After North Miami high school students led a protest against the deportation orders of their fellow classmate, this school's valedictorian, prominent Florida Republicans are speaking out and supporting the cause of 18-year-old Daniela Peláez, whose case has also inspired an online petition with over 3,000 signatures and counting.
The Miami Herald reported that Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican, sent a letter to US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), asking for a stay to Peláez's deportation. The Cuban American legislator also said the following to the Herald:
Congress needs to pass the Dream Act so that many young people can form part of our armed forces or attend college and contribute to our generous and great nation. There are many such desperate cases in our community and, instead of causing such anxiety we can allow these teenagers to realize their dreams in a legal manner.
Here is a screen shot of the letter:
In the meantime, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) issued a statement as well, where he says the following:
I have always said that our country needs to figure o ut a way to accommodate high academic achievers brought here at a very young age by their parents but who now find themselves undocumented through no fault of their own.
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. We will be reaching out to her attorney to learn more about this case. And I will continue working to find a bipartisan solution for young students who find themselves in this predicament.
As Daniela and Dayana Pelaez have reserved the right to appeal an immigration judge’s decisions ordering them to return to Colombia, ICE will not take any action against them while they pursue additional legal options. Upon conclusion of’ their appeal, ICE will review this matter to determine whether an exercise of discretion is warranted.
Overall, ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States.
Why does it take a valedictorian to have the immigration debate take center stage? Cases like these happen all the time, and it seems that you need to have friends in the right places. What do you think?