Ana Zamora has never been to the nation’s capital. She’s never visited the sights or toured the monuments defining the bedrock of America’s history. She’s lived in Dallas, Texas, nearly her entire life — it’s the only home that she’s ever known.
But on Tuesday night, Ana will be sitting just seats away from the first family of the United States for one of the most high-profile addresses to the American public that President Obama will give all year: The State of the Union.
As an honored guest for a box-seat at the coveted event, she is the human face for the immigration debate and shows that immigrants like her are not defined by their undocumented status. “It’s definitely the hardships and challenges that I’ve been able to overcome more than any laws that have been broken,” she says.
Ana is a testament to why immigrants brought to the U.S. as children are known as DREAMers. In May, she will be first in her family to graduate from college, majoring in business administration with minor in hospitality at Northwood University. Not only is she finishing up her secondary education as a wide-eyed 21-year-old, but once she walks across the stage to receive her diploma, she’ll be doing so debt-free. She worked part- to full-time her entire way through college, and with the help of scholarships and a doting mother who always pressed her to excel to school, she is grasping onto a future that not every millennial American citizen claims.