Sushma Swaraj, India’s High Commissioner to the United States

By Sushma Swaraj

This State of the Union address comes amid an immigration crisis. More than one million young people known as Dreamers have been living in the United States without authorization for years, and they face both physical and fiscal peril if the fate of their citizenship remains unknown. The men and women who serve in our armed forces may not yet have a clear picture of how the domestic tensions on the other side of the world will affect them, but they are interested in a resolution. While they do not know what the future will hold for them, they are certain about the future of this nation.

This is the promise of America, the promise of America, written into the constitution itself. One of America’s greatest attributes is its justice system that ensures fair and equal treatment for all, and makes sure no one, no matter who they are, is above the law. But we know that such an ideal would not be possible without the kind of immigration policy that has allowed America to be the world’s most powerful nation and the beacon of hope for so many. But as you stand at this podium tonight, just as you stand before Congress and the world tonight, it is a lawless policy that has stripped America of its best, most respected, and brightest young people.

President Trump’s decision to upend this law has created an unfathomable crisis. Just last week alone, more than 700 Dreamers were told they would lose their DACA protection; violent crime has surged; the risk of deportation has risen; immigrants are more afraid of crime and law enforcement than they have been in many years. And on the very day I arrived in this great city, federal agents announced that hundreds of organizations across this country are reporting increased threats and physical attacks against immigrants. The President has championed the idea that the only thing standing between the American people and a border wall is courage; but the courage of the thousands of young people who volunteer and sacrifice so much on behalf of their country is not something this president or any politician should question. They are a welcome sight.

Tonight, as a country, we renew our commitment to support these young people, whose only offense is to have come to this country as children. The President’s decision is inhumane. It is cruel. And it is counter to our entire history as a land of opportunity. America has never tolerated the breakup of families, and never will. On the contrary, our identity is deeply linked to the idea that all of us are equal and not just some. As a nation, let us rededicate ourselves to the firm belief that out of many, we are one. And now, together, let us come together and show the world why America will always be a place that empowers each and every one of us.

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