Conservative Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) is calling for the arrests of young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, often called “Dreamers,” who attend President Trump‘s first State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Dozens of Democrats and one centrist GOP lawmaker are bringing such immigrants as their guests to the State of the Union amid the debate in Congress over whether they should be allowed to stay in the country.
Gosar said he asked the Capitol Police and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider checking the identifications of everyone attending the State of the Union and arrest any immigrants they find in the country illegally.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is not endorsing Gosar’s call to arrest and deport the Dreamers in attendance, making it unlikely such a suggestion would go into effect.
“The Speaker clearly does not agree,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in response to Gosar’s tweets.
Many of the young immigrants who are guests to Tuesday night’s State of the Union are recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the Trump administration is rescinding.
Roughly 700,000 qualifying immigrants received temporary work permits through DACA. They are at risk of deportation on a rolling basis as their permits expire over time unless Congress acts on a permanent fix or if Trump were to reinstate the program.Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), a centrist running for reelection in a district won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, is so far the only GOP lawmaker bringing a DACA recipient as his State of the Union guest.
Democrats have brought Dreamers to joint addresses to Congress in the past. And Gosar isn’t the first Republican to object to their presence in the House chamber.
In 2015, immigration hard-liner Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) called a DACA recipient in attendance as one of President Obama’s State of the Union guests a “deportable.”
Those with current DACA enrollment status reside in the U.S. legally and are not at risk of arrest or deportation if they attend the State of the Union on Tuesday night.
A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a centrist Republican in support of granting a path to citizenship for Dreamers, blasted Gosar for his actions on Tuesday.
“Oh my goodness, RepGosar. Dreamers don’t pose a threat to us. This is so drastic and cruel. Dios mío,” Ros Lehtinen tweeted.