When President Obama gives his fifth State of the Union speech tonight, at least four DREAMers will be in the audience—Alan Aleman, Julieta Garibay, Gabino Sanchez, and Ambar Pinto. Their presence will be a testament to how far the immigrant rights movement has come in recent years—as will the testimony of Jose Antonio Vargas at the Senate immigration hearing a day after. Here’s a quick bio on the DREAMers attending the State of the Union:
Alan Aleman, whose story was highlighted in Obama’s Las Vegas speech on immigration two weeks ago, will be present as a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama. Alan was born in Mexico City and came to the United States with his parents when he was 11. He went to high school, graduated from Southeast Career Technical Academy with a major in business and information technology and is enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada, where he is in his second year of studying biological science. He wants to become a doctor and serve in the Air Force. Earlier this year, he was one of the first DREAMers to apply for and receive protection from deportation under President Obama’s deferred action (DACA) program.
Julieta Garibay, a leader and founding board member of United We DREAM, will attend as a guest of Congressman Marc Veasey (D-TX). Julieta moved to the U.S. at the age of 12 from Mexico City and lived in Texas for 20 years before moving to Washington, D.C. In January 2001, Julieta became one of the first DREAMers in Texas to pursue a higher education when the Dallas County Community College began a pilot program for undocumented students. Julieta obtained an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from El Centro County Community College in Dallas. In 2005, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing from the University of Texas, where she graduated with honors, and she went on to obtain a Master’s Degree of Science in Public Health Nursing from the University of Texas in 2008. She’s held a license as a Registered Nurse in the state of Texas since 2004.
Gabino Sanchez will be a guest of longtime immigrant rights champion Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has traveled to North and South Carolina to attend Sanchez’s deportation hearings. Gabino has lived in the U.S. since he was 15 years old and is married with two U.S.-citizen children, but faced deportation proceedings after multiple misdemeanors for driving without a license. He was granted a yearlong continuance last May and is able to work legally and apply for a driver’s license. Now in his late 20s, Sanchez is also applying for deferred action.
Ambar Pinto, an advocate for the 2013 Virginia DREAM Act, will be present as a guest of Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). Ambar, an undocumented immigrant from Bolivia, arrived in Virginia seven years ago, along with her parents and younger brother. She graduated from Fairfax High School, and currently is a sophomore majoring in international business at Northern Virginia Community College.