It's not every day an undocumented person gets to sit in the chamber of power and listen to the president.
But that's what happened to Angie Kim.
Emil Guillermo talks with Kim, a community organizing fellow at the Minkwon Center for Community Action in Flushing, Queens, NY.
Brought to the U.S. at age name by her parents from South Korea, Kim qualified for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals program (DACA), in 2012.
It gave her the right to get a work permit and stay in the U.S. Now 32, her future is in jeopardy, as President Trump has yet to say what will happen with DACA recipients. In recent days, some DACA recipients have been apprehended by ICE under new broad guidelines.
Kim, invited to the speech by Congresswoman Grace Meng, didn't get a shout out like the widow or Ryan Owens. Kim shares her thoughts on the politics of the night and how she uses her activism to deal with the fear she faces as the only undocumented person in her family
Emil Guillermo write for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog. He is an award-winning journalist who was once an NPR host, newspaper columnist, and TV reporter.
See his work at www.aaldef.org/blog
Or at www.amok.com
Emil Amok on the Speech. amok.com March 1, 2017
It wasn’t exactly a State of the Union, more like a Trump state of mind.
But that means the best thing you could say about Trump45’s address before Congress is this: At least the TelePrompTer didn’t break.
If it did, who knows what we would have seen on speech night.
Or “Twitter Trump”?
That’s the Trump who has been the real enemy of the people.
But this speech was slightly more tempered. Milder. And he didn’t veer off wildly.
The president showed us all— he could read!
And just for doing that, 78 percent of viewers in a CNN/ORC poll gave Trump positive marks.
Now that’s something Trump understands. Ratings.
Governing, however, has been a mystery. But now Trump will learn from experience that if you give a political speech that’s long on promises on things like jobs, education, infrastructure, and Obamacare, without a stitch of detail on how to keep those promises, let alone pay for them, ratings can go up.
And maybe he’ll start acting normal?
That’s something both to welcome and to fear.
Welcome because he’s not 100 percent in your face.
Fear, because he’s figured out how the game works.
And that of course, makes Trump more dangerous than ever.
There were two things specifically I was looking for in the speech, that left me pretty disappointed.
Though Trump began the speech talking about Black History Month and civil rights, he really could have condemned the threats to the Jewish Community Centers and the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries much stronger than he did.
And he could have dwelled on the shootings of Indian Americans in Olathe, near Kansas City. One man, Srinivas Kuchibhotla died. Another Indian American was wounded.
A Caucasian man, Ian Grillot,24, was wounded trying to disarm the shooter, another Caucasian male, Adam Purinton, 51, who started it all by hurling racial slurs at the Indians.
These are the kind of things Trump45 has brought out in America since the start of his presidency.
We should have seen a passionate denunciation of these acts. Instead, rump simply read the prompter then bathed in the shower of self-congratulatory applause.
It was as if just by being gracious makes him a hero.
But what did Trump do since he’s taken over?
With his anti-immigrant, build-a-wall, nationalistic rhetoric, he has given a segment of America a signal that hate is OK in America.
Trump’s victory unleashed all that on America.
But the president acknowledged it with just a single line: “While we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”
It didn’t seem sincere. Not after the first 40 days. It seemed hollow.
He didn’t even mention the Asian Americans by nationality or name.
It was just a shooting in Kansas City.
Not good enough.
Of course, later in his speech, Trump milked another sentimental moment to honor Navy Senior Chief William “Ryan” Owens, who died in Yemen during a raid last January.
The military is always a safe bet. So honor a Gold Star family, and deplete the domestic budget in favor billions for the military.
But for the Jews, or for the murdered Indian immigrant?
Trump gave them short-shrift.
It’s the reason Trump’s big pre-speech “leak” that he would be calling for a bi-partisan immigration reform seemed just like an insincere tease.
After the travel ban fiasco, and the new ICE policies that have resulted in round ups of undocumented immigrants around the country, a real push for a compromise on immigration would have been a great headline.
But there was “no there, there.”
Not when Trump’s speech contained more talk of a border wall, references to “illegal immigrants,” and borders as “lawless chaos.” And then, as he is likes to do, Trump mixes border security with national security and all that entails, and creates for us all one big fear: “Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
And he used that exact counter-productive term, once again, despite advice to refrain.
By the time he got around to his pitch for a bi-partisan immigration “compromise,” Trump had no credibility with minority communities and those close to the immigrants who are living in fear.
Immigration has always been humanitarian based for political or economic reasons for the immigrant. The benefit to the U.S. has always been the extra.
Trump’s idea is for a merit-based immigration. He wants to cherry-pick the best, because the best will make money for Trump, the U.S., and that’s all he really cares about.
Once again, he could have made a better case had he mentioned the Indian man who died in Olathe, that suburb of Kansas City.
His name was Srinivas Kuchibhotla. He was a tech worker at Garmin, the gps company.
He was one of the immigrants Trump likes.
But not enough to mention in a major speech.
There were other glaring things Trump said. Like calling education the “civil rights issue of our time.”
Really? So is that why Betsy DeVos–the voucher queen hell bent on destroying public education–the new secretary of education?
And what about that travel ban? After the speech, Trump cancelled again the announcement for the new executive order that was to supercede the one held up by the court in Washington state.
Reports had it that Iraq would come off. Would other countries be added?
I worry for the Philippines.
This is the week the militant group Abu Sayyaf, home based in the Philippines, revealed a video showing the beheading of a 70-year-old German hostage.
Trump didn’t mention it at all.
But it was in the subtext when Trump said, “We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America—we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.”
Stated or unstated, you knew that the beheading in the Philippines, reported in the New York Times on speech day, could potentially be more fuel for Trump’s xenophobic fire.
And this was a toned down speech.
So if you hear people praise Trump about this speech and the polls giving him good marks for his performance, don’t be fooled.
All he did was stick to the TelePrompTer.
And act presidential. Remember, he’s all showbiz.
It’s still the same old Trump.