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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
  • 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

SHARE
  • 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

COVID-19: Infections Spike in Russia, Brazil, India as Lockdown Eases

Countries have eased lockdowns worldwide in order to restart their economies

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Brazil
COVID-19 patients are treated inside a municipal field hospital Gilberto Novaes in Manaus, Brazil, that has become the world's third worst-hit county with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing, May 18, 2020. VOA
Coronavirus cases are spiking from India to South Africa and Mexico in a clear indication the pandemic is far from over, while Russia and Brazil now sit behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, according to COVID-19 Information & Resources.

The surges come as much of Asia, Europe and scores of U.S. states have been easing lockdowns to restart their economies as new infections wane. U.S. autoworkers, French teachers and Thai mall workers are among hundreds of thousands of employees back at work with new safety precautions.

Russia reported a steady rise in new infections Tuesday, and new hot spots have emerged across the nation of about 147 million. Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Authorities say over 2,800 people with COVID-19 have died in Russia, a figure some say is surely higher.

Some experts argue Russian authorities have been listing chronic illnesses as the cause of death for many who tested positive for the virus. Officials angrily deny manipulating statistics, saying Russia’s low death toll reflects early preventive measures and broad screening. Nearly 7.4 million tests have been conducted.

In Russia’s second-largest city of St. Petersburg, a virus hot spot, all burials now must be with closed coffins as a precaution, irrespective of the cause of death. Previously the measure applied only to COVID-19 deaths.

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Russia registered nearly 9,300 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to almost 300,000 infections, about half of them in Moscow. Pixabay

Russia’s caseload is second only to that of the U.S., which has seen 1.5 million infections and over 90,000 deaths. The country’s prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, resumed work Tuesday after a bout of coronavirus.

Cases are still rising across Africa, where all 54 nations have seen confirmed infections for a total of over 88,000 cases and 2,800 deaths, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa has the highest number of cases at over 16,400 and nearly 290 deaths. Infections have increased dramatically in Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape province, which now accounts for 61% of South Africa’s total.

Latin America has seen more than 480,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and about 31,000 dead. The highest number of cases is in Brazil, which became the world’s third worst-hit county Monday with more than 250,000 infections despite limited testing. Hospital officials reported that more than 85% of intensive care beds are occupied in the states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Some countries have seen encouraging signs reverse: Iran reported a steady drop in new infections through April, only to see them rise again in May.

But there is new hope after an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus yielded encouraging results, though in a small and extremely early test. Stocks rallied Monday on the news.

In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease and his own administration has warned it should be administered only in a hospital or research setting because of potentially fatal side effects.

face-mask brazil USA
In a surprise announcement, President Donald Trump said he has been taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the virus even though scientists say there is no evidence of its effectiveness against the disease. Pixabay

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin has declared that a partial economic shutdown imposed in late March helped slow the outbreak and prevented the nation’s health care system from being overwhelmed. A week ago, he ended the nationwide lockdown.

He has given Russia’s 85 regions a free hand to determine how they will ease their own lockdowns, but some have been struggling. The mostly Muslim southern province of Dagestan has reported a spike in infections that left its hospitals overflowing.

In India, coronavirus cases surged past 100,000, and infections are rising in the home states of migrant workers who fled cities and towns during a nationwide lockdown when they lost their jobs.
India is now seeing more than 4,000 new cases daily. States including West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Gujarat, the major contributors of India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. More than 3,100 with COVID-19 have died, according to India’s Health Ministry.

And in densely populated Bangladesh, where authorities reported a record number of new positive tests at over 1,600, thousands of cars were on the streets of the capital, Dhaka, despite a lockdown. Authorities have relaxed some rules and allowed shops to open ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

In Latin America, intensive care units in the Chilean capital of Santiago have been beyond 90% capacity for days, and officials warned that intensive care staff members are reaching their limits.

“They can’t keep going forever, no matter how many beds or ventilators there are,” said Claudio Castillo, a professor of public policy and health at the University of Santiago.

Infections are also increasing in poor areas of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, where authorities relaxed strict lockdown measures last week, allowing some businesses to open and children to walk outside on weekends.

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India’s migrant labor, are showing major spikes in infections as the country’s lockdown rules have eased. Pixabay

Colombia struggled with an outbreak in Leticia, a city on the border with Brazil, where hospitals were overwhelmed and patients were being sent to commandeered hotels. Colombia has recorded about 16,300 confirmed cases and close to 600 dead.

In Europe and in the United States, which has seen 36 million Americans file for unemployment, economic concerns dominated the political landscape.

Unemployment claims in Britain jumped 69% in April, the government reported Tuesday. European car sales collapsed by an unprecedented 76% last month.

Also Read: These Books Can Drive Boredom Away in Lockdown 4.0

An experimental vaccine by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Moderna Inc. triggered hoped-for immune responses in eight healthy, middle-aged volunteers. They were found to have antibodies similar to those seen in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Much bigger studies on the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness are planned. Worldwide, about a dozen vaccine candidates are in or near the first stages of testing.

More than 4.8 million people worldwide have been infected and over 318,000 deaths have been recorded, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts believe is too low for several reasons. (VOA)

Next Story

People With “No Access” To Clean Water in Mexico Face Challenges Due To Coronavirus

Acutely aware of the dangers of the highly contagious virus that has infected over 11,600 people and killed 1,069 in Mexico  

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Mexico
Acutely aware of the dangers of the highly contagious virus that has infected over 11,600 people and killed 1,069 in Mexico.

By Kashish Rai

The Coronavirus pandemic has stricken the whole world by all means. Therefore, grappling with this largest public health crisis, health authorities in Mexico are trying to stem a growing number of new coronavirus infections by repeatedly urging people to wash their hands.

However, that’s not so easy for those who live in poverty and don’t have access to clean water.

Know More in this Video:

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Acutely aware of the dangers of the highly contagious virus that has infected over 11,600 people and killed 1,069 in Mexico.

 

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When Oil Crisis Meets Pandemic: The Unfortunate Position Of Texas At The Intersection

The impact of coronavirus has been felt across the nation, but for those states whose economic well-being is also tied to the oil industry like Texas, the blow is even greater

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Coronavirus
The impact of coronavirus has been felt across the nation, but for those states whose economic well-being is also tied to the oil industry like Texas, the blow is even greater. Pixabay

Over 6.6 million Americans lost their jobs in the first week of April due to the impact of coronavirus. In Texas, 51,000 jobs were lost in March, which is the largest decline in a single month since the Great Recession. Texas has been hit doubly hard by current events, with the crashing oil market meeting the loss of a large number of jobs in the service and hospitality industries.

Oil Market Flooded While Demand Dropped

US oil prices dipped into negative figures for the first time earlier this month due to the drop in demand for fuel. This makes it impossible for producers in Texas to make money. Kenny Istre, vice president of a machine shop in Houston, recounted customers withdrawing their orders for drilling equipment even before oil prices plummeted. Mr. Istre saw the majority of his workforce confined to their homes amidst lockdown restrictions at the same time as the oil-supply surged. “This is like a double whammy,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “They were canceling flights every day, and now people aren’t driving to work. The market is going to be flooded with oil.”

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Job Losses Across All Sectors

Meanwhile, unemployment benefits claims in Texas increased by 259,652 in the last two weeks of March, with job losses felt in businesses ranging from health care to transport, oil and gas, the hospitality sector and real estate. Houston employers reported that the local economy lost 18,200 more jobs in March than it had in February as lockdown orders forced businesses to close. Unemployment hits the individual hard, but the impact will also be felt by business owners. Texas is unique in that it doesn’t require businesses to have worker’s compensation insurance. However, employers who elected to have Texas worker’s comp insurance will be glad they took it out, as many insurance providers are helping businesses soften the blow while their operations are at a standstill. 

Refinery, Pump, Oil Pump, Industry, Oil Rig, Gas, Fuel
Texas has been hit doubly hard by current events, with the crashing oil market meeting the loss of a large number of jobs in the service and hospitality industries. Pixabay

The Double-Whammy

The growth of the Texan economy has been intrinsically linked with oil since the early 1900s. This has afforded the state much prosperity, but it means it’s vulnerable to the state of the oil market. Previous blows have been cushioned by economic diversity, but with so many industries ground to a halt, the situation is much starker this time. The impact on the job market is predicted to be 0.5-1% worse in Texas than in other states due to its role in energy production.

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The impact of coronavirus has been felt across the nation, but for those states whose economic well-being is also tied to the oil industry like Texas, the blow is even greater. While everything will be done to get the economy back on its feet as the pandemic slows, it’s clear that its impact will be felt for a long time.

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