Cincinnati group calls for immigration action ahead of State of the Union speech

Cincinnati group calls for immigration action ahead of State of the Union speech

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - On the day of President Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech, a Cincinnati group gathered to speak out against him.

The Immigrant Dignity Coalition of Cincinnati held a press conference Tuesday morning to address what they are calling the Trump administration's attacks on family-based immigration, Dreamers, and the diversity lottery system.

The group said that though Trump has expressed support for a path to citizenship for DACA recipients, his on again-off again support is leaving young people in an uncertain position.

Their message comes as Republicans and Democrats debate the future of 700,000 young immigrants living in the United States illegally.

Karen Dabdoub, executive director of the council on American Islamic relations, made a statement at the conference saying in part, "these policies are clearly based in white supremacy. Trump made this clear in his recent remarks about having fewer immigrants from countries populated by people of color versus his remarks about his desires to have more immigrants from countries like Norway who's population is dominantly white."

The President has vowed to protect the so-called Dreamers from deportation but is also calling for changes to legal immigration.

The White House has claimed the Trump's travel ban is necessary for Americans' security, but Dabdoub cited the ban as an attack on immigration.

Dabdoub said that Trump cannot tout support for the economic strength of the U.S. while holding his current position on immigration. Dabdoub claims that immigration brings new ideas, new energy, and innovation to the economy.

Dabdoub also cited the George W. Bush Institute's study of what they called the "immigrant surplus" that said immigrants bring a net gain of 36 to 72 billion dollars per year to the economy.

Two immigrants spoke at the press conference, one from Africa, one from Guatemala. They both said they have lived in the U.S. for many years and, collectively spoke about the importance of keeping their families together through a new DACA deal.  They urged Congress to complete the deal and stressed the importance of the jobs that immigrants do daily in the U.S.

President Trump is expected to push for bipartisan congressional action on immigration in Tuesday night's State of the Union address.

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