Ms. Vargas Corona goes to Washington
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici of Beaverton announced that a Dreamer from Northwest Oregon will join her at President Donald Trump's State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Jan. 30.
"Dreamers" refers to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA; people who were brought illegally into the United States by their parents when they were children.
January negotiations on a short-term federal budget foundered over the issue of deporting or not deporting Dreamers. A three-week budget ended a three-day shutdown of the federal government and, in the end, didn't address the DACA issue.
Those three weeks end the first week of February. Negotiations on the budget are ongoing again.
Trump has indicated he would sign a bill that found a way to keep Dreamers here in the United States. Some Republicans have said they want all undocumented immigrants, regardless of age, deported.
Bonamici, D-Ore., invited Miriam Vargas Corona, who was one of the first people in Oregon to apply for protections under DACA, to the president's annual address before both chambers of Congress.
"Dreamers have worked hard, pursued an education and are making our communities better places to live," Bonamici said. "Turning our backs on them now is heartless, doesn't improve national security and will have detrimental effects on our economy. Despite saying they want to help Dreamers, the Republican leadership in Congress has done nothing to enshrine protections in law. During the upcoming State of the Union Address, I am proud to stand by Dreamers like Miriam and hold the President and Republican leadership accountable to their promises to protect Dreamers from deportation."
Vargas Corona was brought to the United States by her parents as 9-month-old infant and was raised in rural Oregon. She is a graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, where she currently lives with her husband and 7-year-old son. Vargas Corona works full time at Yamhill Community Care Organization, helping residents access affordable health care. She also serves as a board member of Unidos Bridging Communities, a nonprofit aimed at enhancing understanding and support for Latino individuals and families in Yamhill County.
"DACA has profoundly changed the course of my life and has facilitated the start of my professional career after completing my degree," Vargas Corona said. "Without DACA, I would be forced to leave my employment and would not be able to continue to help sustain my family's basic needs and be a contributing taxpayer for the government assistance safety net programs such as the one that I personally work for."
Bonamici has been a supporter of the DACA program and advocated for comprehensive immigration reform. She is a cosponsor of the Dream Act, bipartisan legislation to create a pathway for Dreamers to become permanent residents.
Last year, in response to increasingly aggressive Immigration and Customs Enforcement activities, Bonamici introduced legislation to prohibit immigration enforcement actions at sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals, courthouses and other locations that provide emergency services.
"Not having protection against deportation is terrifying," Vargas Corona said. "Being forced to plan for a potential separation from my child and husband is something that I do not wish for any parent. It is deeply heartbreaking to mentally prepare yourself to not see your child grow up and be there for all his defining milestones. Ending DACA means that parents are in danger of being deported and professionals like myself who serve our community's most vulnerable persons will lose their jobs. We will lose eligibility to have private health care benefits for ourselves and our families, and the taxes we pay will be a loss of revenue for our country's safety net programs."