California is taking its sanctuary state status seriously and has just appointed an illegal immigrant to a state post. Lizbeth Mateo, 33, became the newest member of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee, just one day after President Donald Trump visited the state to view a prototype of the border wall. The committee’s duties include advising the California Student Aid Commission on ways to increase access to college for students from underserved or low-income communities.
Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who is also the author of the sanctuary state law, said in a press release: “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 was born in Oaxaca, Mexico and came to the U.S. at the age of 14. She graduated from Santa Clara University Law School in 2016 and passed the California bar in 2017. Mateo did try for DACA status but was turned down by the Obama Administration, which she claims was a result of her 2013 trip to Mexico with undocumented activists and “illegal” return to the U.S.
In California, however, it is not legal for non-citizens to hold a civil office appointment. The Sacramento Bee said Mateo was not asked to present a social security card or identification number before being appointed:
Travis Allen, a Republican Assemblyman and candidate for governor, said state law has gone too far in favor of undocumented immigrants at the expense of citizens. “This is just the next step in the California Democrat’s ongoing war with the laws that govern our country,” Allen said of Mateo’s appointment. “Clearly, this is a government of the people for the people by the people. Appointing someone who is not even in our state legally undermines the very foundation of our citizen government.”
Mateo not the First Illegal to Gain Appointment
Although some may think Mateo marks history as the first undocumented immigrant to be appointed to a state post, she wasn’t. In 2014, Julian Zatarian and Francisco Medina were appointed to lead local commissions in Huntington Park. Another illegal immigrant, Sergio Garcia, was allowed to practice state law in the same year.
In 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown named Jorge Reyes Salinas to the California State University Board of Trustees as a student trustee. The difference, in this case, is that Salinas was at least enrolled in the DACA program.
Illegal immigrants already receive a lot of benefits that are considered “rights” to Californians. As the Sacramento Bee reported:
Laws approved by the Legislature allow immigrants without legal status to apply for in-state college tuition and financial aid. Undocumented children can enroll in state-funded health insurance plans and adults can seek a state driver’s license, among other rights and services granted under law.
What’s next? Will undocumented immigrants soon be able to run for office? Become governor? Run for Senate and even president of the United States? What is California trying to prove?