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Puerto Rico Faces Extensive Damage After Hurricane Maria

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As the nation anxiously awaits the announcements to come from the 2018 State of the Union address, some Democrats are choosing to let their choice of guests do the talking for their stances and priorities.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York plans to bring San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz to the State of the Union address in Washington D.C..

“I hope Mayor Cruz’s presence at #SOTU will remind the president and my colleagues in Congress of our urgent responsibility to help Puerto Rico fully recover and rebuild,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a tweet on Monday. “Our fellow citizens must not be forgotten or left behind.”

Yulín Cruz replied to Gillibrand’s tweet saying that it would be “an honor to represent thousands in San Juan and more in Puerto Rico who have no electricity and fight everyday for a better today.”

Gillibrand isn’t the only one bringing a special guest. Senator Kamala Harris is bringing Denea Joseph, a young Afro-Latinx DREAMer who came from Belize with her parents as a child and a UCLA alumnus. She is the communications coordinator of the UndocuBlack network, an organization for undocumented Black people in the United States.

“DREAMers like Denea represent the best of who we are as a nation,” Senator Harris said in a statement. “Her commitment to the representation and empowerment of Black immigrant communities is inspiring. We must continue to fight to give her and hundreds of thousands of other young people like her who are living in fear the security they need to live up to their full potential.”

In Senator Harris’ statement, Joseph said she never could have fathomed she’d be invited as a guest to the State of the Union Address.

“While I wish it was under better circumstances, I’m grateful to my fellow activists, organizers, and congressional allies like Senator Kamala Harris who continue to champion immigrant rights as human rights,” she said in the statement. “I truly believe that we will win, we will win the fight to ensure that immigrants like myself are equipped with the rights to live and contribute fully. The time is now to pass a Clean Dream Act that doesn’t use undocumented youth to criminalize the original ‘Dreamers’ — our parents and grandparents.”