President's union address upsets Dreamer teacher - Albuquerque Journal

President’s union address upsets Dreamer teacher

Ivonne Orozco gets a hug from her father, Alfredo Orozco, and mother, Fernanda Orozco, after being surprised with the 2018 New Mexico Teacher of the Year award during her Spanish class at the Public Academy for Performing Arts on Oct. 24. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

New Mexico Teacher of the Year Ivonne Orozco accompanied U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich to the State of the Union this week, and some of President Donald Trump’s comments hit close to home for the 26-year-old Mexican immigrant.

Orozco, a Spanish teacher at the Public Academy for Performing Arts, was brought to the United States illegally by her parents at age 12. She benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which the Trump administration plans to phase out March 5.

During Tuesday’s State of the Union, Trump claimed illegal immigrants “have caused the loss of many innocent lives,” citing the 2016 murders of Long Island teenagers Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens by members of MS-13, a gang with Latin American ties.

“Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors – and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school,” the president said.

Orozco said it was upsetting to hear “criminals used to represent the immigrant community.”

“It was really unfortunate that it wasn’t acknowledged that the majority of us, especially when it comes to people who qualify for the Dream Act, we identify ourselves as Americans and have nothing to do with MS-13,” Orozco told the Journal. “We are teachers. We are doctors. We are first responders. We are starting businesses in our communities.”

Still, Orozco is hopeful that Congress will come up with a bipartisan solution to help the nation’s roughly 700,000 DACA recipients.

She met with Heinrich and other lawmakers in Washington, D.C., and felt they were “doing everything they can … to create a pathway to citizenship.”

The trip also connected her to other Dreamers who are sharing their stories.

Orozco said it is important for all of them to continue speaking out and challenging false impressions of immigrants.

“We do go in with this message, and we do go in with a lot of heart to say we are here, we are contributing and all that we want is a seat at the table,” Orozco said.

Heinrich said he was honored to have Orozco as his guest at the State of the Union and give her the opportunity to share her story.

“Dreamers like Ivonne represent the future of a great America,” he said in a statement.

Orozco’s story begins in Chihuahua, Mexico, where she lived until she was 12 years old.

After crossing the border with her parents, Orozco attended middle school and high school in central New Mexico, then went on for her bachelor’s degree in secondary education at the University of New Mexico.

She is currently enrolled in a master’s program at UNM.

New Mexico Education Secretary-designate Christopher Ruszkowski named her the state’s 2018 teacher of the year in October, citing her commitment to education that “provides students with the tools to create real change in their world.”

Home » News » Albuquerque News » President’s union address upsets Dreamer teacher


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Behavioral health group is No. 5 small employer in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Kathleen Karimi, co-founder of ... Q&A with Kathleen Karimi, co-founder of Behavior Change Institute
2
Auto dealership is No. 5 mid-size company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Rob Sneed, managing partner ... Q&A with Rob Sneed, managing partner and general manager of Power Ford
3
Eye care firm is No. 5 large company in ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Eye Associates of New ... Q&A with Eye Associates of New Mexico CEO Tony Lenhart and Chief Human Resources Officer Cris Todd
4
School is No. 4 small employer in Top Workplaces ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Rebecca Maestas-Sanchez, principal for ... Q&A with Rebecca Maestas-Sanchez, principal for St. Mary's Catholic School
5
Engineering firm is No. 4 mid-size company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Bohannan Huston Inc. president ... Q&A with Bohannan Huston Inc. president and CEO Bruce Stidworthy and Nancy Simutis, vice president of human resources
6
Telecommunications firm is No. 4 large company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Karen Viola, customer experience ... Q&A with Karen Viola, customer experience center senior director for T-Mobile US
7
Construction firm is No. 3 small company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Paul Farless, president and ... Q&A with Paul Farless, president and CEO of SDV Construction Inc.
8
Oil and gas firm is No. 3 mid-size company ...
ABQnews Seeker
Q&A with Ezra Yacob, CEO of ... Q&A with Ezra Yacob, CEO of EOG Resources ...
9
Electrical company is No. 3 large company in Top ...
ABQnews Seeker
B&D Industries is the No. 3 ... B&D Industries is the No. 3 large company in Top Workplaces for 2022.