DOWNEY – Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard invited a 30-year-old DACA recipient and aspiring registered nurse to Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
Kenia Yaritza Arredondo Ramos attends Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and lives in the congresswoman’s 40th congressional district.
“I am so glad to be joined at this year’s State of the Union by Kenia Arredondo, one of the hundreds of thousands of hardworking and patriotic Americans who are part of the DACA program,” said Roybal-Allard. “Like generations of immigrants before her, she is drawing on her talent and determination to build a career for herself and a life for her family. She is a sterling example of how DACA recipients strengthen our institutions, enrich our communities, and preserve our nation’s promise.
“I look forward to reintroducing the Dream Act soon so that we can provide a pathway to citizenship for people like Kenia, and grant them permanence and stability as they continue to contribute to our community. I’m honored to represent Kenia in Congress and to escort her into the United States Capitol.”
Ramos was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and raised in the United States. She called the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. and attend the State of the Union address “a once in a lifetime opportunity to advocate for myself and for my children.”
“I am one of many living in fear of deportation and family separation,” she said. “I am a mother, a daughter, and a student and currently attending L.A. Trade Tech College to finally accomplish my dream of becoming a registered nurse… I want to see my children grow up and even most importantly, I want them to know their mom did everything she could to fight for her rights. My undocumented story is for my children to carry with them.
“Being born in Mexico and raised in the U.S. automatically labels me, amongst other names, as an immigrant, alien, wetback, and beaner. As I was growing up, I was often faced with situations in which my legal status prevented me from participating in activities with my peers. The question, ‘Do you have an identification card?’ elicited feelings of sadness, fear and nervousness that lead me to making excuses in order to continue hiding my legal status.
“Currently my status is as a DACA student and after many years of not being able to travel, I now have the opportunity to travel. I’ve gone from hiding my status to developing an inner confidence that fuels my personal desire of achieving anything that I set my mind to. I am undocumented, I am a dreamer, I am a DACA student, I am not afraid and I am not sorry.
“Being an undocumented student has been a great gift, I’m truly blessed even though I have to work harder than other students. I can do it, I will do it.”