Santa Clara University Law School alumna Lizbeth Mateo, JD, '16 has reached another milestone: She's the first undocumented immigrant named to statewide post in California.
Mateo was appointed in March to the Student Opportunity and Access Program Project Grant Advisory Committee, which seeks to increase college opportunities for low-income students.
Mateo became an attorney last year after a 2014 California Supreme Court ruling allowing undocumented immigrants to practice law. She was named to an advisory committee that seeks to improve access to college for low-income California students. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon appointed Mateo to the post, saying she 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."
Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and brought to California by her parents when she was 4, Mateo has long been an advocate for immigrant opportunity and rights, which is the focus of her law practice, as well.
"While undocumented students have become more visible in our state, they remain underrepresented in places where decisions that affect them are being made," Mateo told KCBS radio in San Francisco. "I welcome this opportunity to advise and help the Student Aid Commission achieve its goals."
Santa Clara Law Professor Bradley Joondeph, who taught Mateo when she was a student, issued a statement upon her appointment.
"Santa Clara Law is extremely proud of Lizbeth. She embodies Santa Clara's values and mission-a person who, despite significant obstacles, has used her education to be present for others. Lizbeth's determined pursuit of her calling, in the face of various risks and hardships, inspires all of us who desire a more just, caring, and loving world, especially for those at society's margins."
(From: Santa Clara University and CNN)