Frankel to Bring South Florida DREAMer as State of the Union Guest
Charlene Rupert is striving for a better life for her family
Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22) announced today that she will bring Charlene Rupert, a South Florida DREAMer, as her guest to tomorrow’s State of the Union address given by President Obama.
Rupert, 21, came to the United States from Venezuela at the age of 11 with her grandmother, who had a legal visa, and settled in Palm Springs, Florida. She enrolled in school unaware that she was an undocumented immigrant, learned English in middle school, and attended the prestigious Dreyfoos School of the Arts, graduating with honors. In 2012, President Obama issued an Executive Order on immigration, allowing Rupert, and other young people like her, to be lawfully present in the United States. She now works, attends college, and supports her family. Last week’s action by the United States Congress would subject her to immediate deportation.
“Attending the State of the Union with Congresswoman Frankel is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Rupert. “The United States is my home. Having the opportunity to stay in the U.S., living in a free society, means everything to me. I’ll be able to help my family and continue my education so I can make a better life for all of us. When I am in Washington, I hope to talk to other congress men and women and share my story and urge them to work together to make fair, compassionate immigration laws.”
“Charlene has done everything we could ask of an innocent child coming to America. She learned English at young age, excelled in school, stayed out of trouble, works to care for her family, and is pursuing her dream of being an attorney. To force her to live in fear of being sent back now to Venezuela, a repressive country in crisis and near collapse would be contrary to the principles of our nation,” said Congresswoman Frankel. “Charlene is the perfect example of why the Congress and the President must work together to find a bi-partisan approach to immigration reform that reflects our values and advances America's prosperity.”
Rupert attends Palm Beach State College part-time. Last year, she was able to enroll in college because of a new Florida law allowing the state’s DREAMers to pay in-state tuition at its colleges and universities. Rupert is studying Communications and taking part in the Paralegal program. She will receive her Associate’s degree in 2016 and hopes to go to law school to become an immigration attorney. Rupert keeps a full work schedule at a local law firm and helps to support her family.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program gives deferred action to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 years old, have been in the U.S. for at least five years, have been convicted of no serious crime, and have a high-school diploma, a GED, or have served in the U.S. military. Rupert applied for the DACA program shortly after it was announced and received deferred action status, which she has since renewed.
For more information about Charlene Rupert, or to schedule an interview with her or Congresswoman Frankel, please contact Kira Ayish at Kira.Ayish@mail.house.gov.