As President Trump railed against undocumented immigrants during an event on Long Island Wednesday, New York’s Democratic congressional caucus invited him to join them in the Big Apple for a discussion about the “law-abiding people” who “actually represent immigrant communities.”
In a letter addressed to the White House, the nine-member caucus urged Trump to meet with some of the immigrants who make up 40% of New York City’s population and learn about their stories, instead of repeatedly “likening” them to violent street gangs such as MS-13.
“We are happy to facilitate this conversation right here in your hometown,” the caucus members said in the letter, which was obtained by the Daily News. “We think that in such a meeting, you’ll come to find these strong, courageous people have more in common with your own immigrant mother, rather than ‘animals.'”
The Democratic invite came as Trump doubled down on his controversial reference to MS-13 gang members as “animals” during a roundtable discussion on immigration in Bethpage.
“I called them ‘animals’ the other day and I was met with rebuke,” Trump said. “(Democrats) said, ‘They’re people.’ They’re not people, these are animals and we have to be very, very tough.”
Trump first made the “animals” slur during a discussion at the White House last week with California officials opposed to so-called sanctuary laws. The comment prompted widespread criticism from immigration advocates, who noted it evoked a dehumanizing tone about anyone who enters the country illegally while also echoing historically troubling rhetoric.
The New York Democratic caucus, spearheaded by Queens-born Rep. Joe Crowley, urged Trump to stop focusing on gang members and start “fixing our broken immigration system.”
“America has always been — and will continue to be — a nation of immigrants,” the Democrats said. “You must hear their stories and learn of their desire for nothing more than to achieve the American Dream.”
Multiple White House spokespeople did not return a request for comment.