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Santa Clara couple to attend State of the Union address

South Bay organizations are preparing for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union remarks from Washington D.C. Tuesday evening and local officials attending the speech have invited special guests.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, will be accompanied by Shaima Swileh and Ali Hassan, a couple affected by Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries in January 2017.

Swileh was only able to gain a visa to visit her terminally ill son after intense public outcry, according to Lofgren, and arrived in the United States a few weeks before he died. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, is also hosting the couple.

Lofgren said in a news release:

“The Muslim ban separates families from their loved ones, harms businesses and creates a false notion that people are bad actors by virtue of their birthplace … I am proud to invite Shaima to bring attention to this issue and to begin holding the Administration accountable for its un-American policies.”

Santa Clara University has organized a viewing for the speech in the Dunne Hall basement at Market and Lafayette streets, and faculty and students will be sharing their responses afterward.

The State of the Union will be broadcast beginning at 6 p.m. in California, and comes after a government shutdown that lasted over a month following Trump’s demands for a border wall.

In the greater Bay Area, Sen. Kamala Harris, who has announced her candidacy for president, has invited an airport traffic controller from Ventura who worked without pay during the shutdown, and lost her home in the 2017 Thomas Fire.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco has invited several guests, including the father of a boy who was killed in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018, a chef who served free meals to furloughed workers during the shutdown and the president of Planned Parenthood.

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