Mexican-born student returns to graduate

UPI File/Kevin Dietsch
UPI File/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

FRANKFORT, Ind., June 1 (UPI) -- The Mexican-born salutatorian of an Indiana high school who almost missed her graduation because she missed a visa deadline said she's glad to be home.

Elizabeth Olivas, 18, arrived at Indianapolis International Airport just before midnight Thursday, The Indianapolis Star reported.


Olivas, an honor student at Frankfort High School, had been in Juarez, Mexico, where she went to get a visa, which she was required to get within six months of her 18th birthday. Because she missed the deadline by a day, the U.S. Consulate told her April 17 she couldn't apply for a visa for three years and she had been in Mexico until leaving Thursday.

The case drew attention from lawmakers across the country and the office of U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., helped arrange a waiver hearing and Indiana Republican Reps. Mike Pence and Todd Rokita sent letters to the consulate on Olivas' behalf.

Olivas' lawyer, Sarah Moshe, got an expedited waiver for her Thursday. Olivas had attended a 7-hour meeting at the consulate in Juarez.

As friends approached and hugged her at the airport, Olivas smiled.


"These people are the people I've known and lived with my whole life," she said. "I never been back to Mexico since I came here 14 years ago. This is the only life I've known."

She said she's prepared to deliver her speech Saturday.

"I've got it prepared," she said. "I want it to be as if I never left."

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