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[photo] a very brave woman and her brave daughter

When I attend tonight's State of the Union address, I'll have two very brave people with me as my special guests.

Meet Albertina and her 12-year-old daughter, Yakelin. You might recognize them from the most recent issue of TIME.

Albertina and her daughter fled horrors in Guatemala. From TIME:

"Albertina, 27, says that for years she was raped and beaten by different men in her town, and she's worried that Yakelin, her eldest, who is at that tender age between childhood and adolescence, would soon face a similar fate."

They came to America to save their lives and in search of legal asylum. But, when they arrived, they found a new horror: Donald Trump's cruel policies ripped them apart; they had no idea if or when they'd see each other again.

Albertina and Yakelin were separated for a month and treated like criminals. All for seeking asylum, which is not only legal but a right protected both by U.S. law and international treaties.

Albertina and Yakelin were reunited. But how many families are still torn apart? How many children are still being held like prisoners by the Trump administration? And how much lasting damage has been done to both children and parents as a result of the terror and trauma that was inflicted on them?

I won't give up trying to shine a spotlight on the Trump administration's horrific policies because of people like Albertina and Yakelin. The idea that our government would terrorize kids like Yakelin in our names to serve their own political goals makes me furious. It's immoral and un-American.

Donald Trump wants to us to forget this is happening. He wants us to go on with our lives while he separated families and jails children.

Albertina and Yakelin are my guests at tonight's State of the Union address because America needs to hear their story and because Donald Trump needs to know that we bear witness. His atrocities will not remain hidden in the dark. We stand up and we fight. For Albertina, Yakelin, and the other victims of this policy. And for us. For America. We are better than this.

Jeff

Posted on February 5, 2019.
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Meet Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley was born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, the son of a sawmill worker.Jeff Merkley and Family As an advocate and a state legislator, he always fought hard for working families in Oregon. And now, as U.S. Senator, he's working every day for families in Oregon and across the country.

His progressive commitment is clear - working for economic recovery and family-wage jobs, clean energy that puts Americans to work and combats the climate crisis, affordable health care for all Americans. Learn more about Jeff Merkley.

Connect with Jeff Meet Jeff Merkley

Jeff Merkley was born in the small town of Myrtle Creek, Oregon, the son of a sawmill worker. As an advocate and a state legislator, he always fought hard for working families in Oregon. And now, as U.S. Senator, he's working every day for families in Oregon and across the country.

His progressive commitment is clear - working for economic recovery and family-wage jobs, clean energy that puts Americans to work and combats the climate crisis, affordable health care for all Americans. Learn more about Jeff Merkley.