Feb 5, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: DACA recipient resigns from Biden administration, runs for office

Cynthia Nava

Courtesy of Cindy Nava.

One of the first former DACA recipients to receive a White House presidential appointment, will run for state Senate in New Mexico.

Why it matters: Cindy Nava, a once-undocumented immigrant from Mexico who worked without pay in the New Mexico Legislature for a decade, could become one of the first former DACA recipients to win an election.

Driving the news: Cindy Nava tells Axios she is running for state senate in her home state.

  • She stepped down from her position as the senior policy adviser to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary.

What they're saying: "New Mexico needs our own version of The American Dream—a state where every child gets a world-class education," Nava said in a statement.

  • "As someone who was undocumented, I know these building blocks must be in place to create success."

Details: Born in Chihuahua, Mexico, Nava was brought to New Mexico as a child and grew up in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

  • She got involved in politics immediately after high school and worked in the New Mexico Statehouse on behalf of Democratic lawmakers. She couldn't get paid because she was undocumented.
  • She eventually enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and became a U.S. citizen through marriage.

Zoom in: Working for state lawmakers exposed her to housing issues in New Mexico, one of the poorest states in the nation.

  • Nava said images of the Navajo Nation's lack of electricity and no adequate plumbing in some border communities will help shape her policy with HUD.

Between the lines: Nava is one of a handful of DREAMers that Democrats have been preparing for elected office through various training programs.

Go deeper