High School Valedictorians Reveal They're Undocumented Immigrants

An estimated 65,000 undocumented immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools each year.
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High School Valedictorians Reveal They're Undocumented Immigrants

High school graduation is a time to look to the future and to reflect on where you came from. It's that second part that has some people buzzing

In less than two weeks' time, two Texas high school valedictorians have used the monumental event to reveal to the world they're undocumented immigrants. 

A McKinney student revealed her status while delivering her graduation speech.

"I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows of the United States. I decided to stand before you today and reveal these unexpected realities because this might be my only chance to convey a truth to all of you: that undocumented immigrants are people too."

Another high school graduate in Austin shared her immigration status via Twitter. She wrote: "Valedictorian, 4.5 GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/medals, nice legs, oh and I'm undocumented."

That tweet quickly went viral, and after receiving both positive and negative feedback, the student deleted her account.

She also spoke to local media to clarify her immigration status. She told the Austin-American Statesman she has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status. This means since she came to the U.S. as a child, she's allowed to work and study in the country.

An estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school each year in the U.S. A number of states — Texas included — have legislation in place that allows these graduates to receive in-state tuition at public colleges.

In response to the Austin student's tweet, the University of Texas released a statement that reads in part: "Texas universities including the University of Texas schools have for decades granted two-semester tuition waivers to valedictorians of Texas public high schools, without regard to their residency status."

This video includes clips from McKinney Independent School District and Austin Independent School District and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

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