San Jose Immigration Activist Joins Rep. Mike Honda at State of the Union - NBC Bay Area

San Jose Immigration Activist Joins Rep. Mike Honda at State of the Union

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    At President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, was joined by a Bay Area immigrant rights activist. Terry McSweeney reports. (Published Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015)

    At President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday in Washington, D.C., Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose, was joined by a Bay Area immigrant rights activist.

    Claudia Flores and her family moved to San Jose from Honduras when she was a teenager and she was able to stay in the U.S. under temporary legal protection by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, introduced by the White House in 2012, according to Honda's office.

    "I kept pinching myself and saying, 'Is this real?'" Flores said of attending the State of the Union during an interview with NBC Bay Area.

    DACA allows undocumented people living in the U.S. who were brought here as children to apply for deferred action on removal proceedings, or deportation. When granted, deferred action status allows them to remain in the U.S. and apply for employment authorization.

    Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

    Flores was a student at San Jose High School and Santa Clara University. She later interned with Honda's office in Washington, D.C., and joined the immigrant rights movement to advocate for many American families, including her own.

    She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and is a public policy fellow with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

    "I am in Washington, D.C., because I feel that I have a responsibility to serve as a voice for the millions of immigrants in my community who are simply asking for an opportunity to live their dreams," Flores said in a statement.

    A State of the Union viewing party was held at Santa Clara University, which drew 100 students in attendance.

    Flores added that she wished the president during his State of the Union address talk a little more about immigration.

    "I wouldn't say I was disappointed per se," she said. "I would just hope the president's actions continue to represent the words he used tonight and in the past."

    NBC Bay Area's Terry McSweeney contributed to this report.

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