January 26, 2018

Senator Harris to Bring California UndocuBlack DACA Recipient to State of the Union

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris today announced that Denea Joseph, an UndocuBlack Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient who immigrated to the United States from Belize and was raised in South Central, Los Angeles, will be her guest to the 2018 State of the Union Address on Tuesday, January 30. California is home to more Dreamers than any other state – 220,000 of the nation’s approximately 700,000.

“Dreamers like Denea represent the best of who we are as a nation,” said Senator Harris. “Her commitment to the representation and empowerment of black immigrant communities is inspiring. We must continue to fight to give her and the hundreds of thousands of other young people like her who are living in fear, the security they need to live up to their full potential.”

“As a young girl born in Belize, a country of no more than 370,000 people, I could’ve never fathomed that I’d be invited as a guest to the State of the Union Address,” said Joseph. “While I wish it was under better circumstances, I’m grateful to my fellow activists, organizers, and congressional allies like Senator Kamala Harris who continue to champion immigrant rights as human rights. I truly believe that we will win, we will win the fight to ensure that immigrants like myself are equipped with the rights to live and contribute fully. The time is now to pass a Clean Dream Act that doesn’t use undocumented youth to criminalize the original ‘Dreamers’ - our parents and grandparents." 

A UCLA alumnus, Joseph is currently the Communications Coordinator at the UndocuBlack Network, an advocacy organization that serves black, undocumented immigrants nationwide. As an undergraduate student, Joseph advocated for the creation of an immigration attorney position at UCLA, in addition to increased and sustainable financial aid for undocumented youth across the University of California System. Additionally, as a Young People For (YP4) fellow, Joseph developed a social justice blueprint to address undocumented access to and retention in institutions of higher learning. Joseph is also a vocal proponent of educational equity and has worked on campaigns such as Fund the UC, IGNITE (Invest in Graduation Not Incarceration, Transform Education), and Prop 13 reform to address issues of affordability and accessibility to higher education.