Indiana Student Stuck South of the Border
An Indiana high school student, who is the salutatorian and was the homecoming queen likely, will not be able to participation in graduation, including giving her graduation speech this weekend in person.
The 18-year old is one of the most popular members of her graduating class and is in Mexico. She cannot return to the U.S. due to a technicality with her visa that could keep her out of the states for as long as three years.
Elizabeth Olivas from Frankfurt, Indiana, whose dad is a naturalized citizen of the U.S., had been living in the U.S. for 14 years. The law in the U.S. puts a time clock on children like Olivas when they become 18. At that time, the eye of the law sees them as illegal and they must return to their homeland to get a visa or a permanent residency card
Olivas, who is a standout athlete to go along with being the homecoming queen, missed her deadline by a single day. Her father told reporters that he had delayed her trip for as long as he could so she would miss as little school as possible.
Her lawyer, Sarah Moshe also said that her law firm uses a legal calendar for tracking dates and did not compensate for this year being a leap year. Olivas has been stuck in Chihuahua, Mexico for the past six weeks and is now hoping to receive humanitarian parole to return for her graduation.
However, that decision is up to the Juarez U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and can take at times up to three months. Lawyers familiar with the service say that it is rare for the agency to receive requests out of the order they receive them.