Teen Fighting To Stay In U.S., Congressman To Push STARS Act

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Daniela Pelaez arrived back in South Florida Friday morning flanked by a congressman. The Colombian born teenager was just days away from being sent back to her country last week. Now she is wrapping up a whirlwind tour.

Pelaez, along with her sister Dayana, won a two year immigration reprieve thanks to the rallying effort by her fellow students at North Miami Senior High.

Upon getting the chance to stay she found herself suddenly in Washington DC courting congress.

“It was a great experience to see how different their opinions may be but in the end their goal is the same. And it’s to help students like me.” Palaez told CBS4 News Friday morning.

Palaez is now becoming a poster child for immigration reform.

She has teamed up with Representative David Rivera to push a new bill similar to the Dream Act called the STARS Act.

“Hopefully we can bring some solution and resolution to this problem,” Rivera said.

The STARS Act is short for Studying Towards Achieving Residency Status. It would allow high school graduates accepted into college the chance to stay in the U.S. for up 10 years and beyond. The first five would be to go to college. Upon graduating they get another five years. After the 10 years they are eligible to apply for full citizenship.

To be eligible the student has to be under the age of 18, lived here at least five years, and show good moral conduct for 10 years.

Rivera said it’s the right thing to do.

“They should have the chance to graduate from that college or university and be productive citizens here in America.”

The bill is crafted for students like Daniela to stay in the U.S. She plans to push in the months ahead.

Palaez said proudly, “I’m more determined more than ever to help the millions of kids because I don’t want them ever to be in the position I am in.”

Daniela has been in the U.S. since she was 4. Her brother serves in the U.S. Army and has become a U.S. Citizen. Her mother is in Colombia where she has been stuck since 2006 after she returned there for medical reasons and her father is a legal resident.

More from David Sutta
  • bo

    in your report you say they go to north miami beach sr high when in fact they go to north miami sr high which is in a brand new building

  • max

    what you really need to do is line up the oldest families in this country, ask then what they think of things like this and then take a straw vote on all this illegal immigration nonsense. If she;s that good then let her go to her “country ” and improve it. Changing our laws to accomodate illegals any way you see it is wrong. Take care of our own first we make it too easy to be here illegally and it is time to shut the door. but being an election year

    • observerfromupnorth

      Max you are spot on, we should never change our laws to accommodate a law breaker. This situation should not even be up for thought break the law you suffer the result. Let her and all others go back to their country and apply legally period there are others who have been waiting their turn.

      • terryberry

        how many law breaker get second chances to make something of them self???… AlOT!!! So be quiet about your law breaker act cause it’s getting old and the previous comment from Max that’s saying go back to her country… this country is her as it is ours and its nt even yours cause she grew up here and also u didn’t make this country so you don’t get to show ownership.. you’re an immigrant just like her and others so y’all need to get over your self and be quiet

  • spytheweb

    Another amnesty bill? How about just enforcing the law act? Illegal aliens will use anything to stay in the country. Face it, you are not US citizens, you have your own country, your own government, your own President.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    She is here illegally, her parent over stayed their VISA, she should have returned home when her mother went home, now we are going to reward her for being illegal. I am sorry for her situation, but if she wants to get ahead, let her do so in her own country, this is the same issue, if parents are here illegally and their child is born on American soil, then the child is as illegal as they are. If we want to consider them to stay, then the parent must give them up for adoption or take them back to their country. It’s time to wake up America, we are being taken over by the third world, one illegal at a time.

  • cuba si

    Get a personal trainer first. Then, when you leave in two years can you take some cubans with you?

  • American

    How do we pick which laws to change and which to enforce? Every armed robber in prison was a “good boy” and innocent. Why is she still here. ICE, ICE baby…..

  • Mark Christian Prater

    So what happens if you came here when you were five years old, did not enroll in college after highschool, but made straight A’s in high school and is forced to work and even walk down the street under the radar. Do the Republiccans still say we should punish these kids further, or are they finally moving towards a solution, and admitting that they and not us were wrong.

  • terryberry

    All of the comments made before mine and that is after mine that don’t support mine is from heartless immature human beings that doesn’t have a heart… she and other illegal immigrant kids had no control over what her parents chose to do back then.. I think its a great way to give kids a way to make better lives for themselves and for those who wants a future even for those who wants to give there lives to protect and serve this country because they have been here this long and love it here… I say give them a chance if they want it cause if they want it they will make alot of effort to graduate college.. if they don’t they won’t care… so I say yes to the STARS act and any one that don’t like my comment.. can tell it to someone that cares cause I don’t ..

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