Daniela Pelaez immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 4. Now a high school student, the 18-year-old is the valedictorian of North Miami High School and was recently at risk of deportation after a judge denied her green card. Pelaez’s family has been living in the U.S. with an expired tourist visa from 1998. Pelaez was recently granted a two-year reprieve and will face deportation again in 2014.
Her peers rallied against the ruling and formed an online petition, which was signed by thousands. According to the Miami Herald, the dedicated teens protested while chanting, “Justice for Daniela.” Their efforts helped.
Pelaez, who maintains a 6.7 GPA and hopes to attend an Ivy League school to become a surgeon, was granted a temporary two-year stay. "Two years is good, but it's not the goal," says her attorney, Nera Shefer. She adds that her client is "very happy she’s going to be able to finish high school and go into finals with a clear mind."
Many cases like Pelaez’s continue to multiple due to The Dream Act not being supported by Congress. The bill would legalize immigrants who have graduated from high school and hope to obtain a college education.
During an interview with NBC Miami, the teen said, "I've been asked the question before: 'Do I feel American?' or 'Do I believe I am?' and I don't think it's a question. I'm American. I know the national anthem. I know the laws. I know what it is to be an American."
What do you think about her case?