For the first time, the state of California has pointed an illegal resident to a statewide post, one day after the President visited wall prototypes near San Diego.
The decision was made by the California Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday that places Lizbeth Mateo, a 33-year-old attorney, and activists. The illegal immigrant has been appointed to serve on a committee that helps college low-income or “underserved communities” get access to college. The Sacramento Bee reports:
In announcing the decision, Senate President pro tempore Kevin de León appeared to recognize the move as an act of defiance in the face of the Trump administration’s current immigration crackdown.
“While Donald Trump fixates on walls, California will continue to concentrate on opportunities,” de León told The Sacramento Bee in a statement. “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 said she welcomed the opportunity, telling the newspaper, “While undocumented students have become more visible in our state, they remain under-represented in places where decisions that affect them are being made.”
The attorney was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and came to the U.S. with her parents when she was just 14 years old. She went on to develop a passion for law and became the first person in her family to graduate from college, receiving her degree from Santa Clara University law school in 2016 and passing the California bar last year, according to her legal firm’s website. She was officially sworn in by de León on June 29, 2017.
In 2014 California became the first state in the US to allow illegal immigrants to practice law.