Redmond teen confronts U.S. House Speaker at DC diner
REDMOND, Wash. - A Redmond teenager was at the nation's capital last week to meet with civil rights veterans and advocate for the immigration reform vote, but confronting House Speaker John Boehner at a Capitol Hill diner wasn't exactly on the agenda.
"When we saw him walk in it was kind of a shock," said Jenni Martinez who went to the diner after learning it's the lawmaker's favorite breakfast spot.
A video of the brief encounter was later posted on social media. The video shows Martinez and a 13-year-old girl from California sharing their personal stories with Boehner.
"When I was 12-years-old I left my Dad at an airport in Mexico - not knowing if I'd ever see him again," Martinez told Boehner.
Martinez, who is the daughter of two undocumented immigrants, said the goal was to humanize the immigration reform movement and show politicians how current laws affect the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
"It's not just an immigration status that we're wrangling with here," said Martinez. "It's families being separated. It's children growing up without their parents. It's living with the fear of deportation."
Boehner told the teens, "I've made it clear since the day after the election it's time to get this done." When the California teen asked if they can count on his vote for immigration reform Boehner responded, "I will try to find a way to move it forward."
Despite his word at the diner, Speaker Boehner said later that day he has no intention of going to conference on the Senate immigration reform bill.
"I've learned not to put all my eggs in one basket, so while I was hoping for the best I was prepared for whatever was to come," said Martinez who returned home to Redmond on Friday and is now motivated more than ever to keep moving forward on immigration reform.
"We're not going to stop. If anything - this talk with Speaker Boehner - it's made me more committed to this. It's fueled my fire," Martinez said.
Rep. Suzan Delbene contacted Martinez after she learned about the teen's encounter with Boehner then invited her to a meeting.