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How are South Florida lawmakers handling Trump's State of the Union?

Wilson to boycott; others to bring guests with political messages

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump won't be the only one making a statement at Tuesday's State of the Union address.

One South Florida lawmaker will be in Miami rather than Washington, choosing to boycott the speech. Several other South Florida lawmakers are bringing guests to highlight political issues, particularly the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Started by the Obama administration in 2012, DACA allows people who came to the US illegally as children, to work and go to school under certain conditions. The Trump administration has decided to phase out the program in March, arguing that Congress must come up with a legislative fix.

However, the House and the Senate are currently at an impasse on how to resolve the issue and some lawmakers hope that putting a human face on the issue will help move the negotiations forward.

Rep. Frederica Wilson (Democrat, Miami Gardens)

Wilson said she will boycott the State of the Union address, joining several other House Democrats who decided to skip Trump's speech this year. Wilson will instead attend a prayer vigil at a Miami church, which is intended to draw attention to various issues including DACA. 

Wilson explained her boycott in an interview with CNN.

"I don't think he deserves to be honored at this time, after being so hateful towards black people and then black countries, Haiti and the whole continent of Africa," Wilson said.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Democrat, Weston)

Wasserman Schultz will attend the speech with Nicholas Perez, a Broward County businessman who is a DACA recipient. 

"When Trump looks into the crowd tomorrow night, I hope he thinks about people like Nicolas who came here through no fault of their own and contribute so much to our community," Wasserman said.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Republican, Kendall) 

Curbelo will attend the speech with Adrian Escarate, a local DACA recipient. 

Born in Chile, Escarate came to the US when he was 3 years old. The college graduate is able to live and work in the Miami area because of the DACA program.

"One of my chief legislative priorities this Congress and the last has been to forge a compromise on immigration that delivers a fair, permanent solution for young immigrants like him," Curbelo said.

Rep. Lois Frankel (Democrat, West Palm Beach)

Frankel will the attend the speech with Laura Germino, an activist who works to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

In recent months, dozens of men -- including elected officials, journalists and Hollywood power brokers -- have been ousted from their positions of power after being accused of sexually harassing and abusing women. The flood of women speaking out against their abusers has been dubbed the #MeToo moment.

"Our path may be long and sometimes challenging, but with commitment and collaboration, we can convert the #MeToo moment into a movement," Germino said.

Rep. Ted Deutch (Democrat, Boca Raton)

Deutch will attend the speech with Christine Levinson, the wife of Bob Levinson who has been held hostage in Iran for almost 11 years. Deutch --  the ranking on Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa -- wants the Trump Administration to do more to ensure Bob Levinson's release.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican)

Rubio plans to attend with Tim Grosshans, the senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of Winter Garden. Meanwhile, Rubio did have some fun Monday after news that some tickets to the big speech contained an obvious spelling mistake.

"Looking forward to tomorrow’s State of the Uniom," he said on Twitter.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Republican, Miami),  Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (Democrat, Miramar) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Republican, Miami) are all attending the speech, but have invited friends or constituents who aren't advocating particular causes. Sen. Bill Nelson (Democrat) will attend with his wife, Grace.