Children of Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos Attending Trump's Speech Tonight

Office of Rep. Ruben Gallego
Tonight, President Donald Trump will give his first address before Congress. In the audience will be two Mesa teenagers: Angel and Jacqueline Garcia de Rayos, whose mother was deported earlier this month.

They're in Washington as the guests of Congressmen Ruben Gallego and Raul Grijalva.

Both Democrats have criticized Trump's immigration policies, and questioned Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's decision to deport Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who had lived in the United States since she was a teenager and regularly checked in with ICE for eight years.

"Congressman Grijalva and I invited Angel and his sister Jaqueline to the address because we believe it is important for Donald Trump to face the people who have been victimized by his disastrous policies," Gallego said in a statement.

"In the first month of Trump’s presidency, we have seen a wave of raids and arrests that have torn many immigrant families apart. These actions have also caused deep fear and uncertainty in communities across the country."

This morning, Angel and Jacqueline Garcia de Rayos joined a press conference outside the Capitol. They called for an end to harsh immigration policies that lead to families being split up.

"It's been weeks since my mom's deportation, and it's been really hard for my family," Angel said. "Deporting hard-working parents doesn't make America great again, it really doesn't."

Jacqueline added, "It's been three weeks since my mom was deported, and the house feels really, really empty."

"We aren't criminals, we just work, we don't do anything bad. Our community now lives in fear of being separated from our families."

They won't be the only ones at the Capitol tonight whose presence is designed to make a political statement. Democrats from Illinois plan to bring a group of immigrant-rights advocates, including two DACA recipients, Estefania Garcia and Maria Torres, as their guests.

And Trump's own guests will include three people whose relatives were killed by illegal immigrants — sending a very different message than the one that Gallego and Grijalva hope to make.
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Antonia Noori Farzan is a staff writer at New Times and an honors graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. Before moving to Arizona, she worked for the New Times Broward-Palm Beach.