A High School ‘Dreamer’ Will Attend Trump’s State of the Union Speech

By Rachel Wegner — January 29, 2018 2 min read
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This post was written by guest blogger Rachel Wegner.

A young DACA recipient from Virginia will join dozens of other Dreamers at the State of the Union address Tuesday night as the White House and members of Congress remain in a standoff over the fate of the more than 1 million undocumented young immigrants.

Nicolle Uria, a 17-year-old from Annandale High School in Annandale, Va., will accompany Democratic Rep. Gerald Connolly as his guest. Uria was brought to the U.S. as a baby by her Bolivian parents.

The Trump administration announced last fall that the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA, program would come to an end. The Obama-era program grants work permits to immigrants brought illegally to the United States as children and shields them from deportation.

Connolly said that Uria’s DACA protection expires in September, threatening her plans to go to college and start her own media company. Uria and hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers face uncertain futures, pending a decision by Congress. After a government shutdown was lifted last week, Congress remained divided over the fate of DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promised an early February vote resolving DACA and border-security issues.

Nearly 9,000 U.S. educators are Dreamers, along with 250,000 school-age children who became eligible for DACA since Obama etablished the program in June 2012. Within the public and private school system nationwide, millions more students are the children of undocumented immigrants.

As controversy continues inside and outside Congress, a recent Education Week Research Center survey showed that the majority of educators (70 percent) are supportive of the DACA program. We also asked educators to share their thoughts on what lawmakers should do in the coming days as a DACA decision looms.

Follow along with our Politics K-12 blog for continuing coverage of Tuesday’s State of the Union address.

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Photo: Rep. Gerald “Gerry” Connolly, D-Va., questions a witness in 2016 before the House Oversight Committee. —Alex Brandon/AP-File

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.