Rep. Michael Capuano criticized President Trump for what he considered an unfair attack on immigrants in the president’s state of the union speech. Capuano told WGBH News he thought Trump enforced a negative stereotype about immigrants when he used members of the street gang MS-13 as an example of the dangers of illegal immigration.
Trump attributed the murder of two teenage girls from Long Island on “glaring loopholes in our laws” that MS-13 gang members “took advantage of.”
"I did not like the way he also emphasized the problems with MS13," Capuano said during an interview with Boston Public Radio Thursday. "The clear implication is that every immigrant is somehow involved with gang activity, and that’s just old-fashioned. I had hoped America was over that kind of stuff, 'all Italians are in the mafia, you know, all Irish men are alcoholics.' ... I had hoped we were over that."
This comes amid an ongoing trial of four suspected members of the gang, after a federal judge denied a request to delay the case to ensure that Trump’s remarks would not prejudice jurors.
Republicans and democrats are gearing up for another round of negotiations on immigration, hoping to avoid a Feb. 8 government shutdown.
“If this is the president’s last and final offer, we’ll be saying no,” Capuano said. “If it is the president’s opening bid, then fine — let’s talk about it. There’s no way, I don’t think, that we’re going to agree to a $25 billion expense on a wall.”
To hear Rep. Capuano’s full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio player above.