WASHINGTON — When Donald Trump takes the podium to speak to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night, he will face not only elected U.S. representatives, but also undocumented immigrants — one who resides in Colorado.
Oscar Juarez-Luna, a Longmont resident, is an undocumented immigrant enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program — an Obama-era relic — allows nearly a million children of undocumented immigrants the safety to remain in the nation while they seek permanent citizenship.
Immigrants like Oscar, who arrived in the U.S. when he was only 8-years-old, say the United States is the only country they call home.
Juarez-Luna will be hosted by Colorado Congressman Jared Polis, who said he stands for keeping children and productive immigrants in the nation, pointing to Juarez-Luna's productivity.
"Oscar has made a life for himself in Colorado. He works full time for a nonprofit and has a small business on the side," Polis said Tuesday. "Thanks to the DACA program, Oscar has been able to fully participate in the American society, creating jobs."
According to Polis, Juarez-Luna is just one of over 17,000 immigrants in Colorado who are part of the DACA program and could face deportation if President Donald Trump works to rescind it.
Juarez-Luna said that's why he traveled to the nation's capitol. To be a face for immigrants like himself for Pres. Trump to see in person.
"Donald Trump needs to see the diversity, he needs to see the policies that directly impact our communities," Juarez-Luna said. "We want to show the face of the immigration system that is broken."
He said his family has been afraid for the decades they have lived in America.
"We had the fear of being deported for simply being pulled over for driving without a license," Juarez-Luna said. "It is a fear that 11 million undocumented immigrants have to face."
That fear hearkens back to the story of Jeanette Vizguerra, an undocumented mother of three U.S. citizens who is the target of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation now.
Vizguerra fled to a church instead of appearing at a regularly scheduled hearing at ICE offices in Colorado. Her attorney said she did so because she believed ICE would attempt to arrest her.
The undocumented mother has lived in Colorado for 20 years and she's in the process of applying for permanent residency.
"It appears they had absolutely no intention of engaging in good faith," Meyer said of documents that were signed when he appeared at the hearing for Vizguerra.
Vizguerra was a target for deportation due to her criminal history, which includes a conviction for having a Social Security card with her name on it, but without a valid Social Security number.
Authorities realized she carried the fake card when they pulled her over for having expired tags on her vehicle.
The fear of millions of undocumented immigrants who say they want to work and contribute to the U.S. economy led Juarez-Luna to declare, "I am undocumented and unafraid."
"I really want to push everyone to take action to join organizations that work towards this together with Jared Polis and other congressmen and congresswomen as well," Juarez-Luna said.
Denver7 will live stream Pres. Trump's speech tonight at 7 p.m.