Valedictorian Facing Deportation Gets Reprieve in Florida

Judy Hartnett's picture
Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Florida high school valedictorian and her sister, who were facing deportation, instead were meeting with with lawmakers Wednesday 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 on 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 border 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 Pelaez sisters traveled to Washington to meet with Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, and Florida Reps. David Rivera and Frederica Wilson.

Rubio, a Republican, had expressed support for finding a way for Daniela Pelaez to remain in the United States.

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