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August 14, 2019

Essence: Rep. Ayanna Pressley Talks Gun Control, Immigration On Daily Show

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) went on The Daily Show with Trevor Noahearlier this week and talked candidly about gun control, the terror of gun violence, and the cruelty of Trump’s immigration policies.

Of course, Noah had to address the proliferation of mass shootings in recent years, particularly with the back to back horrors that occurred in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, rocking both cities and the nation as a whole.

“Guns are the common factor and the common enemy in all of this is [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell,” Pressley said bluntly, calling on the audience to lobby the Kentucky Republican.

Pressley then nodded to New Zealand, who within days after a white supremacist targeted two mosque, killing more than 50 people, banned assault weapons.

“Why haven’t we acted? Because of a deficit of political courage and leadership despite a mandate from American citizens from every walk of life,” the outspoken member of the famed “Squad” added.

“Tomorrow we could save millions of lives by passing the assault weapons ban….we could pass universal background checks…we also have to address straw purchasing and gun trafficking,” the congresswoman said. “We need to hold two narratives: there are mass shootings and there is community-based violence.”

Pressley also insisted on the importance of addressing the residual trauma that gun violence has on members of the community, particularly the youth.

“It’s really just about equitable outrage, equitable justice, and equitable healing and that’s the work that I’m doing every day,” Pressley added.

Another issue filling the headlines on a daily basis has been immigration and the Trump administration’s harsh policies.

The recent raids in Mississippi that have left families traumatized and kids crying for their parents were also addressed in Pressley’s interview.

Pressley told Noah that she went to the border as someone who represents a district that is 40% immigrant.

“This has been a strategic and coordinated attack against immigrants,” Pressley said. “From the immigration status question, to HUD’s policy to ban mixed-immigration status households, to the announcement today of public charge which would deny those who are on a pathway to green cards and visas…if they have ever applied for Medicaid or for food stamps. This is unconscionable.”

Pressley also spoke of the importance of standing behind and supporting a pathway to citizenship for asylum-seekers, TPS holders as well as recipients of DACA.

“What you were talking about that happened in Mississippi and what I saw at the border has haunted me, and it has left me uncomfortable. But I am okay with that,” Pressley added. “When we stay uncomfortable we don’t allow ourselves to stay complacent.”