Veasey's guest was immigrant to Texas

Posted Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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WASHINGTON -- As she prepared to go to the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday night, Julieta Garibay was almost pinching herself because she was about to be in the gallery for the State of the Union speech, a guest of U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth.

The freshman congressman invited Garibay on behalf of "Dreamers" such as herself, undocumented workers who came to the United States as children or were born here and have long-standing ties to the community.

Dreamers are active in pushing for many of the same immigration reform proposals being sought by President Barack Obama.

"I'm ecstatic, of course," she said of the opportunity to sit in the House chamber. "It's a true responsibility to be representing the Dreamers I work with and also the families."

Garibay was one of a handful of guests of lawmakers who were given the opportunity to appear and draw attention to the issue of the Dream Act, which gives young undocumented people legal status and a path to citizenship.

Each member of the House and Senate gets one ticket for a guest for the visitor's gallery, and Tuesday members took on a variety of messages, especially drawing attention to gun violence.

But this year, the congressional agenda will also include a major push for immigration reform.

"I think it's a historic moment," said Garibay.

In announcing his decision to invite Garibay, Veasey said, "Today's Dreamers are leading one of the most important civil rights movements of our generation. I'm excited to have Julieta join me at the president's State of the Union address."

Added Veasey: "Julieta and I are close allies in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform and together, we will ensure that the voices of our DREAMers and those of the 11 million undocumented immigrant community are heard."

Garibay grew up in Austin and started her education in North Texas at Dallas County Community College, earning an associates' degree before getting her R.N. at University of Texas at Austin.

She now lives in Washington and is a founding board member of United We Dream Network.

Veasey has been on the job just a few weeks, but he's already making immigration reform one of his prime issues. He is a co-sponsor of the Dream Act in the House and made one of his first floor speeches in support of a comprehensive reform package.

Maria Recio, 202-383-6103

Twitter: @maria_e_recio

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