Tuesday April 24, 2018
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How In Texas, Two Undocumented Immigrants from Mexico became Valedictorians

Yale and the University of Texas have issued statements saying the young women's scholarships are not in jeopardy

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Welcome to Texas Sign. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • Martinez said her family applied for citizenship shortly after arriving in the U.S. and have been waiting since then for their application to be processed
  • Two high school valedictorians in the southern U.S. state of Texas have revealed they are undocumented immigrants from Mexico.
  • The Yale-bound student said what is often overlooked in the immigrant debate is “the fact that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise are people, too

Two high school valedictorians in the southern U.S. state of Texas have revealed they are undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

Both have received college scholarships – one to Yale, the other to the University of Texas.

Larissa Martinez came to the United States in 2010 with her mother and sister, she said, to escape from her alcoholic and abusive father. The three now live in a one-bedroom apartment in McKinley, Texas.

“I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows,” the teenager said in her address to her fellow graduates who did not know about her status.

The Yale-bound student said what is often overlooked in the immigrant debate is “the fact that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise are people, too…. People with dreams, aspirations, hopes and loved ones.  People like me.”

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Martinez also took a swipe at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who has said if he becomes president he will build a wall between the United States and Mexico to keep out Mexicans.  He has characterized such migrants as criminals and rapists.

“America can be great again without the construction of a wall built on hatred and prejudice,” Martinez said in her address to her classmates.

Martinez said her family applied for citizenship shortly after arriving in the U.S. and have been waiting since then for their application to be processed.

Unlike Martinez, another valedictorian, this time in Austin, Texas, waited until after her speech to reveal her undocumented status.

Militia Groups Called to Texas Border to Halt Invasion of Illegal Immigrants. Image source: www.dcclothesline.com
Militia Groups Called to Texas Border to Halt Invasion of Illegal Immigrants. Image source: www.dcclothesline.com

Mayte Lara Ibarra shared the information in a tweet:  ” Valedictorian, 4.5 GPA, full tuition paid for at UT…nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented.”

Ibarra says she came to the U.S. from Mexico illegally when she was about two years old, but has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows children in the U.S. illegally to request deportation deferral. DACA does not, however, provide a path to citizenship, but does allow people to work and receive Social Security cards.

She has received a lot of criticism because she included a Mexican flag in her tweet about her status.

She told The Statesman newspaper “The only reason I used that emoji was to show that I’m proud of my heritage and to show that we can do great things.”

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“The reason I posted that tweet was to show others that you can accomplish anything, regardless of the obstacles you have in front of you,” she told The Statesman.

Both students have received encouragement and criticism on social media.  Some people believe the teenagers are breaking the law and prohibiting an American student from attending college.  Others have praised the students’ hard work.

Yale and the University of Texas have issued statements saying the young women’s scholarships are not in jeopardy. (VOA)

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  • AJ Krish

    The struggle faced by immigrants is hardly noticed.Overcoming all the challenges ,these students have indeed shown true determination. The stand of US government on undocumented immigrants must be changed. It was good to hear that even after all the trouble ,their scholarships are not in jeopardy.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It was good to hear that their scholarships are safe

  • AJ Krish

    The struggle faced by immigrants is hardly noticed.Overcoming all the challenges ,these students have indeed shown true determination. The stand of US government on undocumented immigrants must be changed. It was good to hear that even after all the trouble ,their scholarships are not in jeopardy.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It was good to hear that their scholarships are safe

Next Story

Fast Food Habits of Americans

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Americans include fast food in their daily food habits.
Fast Food. Pixabay

It’s no secret that Americans have a taste for fast food. In fact, almost one in four Americans eats it daily, according to a report from CBS News. However, the amount of fast food consumed varies depending on the region, according to a new report from Texas-based Datafiniti, which broke down some of the data about Americans fast food habit.

For example, the central and southern states boast the highest concentrations of fast food restaurants per capita, with Alabama as the state with the most. The northeastern states have the fewest and are led by Vermont, New Jersey and New York.

“The Central region, at 4.5 fast food restaurants per 10K residents, has the highest number of fast food restaurants per capita,” the company wrote in a news release. “The South is close behind with 4.4. The Eastern region has the fewest with just 2.5 fast food restaurants per 10K residents.”

Alabama has 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents, the most of any state. Of the top 10 states, nine were in the South. Nebraska and Indiana were the only non-southern states in the top 10 with 5.4 and 5 restaurants per 10,000 residents respectively.

Vermont, for example, has only 1.9 fast-food restaurants per 10,000 residents. Orlando, Cincinnati and Las Vegas boast the highest number of fast food restaurants per capita, with New York having the fewest. California has four cities among the top 10, with the fewest restaurants.

McDonald’s, which is the second largest chain of fast food restaurants, can be found in every American city, and Orlando and Las Vegas have the most per capita with 20.9 and 13.9 McDonald’s per 100,000 residents.

What is the largest fast-food chain? Subway, which has 18.5 percent of all fast food restaurants. McDonald’s has 11.3 percent. Behind them, in third, is Burger King, which has 5.7 percent.

Also Read: STUDY – Americans Online Almost Everytime

“Southern and Central states are the place to go if you love fast food; head to the East or out West if you don’t,” Datafiniti wrote. “Southern cities have abundant options for fast food, particularly in Florida; head to California if you don’t want to eat on the go.

“As for McDonald’s, it appears that this major restaurant chain has spread to every corner of America. Head to California if you don’t like the golden arches, and head basically anywhere else if you do.”  VOA