If you’re looking for a counter-example to Donald Trump’s assertion that Mexico only sends people who have “a lot of problems” to the United States, look no further than Larissa Martinez.
Martinez, who moved to the United States from Mexico City in 2010, is the valedictorian of her high-school class. She is also, as she revealed during her graduation ceremony speech, an undocumented immigrant.
During her speech, she sought to dismiss any notion that being valedictorian means she’s someone who has always had her life together. At the age of 11, she was still living in Mexico City with her abusive alcoholic father. One year later, she moved to McKinney, Tex. with her mother after entering the country through a tourist visa. In addition to the struggles that come to adapting to a new culture, Martinez said she also had to spend a lot of time helping raise her little sister while her mother worked all day.
It was after this that she revealed that she is “one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants who’s living in the shadows of the United States.” She said that she wanted to reveal this about herself to “convey the truth that undocumented immigrants are people too.”
After this, the auditorium burst into spontaneous applause.
Although she didn’t mention Donald Trump by name, she did forcefully challenge the premise of his campaign.
“America can be great again without the construction of a wall built on hatred and prejudice,” she said.
Check out the whole video below — Martinez’s speech starts at 21:53.