Near the end of the Heartland Forum in Iowa on Saturday, an immigrant from El Salvador and mother of three, Emilia Maroquin, asked Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) what he believed the U.S. should do with refugees who arrived at the border.
How should the U.S. protect them once they are here? And how long should immigrants with dreams of becoming productive members of their community be left in limbo?
Ryan made it clear to Maroquin where he stood on the issue, saying the so-called Dreamers “epitomize who we want to come to the United States” and that “we need to take care of the Dreamer issue.”
“I think we need to do that immediately,” he added, referring to participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Ryan then turned his aim at President Donald Trump, whom he accused of instituting “deep cuts” to State Department programs that work to keep Central American countries from becoming “so destabilized and so violent that people would have to come to the United States in the first place.”
“If President Trump would pick up his presidential daily briefing and look at it and see how we could maybe help solve the problem in these countries before we’re forced to deal with it on our own borders, we would be well ahead of where we are today,” Ryan said.
Speaking specifically of refugees, Ryan said they needed to be seen as ambitious people looking for a better life away from “war-torn” and “gang-run” countries.
“I hope we are strong enough as a country to be able to accept them and welcome them into the United States. That to me is not a sign of weakness. That’s a sign of strength.
Ryan attended the Heartland Forum, co-sponsored by HuffPost and held at Buena Vista University, along with Democratic presidential candidates including Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). Ryan has not declared himself a presidential candidate.