Indian American Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washinton, who boycotted President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, criticized the president’s anti-immigration policies and rhetoric targeting immigrants.
Addressing an alternative State of Our Union address at the National Press Club on Tuesday night, Jayapal said the State of Union is strong “because of us, because of love, and stories, and listening.”
“The state of our union is strong when fearless people stand up against tyrannical policies and don’t confuse xenophobia with patriotism or vitriol with values,” Jayapal was quoted as saying by seattlemet.com.
“You just ground yourselves, and you reach for that vision of the State of the Union that is strong, because of us, because of love, and stories, and listening,” she said. “My name is Pramila Jayapal. I believe in the power of our union, and I pledge to fight for all of us.”
Jayapal, who represents Washington’s 7th Congressional district, urged the audience, who were mostly Democrats and liberals, to stay united and insisted on the need of forming a “vision” of progressive values.
Jayapal was joined by several woman leaders including Reps. Judy Chu and Barbara Lee, both from California, and Monica Ramirez, representing Alianza Nacional de Campesinas.
Trump once again created a controversy during the State of the Union address by linking young immigrants to members of the brutal criminal gang MS-13.
“Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors,” Trump said during the speech.
Jayapal, who appeared for a discussion on MSNBC, criticized Trump for relating immigrants to terrorists and criminals.
“The president’s rhetoric was absurd and more of the same – he seems to want to end legal immigration, and to categorize immigrant families as terrorists and criminals and drains on our economy. That is simply not reality,” she said.
Earlier this month, she had announced that she would boycott the State of the Union address, joining other 13 Democrats who chose to skip the address.
“I think it is absolutely unacceptable to see the racism and the hatred coming out the White House in a way in which this president is fueling the flames of divisiveness across our country,” she said announcing the decision to boycott Trump’s address.
Jayapal said she was outraged at Trump fir calling Haiti and African nations “shithole” countries during an immigration meeting earlier this month.
“I just think that is outrageous. This is just a speech, and I don’t want to be in the chamber and have to listen to words from a president who uses the office really for political reasons to fuel hatred,” the congresswoman told glamour.com in an interview.
“For me, it really is about refusing to normalize and dignify a president who is using the highest office of the land to really fan and fuel racism and sexism and hatred,” she said.