Celebrating Immigrant Heritage Month
In June we celebrate a group of people who built this country and helped made it great: immigrants. Northern Virginia is home to a thriving immigrant community from all over the world, who contribute so much to our culture and economy.
Part of my work in Congress is focused on promoting inclusion: by fighting back against xenophobia, and by pushing for comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system. The need for this reform was driven home this month as one Northern Virginia family was broken up by the deportation of a mother in Falls Church.
I believe that immigration makes our community stronger, and that we should celebrate the positive impacts which immigrants have. So as part of Immigrant Heritage Month, I’d like to introduce three immigrants who, thanks to their own hard work and help from the Dream Project, recently graduated from George Mason University.
Juan de la Rosa — Dream Project Scholar since 2015
Juan de la Rosa graduated with a Spanish and Political Science major from Virginia Tech. Juan came to the U.S. at age 5 and has lived in Virginia since immigrating. As a DACA recipient, Juan’s passion empowered others like him to found the organization Tech DREAMers. Tech DREAMers is a student organization at Virginia Tech whose mission is to create a more inclusive environment for all undocumented students at the university through education and advocacy. Juan hopes to become a higher education professional who specifically works with Latino and undocumented students.
Rebeca Orellana — Dream Project Scholar since 2013
Rebeca Orellana is originally from Bolivia but grew up in Arlington. As a dreamer and low-income student, paying out of state tuition without access to federal aid made it challenging to stay enrolled in college. However, with the support of her mentors and the Dream Project — a nonprofit organization that empowers students by providing financial support — Rebecca graduated from George Mason with the degree in Civil Engineering this past May.
Patty Gorena Morales Dream Project Scholar since 2013
Patty Gorena Morales graduated with a bachelor of science in Economics with a concentration in Politics and Philosophy from George Mason University. She came to the United States from Bolivia with her family when she was 10 years old. When looking for ways to pursue higher education after high school, she found the Dream Project, which has supported her with scholarships throughout her academic years at Mason. This organization has also been a support system for her parents, providing a friendly community of parents, mentors, and volunteers invested in opening the doors to education for immigrants in Northern Virginia.
Thanks to the many immigrants who make our community better and stronger, and thanks to those who help them thrive and work for a better life for themselves and their families!