State of the Union guests: Who New York City lawmakers are bringing to Trump’s speech

When President Donald Trump makes his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, several guests in the audience will highlight his recent political fights.

Congress members who represent New York City have invited immigrants, a sexual assault survivor, a transgender servicemember and others who bring attention to the issues they spar with the Trump administration on. 

Here are some of those guests:

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13): Yeni Gonzalez Garcia, the Guatemalan mother who was separated from her three children at the U.S.-Mexico border in May 2018, as part of the Trump administration’s then-“zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Her children were taken to a foster care facility in East Harlem, and she traveled four days by car from Arizona to be reunited with them.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand: Lt. Commander Blake Dremann, the first openly transgender servicemember to be promoted in the U.S. military’s history. The Trump administration wants to ban transgender people from serving openly in the military.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12): Sydney Ireland, a high school girl who lobbied to join the Boy Scout Troops. She continues to fight to officially be recognized as a member with the rank of Eagle Scout. 

Rep. Grace Meng (NY-6): Jin Park, the first Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals enrollee to receive the Rhodes Scholarship. The 22-year-old was born in South Korea and raised in Flushing. He was expecting to study at the University of Oxford in England this fall but is concerned he won’t be able to return to the United States afterward because of the uncertain future of DACA.

Queens activist Ana Maria Archila will be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's guest at the State of the Union on Tuesday.
Queens activist Ana Maria Archila will be Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s guest at the State of the Union on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Monica Schipper

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14): Ana Maria Archila, a Queens activist and sexual assault survivor, who confronted Sen. Jeff Flake in an elevator in October 2018, scolding him for his support of then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 

Rep. Max Rose (NY-11): Michele Kunz, a Staten Island mother whose son struggled with opioid addiction. He died in 2015 in a hit-and-run after he was robbed by someone he thought was selling him drugs.

Sen. Chuck Schumer: Ronan Byrne, a control tower operator at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control on Long Island, which manages planes flying into, out of and over the Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports. Byrne was among the federal employees who worked without pay during the government shutdown. 

Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-7): Gerald Michaud, a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holder from Haiti who came to the United States days before the 2010 earthquake. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn and is a plaintiff in the case against the Trump administration’s decision to end TPS for people from Haiti last year.