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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

Two dozen 'Dreamer' immigrants to attend Trump State of Union

The US president has repeatedly vowed to cancel the programme which gives amnesty to those bought to the country illegally as children

epaselect epa06475273 US President Donald J. Trump holds up Swiss newspaper Blick as he arrives at the Congress Centre on the last day of the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, 26 January 2018. The meeting brings together entrepreneurs, scientists, chief executive and political leaders in Davos from 23 to 26 January.  EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON
epaselect epa06475273 US President Donald J. Trump holds up Swiss newspaper Blick as he arrives at the Congress Centre on the last day of the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, 26 January 2018. The meeting brings together entrepreneurs, scientists, chief executive and political leaders in Davos from 23 to 26 January. EPA/LAURENT GILLIERON

Dozens of immigrants who came to the United States illegally will be in attendance next Tuesday when President Donald Trump delivers his first State of the Union speech to a joint session of Congress.

The move comes as the White House prepares to unveil its new immigration framework to Congress Monday, one that offers a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million so-called "Dreamers" who were illegally brought to the country as children.

At least 23 Dreamers will be in the public galleries in the House of Representatives chamber as guests of Democratic lawmakers, according to a list provided Friday by a congressional aide.

Half a dozen other immigration-related guests will also attend, including congresswoman Debbie Dingell's guest Cindy Garcia, the wife of a father of two who was deported last week.

House Democrat Scott Peters said he was "honored" to have Karen Bahena, who was brought by her parents from Mexico to California in 2001 when she was eight years old, as his guest to Trump's speech.

Bahena, protected by the previous administration's deferred action that is set to expire on March 5 absent a fix by Congress, graduated from San Diego State University and aspires to be a nurse.

"Outstanding contributors to society like Karen should not be forced out of our country," Peters said in a statement. "Instead, they should be embraced and celebrated for making the United States a better place."

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The "Me Too" movement will also be represented at Trump's speech.

At least 10 lawmakers are bringing sexual assault victims or women's rights activists as their guests, according to the list, as the nation experiences a reckoning over sexual misconduct.

Some prominent Democratic lawmakers have already said they will boycott the speech.

Congressman John Lewis, an American civil rights icon who once marched with Martin Luther King Jr, said he will not attend the January 30 address because Trump used a vulgar slur to describe some countries during a meeting with lawmakers about a possible bipartisan immigration deal.

With the March deadline looming, US lawmakers have struggled to find a solution that passes muster with Democrats and Republicans.

"For a permanent fix to our immigration laws, Congress needs to act," US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday in a speech in Virginia.

"It is time to end the lawlessness and create a system that serves the national interest."