Cindy Nava, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, who was brought to the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area of New Mexico as a child, last month became a senior policy adviser to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In addition to his ongoing and fierce fight for civil rights, as well as Nava’s activism to expand opportunities for the Latino community, his arrival at the White House is particularly notable for being the first time in history that a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) receives a presidential nomination.
“When I was told I would be the first I was just in awe and filled with pride because this is so much bigger than me. This is a win for immigrant communities, this is a win for New Mexico, says Nava before officially taking office.
Congratulations to our graduate @CindyNavaSpeaks by becoming the first former DACA recipient in the United States to receive a presidential nomination for the White House!
She will serve as Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. @SecFudge. pic.twitter.com/MpGCylXDbE
— New American Leaders (@NewAmericanLd) July 8, 2022
Nava, who lived for many years in the country undocumented, even working without pay in the New Mexico Legislature for 10 years, maintained immigration status unbeknownst to many, even when she became a political analyst in that state.
In addition to feeling honored by the presidential nomination, Nava will seek from her new position to make a difference for all people in the nation who are living or have had similar experiences to hers.
Through a interview granted to AxiosNava pointed out that this position came after years of insecurity about his immigration status, his accent and “a nagging feeling of never feeling good enough despite his years of experience.”
I hope I can shed some light on those communities that are not making their voices heard at the highest levels. Dream big and pursue those goals. When we work together, that’s how we change systems.
It wasn’t until last year that Nava citizenship was granted, after decades of study in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and rising through the local political ranks. Thanks to the relationships established during these years, she managed to work on campaigns for important political figures, such as Senator Ben Ray Lujan.
The new Housing Counselor, a leader dedicated to changing systems through innovative and culturally competent engagement strategies, is an active public policy advocate, political and educational strategist, and TEDx speaker.
From an early age, her calling focused on advocating for public policies that expand access and opportunity to serve marginalized communities.
She became involved in politics right out of high school and served in the New Mexico House of Representatives to represent Democratic lawmakers. She eventually registered with DACA and became an American citizen after her marriage.
Nava is recognized as an advocate for immigrant rights, from her student years to becoming an active part of boards and service organizations, such as El Centro de La Raza, Youth Development Incorporated, ENLACE NM and the Mexican American National Association.
Through her work with state legislators, Nava learned firsthand about the various housing issues in New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the nation. There, she specifically pointed to the Navajo Nation’s lack of electricity and the lack of proper plumbing in some border communities, specific challenges she hopes to address with her policies at HUD.
“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve my country in this capacity. HUD is an agency charged with creating and implementing policies that directly impact the communities I represent and who have played a role fundamental to my success. Nava said.
DACA is a policy that protects approximately 800,000 young people known as “DREAMers” who entered the United States illegally as children. The program does not give them formal legal status, but it does allow them to apply for a driver’s license, social security number and work permit.