FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – Julieta Garibay has had a front row seat to history.
Last month, she attended President Obama’s Inauguration.
Tonight, she’ll be in the House Chamber as the President delivers his State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress. “It’s very exciting” said Garibay.
Garibay isn’t a U.S. citizen. She’s considered a ‘Dreamer’. She was 12 when her parents brought her to Texas from Mexico illegally. “It’s historic they’re going to have someone undocumented there, and that they’re actually wanting to hear from us.”
Garibay received the invitation from first-term Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey of Fort Worth.
Mr. Veasey says, “Julieta wants to be an American citizen, and she wants to help other people who are in their situation. I think that is the right thing to do.”
The Congressman strongly supports immigration reform. “I think we need a bipartisan plan. I support the President on his efforts, and I also believe this is something a majority of the country wants.”
Mr. Veasey says the current system needs to be updated because of the situation Garibay finds herself in.
She studied nursing at El Centro College in Dallas, then attended the University of Texas in Austin where she received her Master’s Degree in Nursing.
But she can’t become a nurse.
Garibay says, “Like many of our Dreamers, we end up with these amazing degrees from prestigious universities, and then we cannot practice our profession, and then you start thinking ok, what am I supposed to do with these degrees? My choices end up being a waitress or a babysitter.”
Instead, she’s working for the United We Dream Network in Washington, DC.
The organization is fighting for the DREAM Act – to give 800-thousand people like her a path to citizenship.
Under the President’s directive last fall, ‘Dreamers’ who come forward can stay here without the fear of deportation, but they can’t be over the age of 30.
Some Tea Party members criticize Congressman Veasey for inviting Garibay to the State of the Union.
They also oppose the Dream Act, and the President’s directive last fall aimed to help people in Garibay’s situation.”
Stephen Broden is the Senior Pastor at the Fair Park Bible Fellowship Church.
In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully as a Republican against Democratic Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas.
He opposes the President’s directive saying, “The executive order is an unconstitutional act. It capitulates to the Executive Branch which I believe does not have a right to write legislation at all.”
Pastor Broden says while the President and Congress focus on the children of illegal immigrants, they shouldn’t forget about children in the African-American community. “There’s not as much emphasis on dealing with some of the issues that are happening for our urban black children, children who are growing up in the inner cities across America, Chicago, New York, Dallas, Houston, they’re struggling.”
As for Julieta Garibay, she hopes immigration reform will pass Congress this year, so she can fulfill her dream to become an American citizen.
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