By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
Tiba Faraj, a junior accounting major with a minor in international relations here at UMass Dartmouth, was invited by Senator Elizabeth Warren to a joint session of Congress, in which President Trump devlivered a speech.
Faraj was invited not only as a member of the Commonwealth, but also because of her recent refugee status from Iraq since 2010. She arrived in America fleeing turmoil, after her father was shot and paralyzed. It took her seven years to gain citizenship.
She has is now in her third year of college, a citizen, and is pursuing two degrees.
Members of the community, amongst them Senator Warren herself and Interim Chancellor Helm, have described her as being an “example of what makes our university, community, and country great.”
Refugees and immigration have been at the center of the recent political and electoral season, with Trump’s campaign promises of building a wall and deporting illegal or undocumented immigrants.
With the joint session of Congress for the first during the new administration, this was also President Trump’s first formal address to Congress.
Senator Warren has been an outspoken critic of the new president’s policies, temperament, and values, often fighting against his agendas and even demonstrating disapproval against several of President Trump’s cabinet nominees.
The joint session of Congress is where a lot of those expect the potential agenda and relationship between the current Executive branch and Congress to be established, as it marks one of the first official meetings between the two branches of government.
Faraj, as a former refugee, was a part of one of the most contested issues in the campaigning season.
She has done much to bond with the community of Boston, donating hours of volunteer service and even volunteering for an internship with Representative Brendan Crighton.
Faraj, now as a legal citizen, was invited by the Senator because of her dedications and her past.
The joint session of Congress was held this past Tuesday, February 28, and featured many politicians and invitees from the surrounding Boston area, many of them refugees like Faraj herself.