Asma Elhuni will be watching from the U.S. House gallery Tuesday evening when President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress.
A native of Libya who is studying at Georgia State University, Elhuni is among many Muslims and immigrants who will be attending the speech as the guests of Democratic congressmen to show their opposition to Trump’s immigration policies.
Elhuni, the community outreach director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Georgia, intends to signal “resistance and defiance” with her presence.
“I’m hoping that we can make that human connection -– just our presence being there,” said Elhuni, a U.S. citizen who has been invited to the U.S. Capitol tonight by Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, “because it is hard to hate what you are around. And I don’t think he is around many Muslims, many Latinos, many immigrants, many undocumented people. I’m hoping that having us around there will remind him that this is America.”
Since he has moved into the White House, Trump has signed several executive orders to crack down on illegal immigration and to limit legal immigration, citing public safety and security concerns. One of his directives temporarily banned travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries this month — including from Elhuni’s homeland — before federal courts halted it.
Trump is expected to issue a revised travel ban, one designed to withstand court scrutiny, on Wednesday. In a meeting with television news anchors Tuesday, the president signaled he was open to a broad immigration overhaul that would grant legal status to millions of unauthorized immigrants who have not committed serious crimes, The New York Times reported.
“The time is right for an immigration bill as long as there is compromise on both sides,” The Times quoted the president as telling the TV anchors at the White House.
Trump’s supporters recently launched a wave of counterdemonstrations showing their approval for the Republican. More than 250 people gathered for a “Spirit of America” rally outside the Georgia statehouse Monday.
“The anti-Trump protesters are crazy,” said Doraville resident Abu Zahed, who was shouldering a billowing Trump flag at the rally. “All he wants is to get us jobs and fight terrorism. How can you disagree with that?”
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