Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, together with a number of House Democrats, are fighting back. As U.S. President Donald Trump delivers his first major speech to Congress, the controversial Commander-in-Chief is expected to touch on his administration’s issues, including immigration, healthcare and military spending, among numerous pertinent topics. Seemingly in an attempt to embarrass or throw off the president, Warren and a number of her political allies will be bringing refugees to the President’s address.
Warren’s plus-one, Tiba Faraj, immigrated to the United States back in 2010 after her father was seriously injured while working in Iraq. Faraj’s dad used to work for an American-backed development organization in the Middle East before his tragic accident, which left him permanently disabled, according to the Boston Herald.
Since immigrating to the United States, Faraj has integrated fully in her community. She graduated from Lynn Classical in 2014 and is currently studying at the University of Massachusetts as an Accounting major. Last year, she became an official United States citizen. In a statement, Sen. Warren described her guest’s background, as well as her part in the United States.
“Like many before her, Tiba came to America seeking a better life. Since arriving in Massachusetts, she has become a valued member of her community, through her commitment to volunteer work and academic excellence. Tiba’s courage, resilience, and optimism embody the very best of the American spirit. Our strength as a country is rooted in our diversity, and Tiba’s many contributions have made us that much stronger.”
Overall, it appears that the brazen Senator’s decision to have an Iraqi refugee accompany her to Trump’s address is a means for her to give a human face to the President’s controversial immigration policies, according to a TIME report. Over the newly-appointed president’s time in office, Trump has passed an Executive Order barring refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iraq, Faraq’s place of birth.
It is not just Sen. Warren who is set to somewhat troll the new president on his U.S. Congress address, as well. Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, for one, is bringing Dr. Ehsun Mirza, an immigrant born in Pakistan. According to the Rhode Island Representative, the party’s guests in Trump’s Congress speech is aimed at emphasizing the diversity inherent in the country.
“It’s my hope that gallery is going to look like America. It’s another reminder to the president that he’s not the arbiter of patriotism,” Langevin said, according to a Politico report.
Democratic Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York is also bringing a guest, Hameed Darweesh, an immigrant from Iraq who worked with the U.S. army overseas. Despite Darweesh having served in the army for a decade, he was promptly detained and temporarily denied entry to the United States once Trump’s travel ban was rolled out.
Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree is attending the U.S. President’s Congress address with Banah Alhanfy, an Iraqi immigrant who experienced the effects of Trump’s short-lived travel ban firsthand. During the rollout of the controversial Executive Order, Alhanfy was temporarily separated from her family, including her father, who works as an Iraqi interpreter.
Apart from those who were directly affected by the travel ban, Democrats are also bringing “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as minors, to the President’s speech in Congress. Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois, Reps. Jerry Nadler of New York, Jared Polis of Colorado, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin are all bringing Dreamers as their personal guests to the event, as well.
“We’re trying to not just tell the president, but we’re trying to tell the country, apparently tolerance and justice issues require ongoing lessons,” Quigley said.
U.S. President Donald Trump‘s highly-anticipated Congress address is set for 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, and expectations are high that the Commander-in-Chief would attempt to build some momentum for his administration and its policies, which have been controversial for the most part.
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