The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's annual gala is what organizers refer to as "Latino Prom." Every year, hundreds gather in Washington to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and honor people from the community for their contributions.
While the celebrations remained festive at the 40th Anniversary Awards Gala, there was an elephant in the room. Actually, it wasn't in the room.
"This is the part of the program that is normally reserved for the President of the United States -- but he was not invited this year," Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, told attendees. "I think you know why."
It highlights an interesting aspect of this new era of Trump-Schumer-Pelosi bipartisanship: President Donald Trump might not have been invited to the gala because of his anti-immigrant rhetoric and insistence on a border wall, but he was across town at the White House -- having dinner with Democratic leaders and working toward a surprising and potentially bipartisan deal to give permanent legal status to children brought to the US as undocumented immigrants.
Castro, who was joined onstage by members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the National Hispanic Leadership Council, referred to Trump's recent decision to end the Obama-era program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program granted legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the US with their parents. He gave Congress six months to find a permanent solution. In the five years since DACA was enacted, the nearly 800,000 individuals who have received the protections have started families, pursued careers and studied in schools and universities across the United States
Not long after Castro addressed the crowd, news broke that Trump is closer to a deal with Democrats that would protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation and put off funding for his marquee campaign promise of a wall along the US-Mexico border. Details on the potential deal have yet to be hashed out, so it is far from completed. But that Trump was working directly with the Democrats on it is a notable development that inflamed his more conservative supporters.
The news of Trump's progress with Schumer and Pelosi also came just after musician K'Naan -- and a handful of other artists -- performed "Immigrants: The Live Mixtape," a rendition of a song from CHCI Gala Award Recipient Lin-Manuel Miranda's "The Hamilton Mixtape." Miranda debuted a powerful video for "Immigrants (We Get The Job Done)," in June. The song -- which also features Riz MC, Snow Tha Product and Residente -- focuses on the refugees' plight.
"Immigrants, we get the job done," K'Naan rapped Wednesday. "Look how far I come."
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