An Indiana teen in the middle of an immigration battle will be attending her graduation. Elizabeth Olivas, an eighteen-year-old former high school homecoming queen, returned to Indianapolis after an immigration technicality in her native country of Mexico almost prohibited her from returning to the U.S., according to The Associated Press.
Undocumented immigrants seeking to acquire a green card or U.S. visa are mandated by the federal government to return to their home country within 180 days of their eighteenth birthdays. Olivas, who has lived in the United States since age 4, arrived in Mexico one day too late. After being held in her native country for six weeks, Olivas’ visa was finally approved, and she was allowed to return to her family and friends in Indiana just in time to graduate high school.
According to the Indianapolis Star, Olivas, who has maintained a 3.96 grade point average throughout her four years of high school, attended her classes online while in Mexico.
Although Olivas missed an academic ceremony and her senior prom, many of her classmates are elated she will be able to walk alongside them during their graduation. School officials were also hoping for her return, some going as far as writing letters to immigration officials, so they were excited when they received the news that her visa was approved, according to the source. One official that was especially happy about the decision was Olivas’ principal Steve Edwards.
“We’re just fired up that she gets to graduate with her classmates,” he said. “She’s a model citizen. She’s one of our best. She’s a well-liked kid and she’s involved in the school and the community. You can’t find too many better.”