5 Latino Moments From Last Night's State of the Union

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When President Barack Obama gave his state of the union speech on Tuesday night, Latinos played a role in the event, whether it was POTUS’s mention of immigration reform or the key (and surprising!) Latinos in the audience. Here are five Latino moments from last night's state of the union. 

1. Homeless student Samantha Garvey attends the speech

The Salvadoran American teen who made headlines as a homeless semi-finalist for a prestigious science prize and then went on Ellen and received a $50,000 scholarship from AT&T, visited lawmakers in Washington during the day and sat in the gallery as President Obama gave his speech, as a guest of Long Island Congressman Steve Israel.

2. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro sits with the First Lady

The most high-profile Latino sitting in Michelle Obama’s box was the 39-year-old mayor of Texas’ second-biggest city, which has turned into an economic powerhouse. Castro is a rising Democratic star who is being touted as a possible challenger to Gov. Rick Perry in 2014.

3. Obama asks for renewed DREAM Act legislation

Obama essentially gave up on pursuing comprehensive immigration reform this year, saying “We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now. But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let’s at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away.”

4. Former illegal immigrant sits in Michelle Obama’s box

Mexican-born Juan Jose Redín came to the U.S. illegally with his mother and younger sister at age 10. He later benefited from California’s Assembly Bill 540 (California’s version of the DREAM Act, which awarded in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants) and attended UCLA, graduating with honors and earning a law degree there. He is now a citizen and a practicing attorney. 

5. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco delivers the Republicans’ Spanish-language speech response

The San Antonio Republican congressman talked about spending cuts and lower taxes in a video.

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Damarys Ocaña Perez,

Damarys Ocaña Perez is Director of Editorial Content at Latina Media Ventures. She leads its magazine, Latina, the pre-eminent beauty, fashion, culture and lifestyle magazine for acculturated U.S. Hispanic women and is responsible for maintaining Latina’s voice, vision and mission across all LMV platforms. Born in Havana and raised in Miami, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

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