This week, we feature another outstanding 2016 graduate, Larissa Martinez, a hard-working valedictorian in Texas who is headed to Yale University in the fall. As the New York Post reports in this uplifting video of her speech, she used the podium “to announce her status as an ‘undocumented’ immigrant, causing a larger reaction than she ever could have anticipated.”
Another valedictorian from Texas, Lara Ibarra, drew attention by tweeting about her accomplishments and undocumented status. In a statement to Buzzfeed, she wrote: “I tweeted that to highlight my achievements and show people that you can accomplish anything, no matter where you come from or what you’re seen as, and whatever obstacles you have in front of you.” She continued, “I want people to know that there’s thousands of students like myself, and all we want is to continue our education to make a positive impact in our community. I’m grateful for all the support I’ve received these last couple of days; it’s definitely helped deal with all the negative comments.”
Continuing on the topic of impressive students, listen to this KQED report on Yuriana Aguilar, the first undocumented student to get a doctorate at University of California Merced. Aguilar is a researcher in the school’s biomedical lab, where she looks at mouse hearts to figure out what occurs in the human heart immediately before sudden cardiac death—which kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.
So why is immigration such a complicated, heated issue? See this Washington Post “The Fix” video explainer on the politics surrounding the immigration debate and why it matters in the 2016 election.
In case you missed it:
Check out this week’s “Reason for Reform” feature on Abe Miller, co-owner of an apparel embroidery and design business in Cleveland, Ohio. He supports immigration reform because he feels a connection between his largely Chinese workforce and his own immigrant grandparents who came to the United States from Eastern Europe.