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Booker to Bring Dreamer, Tech Entrepreneur to State of the Union

29-year-old Elizabeth Vilchis came to U.S. when she was 7

January 29, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced today that he would bring 29-year-old New Jersey DACA-recipient Elizabeth Vilchis to Tuesday’s State of the Union address as his guest. Vilchis, who lives in Ridgefield, New Jersey, is originally from Puebla, Mexico. Her parents brought her to the U.S. when she was 7-years-old to escape the economic crisis in Mexico.

As a young student, Vilchis excelled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), graduating second in her class in high school and earning degree in mechanical engineering from the City College of New York in Harlem. After college she helped launched a logistics and tech startup that to-date has employed over 900 part-time workers. She then went on to work for Samsung, leading STEM outreach initiatives for students in grades K-6.

Vilchis currently runs a nonprofit called latinoTech, which is dedicated to helping Latinx entrepreneurs access venture capital. She’s also working on launching a venture capital fund to help directly fund Latinx entrepreneurs building tech companies.

Vilchis’ DACA status and work authorization will expire in a little over a year.

“Liz encapsulates everything that is right about this country. She’s bright, hardworking, and is making a positive impact on her community each and every day,” Booker said. “Sending her back to a country she barely knows is cruel, heartless, and unjust. It’s simply not who we are as Americans.”

“Unfortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of young people just like Liz across New Jersey and this country.  Their lives have been thrown into chaos and uncertainty by President Trump’s decision to end DACA. I hope when he looks out into the crowd tomorrow, he’ll see the faces of Liz and others like her, and think about these Americans as their fate is debated in the weeks ahead.”

“I’m honored to join Senator Booker at the State of the Union address tomorrow,” Vilchis said. “The need for a permanent solution for dreamers is an issue that can no longer be delayed or ignored and I hope that my presence at the President’s speech will make this point clear. The uncertainty that dreamers face each and every day is scary, debilitating, and all-consuming. We must find a path forward that is fair and humane and takes into account the contributions dreamers make to their communities everyday.”

Vilchis added: “To paint us as things that don’t deserve to be treated as human beings in order to have us ripped away from our communities, the only communities we have ever known, is the most un-American thing that can happen – and if it can happen to dreamers, what other groups of people in America will be next?”

Read more about Liz’s story in Booker’s photo essay on dreamers. You can also hear from Liz in her own words on the latest episode of Senator Booker’s podcast, Lift Every Voice.