March 7th, 2012
11:04 AM ET

Valedictorian facing deportation gets reprieve in Florida

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - A Florida high school valedictorian and her sister who were facing deportation will instead meet Wednesday in Washington with Sen. Marco Rubio, after being granted a reprieve.

An immigration judge ruled last week that Daniela Pelaez, 18, and her sister Dayana were to be deported for being in the country illegally.

But Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tuesday gave the sisters a two-year reprieve. The decision was made under the policy of prosecutorial discretion, which is designed to prioritize deportation for illegal crossers with a criminal record, instead of those who pose little or no risk.

"The agency exercises prosecutorial discretion, on a case by case basis, as necessary to focus resources on our stated priorities," ICE spokesman Nestor Yglesias said in a statement Wednesday.

The Pelaez sisters traveled to Washington to meet with Rubio.
The sisters and their parents came from Colombia 14 years ago and never left - overstaying their tourist visas.
A Miami immigration judge ruled last week that the two girls must be deported to Colombia, leaving the teenagers in shock.

Daniela, a high school senior, has a 6.7 grade point average and is at top of her class out of 823 students, said a school administrator.

The teenager wants to study cellular and molecular biology for a career in the medical field.

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Filed under: Age • Education • Immigration • Latino in America • Where we live
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. The Right thing to do...

    The right thing to do is treat her case like it should be treated... MEANING... She came here LEGALLY, but OVERSTAYED... Send her back to her legal country, and LET HER APPLY LEGALLY... Give her a FAIR CHANCE... Not a FREE RIDE!

    You know, everyone that has even LEGALLY completed the immigration process is being spat on when this kind of thing appears...

    Look at the guy that talks about his son being legal and facing challenges...

    This girl, she just leeches on the system and sleeps just fine at night... Thousands of legal immigrants are forced to worry about how much money they will spend to stay in legal standing... They spend it because it is how the law is set up...

    These people that overstay and or are illegal to begin with... They don't care. They just spit on ALL AMERICANS!

    What a joke...

    She doesn't deserve to stay because she is here illegally. She deserves deportation and the RIGHT to APPLY LEGALLY...


    March 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • us legal immigrant

      I couldn't agree more. No matteryou are a valedictorian or a high school drop out. If you're illegally staying in the US, then you (or your parents) broke the law. I was an immigrant from Hong Kong, and it took 4 years to be able to get the green card, and all the legal requirements and fees we have to comply and pay. It's the law. Now I have been a US citizen for over 20 years and raised two children (both born in the US). I'm so sick and tired of hearing the Mexicans claiming they have the rights, not necessary untrue, but you have to follow the procedures and law to do so, not by protesting or getting on TV. I have nothing against the Latino people, but they seems to be the ones always think they should be granted citizenship because of the hard work they provide (well, not all of them) here in the US.

      May 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • us legal immigrant

        I came to the US with a student visa, paid foreign student tuition and graduated at UCLA four years later. I got an extended stay of practical training for a year and able to be hired as a scientist at a research firm, and the company at the time helped me in getting a permanent residency through my job. After 3 years of legal procedure and fees, I was granted the interview with American consulate, but I have to leave the country and do the interview in my home country Hong Kong because I have illegally extened my stay here (when applying for the permanent residency). I did just that and received my green card. 30 years ago it's like that, today is the same. THE LAW IS THE LAW. She should be happy that instead of paying foreign student tuition, she's getting 14 years of free education with CA Taxpayer's money.

        May 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ALANE

    What about the similar issues facing 1000s of LEGAL immigrate children when they turn 21. Case in point is my son.

    My family and I have been LEGAL immigrants in the United States for over 16 years. During this time we have diligently maintained our legal immigrant status, following all the governing rules, regulations, and laws. When my son - who is a National Honor Society inductee, varsity letterman in academics and athletics, Y.E.S. volunteer, and Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout - turned 21 earlier this year he would have had 10 days to leave the United States, and in addition lost the opportunity to get derivative permanent residency. (My daughter will face the same situation in a couple years.)

    To allow my son to complete his college degree in biology, we went through the expense and effort to change him to a student visa. Upon completion of his degree, and the corresponding expiration of his student visa, he will follow the law and reluctantly leave the United States.

    I wish CNN would investigate and report on the notable issues and hardships faced and endured by LEGAL immigrants who are pursuing permanent residency to become citizens under the current system, as we are getting lost in the debates over (illegal) immigration. It would be relatively easy for congress and the administration to fix these issues and hardships for legal immigrants, but …

    March 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Bowman

      95% of legal immigrants don't vote Democrat, illegal aliens do.

      March 7, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John Bowman

    When will American workers and taxpayers receive a reprieve, from the illegal alien invasion wrought by our treasonous politicians and media?

    March 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |