Dulce Matuz

More from this show

We’ll talk to immigrant rights activist Dulce Matuz. She recently became a United States Citizen. Dulce was recognized in 2012 as one of the world’s most influential people by TIME magazine.

JOSE: THIS WEEK, ACTIVIST AND DREAMER, DULCE MATUZ, WHO WAS RECOGNIZED IN 2012 AS ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE BY TIME MAGAZINE, BECAME A US CITIZEN. JOINING ME NOW IS DULCE MATUZ. DULCE FIRST OF ALL CONGRATULATIONS.

DULCE MATUZ: I AM VERY EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ELECTION.

JOSE: "TIME" MAGAZINE HAD YOU AS ONE OF THE HUNDRED MOST INFLUENTIAL NAMES IN THE WORLD. WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE SELECTED FOR "TIME" MAGAZINE?

DULCE MATUZ: IT WAS A BIG SURPRISE. I NEVER EXPECTED TO BE THERE. BUT I DON'T THINK THIS WAS ABOUT ME AS MUCH ABOUT ALL THE STUDENTS IN THE SITUATION I AM IN. IT WAS A PLATFORM TO CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR THE DREAMERS AND STUDENTS WHO HAVE NO OPPORTUNITIES AND FOR A BROKEN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM.

JOSE: FOR THE PEOPLE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN YOU ON MY SHOW LET'S GIVE THEM A SENSE OF WHEN YOU SAY PEOPLE IN YOUR SITUATION WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

DULCE MATUZ: I IMMIGRATED TO THIS COUNTRY 16 YEARS AGO. I CAME WITH A TOURIST VISA NOT KNOWING NOTHING ABOUT THE PROCESS OR WHAT IT MEANT TO BE UNDOCUMENTED. MY MOMS PLAN WAS SIMPLE. I WAS SUPPOSED TO LEARN ENGLISH IN ONE YEAR AND MY MOTHER WAS SUPPOSED TO SAVE MONEY. I JOINED THE ROBOTICS TEAM AT HIGH SCHOOL AND HER WORK NEVER ALLOWED HER TO SAVE ENOUGH. OPPORTUNITIES OPENED UP BECAUSE I EXCELLED IN SCHOOL. I DECIDED TO BECOME AN ENGINEER AND WENT TO ARIZONA STATE. I ALWAYS HAD THE RIGHT SUPPORT. MY STORY IS AN EXCEPTION. WHEN YOU ARE UNDOCUMENTED YOU DON'T HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS A U.S. CITIZEN. ARIZONA PASSED A PROPOSITION CALLED 300 THAT SAID PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO COULD NOT SHOW THEY HAD LEGAL STATUS HAD TO PAY OUT OF STATE TUITION. IT DIDN'T MATTER IF I HAD EARNED THAT SCHOLARSHIP OR IF I HAD COMMUNITY SERVICE OR IF I HAD THE GRADES. THEY WERE GOING TO TAKE AWAY THOSE SCHOLARSHIPS. THAT IS STILL HAPPENING TODAY. TODAY LIKE THREE WEEKS AGO WE SAW A DACA STUDENT WHO HAD THE SAME SITUATION AS ME AND HIS SCHOLARSHIP WAS TAKEN AWAY BECAUSE HE ONLY HAS DACA. WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ADVANCE IMMIGRATION ISSUES BUT NOT ABLE TO SOLVE THEM DUE TO OUR DYSFUNCTIONAL CONGRESS THAT CANNOT WORK TOGETHER TO HAVE COMMON SENSE SOLUTIONS. NOT JUST FOR IMMIGRATION BUT FOR EVERYTHING ELSE.

JOSE: THE FIGHT GOES ON. AND ONE OF THE IMPORTANT FACTORS IN WINNING IS GOING TO BE THE VOTE. WE WANT TO SHOW A PICTURE YOU HAVE AT YOUR CITIZENSHIP CEREMONY THAT WAS LAST MONDAY.

DULCE MATUZ: THE FIRST THING I DID WHEN I WALKED OUT OF THE CEREMONY WAS TO REGISTER TO VOTE. I BELIEVE IT IS ONE OF THE MOST DECORATED VALUES IN AMERICA.

JOSE: WHAT ABOUT THE SWEARING IN CEREMONY?

DULCE MATUZ: IT WAS AN EMOTIONAL MOMENT. IT WAS A JOURNEY FOR 16 YEARS. I HAVE A VERY UNIQUE SITUATION AND BECAUSE I AM PRIVILEGED TO HAVE A HUSBAND WHO IS A U.S. CITIZEN AND I ENTERED THE COUNTRY WITH A VISA I WAS ABLE TO GET TO THAT MOMENT. ON MONDAY TO BE ABLE TO BE SWORN IN, IT TOOK 16 YEARS, BUT IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT AND I DON'T REGRET ANY OF IT.

JOSE: THE FIRST THING YOU DID WAS REGISTER TO VOTE. WE SHOWED THAT VIDEO WHILE YOU WERE TALKING. WHAT ARE YOU DOING BOTH TO ADVANCE THE FIGHT FOR DREAMERS WE WERE TALKING ABOUT JUST A MOMENT AGO AND GETTING OUT THERE?

DULCE MATUZ: FOR YEARS I WAS ONLY ABLE TO TALK TO PEOPLE TO MOTIVATE THEM TO REGISTER TO VOTE AND BE THE VOICE FOR UNDOCUMENTED YOUTH. TODAY I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE ON NOVEMBER 8TH AND I WANT TO CHALLENGE THE INDIVIDUALS. THERE ARE 417,000 LATINO ELIGIBLE VOTERS WHO ARE NOT REGISTERED HERE IN ARIZONA. I WANT TO CHALLENGE THEM TO REGISTER TO VOTE, TO PARTICIPATE, AND TO SHOW UP BECAUSE THE LATINO VOTE HAS A LOT OF POTENTIAL. WE HAVE KEY RACES WE HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LOCALLY LIKE TAKING YOUR PILE OUT OF OFFICE. LIKE THE SENATE RACE BETWEEN MCCAIN AND KIRKPATRICK AND OBVIOUSLY THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE. WE CANNOT ALLOW CANDIDATES TO DISRESPECT WOMEN, DISRESPECT IMMIGRANTS, AND TO TALK ABOUT BUILDING WALLS. WE SHOULD BE A COUNTRY THAT CELEBRATES DIVERSITY, THAT CELEBRATES IMMIGRANTS BECAUSE IMMIGRANTS IS WHAT MAKES THIS COUNTRY GREAT.

JOSE: WHEN YOU GO OUT AND TALK TO PEOPLE, THE 417,000 ELIGIBLE LATINO VOTERS, WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE ARE YOU GETTING? ARE THEY WILLING TO PARTICIPATE?

DULCE MATUZ: WE HAVE A LOT OF MOMENTUM. JUST LAST WEEK WE WERE ABLE TO REACH OUR GOAL OF 80,000 REGISTERED LATINO VOTERS AND BECAUSE WE SURPASSED THAT GOAL NOW IT IS 120,000. I AM A VOLUNTEER WITH THE ARIZONA DREAMER COALITION BUT THIS WAS A COLLECTIVE EFFORT THROUGH THE ONE ARIZONA TABLE WHERE IMMIGRANT RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS GOT TOGETHER TO SAY ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND TO BE ABLE TO HOLD OUR POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE AND I WANT TO ONCE AGAIN CHALLENGE EVERYONE THAT I KNOW IT IS HARD TO GET MOTIVATED WHEN ELECTIONS COME IN BECAUSE WE HAVE A POLITICAL SYSTEM THAT IS DYSFUNCTIONAL, TOO. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU SEE REPUBLICANS WHO ARE CONSTANTLY ALIENTATING THE LATINO VOTE AND ATTACKING LATINOS. IT IS VERY DISCOURAGING. AT THE SAME TIME, IT SEEMS LIKE WE DON'T HAVE AN OPTION. WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT DOESN'T HAVE A STRONG BACKBONE TO THE LATINO COMMUNITY AND WE DON'T HAVE REAL HEROES. IF YOU ASK ME, I BELIEVE IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT SHOWING UP ON NOVEMBER 8TH BUT IT IS ABOUT HOLDING POLITICIANS ACCOUNTABLE, IT IS ABOUT PARTICIPATING EVERY DAY. AND I KNOW THE POSITIVE CHANGE DOESN'T COME FROM POLITICIANS BUT IT COMES FROM ORDINARY PEOPLE DOING EXTRAORDINARY THINGS EVERY DAY.

JOSE: WE TALK EVERY ELECTION CYCLE ABOUT THE LATINO VOTE AND WE WILL SEE IF IT HAPPENS THIS TIME AROUND. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON HORIZONTE.

DULCE MATUZ: THANK YOU.

Dulce Matuz: immigrant rights activist

New DREAM Act proposal for young immigrants

Boys Hope Girls Hope supports low income, academically capable students

Florence Project provides free legal services in immigration cases

Arpaio criminal contempt hearing scheduled

AARP health care survey highlights concerts over cost, coverage

Protecting taxpayers from bad economic policy

Arizona Town Hall: Government Revenue

Black Theatre Troupe fosters young talent

FWD.us

State of Latino Arizona

Grant to Help Families Find Jobs

Hispanic Owned Businesses

Plaza de las Culturas

Sounds of Cultura (SOC): "Pasado, Presente, Futuro"

Grant to Support Health Care Programs for Former Inmates

Arizona Healthy Working Families Initiative

United States Supreme Court Immigration Ruling

Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)

Career and Technical Education Funding

AARP Experience Corps

test

Test

Test new

Test

Test Segment

Test run

Grants to Help Families Find Jobs

Illustration of columns of a capitol building with text reading: Arizona PBS AZ Votes 2024

Arizona PBS presents candidate debates

Three main characters from mystery shows premiering this summer

It’s the Summer of Mystery!

Graphic with the words
airs July 19

Psyche mission

Former President Donald Trump

Republican National Convention: Four nights of coverage

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: