Immigrants And Foreigners Attending Trump's First Address To A Joint Session Of Congress Put A Human Face To His Policies

"Their fight is all of our fight."

For some lawmakers juggling the interests of lobbying groups, party leaders, and constituents, the intoxicating view from up on Capitol Hill can eclipse the real-world impact of their decisions and rhetoric — like the one that led to the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos earlier in February. After 20 years of putting down roots in the United States, Garcia de Rayos, an undocumented immigrant, inadvertently became the face of President Trump's harsh immigration crackdown when she was deported at her annual check-in at the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Phoenix.

Still reeling from their mother's sudden deportation, Garcia de Rayos' American-born children, Jacqueline, 14, and Angel, 16, are taking her case directly to the nation's most powerful people. On Tuesday at Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress, Angel and Jacqueline will be sitting in the audience as the guests of Arizona Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego and Raúl Grijalva. 

In a statement, Gallego said that they extended the invitation to the teenagers because they believe it's important for the president to meet those affected by his policies.


But the Garcia de Rayos children aren't the only people that Democrats are bringing to the address. In their bid to levy the human cost of Trump's policies, they have invited immigrants and foreigners to the joint session of Congress. 

Among their guests are an Iraqi-American doctor whose work exposed the extent of the Flint water crisis' damage, a Pakistani-born doctor, a Palestinian-American woman, and an Iranian graduate student studying in California who was detained at the airport and sent away under Trump's executive order targeting visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. 

"I want Trump to see the face of a woman, the face of a Muslim, and the face of someone whose family has enriched and contributed to this country despite starting out as refugees," Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, whose guest at the address will be Chicago immigration attorney Fidaa Rashid, told the Washington Post

The Democrats' guest list reads both as a testament to America's immigrant roots and a rebuttal of recent executive orders. Rep. Grijalva noted in his statement with Gallego that they will continue fighting for those whose lives embody the spirit of the country, like the Garcia de Rayos family. 

"Their example is a bright light of hope for immigrant communities across this country who are fearful that Trump will come for them next," Grijalva said. "Their fight is all of our fight, and I am proud to stand side-by-side with them in opposition to these atrocious policies."


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.