Joe Kennedy III, the Democrat selected to respond to Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, broke into Spanish during his emotional speech, telling childhood immigrants to the US that their country would not walk away from them.
“To all the Dreamers watching tonight, let me be clear: Ustedes son parte de nuestra historia. Vamos a luchar por ustedes y no nos vamos alejar,” the Representative from Massachusetts said.
In English, he added: “You are a part of our story. We will fight for you. We will not walk away.”
Mr Kennedy was speaking specifically to the millions of immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as children – also known as Dreamers. Mr Trump announced he would wind down protections for these immigrants late last year, opening them up to the threat of deportation.
More recently, the President has used these protections as a bargaining chip with Democrats, saying he would allow some 1.8m childhood immigrants a path to citizenship in exchange for $25b for his proposed border wall with Mexico and other security measures.
In his State of the Union address, Mr Trump emphasised the need to increased border security, and even suggested ending a legal immigration programme he calls “chain migration”. Democrats booed the President when he described chain migration – the practice in which immigrants’ family members also come to the US – as allowing “virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives” into the country.