Report: Obamas invite Syrian refugee to SOTU

Getty Images

President Obama and the first lady have invited a prominent Syrian refugee to be their guest at the commander in chief’s final State of the Union address this week in a strong sign of support for the beleaguered population.

Refaai Hamo, a scientist who fled Syria’s civil war in 2013, will sit in Michelle ObamaMichelle ObamaIs Hillary the perfect female politician? Melania Trump's convention speechwriter paid 6 last month Melania Trump's convention speechwriter listed on July payroll MORE’s box on Tuesday night, according to a Sunday report from USA Today.

ADVERTISEMENT
Hamo’s wife and daughter were among 16 killed when a bomb struck his family compound in Syria. Last month, he and his four surviving children were officially settled in Detroit after an ordeal that included untreated stomach cancer during a legal limbo in Turkey.

"I was thrilled when I heard that President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaSeven ways the Clinton Foundation failed to meet its transparency promises Administration proposes visa program for entrepreneurs Trump was wrong: Kaine is a liberal in a moderate's clothing MORE is welcoming us into the United States," Hamo said in a statement. "I felt that hope was revived as well as the strength to continue my dreams and ambition in my new country. I am so proud and honored to be in this country and look forward to one day becoming an American citizen so that we can be part of making America a strong and great country.”

The Obamas’ invitation for Hamo, who was featured in the prominent blog Humans of New York, comes as a sharp rebuke to Republicans who have called for halting the influx of Middle East refugees amid security concerns.

On Thursday, the government announced the arrest of two Iraqi-born refugees on terrorism charges, including providing material support to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpA brief history of Paul LePage making people angry Army training slide branded Clinton as ’insider threat’: report 'Never Trump' group launching swing-state ads MORE has endorsed a temporary ban on all non-U.S. citizen Muslims entering the homeland, and, after last week’s arrests, rival Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Trail 2016: On the fringe FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton links Trump to 'alt-right' in Reno Presidential hopefuls still bank on retail politics MORE (Texas) called for "a retroactive assessment of refugees” already here.

More in Defense

White House on track to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees

Read more »