Albuquerque, NM (KKOB) — When Cindy Nava was 7 years old she and her family came across the border from Chihuahua into New Mexico, seeking a better life. Now, the 35-year-old is preparing to receive a White House Appointment. On Monday, July 18, 2022, she’ll be sworn in as the Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Marsha Fudge, making her the first-ever DACA recipient to achieve a presidential appointment.
DACA is a policy that protects around 800,000 young people known as “DREAMers” who entered the United States unlawfully as kids. The program does not grant them official legal status, but it does allow them to apply for a driver’s license, social security number, and work permit. Nava became naturalized in 2017 and was granted citizenship just last year, after decades of studying in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe and working her way up through local political ranks. Her journey began as an intern at the state legislature, where she worked hard and made enough connections to eventually work on campaigns for major political figures like U.S. Senator Ben Ray Lujan.
Right now, she serves as the Executive Director of Transform Education New Mexico, a group founded to help ensure the best possible outcomes for underserved students in the state. She tells News Radio KKOB, leaving her current role is bitter sweet, but that she is humbled by the Presidential Appointment where she will get to make a difference for families across New Mexico, and the nation as a whole. “I would hope that I get to shed light on those communities that don’t get their voices to be heard at those highest levels,” she said. She also has a message for other young men and women trying to find their own path to citizenship as a Dreamer, “dream big and go after those goals. When we work together, that’s how we change systems.”