Robert Mickens and Elizabeth Alvarado were invited to Donald Trump‘s State of the Union on Tuesday night, where the president spoke about their daughter, Nisa Mickens, who was murdered by MS-13 in September 2016.
Trump mentioned their daughter, and others, who had been affected by the violence of the dead El Salvadorian gang MS-13, but Democrats didn’t stand when the grieving families were recognized by the president during his remarks.
That didn’t sit well with Mickens.
“I thought it was very disrespectful,” Mickens told Fox News. “For the simple fact that the Democrats who were there and did not stand up, they were African-Americans. So that hurt me a lot … Regardless of how they feel about the president, they should show the respect, because I’d show them the respect if that was their loved one.”
The story of Nisa Mickens
President Trump shared the story of what happened Nisa Mickens in September 2016:
“Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors – and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.”
“Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.”
Trump links immigration to violent crime
The Democrats took issue with Trump’s speech in which he called on Congress to tighten immigration laws and tied immigration to the kind of violence that killed Nisha Mickens.
“For decades, open borders have allowed drugs and gangs to pour into our most vulnerable communities. They have allowed millions of low-wage workers to compete for jobs and wages against the poorest Americans. Most tragically, they have caused the loss of many innocent lives,” Trump said.
CNN’s Van Jones said that the speech linking MS-13 with immigration was particularly “poisonous” because of the current debate surrounding DACA and the Dreamers.
He later added, “It is completely unacceptable to take this issue – which is, we have a moment now where 90 percent of the country agrees that these young people deserve a shot – and to smear these young people.”