Dulce Matuz started a new life as an undocumented American in Arizona when she was 15 years old. She was a star student, participated on the robotics team in high school and got into the engineering program at Arizona State University. In 2006, Arizona passed Proposition 300, which stripped undocumented students of in-state tuition for school and forced a lot of undocumented students to drop out of school. Dulce had a choice: self-deport or stay and fight. She chose the latter. Dulce co-founded the Arizona Dream Act Coalition to fight for immigrant rights while Arizona was in the process of enacting some of the nation’s strictest anti-immigration laws. Maria Hinojosa recently met up with Matuz in Phoenix to talk about what’s happening with Arizona politics around immigration today, five years after Arizona passed its controversial “show me your papers law,” SB 1070.
Photo by Marlon Bishop/Latino USA
We speak to three self-styled “dreamers” about their hopes and fears just after President Obama announced an executive order that would halt the deportations of some young undocumented people.
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Prerna Lal is a student at The George Washington University Law School. She is the co-founder of DreamActivist.Org, and she also serves as a board member for Immigration Equality, an organization that advocates for the rights of LGBT immigrants.
Mohammad Abdollahi is originally from Iran. He came to the U.S. when he was three and became undocumented after en error in his paperwork process. He is one of the founders of National Immigrant Youth Alliance. He was also arrested in 2010 while protesting for passage of the DREAM Act at the Tucson offices of Sen. John McCain.
Lizbeth Mateo is originally from Oaxaca, Mexico. She grew up in Los Angeles where she went to school and became the first in her family to graduate from Cal State University, Northridge. Lizbeth is co-founder of DreamActivist California and The National Immigrant Youth Alliance – an undocumented youth-LED network of grassroots organizations, campus-based student groups and individuals committed to achieving equality for all immigrant youth, regardless of their legal status.