LAS VEGAS (AP) — An activist who will deliver a Democratic response in Spanish to President Donald Trump’s first speech to a joint session of Congress plans to address his administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants and the need for affordable health care.
Tuesday’s remarks from Astrid Silva, a so-called Dreamer who was brought into the country illegally as a child, will come as Trump’s efforts have spread anxiety among immigrants and led many to fear arrest. Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear will give the Democratic Party’s English-language response.
“Immigration is obviously very important, but I think people assume immigration is the only issue that Latinos care about,” Silva told The Associated Press on Monday. “There are so many things affecting our lives, like health care, LGBTQ rights, women’s rights.”
Silva, 28, came to the U.S. with her parents at age 4 and has lived in Las Vegas since she was 5. She is part of a group of 750,000 immigrants who were brought into the U.S. without authorization as children but later received deportation relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program authorized by former President Barack Obama in 2012.
Silva has become a prominent advocate for immigration reform. She spoke during the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July, almost two years after Obama highlighted her story during an address to the nation about a similar deportation relief program for the parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents.
“Democrats have done a lot of work in our communities, but I think at the same time there’s a lot of fear in our community,” said Silva, who during the election season appeared in ads in Spanish for Hillary Clinton. “To be able to speak to our community in Spanish, I think it’s really important.”
Democrats have invited immigrants and foreigners to Trump’s speech in an effort to put a face on those who could be hurt by the Republican’s policies. Among those who have been invited are the Iraqi-American doctor who discovered elevated levels of lead in the blood of many children living in Flint, Michigan, and a Pakistani-born doctor who delivers critical care to patients in Rhode Island.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat from Nevada, invited Silva to be her guest.
“At a time when immigrants are constantly under attack, Astrid serves as a reminder that we are a country that fights for those who need protection, and one that gives opportunities for all to live up to one’s full potential regardless of where you come from,” she said.
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