Senator Katie Britt
Alabama Senator Katie Britt

The woman at the center of a sex trafficking story that Senator Katie Britt used during her State of the Union rebuttal has come out to criticize her, saying the misused and misrepresented her experience to score political points.

The person in question is Karla Jacinto Romero, who recently spoke to CNN about Britt using her story during her speech. "I hardly ever cooperate with politicians because it seems to me that they only want an image. They only want a photo. And that, to me, is not fair," Romero said during the interview.

Britt didn't mention Romero by name, but her story of meeting a woman in Del Rio, Texas, who talked to her about being trafficked "by the cartels" for years was hers. The senator then implied that the incident had taken place in the U.S. and tied it with President Joe Biden's immigration policies, calling them a "disgrace."

Romero also told CNN that several of the story's details were wrong. Firstly, she said, she wasn't abducted by a cartel, but an individual person who forced them to sex work. Secondly, the incident took place during one of George W. Bush's administrations, not under Biden. And thirdly, the incident didn't happen inside the U.S. Romero also criticized not being asked for permission to use her story in the political speech.

Senator Katie Britt Katie Britt

Britt's office has defended the telling of the story, saying her recount was "100% true." The senator also said that she didn't seek to suggest that the event had taken place during the Biden presidency.

Immigration is playing a central role in the U.S. political conversation and set to do so as the country gets closer to the presidential elections. Biden also made specific references to the issue during his State of the Union address, demanding that Congress pass a series of measures to 'fix the border,' reminding Congress that Republicans would rather stall progress, as evidenced by their actions last month in which they "killed" the initiative.

Biden criticized alleged actions of former President Donald Trump to block the bill. He accused Trump of operating politically to persuade Republican lawmakers not to support a bipartisan initiative aimed at improving security along the border with Mexico.

State of the Union
President Joe Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House Mike Johnson at the 2024 State of the Union address. AFP

Amid applause and heckles, Biden, without referring to Trump by name, asked Republicans to work together to fix the border and pledged not to lash out against immigrants.

"If my predecessor is watching, instead of playing politics and pressuring members of Congress to block this bill, join me in telling Congress to pass it," Biden said. "We can do it together. But here's what I will not do: I will not demonize immigrants, saying they are 'poisoning the blood of our country.' I will not separate families."

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