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October 1, 2014

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Undocumented immigrant from Las Vegas to attend State of Union

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Leila Navidi

Las Vegas resident Alan Aleman, 20, watches as President Barack Obama mentions him during a speech about immigration reform at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Aleman, who was brought illegally to the United States by his parents when he was 11, was one of the first Las Vegas residents to get his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) work permit.

Updated Monday, Feb. 11, 2013 | 12:26 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Every year, a hand-picked set of special guests sits with the first lady as the president delivers the State of the Union address.

This year, President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have selected a young, undocumented immigrant from Las Vegas to be in one of their seats of honor.

Alan Aleman, 20, was one of the first young, undocumented immigrants from Nevada to receive work authorization under Obama’s direction to defer deportation proceedings against so-called “Dreamers” and allow them to find jobs.

Dreamers are young people brought to the United States illegally as children under the age of 16 who are enrolled in college or enlisted in the military and who, under the proposed Dream Act, would eventually be eligible for citizenship.

Aleman was born in Mexico City and came to the United States with his parents when he was 11. He went to high school, graduated from Southeast Career Technical Academy with a major in business and information technology and is enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada, where he is in his second year of studying biological science. He wants to become a doctor and serve in the Air Force.

“I never saw my immigration status as being a barrier,” Aleman told the Las Vegas Sun in a recent interview.

But it came hurdles that having a Social Security number and status — even temporary status — has now erased.

“The most important thing is living with no fear. You don’t fear being deported or being stopped by the police,” he said. “I have my driver’s license now. I have my Social Security number now. I can apply for scholarships. So, I have more opportunities, and that’s the thing I was waiting on for a long time.”

Aleman also has a little bit of celebrity among undocumented immigrants. When Obama came to Las Vegas last month to announce his plans to push for immigration reform, he recognized Aleman in the speech.

“[Immigrants] all came here knowing that what makes somebody an American is not just blood or birth, but allegiance to our founding principles and the faith in the idea that anyone from anywhere can write the next great chapter of our story,” Obama said. “And that’s still true today. Just ask Alan Aleman.”

Aleman briefly met the president that day. But the first lady’s box in the House promises much closer proximity to the first family.

Aleman is still working to help change the fortunes of others in situations similar to his. He works at Hermandad Mexicana, where he reviews applications for the deferred action and work status that changed his life.

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  1. He's not undocumented. He's illegal and should be deported.

  2. Just curious but say a child prostitution ring was busted, would you also charge the 11 year old with soliciting prostitution? Or just he adults for forcing them into that work?

    If a mother teaches her 7 year old to steal with her from a store, would you charge the 7 year old with larceny too? Or just mom and get the kid help?

    Because I don't think infants and minor children had any control over what their parents did with them. So as far as the parents, absolutely. Fine them, deport them. The kids? Completely different. They were victims. Anyone who can't see that is a bit irrational. We don't want to reward breaking the law, that's why deport the parents, sorry if it breaks up the family. But These kids that had no choice in coming here, wouldn't survive going back to their country.

    Just funny how some people work.

  3. I'm glad to see Mr. Aleman was able to take advantage of the taxpayer funded education while he was here illegally.

  4. WHAT IS INSANITY?

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

    Congress has passed 7 amnesties for illegal aliens, starting in 1986.

    1. Immigration and Reform Control Act (IRCA), 1986: A blanket amnesty for some 2.7 million illegal aliens
    2. Section 245(i) Amnesty, 1994: A temporary rolling amnesty for 578,000 illegal aliens
    3. Section 245(i) Extension Amnesty, 1997: An extension of the rolling amnesty created in 1994
    4. Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) Amnesty, 1997: An amnesty for close to one million illegal aliens from Central America
    5. Haitian Refugee Immigration Fairness Act Amnesty (HRIFA), 1998: An amnesty for 125,000 illegal aliens from Haiti
    6. Late Amnesty, 2000: An amnesty for some illegal aliens who claim they should have been amnestied under the 1986 IRCA amnesty, an estimated 400,000 illegal aliens
    7. LIFE Act Amnesty, 2000: A reinstatement of the rolling Section 245(i) amnesty, an estimated 900,000 illegal aliens.

    E-mail your Congressman and tell him or her NO to ANY legalization or pathway to citizenship of illegal aliens (Both are Amnesty). That's all you have to say. Don't wait for somebody else to do it. YOU can make a difference!

    Here's how to find out who your reps are and their e-mail addresses: http://www.contactingthecongress.org

  5. I am shocked someone without status as a legal resident could get so far. Nobody in all those years ever asked to see proof of residency? If he was asked for it when he was 11 the first time he tried to go to school maybe the parents would have taken him back to Mexico. He sounds like he has done just fine, but maybe at the expense of a US citizens' child.

    How about Obama inviting a documented person that has waited years to get in the US legally.

    >>He went to high school, graduated from Southeast Career Technical Academy with a major in business and information technology and is enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada, where he is in his second year of studying biological science. He wants to become a doctor and serve in the Air Force.<<

  6. The balls of these folks. No fear from the US government. He sits there grinning. Our borders are a joke. Our government is a joke. Might as well save the money for some other worthless project. It certainly won't be one that American citizens can benefit from. Might as well extend a current war or start a new one.

  7. AH yes, quickly send this guy to jail for the horrible pre-meditaed crime he committed at 11 years old.

    I'm just as pissed as most of you about illegal immigration. I was lucky enough to have come to this country, legally and become a citizen by choice. It took my parents many years, a lot of money and an incredible amount of resolve to go through this process LEGALLY. So there's nobody more pissed about that than folks like me who did it legally, and the many many others who continue to try to come here legally and cannot while they watch others get amnesty. Again, the kid had no say and no choice, you people wouldn't charge an 11 with soliciting prostitution but you want him deported for something he did at 11 but had no choice or say in.

    Deport the parents, no amnesty. The kids who have no criminal record, no child support, no government hand outs can stay.

  8. But the taxpayers who work hard and are legal... are NOT invited.

  9. So how do y'all know that he or his parents have not paid any taxes? When I taught in LV in a school with many Hispanic kids it was pretty common for the seniors to work in the distribution warehouse of a giant multinational retailer known for cheap prices and shoddy goods. Their working conditions were so poor that they routinely hired undocumented workers with a wink and a nod.

  10. this is in keeping with the "CRIMINALS first" policies of the Current regime.

  11. Sorry, LT, but these days the race card is only played by racists. Whether you like it or not, everything is NOT about race.

  12. Shameful.

  13. I am so happy for these kids. And, a believe the American government is doing the right thing. You cant continue to ignore them. And, it is not right to deport the kids after the corporations used the parents for cheap labor.

  14. Traveling at taxpayer expense--invited by you know who. Wasted money again. No priorities for American long-term unemployed. Just trying to buy votes for Hillary.

  15. Illegals who don't even want to live as Americans--they expect us to change into Mexican "citizens" for their convenience. And they expect us to pay for everything 24/7, cradle to grave. NOT GONNA happen.

  16. Player: You're onto something. Many to most of the illegals won't make the effort to support their country of origin by working and paying taxes. The geography south of here is absolutely beautiful but so many of the peoples are unwilling to invest in making the countries (economies, governments, safety) into the way they want to live. So they force their ways here and/or stay when illegal all the time taking from hard-working Americans.

  17. Player58,

    Does it feel good to write malicious things about a young man who has done NOTHING to earn your contempt?

    By attempting to portray him as dishonest you reveal your dishonesty.

    Mr. Aleman has already earned the respect of the GOOD citizens of the United States .