Mayte Lara Ibarra and Larissa Martinez each graduated from different high schools in Texas earlier this month. They were both valedictorian.
Lara graduated with a 4.5 GPA and Martinez with a 4.95. Lara donned 13 cords and medals and Martinez celebrated the completion of 17 AP courses during her high school career.
They each have a full ride to their respective universities. Lara will be attending the University of Texas at Austin and Martinez will go to Yale.
And to top it all off, each is an undocumented immigrant.
We at the Editorial Board believe it is a privilege to have these two graduates on our soil and attending American universities.
After proclaiming their immigration status proudly, Lara via Twitter and Martinez in her graduation speech, both women received a slew of backlash online.
Users, which included some parents of fellow graduates, claimed Lara and Martinez were taking advantage of the system.
We believe these two women will make more meaningful contributions to the system they’re supposedly taking advantage of than most natural-born citizens will or could ever hope for.
The Washington Post reported only .03 percent of all college attendees receive full scholarships, which means they have already accomplished more than the vast majority of students.
We believe they are an invaluable part of our nation.
We offer both women our deepest congratulations on such outstanding achievements.
For all of the furious conservatives fuming in their seats while reading this heartfelt congratulations, we offer you a report by the American Immigration Council, titled “Giving the Facts a Fighting Chance: Addressing Common Sense Questions on Immigration,” which you can find on its website.
In this report, you’ll find all of the hateful rhetoric that frequently masquerades as facts being debunked by real research as opposed to the emotionally charged dribble that makes up the majority of anti-immigration slander.
For example, the report found immigrants, legal or otherwise, contribute roughly 0.2 percent to the GDP.
They create businesses, sustain Medicare and Social Security, pay billions of dollars in taxes and each immigrant contributes an average of $120,000 more in taxes than they receive in public benefits.
The report also said higher immigration is associated with lower crime rates, immigrants are less likely to be incarcerated and the cost for detaining undocumented immigrants is enormously high.
Combined with the various economic benefits of adding immigrants to our citizenry, it would be cheaper to legalize them.
We would also like to remind those natural-born citizens who insist on dehumanizing undocumented immigrants, denying them a fair opportunity to immigrate and deporting them that you put in zero effort for your citizenship.
Given the hysteria surrounding illegal immigrants and the rise of xenophobes like Donald Trump, we fear Lara and Martinez are worthy of more than American citizenship in this climate.