Syrian refugee among first lady’s guests for State of Union

In this Jan. 9, 2016, photo, Cynthia Dias holds Copper, a friend's dog who she looks after, at her apartment in Las Vegas. Dias lived at a homeless shelter before moving into Veteran's Village, a former motel in downtown Las Vegas that was renovated to provide housing for veterans. Dias will sit in First Lady Michelle Obama’s visitor box during the president’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. (AP Photo/John Locher)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Syrian refugee is among those invited to sit in first lady Michelle Obama’s visitor box to watch the State of the Union address on Tuesday.

The Obama administration has invited Refaai (reh-FEYE’) Hamo of Troy, Michigan, to exemplify the refugees’ plight.

The White House says a missile tore through the complex Hamo designed and where his family lived in Syria. Seven family members died in the blast. He arrived in Michigan with three daughters and a son in December.

Several veterans, the governor of Connecticut and Microsoft’s chief executive will be among the other guests. One seat representing victims of gun violence will be vacant.

Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates have upped their criticism of accepting more Syrian refugees under the current vetting process.

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