June 11, 2016


Undocumented Valedictorian Takes Down Trump In Epic Speech (Willa Frej, 6/10/16, The Huffington Post)

Larissa Martinez, who will go to Yale on a full ride this fall, chose her graduation speech at McKinney Boyd High School in Dallas to make her bold statement.

"I am one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the shadows," she said, to cheers from the crowd.

Her speech followed a similarly brave statement from Mayte Lara Ibarra of Austin, Texas, last week. Lara became a viral sensation after tweeting photos from her own high school graduation, touting her high GPA, her full ride to University of Texas Austin -- and the fact that she is undocumented.

Martinez moved to Texas on a tourist visa in 2010 with her mother, who was trying to escape an alcoholic and abusive husband.

"We just flew over here with luggage and a lot of dreams," she told WFAA on Wednesday. 

Martinez said she's been waiting seven years for her citizenship application to be processed.

"The most important part of the debate and the part most often overlooked is the fact that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, are people too," Martinez said. "People with dreams, aspirations, hopes and loved ones. People like me."

And referencing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's extreme immigration policies, she told the crowd last Friday that "America can be great again without the construction of a wall built on hatred and prejudice."

Posted by at June 11, 2016 9:54 PM