Valedictorian Pushing For STARS Act

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The North Miami Senior High valedictorian, who won a two year immigration reprieve thanks to the rally effort of her fellow students, plans to announce Wednesday the creation of a new foundation supporting the STARS Act.

The STARS Act is short for Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status. It’s a modified version of the controversial DREAM Act, the long-stalled legislation that would allow undocumented students to remain in the country.

Daniela Pelaez’s struggle with her own immigration status sparked a trip to Washington, D.C., with Congressman David Rivera, R-Miami, to draft STARS.

The STARS Act 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.

Pelaez’s own residency status, and that of her sister Dayana, were adjusted earlier this month after classmates, teachers and community members rallied for her to stay.

On her trip to Washington, D.C. Pelaez helped draft the bill with both Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate.

Wednesday’s announcement comes on the same day Pelaez was scheduled to be deported.

The foundation will help students like Pelaez.

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 CBS Miami

Get Set With Lissette
Weather Forecast 24/7

Listen Live