Government

Rep. Payne, Jr. to Bring Undocumented Newark High School Student to State of the Union

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Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. is bringing DREAMer Juan Lopez to the 2018 State of the Union.

Lopez immigrated to the United States from Uruguay at 2 and was raised in Newark. 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.

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“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. He is a living embodiment of the American Dream.”

At least two dozen Democratic lawmakers decided to bring DREAMers to the State of the Union in an effort to urge President Trump and Republicans in Congress to find a solution for the undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone has invited a Rutgers student from Highland Park as his guest.

In September, the Trump administration announced it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected DREAMers from deportation.

Lopez said he has only lived in one place for most of his life—the United States.

“My family emigrated from a third-world country for the sake of my sister and me, and every day I benefit from that decision," Lopez said. "I am a DREAMer, and I will continue to dream whether here or wherever the government sends me.”

“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 program not only promotes academic and personal success, but most importantly, a sense of belonging.

“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 said Lopez is a well rounded student.

“He is a good-natured and exceptionally bright young man and a very involved member of our Science Park community," Orrei said. "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.”

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