Erika Andiola, the young immigration activist who hit the headlines last week following the release of her tearful video chronicling the arrests of her brother and mother in an immigration raid in Phoenix, has been given the job of the new outreach director for freshman congresswoman Representative Kyrsten Sinema, who is known for her strong opposition to the Arizona attitude toward illegal immigration.
The hiring serves as recognition of Andiola’s connections to the Latino community and as a form of statement by Sinema, who delivered one of the most scathing criticisms of Arizona’s hotly debated immigration legislation as a state senator, engaging Russell Pearce, its primary sponsor, in debate on the Arizona House floor for several hours.
“She’s a phenomenally hard worker, she is organized and she has great experience organizing the community,” says Sinema. Andiola is also a citizen of the Ninth Congressional District, which is represented by Ms Sinema and also encompasses Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler and Tampa, as well as parts of Southern Phoenix.
The 25-year-old Erika Andiola crossed the border illegally when she was a child, and has used that experience to shape her advocacy, co-founding the Arizona Dream Act Coalition and staging protests outside of the offices of Senator John McCain and at the United States Capitol in order to push for immigration reform. Two months ago in November she was given a work permit thanks to a policy created by the Obama administration that gave her temporary protection from deportation.