Undocumented, But Not Without a Voice
Law alumna Lizbeth Mateo J.D. ’16 has reached another milestone: She’s the first undocumented immigrant named to statewide post.
Lizbeth Mateo, a 2016 J.D. alumna, has made headlines for being one of the first undocumented immigrants to be appointed to a statewide post in California.
Mateo, who became an attorney last year after a 2014 California Supreme Court ruling allowing undocumented immigrants to practice law, was named to an advisory committee that seeks to improve access to college for low-income California students. California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon appointed Mateo to the post, saying she is “a courageous, determined and intelligent young woman who at great personal risk has dedicated herself to fight for those seeking their rightful place in this country.”
Born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and brought to California by her parents when she was 4, Mateo has long been an advocate for immigrant opportunity and rights, which is the focus of her law practice as well.
Santa Clara Law Prof. Bradley Joondeph, who taught Mateo when she was a student, issued a statement upon her appointment.
“Santa Clara Law is extremely proud of Lizbeth. She embodies Santa Clara's values and mission—a person who, despite significant obstacles, has used her education to be present for others. Lizbeth's determined pursuit of her calling, in the face of various risks and hardships, inspires all of us who desire a more just, caring, and loving world, especially for those at society's margins.”