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Activists: SOTU speech paints ‘broad brush over immigrant communities’

DACA recipients rally against address they felt spread fears instead of unity

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BRENTWOOD — Long Island activists protested Wednesday to denounce President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech which they say used families impacted by MS-13 violence to cast a negative light on immigrants.

During his speech, Trump spoke about the four pillars of his immigration reform proposal which includes a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA recipients, fully securing the border, ending the visa lottery, and ending chain migration. He also highlighted gang violence on Long Island by spotlighting the parents of two teens whose murders are believed to be MS-13 related.

“We will finally close the deadly loopholes that allowed MS-13 and other criminal gangs to break into our country,” President Trump said during his speech.

A key part of his speech that addressed immigration issues, specifically his efforts to rid the country of gang violence by siphoning the flow of immigrants, caused activists from Make the Road New York to feel alarmed.

“It is not excusable for them to use the stories of some of the victims who are citizens to vilify and paint a broad brush over immigrant communities who are also seeking answers, justice and protection as we face this critical crisis of gang violence on Long Island,” said Walter Barrientos of Make the Road New York.

Francis Madi who is one of the thousands of DACA recipients in New York fears the president’s words will continue to cause legislative inaction, keeping people like him in limbo.

“Hundreds of DACA recipients are losing their work permits every day and risking deportation because of a lack of action by him and by Congress,” Madi said.

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