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Immigration Supporters Flock To Washington For State Of The Union

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Latinos from around the region and across the U.S. are gathering in the District to discuss comprehensive immigration reform as part of a national forum. One of those attendees will also be attending tonight's State of the Union address as a special guest of the President and First Lady.

The timing of the immigrant advocates' visit to Washington this week is no accident, say representatives with the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities. With President Obama set to deliver his fifth State of the Union address tonight, members want to make sure their desire for comprehensive immigration reform is clearly understood.

"We are at the very least hoping to see a reaffirmation of his commitment to do everything he can and we're going to work to push so that what he tells us is the best he can do really is the best he can do," says Oscar Chacon, executive director of NALACC. 

Chacon says that during President Obama's first term, more undocumented immigrants were deported from the U.S. than in four previous administrations.

Also attending the forum at American University's Washington College of Law is 20-year-old Alan Aleman.

Aleman was one of the first undocumented immigrants in Nevada to receive work authorization when President Obama deferred deportation to groups of young Latinos, also known as "DREAMers," after the DREAM Act which attempted to provide legal channels for  young immigrants to stay in the U.S.

When the president announced plans to push immigration reform last month in Las Vegas, Obama recognized Aleman in his address.

"I think he used me to be an example for a lot of other DREAMers to see that even though you don't have immigration status, or a social security number, you can still contribute to your community," Aleman says.

The Nevada college student, who wants to be a doctor and join the U.S. Air Force, is an invited guest of the Obamas for the State of Union and will sit beside the First Lady during the address.

"I'm going to be representing my Hispanic community, and the immigrant community, and I feel honored by the White House," he says. "It's something huge." Aleman and other members of NALACC will meet with congressional leaders later this week as part of the advocacy trip.

WAMU 88.5 is licensed to American University.

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