The valedictorian of a high school in Texas is under fire after she posted a tweet admitting she is among the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.
“Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/medals, nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented,” it read. The girl, Mayte Lara, got more than 30,000 retweets and sharp criticism. She ultimately deleted her Facebook and Twitter accounts due to all the attention she received.
Lara, 17, admitted to the Austin Statesman newspaper that she should have been more careful with the tweet and her word choice.
“The reason I posted that tweet was to show others that you can accomplish anything, regardless of the obstacles you have in front of you,” she told the paper. “It was a common trend on twitter to highlight your success through a tweet like that, and I saw many other students from across the country doing the same and sharing the things they’d overcome, so I thought I’d share mine.”
But she got heavy backlash from social media users, with some saying that she should be arrested and deported. Lara is originally from Mexico.
Some also commented that American taxpayers are funding her eduction to the University of Texas, a public institution. Some went even further, saying that she was taking a scholarship away from an American citizen.
One said they “have charges filed against you with ICE. it was worth it,” referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Another person said, “I did it legally, nobody should get a short cut.”
And some Twitter users came to her defense, saying that she “is the type of immigrant you want in the USA” because she has a 4.5 GPA, and is “educated and hard working.” Added another: “People are completely ignoring the fact that she graduated with all those high honors … What kind of unreasonable, arrogant, scumbag thing is that for you to throw a statement like that out when it is completely outrageous.”
“Also, a lot of people think that because I used a Mexican flag emoji, I’m not grateful for the opportunities this country has given me,” she added. “I’m extremely grateful. The only reason I used that emoji was to show that I’m proud of my heritage, and to show that we can do great things. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love this country and the doors it’s opened up for me.”
Lara added that she wants to become an American citizen “at any given opportunity.”
She added that she’s been living in the U.S. for about 15 years and is currently on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, a policy that allows certain young people who entered the U.S. to work and study in the country legally, the paper reported.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Twitter, I’ve realized that social media is filled with so many mean people, who always have something to say,” she added.
MySanAntonio reported that some Internet sleuths found out where she works and sent messages to her employer in an attempt to get her fired.