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UofL Student Invited To State Of The Union

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE 3)-- Congressman John Yarmuth said he invited Leo Salinas Chacón as his guest to put a face to the issue of DACA.

18 years ago, Chacón bid farewell to El Salvador.

"I came to the U.S. in 2000 because of gang violence," Chacón said. "I've lived here ever since."

A proud Eastern High School grad, Chacón is now a junior at UofL. He is a DREAMer in every aspect.

"In high school, I didn't think that I could go to college," Chacón said. "I thought I'd have to go back to El Salvador to go to college there, then DACA happened and I applied for that."

With DACA's fate up for debate, Yarmuth said he decided to invite Chacón to Tuesday's State of the Union address to make a statement. Yarmuth is among a handful of Democratic politicians who have invited DREAMers as their guests.

"We want to humanize the DREAMers and let those who might be questioning in Congress about letting them stay [know] that these are people that are among the best of us," Yarmuth said.

The past couple of months have been an emotional journey for Chacón, watching a decision remain so close, yet so far.

"It's hard to kind of feel like the only reason people are talking about you is because they can use you as an advantage for something else, that's a hard idea to digest," Chacón said.

"It's criminal that we are creating this anxiety, this uncertainty, with these great people over unrelated matters," Yarmuth said.

Chacón said he hopes his presence can remind others that DREAMers are reality.

"This is an issue that affects real people within their communities," Chacón said. "It's not just some fairytale where these people don't exist."

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