Julian Zatarain, 21, won an appointment to the parks and recreation commission, while Francisco Medina, 29, was appointed to the health and education commission by Huntington Park Councilman Jhonny Pineda.
“I am proud to appoint both Julian and Francisco to the Parks and Recreation Commission and Health and Education Commission, respectively,“ Pineda said in a news release announcing the appointments. “Huntington Park is a city of opportunity and a city of hope for all individuals regardless of socioeconomic status, race, creed, or in this case, citizenship. Both these gentlemen have accomplished a great deal for the city.”
The two Huntington Park residents did not meet the
requirements set forth in President Barack Obama’s Executive Order of Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals, according to Pineda. And although they cannot
vote in elections or run for an elected office, a city ordinance allows them to
serve on the city commission provided they do it on a volunteer basis and don’t
get paid, according to the Los Angeles Times and Pineda.
As such, the pair will not receive a stipend, which can range from $25 to $75 a month, the Times reported.
“The City Council appointed someone – not because they
undocumented or not – but because the background was really good for the
position,” Zatarain said after his appointment was announced at the meeting.
“So that means that we’re doing something good, that means that we’re moving
forward. We’re becoming a more progressive society.”
Zatarain arrived in the U.S. in September of 2007, and initially lived in South Los Angeles before his family moved to Huntington Park. He graduated from Huntington Park High School, attending public school on taxpayer expense.