Thousands Protest HS Valedictorian Facing Deportation In Miami

North Miami Senior High gained national attention Friday when more than 2600 students and teachers walked out of class in the biggest immigration protest in South Florida since 2004.

Colombian sisters Daniela Pelaez, 18, and Dayana Pelaez, 24, were ordered by a judge to leave the country later this month after their request for a green card was denied.

When friends of the 18-year-old valedictorian found out the following morning they began publicizing her story through Facebook and other media outlets gaining the support of the school and teachers. Pelaez and her group of friends had expected the support of some 40 people, but soon realized they had just organized something much bigger.

Sen. Marco Rubio who graduated from that same high school voiced his support featured in the Miami Herald. “From what I’ve read in press accounts, the story of Daniela Pelaez is exactly the kind of case I have been talking about. It’s the kind of real life example I’ve discussed with many of my colleagues who agree that we should find a way to help talented kids like this.”

In a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, House Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R- FL, requested the appeal of the two sisters stating that:

“Daniela arrived to the United States at the age of 4 and has never left. She and her sister consider themselves American and they have hopes and dreams to continue living in the U.S. where they call home.”

The Miami Herald posted Sen. Bill Nelson letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano where he asks her to defer the deportation.

“Given that the chief missions of our immigration enforcement are national security, public safety and securing our borders, how is it we have the time and resources to target a high-school honor student like Daniela?”

Daniela is one of the 192,000 students in Florida that would benefit from the DREAM Act according to a petition letter from

ICE has apparently stopped any action on this case and the Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has stated his support for Pelaez by saying she will be leaving the country over his dead body.

[Photo By miamism]

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