Republican Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar said he has asked Capitol Police to arrest and deport any undocumented immigrants present at the State of the Union on Tuesday night, after more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers announced they were bringing Dreamers to the speech as their guests.
Democrats had invited Dreamers in an effort to urge President Trump and Republican lawmakers to find a solution for the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Members of Congress have struggled to agree on an immigration plan in the months since Trump announced he would end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected those young immigrants from deportation.
“Today, Congressman Paul Gosar contacted the U.S. Capitol Police, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking they consider checking identification of all attending the State of the Union address and arresting any illegal aliens in attendance,” read a tweet from Gosar’s official Twitter account Tuesday afternoon, hours before Trump’s speech. “Additionally, Congressman Gosar asked that they arrest those using fraudulent social security numbers and identification to pass through security.”
A spokesperson for Capitol Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress. Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported,” Gosar said, according to the tweeted statement.
His threat quickly sparked criticism from Democrats and at least one Republican.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Business Insider that Gosar’s comments were “so outside the circle of respectable behavior for a member of Congress that it’s hard to comment on it.”
“But a lot of our colleagues are people of faith and profess to believe that all of us have a spark of divinity in us — that we’re all children of God,” she said. “And for him to make such a statement really dishonors the God who made us.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Gosar of “planting seeds of division and fear.”
“Dreamers are not a threat; they represent the best of our country, and the majority of Americans and Congress stand behind them,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a tweet. “Stop planting seeds of division and fear and instead get to work on finding a solution.”