shock to the giant industry that has sprouted up to build the wall. Crews have been working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on at least five locations on the border, according to officials overseeing the project who spoke on the condition of anonymity to the Washington Post.

“There will not be another foot of wall construction in my administration,” Biden said in August during an interview with reporters from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists. Biden said he favors “high tech” systems that rely on surveillance technology and would direct resources to the legal border crossings where most illegal narcotics are seized.

Despite the lack of new construction, CBP officials are already calling the wall a success.

Officials say that the increase in apprehensions of migrants caught hiding in tractor trailers or coming ashore on California beaches is proof that the border wall is working. But that just simply isn’t the case when you’ve only built 5-miles of border wall.

Meanwhile, even though it’s patently false, Trump continues to deceive the public with claims that Mexico is footing the bill. Mexico is not paying for the wall.

The president has obtained $15 billion in federal funds for the project, but just one-third of that money has been authorized by Congress. The rest, nearly $10 billion, has been diverted from the U.S. military budget, giving Trump enough to build 738 miles of new barriers, or enough to cover more than a third of the 2,000-mile boundary with Mexico.

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