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NM Dreamer Reflects on State of Union Message

Dreamer Ivonne Orozco-Acosta and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., listened to President Donald Trump's remarks on immigrants while attending the State of the Union address. (heinrich.senate.gov)
Dreamer Ivonne Orozco-Acosta and U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., listened to President Donald Trump's remarks on immigrants while attending the State of the Union address. (heinrich.senate.gov)
January 31, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A leading advocate for Dreamers in New Mexico, and a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, accompanied U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich to Tuesday night's State of the Union speech.

Ivonne Orozco-Acosta graduated from the University of New Mexico and has been a teacher for the past four years. She is hopeful that President Donald Trump and Congress will follow through on sparing Dreamers from deportation so she can keep teaching.

"I have a responsibility to return and give back to my community, and the only way that I can do that is through having legal protections,” Orozco-Acosta states. “And there's just such an urgency for this issue.

“There's always a fear for me, you know, waking up in the morning with a lot of uncertainty. You know, it is scary times right now."

Trump says if Dreamers receive an education, meet work requirements and show good moral character, they could become U.S. citizens in 12 years.

Orozco-Acosta was born and raised in Mexico until she was 12 years old, when her family immigrated to the United States. She maintains most DACA recipients have shown they deserve U.S. citizenship.

"DACA is a merit-based program,” she points out. “Not everyone gets in. There was an extensive background check. These are people that are not asking for handouts. We have done the work and we deserve a solution."

Trump's speech was delivered just nine days before another congressional budget showdown looms – this one to include the fight over immigration policies that includes DACA.

Trump has said a DACA solution is possible, but only if a long-promised border wall with Mexico is built.

Orozco-Acosta wonders if people who support the wall really understand what that means.

"I think people think of this wall being somewhere where there's nothing there, but the reality is that there are communities, people that live there, that would really disrupt their lives, and so I think people need to look at the bigger picture," she states.

Orozco-Acosta was recently named New Mexico's 2018 Teacher of the Year.


Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM