Donald Trump’s willingness to hold Dreamers hostage to further his hateful agenda is not only against everything Democrats stand for, but it runs counter to the values this country was founded on. Democrats won’t stand for the Republican-manufactured Dreamer crisis being used as a reason to trample over legal immigration laws. More than 20 young Dreamers and immigrants will attend the State of the Union address tonight as special guests of Democratic members of Congress.
Here are some of their stories:
Melody Klingenfuss: Melody Klingenfuss came to the United States from Guatemala when she was 9 years old. She grew up in California, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Political Science at California State University, Los Angeles. She graduated with a Master’s degree in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of Southern California. She has conducted a research thesis focused on the representation of undocumented students in mass communication. Melody works as CHIRLA’s California Dream Network (CDN) Statewide Youth Organizer as a devoted advocate for human and immigration rights. She has been a DACA recipient since 2015. Melody will be attending the State of the Union with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Angelica Bello: Angelica Bello is a 16-year-old Dreamer from Minneapolis, where she is actively organizing support for legislation to protect Dreamers at her high school and in her community. Angelica will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Keith Ellison.
Elizabeth Vilchis: Elizabeth Vilchis is a Dreamer who was brought to the U.S. from Mexico by her parents at 7 years old. DACA allowed Elizabeth to enter the workforce and to increase her volunteering efforts. Elizabeth earned a Bachelor’s of Engineering in mechanical engineering from the City College of New York in Harlem. She is now focusing on growing LatinoTech and launching a venture capital fund to help fund Latinx entrepreneurs building tech companies. Elizabeth will be attending the State of the Union with Senator Cory Booker.
Cindy Garcia: Cindy Garcia is a wife of a deported Dreamer, Jorge Garcia who was brought to the United States from Mexico by his parents when he was 10 years old. The 39-year-old father of two was deported to Mexico in January despite having no criminal record in nearly three decades of living in Michigan. Cindy will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Debbie Dingell.
Itayu Torres: Itayu Torres was born in Mexico and brought to the United States when she was 6 months old. She grew up in Los Angeles, California and currently working towards college degrees in political science and business. Itayu will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Jimmy Gomez.
Hugo Alexander Acosta Mazariego: Hugo Alexander Acosta Mazariego came to the United States from El Salvador in 2005 at the age of 15 and attended school in Ramapo, New York. He lives in Pearl River with his wife and works as a technology specialist at Apple. Hugo will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Nita Lowey.
Gabriela Hernandez: Gabriela Hernandez came to the United States with her mother when she was 4 years old. She has lived in Prince George’s County, Maryland for the past 15 years and is currently studying to be a social worker. Gabriela will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Steny Hoyer.
Jung Bin Cho: Jung Bin Cho came to the United States from Seoul in 2001 with his parents on a visa that turned out to be invalid. Jung grew in Virginia, where he played high school football and currently attends Virginia Tech University. Jung will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Judy Chu.
Cesar Montelongo: Cesar Montelongo was 10 years old when his family came to the United States from Mexico. He grew up in New Mexico, where he graduated high school with a GPA above 4.0 and ranked third in his class. Today, Cesar is the first DACA student enrolled in the MD-PhD program at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. He is entering his third year of this highly competitive program, and upon completion he will receive a medical degree and a doctorate degree in science. Cesar will be attending the State of the Union with Sen. Dick Durbin.
Denea Joseph: Denea Joseph came to the United States from Belize. She grew up in South Central, Los Angeles, and graduated from UCLA where she advocated for an immigration attorney position at the school, as well as increased and sustainable financial aid for undocumented youth across the University of California System. She has also worked to develop a social justice blueprint to address undocumented access to and retention in institutions of higher learning, and is currently the communications coordinator at an advocacy organization that serves black, undocumented immigrants nationwide. Denea will be attending the State of the Union with Senator Kamala Harris.
Nicholas Perez: Nicholas Perez is a Dreamer who came to the United State from Venezuela at 12 years old. He is a businessman in Broward County, Florida. Nicholas will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Flor de Maria Campos: Flor de Maria Campos is a TPS recipient who arrived in the United States from El Salvador at the end of 2000. Along with her husband Jose Alvarado, who is also a TPS recipient, Flor worked in the restaurant industry until they saved enough money to start their own restaurant. Their first business venture failed, but Flor and Jose have worked harder since to open two restaurants of their own in Las Vegas. On top of managing their restaurants, Jose also works as a chef for a renowned restaurant on the Las Vegas Strip. Flor and Jose have two children who are both U.S. citizens. Flor will be attending the State of the Union with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto.
Ana Campa Castillo: Ana Campa Castillo came to the United States from Mexico when she was 6 years old. She is pursuing an associate’s degree in psychology at Joliet Junior College and is the vice president of Latinos Unidos, one of the largest student organizations. Ana will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Bill Foster.
Miriam Vargas Corono: Miriam Vargas Corona was brought to the United States by her parents at 9 months old and was raised in rural Oregon. She is a graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, where she currently lives with her husband and 7-year-old son. She works full time at Yamhill Community Care Organization and serves as a board member of Unidos Bridging Communities. Miriam will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Suzanne Bonamici.
Juan Carlos Navarro: Juan was brought to the United States when he was three years old. Juan suffers from Cerebral Palsy and was unable to walk on his own. After multiple surgeries and twelve years of physical therapy, Juan can walk without support. He has become an active member of his community, serving as a diversity mentor and working for the city of Monmouth as a community liaison. Juan is the first in his family to graduate from college and is currently attending graduate school at Oregon State University where he also is a graduate assistant. Juan will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Kurt Schrader.
Edenilson Granados: Edenilson immigrated to the United States from El Salvador in 1999, when he was 16 years old. His Temporary Protected Status allowed him to live and work in the America. Earlier this month, President Trump’s administration cancelled the TPS program for nearly 200,000 El Salvadorans living in the US. Edenilson will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Seth Moulton.
Esder Chong: Esder Chong was brought to the United States when she was 6 from South Korea. Esder is a sophomore at Rutgers University and founded ‘RU Dreamers’ a group of young DREAMers who meet to discuss immigration policy and educate others about their situation. Esder will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Frank Pallone.
Nery Martinez: Nery Martinez, a Temporary Protected Status recipient, fled El Salvador in 1990s and currently lives and works in Las Vegas. Nery is a member of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and has a wife who is a TPS holder, and two children who are American citizens. Nery will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Jacky Rosen.
America Moreno Jimenez: America was brought to the United States from Mexico when she was 2 years old. She is currently a high school teacher at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. America’s passion for giving back to her community led her to a career as an ESL teacher, filling an important need. America will be attending the State of the Union with Representative David Price.
Astrid Silva: Astrid was brought to the United States from Mexico at the age of 4. Astrid earned degrees from the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College. She is the co-founder of Dream Big Vegas, an organization that advocates for undocumented families. Astrid will be attending the State of the Union with Representative Ruben Kihuen.
Leonardo Reyes: Leonardo Reyes is the co-founder of the Oregon DACA Coalition. Leonardo attended Western Oregon University and now works for the State of Oregon as a bilingual eligibility specialist. Leonardo will be attending the State of the Union with Senator Jeff Merkley.