Miami high school valedictorian avoids deportation
A high school valedictorian and her sister in Florida, who faced impending deportation, will be able to remain in the United States for at least two more years, according to The Miami Herald.
North Miami Senior High School student Daniela Pelaez, 18, and her sister were granted a reprieve by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) days after a federal judge ordered them to leave the country by the end of March. Pelaez came to the United States at age four with her parents, as they overstayed their tourist visa.
Pelaez’s brother serves for the U.S. Army and became a U.S. citizen, while her mother is stuck in Columbia after returning for colon cancer treatment in 2006. Pelaez’s father received residency papers through her brother.
The decision prompted Pelaez’s school of almost 2,600 students to protest in support of her last Friday while she stayed indoors.
“I just want everyone to understand that it’s not only about me, ” Pelaez told NBC Miami. “It’s not only Daniela, I’m just a face in front of a million other kids just like me.”
ICE spokesperson Nestor Yglesias explained the decision to grant the two girls a reprieve, citing that the agency “exercises prosecutorial discretion, on a case by case basis.”
Pelaez and her sister traveled to Washington D.C. Wednesday morning to discuss their future and immigration with Senator Marco Rubio (R).
WATCH: Video from NBC Miami, which was broadcast on March 6, 2012.