RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh high school teacher will attend Tuesday’s State of the Union address, as the fate of millions of immigrants like her is expected to be a key topic of President Donald Trump’s speech.
America Moreno Jimenez teaches English as a second language at Sanderson High School. Her family brought her to the United States from Mexico in 1995 when she was 2-years-old.
“I don’t know Mexico at all,” she said. “I am very concerned because that would mean my future could change drastically.”
The Trump administration plans in March to phase out the DACA program, which protects immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
Moreno Jimenez, 24, is a DACA recipient. She’s among about 25,100 in North Carolina as of September 2017, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
MPI estimates there are about 40,000 people in North Carolina eligible to apply.
“I know even now speaking to relatives still living in Mexico, they say don’t come back,” she said. “The violence has escalated, the extortion.”
Rep. David Price (D-NC 4th) invited her to attend the address as his guest.
“We are part of this country. We have lived here for so long. Our roots are here. Our culture’s here,” she said. “I would like to see that there is some bipartisan support and support from the president to pass legislation.”
The White House has proposed a plan that would offer a path to citizenship to about 1.8 million undocumented immigrants like Moreno Jimenez.
In exchange, the president has called for $25 billion to build a wall and other security measures at the U.S.-Mexico border, cuts to family migration and ending the diversity visa lottery program.
“That will protect our people, put the interests of American workers first and provide a permanent solution to DACA,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The proposal faces criticism on the right from some who oppose the proposal to grant citizenship and from others on the left who find the plan too restrictive and oppose funding for the wall.
Trump criticized the inaction of lawmakers in the past.
“For many, many years, they’ve been talking immigration and they never got anything done,” he said.
Moreno Jimenez says if some plan passes that would grant her permanent legal status, she still worries about her family members who wouldn’t be eligible.
“I don’t really see why in order for me to survive, why I would have to throw them away,” she said. “People come to this country because of their dreams, because of their hopes. And, that’s not gonna stop.”WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON:
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