Valedictorian Facing Deportation Gets Reprieve in Florida
By the CNN Wire Staff
A Florida high school valedictorian and her sister who were facing deportation will instead meet Wednesday in Washington with Sen. Marco Rubio, after being granted a reprieve.
An immigration judge ruled last week that Daniela Pelaez, 18, and her sister Dayana were to be deported for being in the country illegally.
But Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tuesday gave the sisters a two-year reprieve. The decision was made under the policy of prosecutorial discretion, which is designed to prioritize deportation for illegal crossers with a criminal record, instead of those who pose little or no risk.
“The agency exercises prosecutorial discretion, on a case by case basis, as necessary to focus resources on our stated priorities,” ICE spokesman Nestor Yglesias said in a statement Wednesday.
The Palaez sisters traveled to Washington to meet with Rubio.
The sisters and their parents came from Colombia 14 years ago and never left — overstaying their tourist visas.
A Miami immigration judge ruled last week that the two girls must be deported to Colombia, leaving the teenagers in shock.
Daniela, a high school senior, has a 6.7 grade point average and is at top of her class out of 823 students, said a school administrator.
The teenager wants to study cellular and molecular biology for a career in the medical field.