Mesa DACA recipient receives Forbes honor

- An undocumented immigrant living in the East Valley has just joined the ranks of Mark Zuckerberg, and LeBron James.

Reyna Montoya, 26, as chosen as one of Forbes' "30 under 30", which is a collection of 600 rising stars and entrepreneurs in the country.

Montoya, who is from Mesa, has been recognized as one of the country's brightest young social entrepreneurs. She founded "Aliento", an outlet for undocumented immigrants to process the pain, anxiety, and trauma they experience through art.

"For me, it was really important to create a space where people can co-create a different future where they can imagine not only the bad things that happened to them, but really tap into their resiliency," said Montoya.

Montoya was born in Tijuana. Her family came to the United States to escape violence. Montoya has been here for 13 years, and has earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Arizona.

Montoya's future in the U.S., however, is uncertain. She is a DACA recipient, and her status expires in a year.

"So in one hand, you have these laws and policies preventing my success, and on the other hand, you have people like Forbes, they are really well known, recognizing not only my contribution but the immigrant contribution to the community here in the nation," said Montoya.

Montoya will be traveling to Washington, D.C. next week to meet with members of Congress about a permanent solution for DACA, and to fight for a path to citizenship.

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