'Hope Has Just Dwindled Down' For One 'Dreamer' In Madison
Nearly one year after she attended President Donald Trump's first speech to Congress, Lupe Salmeron feels uncertain about her future as a "Dreamer" in the United States.
"At this point hope has just dwindled down," she said in a Jan. 29, 2018 interview with Wisconsin Public Television's Here & Now, on the eve of Trump’s first State of the Union address.
Salmeron was born in Mexico City and has lived on the east side of Madison since she was six years old. As a Dreamer, which is a reference to legislation named the DREAM Act proposed in multiple sessions of Congress but has not been passed, she is among a group of immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as a child and without documentation.
A policy of the Obama administration called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, has allowed immigrants like Salmeron to apply for a renewable immigration status that allows them to attend school and work in the U.S., as well as avoid deportation, but without a path to citizenship. The Trump administration rescinded this DACA policy in 2017, and individuals formerly covered under it will lose their protected status.
"It's always on your mind," Salmeron said of her future prospects for attending college as a Dreamer. "It's just subconsciously there."
A sophomore at Edgewood College in Madison, Salmeron is studying political science and is interested in politics. As a Dreamer, she was the official guest of U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, at Trump's speech before a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017.
Salmeron worries about the job opportunities available to her after she graduates.
"I don't know if I'll be employable, I don't know what's going to happen," she said. "We're living in limbo again."
Trump addressed Dreamers like Salmeron in his 2018 State of the Union address on Jan. 30, discussing his administration's proposal to establish a path to citizenship for those who meet the criteria of "education and work requirement, and show good moral character."
Salmeron was less hopeful that negotiations of immigration legislation will not get tied to funding for a border wall.
"We need a clean DREAM Act," Salmeron said. "We just want what we deserve. We've been here, we've contributed and we haven't done anything bad."
Salmeron will continue her studies at Edgewood College and hopes to attend law school to study immigration law.
Editor's note: Here & Now will have more about the State of the Union address and immigration policy in its broadcasts on Friday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday. Feb. 4 at 9:30 a.m.