When President Trump addresses Congress for the first time Tuesday night, he will have some special guests sitting in the audience. The commander-in-chief always has extra seats to offer during their congressional speeches and the guests often end up being stories themselves. At President Obama's final State of the Union address, he made not-so-subtle political statements by inviting 23 guests including Syrian refugee Refaai Hamo, Jim Obergefell, (the plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, which resulted in a national right to gay marriage,) and Oscar Vasquez, a U.S. military veteran who benefitted from Obama's DREAM Act, which provides children of illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
Trump's guests will also serve as significant reminders of his policy agenda. Sitting alongside First Lady Melania Trump Tuesday night will be the widow of Justice Antonin Scalia, as well as three families who have lost loved ones due to crimes committed by illegal immigrants.
Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver are the widows of California police officers Detective Michael Davis and Deputy Sheriff Danny Oliver, who were killed in 2014 by an undocumented immigrant. The two officers have a bill named after them, which aims to increase cooperation between federal and local officials to enforce federal immigration laws.
In addition, Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son, Jamiel Jr., was shot to death in 2008 in Los Angeles by an undocumented immigrant, was also invited. Shaw spoke at the Republican National Convention in July.
Their presence will be a powerful reminder of the very real dangers of illegal immigration and will certainly give the president justification for his plans to combat it.
Trump has established a close relationship with "Angel Moms" whose children were killed by illegal immigrants, even offering them the stage during past speeches. He has also honored the innocent lives lost while signing legislation intended to crack down on border security.
The president takes the podium at 9 p.m. ET.