An Arizona congressman has asked police to check IDs of guests for Tuesday’s State of the Union address and to arrest any illegal immigrants in attendance — sparking outrage from immigrant-rights activists who labeled the idea “disgusting.”
The Capitol has long had a sort of sanctuary-city policy of not determining legal status of those it arrests. That means illegal immigrants detained for protesting in the halls of Congress are not reported to immigration authorities.
But with dozens of “Dreamers” — illegal immigrants in the U.S. under special protections from the Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty — slated to attend Tuesday’s speech, Rep. Paul Gosar said police should be on the lookout.
“Today, Congressman Paul Gosar contacted the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking they consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance,” his office said on his Twitter account.
“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress. Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported,” the congressman said.
Commenters on his Twitter feed blasted him with a flood of expletives, while Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat, called his demand “disgusting.”
Dozens of Dreamers have been invited by Democratic members of Congress to attend Tuesday’s speech. In previous years Dreamers even sat next to first lady Michelle Obama during her husband’s speeches.
The Dreamers whose names have been publicly released appear to all be part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, meaning they are shielded from deportation under Obama administration, and now Trump administration, policy.