Valley activist becomes an American citizen

140 people can now call themselves Americans after a naturalization ceremony at Trevor Browne High School and you may actually recognize one our newest citizens. She's an Arizona activist who was once called one of the most influential people in the

- After living in the United States for 17 years, Dulce Matuz, along with more than 100 others, are all becoming citizens.

"I'm 32-years-old and this is going to be the first years I'm going to get to vote and I'm very excited about that," she said.

That privilege comes after years of living undocumented. When Dulce was 15, she followed her mother from Hermosillo, Mexico to Arizona. The plan was to leave once Dulce's mom earned enough money, but after excelling academically at Carl Hayden High School, she decided to stay and go to ASU.

"I got an engineering degree and I thought that being bilingual and being an engineer, I should be able to earn a job and every time I asked, they told me it was impossible," she said. "I had a choice. I had to decide between self-deporting and work as an engineer in any other country or stay and fight for the Dream Act."

Dulce picked the latter, became co-founder of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition and has fought publicly for the rights she believes young immigrants deserve, like in-state tuition and a driver's license.

After all of the national recognition, including her place as one of Time Magazine's most influential people in 2012, Dulce is a new American citizen with a message that she hopes will resonate.

"I know there's 417,000 unregistered Latino voters here in Arizona and I want to challenge them to register to vote by the deadline of October 10th," she said. "I'm going to register today and I hope they follow my example." 


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