The Philadelphia Inquirer: “First Lady Jill Biden's guests at the State of the Union will include West Chester's Mitzi Colin Lopez…"dreamer" from Mexico and now an immigration reform advocate”

WASHINGTON, DC – This morning, the White House announced that Mitzi Colin Lopez, a Dreamer from West Chester, Pennsylvania, will join First Lady Dr. Jill Biden as her guest to the State of the Union.

Mitzi Colin Lopez is an advocate for immigration reform, and in 2021 Ms. Colin Lopez met the President to share her experiences as a DACA recipient. She is originally from Mexico but grew up only knowing the U.S. as her home. She applied and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in 2015, and graduated from West Chester University of Pennsylvania in 2021. Ms. Colin Lopez has also served as a lead membership promoter for immigrant advocacy organization CASA in Pennsylvania.

For the last decade, DACA has provided hundreds of thousands of Dreamers, like Mitzi, an opportunity to gain temporary legal status. DACA protects recipients from deportation, and allows them to live, study and contribute to their communities and local economies. Since its inception, and despite its success and popularity, most Republicans have made it their mission to end the program.

Mitzi represents the more than 600,000 Dreamers whose lives hang by a judicial thread. With stacked federal courts preparing to declare the program “unlawful,” and with Republicans in Congress opposing a bipartisan solution, Dreamers live in uncertainty. Last year, a groundswell of support from mayors, business, religious and civil rights leaders called on Congress to take action to finally protect Dreamers, but GOP opposition thwarted a breakthrough.

“I’ve lived here since I was 3 years old, this is the only country I’ve ever known,” said Mitzi Colin Lopez. “My siblings are fortunate enough to be citizens, and DACA gives me some protections for now, but I have always lived in fear that our family could be torn apart. I am proud to advocate for DACA, but I also want to give a voice to the millions of people like my parents who have tried everything they can to gain status but it’s just impossible. No family should have to live with that kind of fear.”

“There have been thirty-one state of the union speeches since Congress last passed immigration reform in 1986. In the last ten years alone, there have been multiple failed attempts at reform — and millions of hardworking immigrants, including Dreamers, continue to bear the consequence. We applaud Dr. Jill Biden for ensuring that Mitzi’s story is represented at President Biden’s important address this evening. We thank Mitzi for her leadership and courage in representing the voice of millions,” said Sergio Gonzales, the Executive Director of the Immigration Hub. “She reminds Congress that they alone have the power to do what 80% of Americans support by passing legislation with a path to citizenship for undocumented communities, including Dreamers. The question is will they listen or continue to let our nation down.”

Closed Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA, “Mitzi has been a leadership powerhouse for years, pushing Congress for protections for DACAmented youth. She travels from Pennsylvania to Washington, DC, as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s guest, meeting with and sharing her story with Congress. We start a new year, and with it new hope that Congress seek true compromise for DACA and TPS holders and other immigrants who have lived in this country for decades. Our fire is burning and our campaign is alive because they are fueled by our hopes and dreams and expectations: relief can be on the horizon.”

More on Mitzi Colin Lopez

A ‘dreamer’ and immigration reform advocate from West Chester will be Jill Biden’s guest at the State of the Union

WASHINGTON — First lady Jill Biden has invited an immigration advocate from West Chester — who herself has gone from undocumented child to top college graduate — to be among her guests at the State of the Union address Tuesday night.

The guest, Mitzi Colin Lopez, arrived in the United States at 3 years old when her parents came from Mexico, making her one of a cohort of so-called “dreamers” who came to the country without legal status as small children but have only known the U.S. as home, according to the White House.

Colin Lopez since 2015 has received protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (commonly called DACA) instituted by former President Barack Obama, and has since graduated summa cum laude with a political science degree from West Chester University, the White House said.

She is now an advocate for immigration reform and in 2021 met President Joe Biden to describe her experiences through DACA.

Colin Lopez will be one of several guests invited to sit in the first lady’s viewing box, a position used to highlight individuals and stories that mirror the priorities and achievements presidents outline in their State of the Union speeches.