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Four individuals affected by the policies of President Trump will attend the State of the Union Address
They are undocumented and their families and affected by the passage of hurricanes. Some congressmen have invited them so that with their single presence they serve as a counter-message during the president's annual speech.
WASHINGTON, DC. - For this first speech on the State of the Union that Donald Trump will give , some congressmen have invited people who consider themselves affected by the policies, and even by the rhetoric, of the president.
And although the guests recognize that it is an honor to hear the president speak at a joint session of Congress, they say they are there to highlight problems that must be addressed or handled in a different way by the White House.
From the disastrous situation of Puerto Rico to the drama of families separated by the strictest application of migration policies are topics that will bring with them during the ceremony some of the guests so that Trump 'sees them in the face', as they raised Univision News .
Emmanuel Ortiz and Cristalimar Torres - Puerto Rico
Los Ortiz son una de las miles de familias puertorriqueñas que se vieron forzadas a dejar la isla tras la devastación del huracán María, que vino a agravar los problemas económicos y sociales que ya atravesaba Puerto Rico. Emmanuel, su esposa y sus dos pequeños hijos se establecieron en Orlando, en el centro de Florida, donde han encontrado una comunidad solidaria. Aunque tienen planificado quedarse en Orlando, quieren destacar el problema que enfrentan millones de sus conciudadanos que siguen padeciendo duras condiciones seis meses después del paso del huracán.
Cristalimar: "They were very difficult moments before we came to Orlando, because it is very difficult to have two children (...) they spend their needs primarily: thirst, heat, mosquitoes. We had already been living like this for a month, day by day, every day going out to look for water, food, gasoline, it could not be saved ".
Emmanuel: "We felt stuck. Basically, things are sometimes not done correctly, as everywhere there are always their problems, there are always difficulties on the island and one is mentally tired of the things that are happening and what he wants is a better country for one, for your children, for future generations. We already had a plan to leave at some point. "
Cristalimar: "But it was not so fast. Maria made us do it faster. He bounced us off the island. My compadre was the one who encouraged us and gave us the idea. 'Come here I help them until they take flight. I'm looking for tickets and I'm staying here in my house. ' And so it was that we did it. We had nothing to lose. What we did not want was to ask ourselves the question of what would have happened if we had not done it ...
Emmanuel: "Surely we were looking for gasoline, going to a spring to look for water or looking at the sky. We wanted to do something different. We obviously wanted to put the children in school. We wanted to move forward. (In Orlando) we feel warm, there are many Puerto Ricans. We feel that Puerto Rican warmth. So far we have gone super. We have received many aids. The Latino community in general knows what is happening in Puerto Rico and they want to help you. "
"I hope that Puerto Rico sneaks into the speech at some point. When there is unity, it works better. You and I can be from different parties, but you know what? Let's work together for the good of these people. I hope that is the message of unity. He writes many tweets. He is a very open person in the sense that what he thinks he says. If I had the opportunity to speak with him, I would say that we work for the common good, there are many people who need it. "
Flor María Campos - Arizona
Flor María Campos and José Alvarado are two Salvadorans who arrived in the United States in 2000. Protected by the Temporary Protected Status, they worked until they had sufficient capital and, after some missteps, managed to open two restaurants in Las Vegas. But his life as an entrepreneur, and more importantly, his family life, suffered a tremor with President Trump's decision not to renew the protection program for Salvadorans (as he previously did with Nicaraguans and Haitians). Now they are in a limbo because they fear that the effort of their lives will vanish and they will have to return to a country where they will not have the same opportunities for their daughters.
"We have a small company, a restaurant with Salvadoran food. We have the money that we invest in our business. Last year we invested all our capital, which may not be much for some people, but for us. And we invest it here in this country. And then the news of the president passes that 'we are only going to give one more year'. Now we say, and now what do we do? We are waiting without knowing what will happen, waiting for a positive response, but not knowing if it will come. We have our families, our daughters who are American, Stephani (15 years old) and Jasmin (7 years old) and who would be without their parents.
We never came to be a burden for this country. Our goal was to work hard. Never, we have never seized a government aid. We contribute to this country with our business, a little bit, that little grain of sand. (In El Salvador) we have nothing. We have our family here, who are our two daughters. I arrived at 20 years old and my husband was the same. We have been in this country for 17 years now. How much we made we invested here and it stays here. It does not seem fair to me.
I would ask the president why he treats us the way he has treated us if in fact he knows that we contribute a lot to this country, because I know he knows it. I feel that they use us nothing more. And I would like him to tell me: 'You are going to serve me and then I will discard you'. I did not think that a person like that would come (to the presidency), with that mentality. He has many companies and, I assure you, he has many immigrants working, perhaps legally, but immigrants.
I would ask him to meditate and give us that opportunity, to see us as people who can also contribute something good to this country.
I ask myself and ask my husband: 'Love, what are we going to do?' He tells me we can not stay because we have our daughters. I tell him that we can not stay because we are going to be illegal, they are going to come and pick us up anyway. It is very difficult".
Cindy García - Michigan
Jorge, Cindy's husband, had almost 30 of his 39 years living in the US. In 2005 he began to process for permanent residence because he was married to a US citizen. The Garcias claim to have had bad legal advice. In 2006 a judge issued a deportation order for Jorge. Since then they were in the process of appealing the case, until last November, during a routine visit with ICE to renew the temporary stay permit, they told him he had to leave the country by January 15, 2018.
"What happened to the deportation of my husband is a nightmare. We are suffering, depressed, we want our lives back, we want my husband back. We can not describe in words what we are feeling. It is as if someone had died. I would like to sit down with the democrats and republicans and tell them that they can not imagine what we are experiencing (...) the separation of a family is unfair ".
Before all this, we had breakfast together, we prepared lunch together, we washed the dishes together, we shared with the dog. We were always together as a family and now I have to do everything alone. My children are depressed, they do not go to school. It's almost two weeks from now that they have not returned to school. It's an incredible nightmare that we're going through.
President Trump's policies affect us because he has everything in his power to change the laws, he can make and break laws. It affects me because I want things to change with immigration laws. I can only say what I feel, explain to people that it is important to vote. I do not think that what I say or do can make him change his mind. But in spite of that I feel that I must move on. It's the only thing I have left.
If I had it in front of me, I would say that it has to change the immigration laws because they are unfair. It has to see each case individually. You can not see them all together. You have to consider that to not separate more families.
I just want Trump to see me there. I want him to say how he can justify what they did to my husband, who has no criminal record. I understand that we do not want terrorists and I understand that the law is the law, but this is not the case.
We can not expect anything from his State of the Union address, because he says one thing today and tomorrow he does another. That's the thing with him, nobody knows what to expect. "
Viviana Andazola Marquez - Colorado
In October of 2015, Viviana's father, Melecio Andazola, was arrested by ICE in Colorado when he showed up for his routine visit, within what the family describes as the final part of the process to obtain a green card. Despite not having a criminal record, and therefore not within the priorities of the agency, Melecio was deported to Mexico, leaving in the US his wife and four children, all US citizens, including his youngest daughter who suffers from epilepsy. Viviana studies at Yale and is about to graduate in studies of ethnicity, race and migration.
"The ugliest thing is that this year I graduate and I planned to have my parents there. My dad will not be able to return for any reason, so it's very sad to know that I will have my biggest triumph of my life and my dad will be struggling to find work and settle down again in his country.
The truth is, I never got scared until Trump came in because I knew that at age 21 I could fix papers on behalf of my citizenship. He was arrested on October 12 and deported on December 15, despite having qualified for a deferral of deportation. Director Jeffrey Lange of Colorado decided not to give him a reprieve. Although he had said in previous interviews that he would consider humanitarian causes and although my younger sister has epilepsy and my father also took care of my grandmother who is a resident, he did not take those factors into consideration.
I think the executive laws that Trump approved in January gave ICE more power to get people out for any reason. Many people have told us that this would never have happened under the presidency of (Barack) Obama, not even with (George W.) Bush, because Trump is trying to get as many people as he can.
I do not think Trump is going to say anything that can help my family. What I understand is that he has a plan for the dreamers, which is a good step but only solves the situation for 20% of the community that does not have papers. In an ideal world I would like him to have something to say to the other 80% but I know he does not have it.
I think Trump has to face the people who have affected his ideas and his laws. The truth is I do not think that my words would be well received by him. I'm more interested in talking with the rest of the Congress and the senators who have the power to resist against Trump to demand that he do more. I would like to talk to Democrats who are not satisfied with Trump's proposal now and even with Republicans who have not considered the situation well.
It seems to me that nobody is going to change Trump's way of thinking and I think that my energies would be better used with the rest of the Congress. But if he had to speak his language, he would be presented with the problem of labor in the US. I think he has not sufficiently considered that aspect of deporting so many people. What will he do with the problem that Americans do not want to take jobs that immigrants do? What is he going to do? Because the economy is something that interests you and the economy will suffer to get all these people out.Content originally published by Univision on January 30, 2018.