Silent protests with guests during Trump's address

Silent protest of Trump's speech

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - The protests Tuesday night to President Trump’s first joint Congressional Address didn’t just take place outside. Inside, Republicans and Democrats brought certain guests to represent the many different issues polarizing the country.

An undocumented immigrant, those relying on ‘Obamacare’ and a refugee were on the guest list.

Remember those emotional reunions at Dulles International?

That's how Virginia Congressman Gerry Connelly met 35-year-old Farah Al Khafaji, the Iraqi immigrant he invited to take his wife's seat at the President's first joint Congressional Address.

Her hope was to, “... try to participate and clear some image about the refugees,” said the 35-year-old.

Al Khafaji says the Executive Order calling for a temporary immigration ban from seven predominately-Muslim countries would've banned her and did stop her brother, an Iraqi interpreter for the U.S. military, from coming into the country not once but twice. The guest says her brother landed at Dulles the third time and just days before his visa period was set to expire.

"I couldn't believe my eyes. It was a very emotional moment for me to see my family,” said Al Khafaji.

Her family, she says, spent years supporting the U.S. military in Iraq. She told WUSA9 when she was 19 years old, she and her family started an engineering company that helped our troops with construction projects.

Her sister was kidnapped and her husband was murdered because of it, says the 35-year-old.

"They’re American heroes. They worked for and protected American troops,” said Congressman Connelly in his office Tuesday.

Connelly didn't really talk much about what he wants to hear tonight. He said his focus was making sure the President got a chance to see Al Khafaji's face.

He's also fully aware of the President's guests.

“We shouldn't let the one taint the other, just like Farah's story,” the Congressman said.

During the address, one of President Trump's guests got a standing ovation from Congress when he called her father a hero. The president's guests included the family members of two police officers reportedly killed by undocumented immigrants.

Our media partner, the Washington Post, says the president is seeking to make an emotional appeal to build support for stronger border-control measures.

“Trump met in the Oval Office ahead of the prime-time address with Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was shot by a gang member in Los Angeles in 2008, and Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, who were married to California police officers killed in the line of duty in 2014,” reported the Post.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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