Telemundo Denver journalist Maria Rozman was one of four Hispanic journalists from around the country invited to the White House Tuesday for interviews with President Barack Obama, who's pushing passage of a bipartisan immigration-reform bill, passed by the U.S. Senate but stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Rozman told me she got the White House invitation "out of the blue" via a call on her cellphone on Friday evening.
"I said 'yes' immediately," she told me, "without knowing for sure that it wasn't a prank. I was looking at the time, because I had to be on-air for my newscast. I said, 'yes, sure thing, can you send me an email.'"
Rozman, an anchor for Spanish-language Telemundo Denver, was on a plane Monday and spent all day Tuesday in the White House for briefings, tours, and the five-minute one-on-one interview.
Rozman said the White House didn't screen her questions for Obama on immigration reform, and she focused, in part, on gauging Obama's commitment to offering America's 11 million undocumented immigrants a "path to citizenship."
Top House Republicans are opposed to the citizenship component of the immigration-reform bill, leaving them at odds with both the Senate and the President:
It does not make sense to me, if we're going to make this once-in-a-generation effort to finally fix the system, to leave the status of 11 million people so unresolved. And certainly for us to have two classes of people in this country, full citizens and people who are assigned to a lower status, I think that's not who we are as Americans. That's never been in our tradition.
Rozman told me that during her day at the White House, she had access to parts of White House that are normally off limits to reporters and visitors alike.
Thus, she was on the White House lawn when an armed and shirtless intruder prompted a massive security response.
"Police were everywhere," Rozman said. "I was just hoping it wasn't one of those movies."
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