Valedictorian’s graduation tweet goes viral

AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — The valedictorian of Crockett High School’s 2016 class has the spotlight on her after tweeting about being “undocumented” on the night of her graduation.

Mayte Lara Ibarra, who was also the senior class president, tweeted on June 3: “Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/medals, nice legs, oh and I’m undocumented” along with several emojis including the Mexican flag.

Her tweet received nearly 20,000 likes and 9,000 retweets. According to the Daily Mail, after her tweet went viral and some people started sending negative responses, Ibarra tweeted, “I want all this attention from strangers to stop already.” Ibarra has since removed her Twitter account.

During Crockett High’s graduation ceremony, Ibarra introduced the Pledge of Allegiance as well as the National Anthem. She came back up to the podium to give her valedictorian speech a short time later. During her speech, she mentioned the hard work her class put in and what their future might hold, but she didn’t mention anything about her immigration history. In closing, Ibarra said, “What is coming is better than what is gone. Congratulations class of 2016.”

Undocumented students are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). In 2012, the Secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the U.S. as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years. In Texas, House Bill 1403—which passed in 2001 and is also known as the DREAM Act—allows certain immigrants to receive in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements.

Last year, the DREAM Act came under scrutiny at the Capitol when some state lawmakers were pushing for the repeal of the law.

A spokesperson for the University of Texas at Austin says while they can’t say anything specifically about Ibarra, the university along with other Texas universities, “have for decades granted two-semester tuition waivers to valedictorians of Texas public high schools, without regard to their residency status. State law also does not distinguish between documented and undocumented graduates of Texas high schools in admissions and financial aid decisions. University policies reflect that law.”

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