Gov. Jerry Brown in 2016 named Jorge Reyes Salinas, an undocumented immigrant enrolled in the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, to the California State University Board of Trustees as a student trustee.
Lizbeth Mateo, an attorney and immigrant rights activist, was appointed to an advisory committee that seeks to improve access to college for low-income California students, according to the office of state senate president pro tem Kevin de Leon.
Mateo, 33, is a Mexican-born attorney and immigrant rights activist who came to the United States with her parents at age 14.
Mateo is well known for championing protections for people without legal authorization to live in the USA who were brought to the country as children. The appointment also comes a week after the Justice Department sued the state of California over policies that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. 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 a year ago, according to her legal firm's website. The state has become a bulwark against anti-immigration policies, voting to become a sanctuary state which resulted in President Trump confusingly threatening to withdraw ICE from the state in hopes of starting a crime wave. "I welcome this opportunity to advise and help the Student Aid Commission achieve its goals". In 2014, California became the first state to allow undocumented immigrants to practice law.
CNN has reached out to Mateo and members of the Senate Rules Committe, and is waiting to hear back.
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Before joining the Legislature de León taught citizenship courses to immigrants and led opposition to 1994's Proposition 187, a voter-approved statewide initiative that denied government services to undocumented immigrants.
Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican from Huntington Beach, criticized the appointment. "The California Democratic Party now prioritizes illegal immigrants over California citizens".
California law says that someone is incapable of holding a "civil office" if they are not a citizen at the time of their appointment. "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". De Leon condemned the trip as "a political stunt to rally his base around a stupid boondoggle".