Who Is Ana Zamora, Michelle Obama's State Of The Union Guest & The Face Of The Immigration Debate?
One of the most interesting parts of the president's annual State of the Union address is his guest list, usually comprised of an blend of people from different backgrounds, their presence important for the issues each of them represent. This year, Obama's SOTU guest list includes individuals who have made significant contributions to the country in their own way — astronaut Scott Walker, former Cuban prisoner Alan Gross and his wife and head honcho of CVS Health Larry J. Merlo, to name a few, but also in attendance will be average Americans, neither wealthy nor famous, struggling with the same problems that millions of us face, too. One of these SOTU guests is Ana Zamora, 20-year-old DREAMer from Texas, who will be sitting with the First Lady at the event.
On Tuesday evening, Zamora will be the face of the immigration debate brewing in the nation's capital. Brought to the U.S. from Mexico at a mere year old, Zamora's status, like that of millions of others in the country who moved here in search of a more promising future, was in limbo — until Obama passed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) bill in 2012, which allowed her to obtain a work permit, a Social Security number, driver's license, and a reprieve, though for a temporary two years, from deportation.
Zamora's newfound legal status compelled her to write to the White House last September to express her gratitude. In a letter addressed to Obama, she detailed:
Come May, Zamora will be the first in her family to graduate from college — which she put herself through working part- and full-time in between classes — with a business administration major and hospitality minor at Northwood University. She does acknowledge, though, that her achievements, especially considering her circumstances, are unique — though well deserved. Zamora told MSNBC:
Her presence at the SOTU speech is vital in the immigration battle, as the Republican-led Congress has made stalling Obama's plan for immigration reform one of its chief priorities. Last Wednesday, House Republicans voted to block Obama's immigration proposal and to end an existing program that has, during its existence, deferred deportation for 500,000 DREAMers.
For Zamora, she has goals of working in apartment management and someday owning property. Putting a face to successful immigration reform, Zamora said she wants to give a voice to others in her situation:
Image: Whitehouse.gov/sotu; Getty Images (3), WFAA