RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
So as always, the opposition party offered a rebuttal to the president's speech last night. But there were two speeches from the Democratic Party. First, former Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear - he spoke from a Lexington diner wearing shirtsleeves and khakis. The second speech was a departure from past rebuttals, both in language and the person who delivered it. Here's NPR's Adrian Florido.
ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Even though she can't vote, 28-year-old Astrid Silva is a rising star in the Democratic Party. Her parents brought her to the U.S. illegally from Mexico when she was 4. And she was the Democrats' choice to deliver the Spanish-language response to Trump's speech last night.
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ASTRID SILVA: (Through interpreter) I'm here representing Democrats, Latinos and the 11 million undocumented immigrants who are an integral part of this country and who embody the values and promise of America, the same ones that Trump is threatening with his mass deportation plan.
FLORIDO: Silva's address aired on Spanish-language networks, including Univision and Telemundo. Though she touched on several policy issues, immigration was front and center, specifically the president's recent executive order that directs immigration agents to cast a much wider net in their deportation efforts.
SILVA: (Through interpreter) Instead of mass deportations, President Trump should focus on creating jobs and growing our economy. He should recognize immigrants' great contributions to our country.
FLORIDO: Silva is currently shielded from deportation under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Trump has said he has a soft spot for the young immigrants who benefit from that program, but he hasn't said if he'll keep it. Silva spoke with NPR after filming her address.
SILVA: You know, I wanted to make sure that not only my voice but our families' voices got through on this and to tell them that whatever their fears may be, that we are going to fight to make sure that people understand that they have a backing.
FLORIDO: Silva co-founded an immigrant advocacy group in Las Vegas, her home, and last summer spoke at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia. She said she jumped at the chance to deliver the Spanish response to Trump's speech when the Democrats offered it.
SILVA: Right now is the time when, you know, there's a lot of fear about coming back out. And people are saying go back into the shadows. And for me, it's very difficult to go back to the way we were living. So when the opportunity presented itself, I took it.
FLORIDO: This is the first time an immigrant without legal status has ever delivered a party response to a presidential address. And while Silva's speech directly challenged Trump's immigration policies, Democrats knew that her very presence would also do that.
Adrian Florido, NPR News, Washington.
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