Politics & Government

A DACA recipient – named America – will see Trump’s State of the Union address in person

A North Carolina educator is one of several DACA recipients who will attend Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, where immigration is expected to be one of the main topics discussed by President Trump.

America Moreno Jimenez, a teacher of English as a Second Language at Sanderson High School in Raleigh, has spoken out before on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In a September letter to The News & Observer, she talked of how her “identity is complex” as neither an American, nor a Mexican, but both.

Jimenez, who immigrated to the United States at age 2, is among hundreds of thousands of “Dreamers” who are in jeopardy of losing their program status.

Trump in September rescinded the DACA program that former President Obama set into motion to shield immigrants who arrived as children from deportation.

“I am angry, hurt and scared,” Jimenez said in her letter to The N&O – a response to Trump’s order to end the program. “But the reality is this one and we are not only dreamers. We are achievers. We are survivors. We are seeds of resilience. No matter what comes our way, we will find a way to be OK. You can help us. Help defend our parents, help defend our students, help #DefendDACA.”

Though Trump gave Congress until March to come up with a new plan for DACA recipients, on Tuesday he is expected to promote a proposal for $25 billion to fund a wall along the Mexican border and a path to citizenship for those brought to the country as children who are now here illegally, according to the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Gosar, a Republican from Arizona, contacted U.S. Capitol Police and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asking that they check IDs of everyone attending the State of the Union address, and arrest any “illegal aliens” in attendance, including anyone “using fraudulent social security numbers and identification to pass through security.”

“Of all the places where the Rule of Law needs to be enforced, it should be in the hallowed halls of Congress,” Gosar said in a statement. “Any illegal aliens attempting to go through security, under any pretext of invitation or otherwise, should be arrested and deported.”

Jimenez is attending the address by invitation of Democratic U.S. Rep. David Price of North Carolina.

“My guest spends her days as a public school teacher, molding the minds of the next generation,” Price responded to Gosar on Twitter Tuesday. “She has overcome countless obstacles to succeed and continues to give back to our community. Save your hateful remarks.”

“I think it’s reprehensible,” Price said at a Tuesday news conference with Dreamers. “Just for the record, the Dreamers are still protected. DACA has not expired, so if you take what (Gosar) said seriously, that would mean that he wants to see the law broken tonight, would want to see the protections that people legitimately have overridden. He should be asked whether that’s really what he has in mind.

“More likely, I think the guy is just taking a shot at immigrants and immigration and that’s unfortunately been characteristic of this member,” Price continued. “It’s not a surprise. Although I would say this is a new low to go after colleagues and people gathered for this annual civic exercise, to go after them in this fashion.”

Price said Jimenez’s passion for giving back to her community is representative of many Dreamers.

“Despite the persistent uncertainty and fear created by her immigration status, America persevered to graduate high school, college, and graduate school,” Price said in a statement. “Then, because of the DACA program, she was able to became a certified ESL teacher, filling a crucial need in our state and serving an often overlooked student population.

“Her success is one of many inspiring stories of Dreamers who came to America as children and have made incalculable contributions to the only nation they have ever known.”

Staff writer Brian Murphy contributed to this report.