Members of Congress might be packing the house for President Trump’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night with “dreamers,” but the White House guest list is perfectly on message, too.
The list of invitees who will sit in the “first lady’s box” — primo seats for the speech near first lady Melania Trump, and a spot where the cameras often linger — include a veteran Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent and the families of two women killed by the MS-13 gang. State of the Union guests are often invited as a way of putting a human face to the policies the president is promoting from the dais below, and the inclusion of the family members of two slain women are clearly intended as a reminder of the dangers Trump often says are posed by immigrants illegally residing in the United States.
Elizabeth Alvarado and David Mickens are the parents of Nisa Mickens, and Evelyn Rodriguez and Freddy Cuevas are the parents of Kayla Cuevas. Nisa, 15, and Kayla, 16, were allegedly killed in Long Island, N.Y., in 2016 by members of the MS-13 gang, a violent group founded in California by mostly Central American members.
Celestino “CJ” Martinez is an Air Force veteran and an agent with ICE who, the White House says, is responsible for the arrests of more than 100 MS-13 members.
The White House also has guests intended to underscore the president’s economic policies, including the owners of Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Dayton, Ohio, which increased its number of employees, thanks to what the White House called “the Trump bump,” and offered Christmas bonuses after the passage of tax-reform legislation. In addition to Staub owners Steve Staub and Sandy Keplinger, the White House also invited Staub welder Corey Adams to the first lady’s box.
The list of invitees also includes several first responders, including Ryan Holets, an Albuquerque police officer who the White House credited with “helping break down the barriers between drug addicts and police officers” after he and his wife adopted the baby of parents suffering from opioid addiction. Along with pushing an immigration overhaul, Trump may touch on the opioid crisis in his speech Tuesday.
More Trump-friendly faces in the crowd? White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says all four of the president’s adult children will be on hand.