Democrats' Spanish-Language Response to SOTU

By Kausha Luna on January 31, 2018

Tuesday night, Virginia Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D) delivered the Spanish-language Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union address. As expected, Guzman largely focused on President Trump's immigration policies.

Del. Guzman became one of the first Hispanic women to ever be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. She attended the State of the Union address as the guest of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The Virginia lawmaker opened her speech with a personal introduction, emphasizing her experience as an immigrant from Peru, which then moved to a criticism of the current administration (translation is my own):

My experience has shown the incredible promise offered by our nation, which we are proud to call our home, a nation that shines as a beacon for the world, and that inspires us to dare to achieve our own American dream. Unfortunately, the president of the United States does not share this vision for our country. In his first year in office, he has promoted a bleak and extremist agenda that ruins our national values and risks national security. His administration threatens to drag our nation into a shameful past, in which our people were judged not by the quality of their character but by the color of their skin and their religious beliefs.

Speaking more explicitly on President Trump's immigration policies, Del. Guzman continued with the following:

Immigrant families that have given new life to the American dream through their hard work and belief in American values ​​are facing uncertainty, anxiety, and terror under President Trump. The president has the responsibility to promote unity, to protect us, and to counteract the divisions that weaken our country. But from the beginning he has discarded the most fundamental American values. He has replaced equality with intolerance, mutual respect with racism. The president has attacked our families. He eliminated the program known as DACA and threatens to deport the young dreamers who are patriotic and brave, and who call the United States their home, because they do not know another. The president has attacked the most vulnerable people, ending protections for families fleeing the persecution of wars and natural disasters. These people have behaved according to the law, they have paid their taxes. Likewise, the president has failed in his duty to protect our families in Puerto Rico, where they were affected by Hurricane Maria. That is not fair. It is unacceptable. He has disparaged communities of color by promoting a mass deportation agenda and insulting people who have an ancestry different from his. And he has tried to impose an immoral and cruel provision against our Muslim brothers and sisters. A few moments ago, in the presence of patriotic dreamers in Congress, President Trump presented his plan which will fundamentally change the character of our country, a plan that does not agree with the vision of our founders who saw diversity and immigrants as [a point of] pride. We must not accept or normalize the atrocious and insulting way in which this president represents our communities. To do so would be to surrender to a false and dangerous narrative.

After touching on other subjects such as health care and tax reform, Del. Guzman outlined a future for the nation in which everyone has good jobs and higher wages. On this subject, she failed to address the linkages between immigration policies and issues such as quality of jobs and wage levels.

To conclude, Guzman encouraged her audience to help Democrats to "recover" the nation. She added, "We need your voices and your energy. We need for you to protest and make your voices heard. We need you to vote.... We need candidates who fight for parents who risk their safety in search of their American Dream."