In an attempt to grab President Donald Trump’s attention, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., is attending Trump’s congressional address Tuesday accompanied by a Mexican undocumented student who attends Edgewood College.
Lupe Salmeron, a freshman studying political science with hopes of becoming a lawyer, is a part of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program. Salmeron is a “DREAMer” living in Madison and protected from deportation since she came to the U.S. as a young child.
Salmeron’s parents, however, do not receive the same protections.
“We’ve been really fortunate to not have any problems or interactions with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. My parent’s are still living in Madison and we’re still together,” Salmeron told The Daily Cardinal. “We don’t know if that will be true in the next coming months or years.”
Pocan hopes that Salmeron’s presence will make Trump realize how his policy affects the whole nation and how his budget could have a negative effect on the people in south-central Wisconsin.
“[I’m hoping Trump] realizes this country is far more diverse than his rallies are,” Pocan said.
Trump is addressing the nation and Congress Tuesday to outline his federal budget and his policy agenda. Part of that budget will be focused on increasing defense spending, lowering environmental protection spending and increasing the number of immigration enforcement agents.
Pocan told The Daily Cardinal of a recent instance when a woman tried to report domestic abuse to the authorities and they ended up deporting her.
“That’s going to have a chilling effect if that’s the reality of life under his policy,” Pocan said. “I think [it’s] important for him just to realize he does have an affect on people’s lives, maybe bigger than he’s witnessed so far.”
Other Wisconsin Democrats have joined Pocan in bringing guests who represent a larger political statement.
To gain support for her Buy American legislation, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is bringing a guest who worked at a manufacturing company in Wisconsin for 38 years. U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., is bringing a neurologist who advocates for national health care reforms. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis, is bringing an advocate for funding of gender-based violence programs.
Wisconsin Republicans have not planned on bringing any political guests, rather inviting family members and colleagues.
Salmeron, a grassroot activist for immigrant and Latino rights since high school, said attending the address in Washington as a representative of the millions of DREAMers in the U.S. was “an honor.”
“With all the experience I’ve gained here and the connections, I want to bring it back to, not just Edgewood, but the Madison community as a whole.”