What’s happening to two undocumented Texas valedictorians says it all about the immigration debate
A pair of high school valedictorians in Texas have become the targets of social media attacks.
Plenty of people are subject to abuse online. But those who dare to be anything other than white, straight or male had better learn to practice deep breathing. This is especially true if one is also an undocumented immigrant who graduated high school at the top of one's class.
This can be stated as simple fact because, when it became public knowledge that the two girls had not only topped their high school classes but were respectively headed to Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin, the Internet went wild.
The content of online insults, rebukes and complaints shared about the two girls seems to rotate around a theme. The essence: these girls — and they are girls — have gamed the system and are proud of it it. And now, they are preparing to do it again, "taking" some other students' places at Yale and UT. One mother of another child who graduated alongside one of the girls added that she never thought she would favor deporting a child who attended high school in the United States and never thought she would be a Trump supporter, but this situation had made her both.
In truth, a pretty straight line can be drawn between the public reaction to these students and the current state of American immigration politics. The overlap in the sentiments expressed by so many of those who launched an online war against the students and voters convinced that their economic prospects would improve if the country only had a border wall really should not be missed. What's happened to the two young women in Texas doesn't just speak volumes about the uncivil state of affairs online; it reveals a lot about the way that many Americans view immigration and immigrants overall.
After leading her Austin, Tex., graduating class in the Pledge of Allegiance and delivering the valedictory address, Mayte Lara Ibarra sparked a rabid Twitter controversy with a single tweet. (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)