Undocumented Valedictorian

Undocumented Valedictorian Part II:

Valedictorian Reveals Status in Tweet

Mayte Lara Ibarra did not reveal her undocumented immigrant status in her valedictorian speech to her Texas high school. However, she sent a Tweet that announced herself as undocumented. Her Tweet celebrated her academic success: GPA, APs, honorariums, and full scholarship to the University of Texas (and a mention of her physical beauty).

She has received a social media avalanche – an outpouring of support and congratulations and vitriol and hatred. The University of Texas does not discriminate by resident status, so her academic scholarship remains in tack.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide the DACA/DAPA case (U.S. v. Texas) by the end of the month. Its ruling will have ramifications for millions of undocumented individuals in the United States.

Undocumented Valedictorian

Undocumented Valedictorian:

TX Valedictorian Reveals Undocumented Status During Speech

Larissa Martinez graduated from her Texas high school with a 4.95 GPA, 17 AP classes, and is receiving a full scholarship to Yale. During her valedictorian speech, she revealed that she is an undocumented immigrant. Her mother escaped with Larissa and her sister to the United States to escape her abusive alcoholic father. You can watch her speech here.

“I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States,” said Larissa Martinez, the valedictorian at McKinney Boyd High School in McKinney, Texas during her June 3rd address to the 2016 graduating class. “I decided to stand before you today and reveal these unexpected realities, because this might be my only chance to convey the truth to all of you that undocumented immigrants are people too.”

The Supreme Court is expected to decide the DAPA/DACA case (U.S. v. Texas) by the end of the month. Its ruling will have serious ramifications for millions of undocumented individuals in the United States.

Another Border Surge

Border Surge: Increase of Central Americans Seeking Asylum at US Border

Another surge of migrants is occurring at the United States border. The United States witnessed a tremendous surge in the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border into the United States in the summer of 2014. The majority of these minor unaccompanied children came from Southern American countries that are beleaguered by violence, gang warfare, and lawlessness.

The article notes that the US is making extra efforts to discourage “irregular” migration. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson made a trip to Central American countries to warn people that the United States is not welcoming to it. A public relations campaign is underway in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to discourage future asylum seekers from entering the country. That is in addition to the detention centers that the government houses migrants in, which have received attention for subpar conditions.

Asylum is a difficult proposition for the majority of recent Central American arrivals, whose claims are often based on gangs. The US stresses that its message is “Don’t come. If you do and your asylum claims are denied, we will remove you.”

Deportation Raids Are Back

The Raids Are Back

Reuters is reporting that US immigration officials are planning for sweeping deportation raids in May and June. The target is Central America mothers and children who unlawfully crossed the border and have an order of removal against them. Their planned raids are expected to be more comprehensive than their raids in January, which received attention.

Refugee and Asylum Statistics

Refugee and Asylum Report for 2014

The Office of Immigration Statistics for the Department of Homeland Security released information on the Refugee and Asylum programs for 2014. Here are some highlights:

  • 69,975 people were admitted as refugees. Iraq, Burma, Somalia, and Bhutan were the leading countries of nationality. 74% of all refugees came from those four countries. The refugee cap was 70,000 for the year.
  • 23,533 people were granted asylum. DHS granted asylum to 14,758 of them. The Executive Office for Immigration Review granted asylum to the remaining 8,775 people.
  • 55% of admitted refugees live in ten states. Texas, California, New York, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Illinois are the states in order of highest number of arriving refugees.
  • China, Egypt, Syria, and Ethiopia had the most granted asylum cases. China accounted for over a third of all asylum grants. Mexico was number 7, Haiti was number 9, Guatemala was number 10.
  • 47% of those individuals granted asylum in 2014 reside in California.