Local DREAMer returns from State of the Union

SAN DIEGO – When President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday, Clairemont resident Karen Bahena was there as a guest of Congressman Scott Peters.

Bahena was part of a group of DREAMers that attended. She is the daughter of undocumented migrants who brought her to San Diego from Mexico when she was eight years old.

“I really liked that experience and to meet other DREAMers who are doing amazing things from all over the country was really empowering. It gave me a sense of hope,” Bahena said.

Bahena, a graduate of San Diego State University, now works at University of California, San Diego. Like others in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Bahena has been provided with a driver’s license and a work permit.

“Living in that fear where you’re constantly worrying about being detained and reported,” Bahena said.

On Tuesday, the young woman who has felt like an outcast for most of her life found herself listening to the President speak to Congress and the American people about his immigration plan.

Bahena said she hopes the President and Congress can find a way to keep DREAMers like her and DACA in place.

“Even when the President himself said ‘aliens,’ you hear this rhetoric and there you’re standing as an undocumented individual and it takes away your dignity. I feel like there was a strong divide between American citizens and DREAMers but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Bahena said.