WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr., announced he will bring Juan Lopez, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform at the 2018 State of the Union. Lopez immigrated to the United States from Uruguay at age two and was raised in Newark, New Jersey. He was selected for the Rutgers Future Scholars Program, which is a college preparatory mentoring program for select first-generation, low-income, academically promising students from local schools. Lopez is a senior at Newark’s Science Park High School and plans to attend Rutgers—Newark on a scholarship to study pre-engineering.

“DREAMers like Juan Lopez represent the bright future of our nation,” said Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10). “Despite a poisoned political climate that seems designed to make undocumented immigrants fail, Juan has found opportunities to flourish at school and in his community. Throughout his time at Science Park High School in Newark, New Jersey, Juan has participated in the Rutgers Future Scholars Program. He has earned his admission to study pre-engineering at Rutgers University—Newark. He is a living embodiment of the American Dream.”

“I have lived the entirety of my life in the same place—the United States of America,” said Juan Lopez, a senior at Science Park High School in Newark, NJ, and student in the Rutgers Future Scholars Program. “My family emigrated from a third-world country for the sake of my sister and me, and every day I benefit from that decision. I am a DREAMer, and I will continue to dream whether here or wherever the government sends me.”

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“At Rutgers Future Scholars, we promote academic and personal success; but most importantly, a sense of belonging,” Aramis Gutierrez, Director of Rutgers Future Scholars, said. “The stories of our scholars are that of determination and resilience. We stand with Juan and the hundreds of thousands of his peers, whose own pursuit of success has lived for generations in America.  We need our country to unite today and make it a realization.”

“When I think about a student being ‘well rounded’, Juan comes to mind,” said Maria Orrei, Guidance Counselor at Science Park High School. “He is a good-natured and exceptionally bright young man and a very involved member of our Science Park community. He has a team player attitude that spans the classroom and the athletic arena. I look forward to great things from Juan Lopez in the future.”