On Wednesday, the first illegal immigrant ever to serve in state office in California was appointed by the California Senate Rules Committee.
Lizbeth Mateo, 33, who attended Santa Clara University Law School in 2016 and passed the California bar last year, will serve on the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee, which advises the California Student Aid Commission on ways to make it easier for students from low-income or underserved communities to attend college.
As Newsweek trumpeted:
In 2010, Mateo also became one of the first undocumented young people to risk deportation by demanding the passage of the DREAM Act, legislation that would grant certain immigrants, including Dreamers, or people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, a path to citizenship. She also played a key role in helping a group of young people now known as the "Dream 9" return to the U.S. after being deported to Mexico.
Senate President pro tempore Kevin de León, who announced the decision, took the opportunity to slam President Trump. He released a statement which read, "While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities. Ms. Mateo is a courageous, determined and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country."
Mateo asserted, “While undocumented students have become more visible in our state, they remain underrepresented in places where decisions that affect them are being made.”
In 2014, California was the first state in the U.S. to allow illegal immigrants to practice law.