DREAMers of Iowa: Hector Alejandro Salamanca Arroyo

It is safe to say that at this point of time the whole nation is standing on the threshold of change. Young immigrants are realizing that they CAN do it. Many DREAMers are taking the chance to finally go to school and they are starting to build their futures and speak up openly and without a fear. 


Hector Alejandro Salamanca Arroyo is one of those young DREAMers. He came with his family to United States in 1997 from Puebla, Mexico. The family settled in Des Moines, IA. Salamanca, similar to most of DREAMers, grew up and went to school in the United States, the only place these young people know as their home. After graduating from high school, Salamanca went to Des Moines Area Community College and he graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Salamanca did not stop there and he took a full advantage of the opportunity of education given to him by President Obama’s executive action in 2012, commonly known as DACA*. In May of this year Hector Salamanca graduated from Drake University with Bachelor’s Degree in Law, Politics and Society. He also made his family proud by graduating with Latin Honors, something not every student is able to do whether they are from the United States or foreign. 

Salamanca is a DREAMer, but not just any kind of DREAMer because he is not scared anymore to share with others his experience of being undocumented and new challenges he faces as DACA participant.

“I am a DREAMer. I came out as undocumented, after DACA was announced, to friends,” Salamanca shares. 

He also told us that it was difficult to go through daily life with a thought of not having documents always lingering on his mind. Looking on the brighter side of this challenge he assures us that the difficulties taught him to confront directly other issues in life. 

“Being a DREAMer has been both a blessing and a challenge, I have had opportunities I never thought I would have, but I see the limitations imposed by our broken immigration system clearly,” Salamanca said. 

Now with a bachelor’s degree in his hand he is trying to help his community. Salamanca has big dreams for the community and his is very active when it comes to other DREAMers. Salamanca encourages DREAMers to be more involved in a political process. Besides, trying to get DREAMers to come out of sidelines and start participating in a wider range of issues, he also had a chance to meet with elected officials to discuss immigration and he even participated in rallies and visited schools where he talked about challenges that undocumented immigrants face. 

“I do what I do because I want to see not just one person rise to a position of stature, but rather the community and future generations,” Salamanca explained his reason why he tries to push DREAMers to front and center of the political process. “I hope others can get involved and realize how much power they have as a young person to change status quo, whether it be at their school or in their community, and to not give up hope.” 

When Hector Salamanca speaks he makes sure that everyone knows that he himself is not looking for recognition or awards, but he wants to help and show the members of the community that everyone should help each other to fight what he calls a “systematic oppression.” 

“Helping the community and each other should be the norm and not the exception,” he declared.

Well said!

Among DACA recipients there are a lot of young people who are hungry for change. They go to schools and learn that they CAN make changes happen. Even if they realize that even now their future might be a little shaky, this does not stop them from putting down the roots and in the process encourage others to join them in their fight for better tomorrow for everyone. 

Photos by Adela Adeniyi-Williams 


Read other stories of Iowa DREAMers:


DREAMers of Iowa: Monica Reyes



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