Viviana Andazola Marquez ’18 — whose father, Melecio Andazola Morales, was recently deported from the United States and barred from re-entry for 20 years despite weeks of student activism — told the News that she has accepted an invitation to attend the State of the Union from U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-CO.
Multiple Democratic House members plan on inviting guests to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address to represent opposition to his policies and rhetoric. An aide to U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-FL, told NBC News earlier this month that some representatives will bring survivors of sexual assault and advocates against sexual assault to the annual event. Four days ago, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-MI, announced she had invited Cindy Garcia, the wife of a man deported to Mexico 30 years ago, to the State of the Union. And Perlmutter, an avowed critic of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, appears to be sending a similar message by inviting Andazola Marquez.
Andazola Marquez told the News Monday evening that she had accepted Perlmutter’s invitation over the phone just hours earlier.
“I am really excited and honored to have been invited and continue to be a voice and a representative of elevating this issue, which is tearing families apart for no good reason under the guise of national security,” Andazola Marquez said. “I’m excited to also take advantage of speaking to other representatives and hopefully convincing or at least putting something on their conscience about the policies they are enacting.”
In the days and weeks after Andazola Morales was detained by Immigration Customs and Enforcement officers in October, students at Yale and other universities rallied to call for his freedom. Thousands of students signed an online petition calling for his release and participated in phone-banking sessions aimed at Colorado-based ICE director Jeffrey Lynch. Perlmutter and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet ‘93 LAW D-CO. co-sponsored bills in early November to release Andazola Morales from custody and allow him to pursue legal residency in the United States. But Andazola Morales was deported on Dec. 15 after being held in a detention facility in Denver, Colorado for 64 days.
On Monday afternoon, Perlmutter’s Communication Director Ashley Verville confirmed with the News that Perlmutter had invited Andazola Marquez to the State of the Union.
“The time is now to move forward to fix the system, create American jobs, lower our deficit, strengthen our borders and give millions of undocumented Americans an earned pathway to citizenship,” reads a statement on immigration posted to Perlmutter’s website.
In a statement announcing her invitation to Cindy Garcia, Dingell said that “now more than ever, we must not lose sight of who we are and the promise of America.”
A GoFundMe started by Andazola Marquez to help relocate her family to Mexico raised over $35,000.
Britton O’Daly | firstname.lastname@example.org