Mother of girl murdered by MS-13 gang to attend the State of the Union as guest of the president

Evelyn Rodriguez, whose daughter’s violent death shed light on gang violence in the U.S., will attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night as a guest of the White House.

“I feel very honored that I was invited,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a great privilege.”

What happened?

Federal authorities said that in September 2016 four members of Mara Salvatrucha, better known in the U.S. as MS-13, bludgeoned Rodriguez’s 16-year-old daughter, Kayla Cuevas, with baseball bats and a machete. Law enforcement officers said gang members also murdered Cuevas’s best friend, Nisa Mickens, who was one day from her 16th birthday.

Three of the four suspects charged in the murder of the girls were in the country illegally, according to authorities.

Rodriguez spoke with the New York Times from her home in Brentwood, Long Island, Sunday before boarding a plane to Washington, D.C. When asked about immigration, she remained ambiguous. “Immigration is not my forte,” she said. “What I’ve been saying from Day 1: Everybody has the right for the American dream and that should be there for them. They’re good people, they give back to the community.”

“I want [Trump] to ensure that we’re going to get the proper funding for the resources for our kids,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not here for anybody’s political gain. I just want what’s right to be done. Everybody should put their political agenda aside and think about what’s going on in our country.”

Honoring her daughter’s legacy

Though Rodriguez admits that she is quite nervous, she says she is going to Washington to honor her daughter’s legacy.

“She’s opening more doors for me, where one door shuts, two doors open,” she said of Kayla. “Who would have thought that President Trump would speak with me?”

“I’m a real person,” she added. “I’m not out for any type of gain for myself, it’s always been for the kids.”

Since January 2016, the gang has been blamed for 25 killings on Long Island, and Trump has blamed the violence on lax immigration policies.

The girls’ deaths exposed a part of Suffolk County plagued by gang violence, specifically MS-13. Most of the gang members are from El Salvador, which is known to be one of the world′s most violent countries. Its capital, San Salvador, was the most murderous city in both 2015 and 2016. Currently, El Salvador has the seventh highest murder rate in the world.

via – Stories

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