Undocumented Student Angelica Hernandez is ASU's Distinguished Graduating Senior in Mechanical Engineering

Angelica Hernandez.jpg
Griselda Nevarez
Angelica Hernandez: An American success story, in the truest sense of the word.
College valedictorians tend to have job offers and paid internships lined up long before graduation.

But not Angelica Hernandez, the Distinguished Graduating Senior in Mechanical Engineering at Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Hernandez graduates from ASU today with much hope and little opportunity.

She is undocumented.

The proud soon-to-be college graduate has been here since the day she turned 9 years old in summer 1998, when her mother brought her across the border to reunite with her father, who had been working in America. They arrived in the United States to discover he had been having an affair, causing Hernandez' parents to separate.

Despite the heartbreak, Hernandez's mother decided the family would stay and build a better life than they had in Zacatecas.

Thirteen years later, Angelica is a valedictorian looking for a volunteer internship to gain real-world engineering experience while she applies to graduate schools.

Hernandez excelled throughout high school, earning a 4.5 GPA at Carl Hayden as she made a name for herself in the school's famous robotics program. She chose to study mechanical engineering in college because it's a broad major that allows her to be a "jack of all trades" in engineering.

She is interested in pursuing a graduate education in solar energy.

Hernandez is precisely the type of student the DREAM Act, reintroduced by United States Senator Richard Durbin yesterday, is supposed to benefit: smart, talented, and likely to contribute much more to American society than she has received -- if the government would only let her. Instead, politicians continue to play games with immigrants' lives, including Democrats who kabuki dance around the legislation.

Hernandez realizes she's been fortunate, and loves the United States for all of the opportunities it has given her.

"This country has given me so much," Hernandez tells New Times on the eve of her graduation.

Too bad the government's broken immigration laws forbid her from giving back.

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137 comments
Honeywell Security
Honeywell Security

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Jagv051465
Jagv051465

There is no point trying to argue with nativist and bigotes,there is no way they are going to accept ANY illegal no matter how good they are, to become legal citizen.So don't wast you time trying to show them how good this girl is.

Ben Cao
Ben Cao

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Just_Another_Joe
Just_Another_Joe

 This lady is a shining beacon of hope to all of us; and I do hope she is one day allowed to stay if she so wishes. =)

Maria Castro
Maria Castro

 After reading some of these comments, sadly, it reminds me of the holocaust. People are saying send them back and want them out because of something they had no control over. If your parent does a drive by and kills some one, if your parent steals something and gets caught, and you just so happened to be in the car seat behind them, you should go to jail with them that's what your saying.The same way you want over 12 million people to leave the US, when Hitler's genocide and war took out 6 million. Deport them all yeah that makes no sense....

Just_Another_Joe
Just_Another_Joe

 I agree, and I'm sorry that poor ignorant saps like Diver are unable to see the truth for what it is. =(

Diver
Diver

Thank you for your meaningless opinion. 

Diver
Diver

Tough luck.  Deport her.

Shepherds
Shepherds

The fact of the matter is that the dream act will never pass. Why, because of voters like myself . and no I am not republican I am very liberal on most social and economic issues, but vehemently opposed to illegal immigration. We simply can not afford to let everyone who wants to come to our country, to actually come. If she has issues it should be with her mother not with the laws of the US. She is not a citizen and has no Say in our laws. If the dream act passes, where does the crossing of the border stop. What are the consequences for the people who come here illegally, there are none. And to be quite honest what I would find "un-American" is allowing her to stay because she graduated from college and not the day laborer.

Shepherds
Shepherds

Since most of the people on here seem to know this girl personally answer one question.Does she drive? Does she posses an Arizona drivers license?

Jorge Martinez
Jorge Martinez

GET MARRIED.....INSTANT RESIDENCY.....(green card)...I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY BUT LETS BE HONEST SHES BEAUTIFUL AND EDUCATED.....I WOULD MARRY HER......MARRY ME ANGELICA ....LOL.....

Jdough
Jdough

Too bad she has spent a lifetime being supported by the USA tax payers.   If she wants to pay something back, she can start by paying what she owes for the education she has received. 

AZ J
AZ J

GTFO. And what? Deport one of the best talents this country has in rapidly growing global economy? Where our country is taking a shit? Please...we need all the talents we can employ if this country is going to get to the top again. What about all those international students who are coming to America and getting educated here...and then returning to their home countries only to contribute to their country and ultimately compete with America? Hmmm...bet you didn't think about that one huh? Seriously! Who gives a shit if she was brought illegally...it's not like this young woman is a killer, or a rapist, or a drug dealer. Or are ya'll just mad she's not perpetuating the typical stereotype of a Latina woman? Threatened? Yes, deport the criminals-the killer, the rapists, and the drug dealers. But we need to harness the intellectual power of  undocumented students, and enable them to contribute to our country. We need to raise our standards...and reinforce the values of hard work. Perhaps! DREAM Act now!!!! It surely is not a solution...but it is a step in the right direction. It would provide the opportunity for any undocumented student...who LOVES this country...who yearns to provide and contribute to our society the opportunity to do so. Politics aside, its time to look at the facts. The majority of undocumented students WANT to stay in the US. Most feel they ARE American in their hearts. And I am confident to say that undocumented students have no desire of returning to their countries of birth to live. Why? Cuz this is America! The land of opportunity. Where no man woman or child is stripped of their God given rights.

AMERICAN CITIZEN
AMERICAN CITIZEN

WHAT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS SHE WORKING UNDER (IDENTITY THEFT) HER PARENTS HAD TO HAVE FILED TAXES ALL THESE YEARS. PEOPLE COME HERE BUY A HOUSE, A CAR LIVE THE AMERICAN DREAM, BUT YEARS LATER IT CATCHES UP. SHE WAS NINE THE MOTHER KNEW BETTER AND SHOULD OF DONE EVERYTHING TO HELP HER GET CITIZENSHIP SHAME ON THE MOTHER . ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT SPONSERED HER WHY NOT HELP HER GET HER CITIZENSHIP, THE PROBLEM IS PEOPLETHINK IF YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH IT FOR YEARS THEN YOU THINK YOUR SAFE, NOT THE CASE . SHE KNEW SHE WAS ILLEGAL WHAT DID HER AND HER MOTHER THINK? IT WAS  JUST GOING TO GO AWAY,. SHE A BRAINIAC SHE KNEW THE TIME WAS COMING TO GRADUATE DID SHE THINK THAT SHE WOULD WORK UNDER A FAKE  SS#.

Pat_moorehbsw
Pat_moorehbsw

I can't speak for my gov't. but I bet Canada would have her in a heartbeat. We let anybody in.  

Allan Cameron
Allan Cameron

 Actually, she can work in just about any country, except one.  But, this is her home and where her allegiance resides. 

Gjcourson
Gjcourson

How did she pay for college? 

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Friends gave her cash,  She got no federal assistance.  Of note, the dream act would continue to deny her (quite rightly IMHO) access to federal student aid.

In other words, the state paid nothing. She found a way to do it on her own.  Cost you nothing. 

Coachfredi
Coachfredi

Angelica was a student on mine at Carl hayden High School. She was an excellent student. She was also the Vice President of the Falcon Robotics team. I believe that the DREAM act is what the country needs right now. Think about it, the act allows only the people who go to college or the millitary, it does not allow anyone else. This adds to the human capitol of the U.S. or adds the strength of the armed forces. This is a good thing. We have 2 million jobs that go unfilled in the US every year because there is no one capable of taking these high paying, highly skilled jobs. If DREAMErs are willing to do the work and become one of those people that take those jobs and help the U.S. Then they should be allowed to be a part of the U.S. If one of these kids are willing to go and die for this country then they should be allowed to be a part of this country. For those of you who feel that these kids should apply for citizenship liek everyone else then I say you don't understand the system. There is no process for any who is here that was brought here illigally as a child. That is what the DREAM is for. This would be the process! I applaud Angelica and I challenge all the nay sayers to be as tough and couragious as she is. You go girl!  

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Thank you for your contribution - to her great story and to this discussion.  You raise an excellent point: there is no way for an child brought here by her parents, who has broken no criminal law, to find a path to citizenship.

This is the only country they know, this is their only community, and they are ready and willing to make meaningful contributions - to pay taxes, buy homes, hold down jobs, fight in our wars. And yet, some feel only hate and contempt.

America respects individualized justice.  These kids came here, as a matter of law and conscience, as innocents. Let's do what is right by them, and in so doing retain those who can contribute to the ongoing greater glory of America. 

Poster1234
Poster1234

Military,yes. School... No! Tuition rates are increasing faster than the inflation rate for the last 20 years because education is in short supply.For every illegal  that goes to college in AZ there is an American that does not get to go. 

There are millions of educated people who would immigrate to the United States if we would let them. We would not have to subsidize their education.  There is no reason to encourage illegal immigration.

If illegals want a path to citizenship through the military, let them... No GI Bill... no perks. just a path  to citizenship. 

 

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

No one is subsidizing her education. Education cost has not increased due to supply and demand. Education cost has increased because the Arizona legislature considers the state constitution, and its requirement that education be provided "as nearly free as possible" to be some akin to a request, not the law. 

We want to keep the best and the brightest who came here through no fault of their own.  Why don't you?

Shepherds
Shepherds

I subsidized her education with my property taxes. Did she pay for her elementary school and high school education. By the way according to the arizona dream act website the amount of taxes "undocumented" immigrants paid was 130 billion. There are appx 12 miilion "undocumented" in this country. You do the math, it is absurd to say they pay more taxes than they cost our country.

Poster1234
Poster1234

 The Center for Immigration Studies reported in 2004: "Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household."[[

Asfssafd
Asfssafd

 Poster1234 "she should be sent home"

Home, you fucktard, is here in Arizona.  Mexico may her legal country, but her home is here. She's been here since she was 9.  

She didn't come here illegally, she didn't break any felony law.  Her mom forced her to come. The worst you can say about her is that she violated a civil regulation and/or a misdemeanor. 

You're just afraid a 'spic will take your job.  Don't worry - she's already above your pay grade. 

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

@8ed5b1369da41564c50ea8b002a0f18b:disqus  Poster1234 - how did she steal an education?  She received no financial aid, paid for it in cash.Were is the theft? Further, given the indisputable fact that unauthorized immigrants pay more than their share of taxes and pay-in more than they take out for social services, there is even less cause for your unsubstantiated libel.You may not want the best and brightest, but America does.  It always has.  We just need to fix the legal mess -- and the Dream Act does just that.Now, I understand, having the Best and the Brightest come here frightens you as you think they will compete, with success, against you for a well-paying job. To which I can only respond: that's capitalism, dear boy, and as a Democrat, I like it that way.  Republicans may not like when a poor, brown-skinned girl makes good, but I do, and here's why: I still believe in the American Dream.  Why don't you?

Poster1234
Poster1234

If we wanted the best and the brightest we would  fix immigration. Current immigration laws  will not allow someone to immigrate if they are not needed.  The laws that we have  create a second class of citizen that mows our yards and scrubs our toilets. 

Immigrants are supposed to do the jobs that Americans won't do... What she did was steal an education, now she is trying to take an Americans job. At an unemployment rate of 9% she should be sent home 

Poster1234
Poster1234

Lilly14r, 

She did steal it... She came across the border illegally. She went to grade school on the taxpayers dime. How did she pay for it? Was it loans that she will never be able to repay or was it from grants that she stole from someone more deserving. She stole a place at the school that could have been used to educate someone who deserved it.

The problem is that if we start feeling sorry for her, we have to start feeling sorry for all illegals.  Arizona can't support the needs of everyone who finds a way to sneak across the border. We can't condone illegal.

Make an example out of her. Send her back to Mexico. 

Coachfredi
Coachfredi

First of all schools are paid for by propperty taxes. They either pay rent or a mortgage and therefore she did pay for her school. At ASU she had all private funding from people that knew her situtation and therefore she did not take a dime of any money that would have gone to someone else. In this case Arizona made money on her, She had to pay out of state tuition depspite her living in the state and paying taxes on any purchase her and her family made. Last time I checked you still have to pay sales tax even if you are undocumented. There are millions of these kids here in the U.S. if they are that smart then we need them here in the U.S.. We have 2 million jobs a year that go unfilled in the U.S. due to the lack of Americans being capable of taking them. We go out of the country to look for tallent. We do we not look right in own back yard. She was brough here without her consent and she made the most of it. Would you want to be punished for bad things your parents did?

Mamiflores91
Mamiflores91

 The problem with the "nays" is that they feel threatened by the fact that she is 1.Amazingly beautiful 2. unbelievably smart. Americans have this misconception that latino/as are brainless. Well we are NOT! YOU GO GIRL!!!! I applaud you :)

bigriggs
bigriggs

Not entirely true. I have many good friends that are hispanic and have never thought what you wrote. My best friend and god parent to my two kids is an immigrant from El Slavador. The only difference between my friend and this lady are he did it the right way and is legal. I don't care where you come from, if you are here the right, legal way then welcome aboard. I have a problem with illegal individuals that milk the system, skirt our federal laws and then complain about it being unfair.  

Shepherds
Shepherds

My sister who is a teacher in the Phx area just had the percentage of what she pays for her retirement raised by 3%. instead of the school district saving 3%' the state took it for their general fund. Now they are talking about larger classroom size, layover etc. If illegals were not here it would cost the school districts less period. So please don' say they pay their fair share of taxes.

Poster1234
Poster1234

 I paid 30,000 in income tax last year. If I only had to pay sales tax and property tax I could pay cash for a new car... or better yet, max out my 401k. Sales tax and property tax does not cut it. 60% of Arizona's general fund, plus billions of federal dollars are used to prop up the education system in Arizona, not just property tax.   

People and organizations donated to her education and they used it as a tax write-off. she stole from America and she has nothing that we want from her. That is why we will not let her work. China has more honor roll students than we have people in this country, Should we place  them ahead of American children if they want to go to school here? No. That is why she should deported. Arizona's educational system should only be for people who are entitled to use it, legally. She stole from us...Nothing that we can do about it now, but maybe she can use her stolen education to help her country.

Kit Carson
Kit Carson

Sorry, but you're ill-informed here.  One - she broke no law. She's in violation of a civil statute, not a criminal one. That you don't understand this distinction belies your lack of knowledge about what is illegal and what is unauthorized immigration. Second, as the Bush administration reported, illegals and unauthorizeds pay more in taxes than lawful residents and citizens within the same income bracket.  Further, they pay more in taxes than they consume in social services.  

We still lose money due to the amount we spend enforcing our immigration laws and policing for illegal and unauthorized residents - but you can't call them leeches because of cost decisions we make. Bottom line is that they give more than they get in personal services.

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