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State of the Union 2015 Guests: DACA Recipient, Cuban Dissidents to Attend State of the Union Address

First Posted: Jan 20, 2015 04:52 PM EST

The 2015 State of the Union address Tuesday will include Latino guests of honor from different walks of life, albeit, for politician's political agendas.

During President Barack Obama's address, three Latinos will be sitting next to First Lady Michelle Obama. Nicole Hernandez Hammer, a researcher whose expertise is in sea level rise and a field organizer, will represent Moms Clear Air Force, an organization by parents aimed at combating pollution and climate change. Hernandez Hammer also has a unique background, as she's of Cuban heritage but came to the U.S. from Guatemala.

University of Hartford in Connecticut freshman Anthony Mendez will also sit alongside Mrs. Obama. According to the White House, Mendez is an example of the First Lady's "Reach Higher Initiative," which helps children enter into post-high school education or professional training. Mendez's family encountered many obstacles including living in a homeless shelter, including witnessing the murder of a friend, but became the first in his family to graduate high school and plans to major in political science.

As President Obama seeks to further promote his executive actions on immigration, Mrs. Obama will also be accompanied by Ana Zamora, a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which granted more than 630,000 undocumented immigrants temporary stay in the U.S. and a halt on deportation in return for work permits. While Zamora benefited from DACA -- created in June 2012--her parents could be eligible for the new deferred action program announced last November: the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program. The House of Representatives, in an effort by the Republican Party, voted and passed legislation that would cease the deferred action programs.

Republicans will also have Latino guests on their behalf.

Speaker of the House John Boehner announced two Cuban dissidents will be in attendance for the State of the Union. Jorge Luis García Pérez Antunez has been regarded as a non-violent movement leader for democracy and human rights in Cuba. Antunez spent 17 years in prison for publicly criticizing the Castro government and has been released since 2007. Also in attendance will be Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, Antunez's wife. She is the founder of the Rosa Parks Feminine Civic Rights Movement, which combats against the Castro government. Aguilera has also helped homeless women and children find a home to live.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will have Cuban activist Rosa María Payá by his side. Payá's father was killed in a car accident in July 22 in Cuba, with allegations that Cuban government officials had ties to his death. According to Rubio, Payá's father, Oswaldo, sought a peaceful democratic transition in Cuba, but "the Castro regime assassinated him for it."

The State of the Union starts at 9 p.m. EST.

President Obama's State of the Union Live Feed:

Republican Party's Response Live Feed:


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