Illegal Miami Student Poster Child for the DREAM

Walter Lara can stay, for now, immigration officials said

Sometimes dreams can come true. Walter Lara certainly hopes so.

Walter Lara's Plea

The 23-year-old Argentinian immigrant has been living in Miami since he was 3, but immigration officials found out about his illegal status and set out on a crusade to ship Lara back to his homeland July 6.

That one-way trip was delayed Thursday after Department of Homeland Security officials issued a bit of good will by ruling to allow Lara to stay until July 3, 2010, the Miami Herald reported.

The extended stay may be just enough time for the DREAM Act to get approval, which would allow any undocumented immigrant who serves in the military or is attending school to apply for citizenry. As it stands now, if you're caught without papers, you're sent back to your home country. The DREAM Act was shot down in 2007, but many, like Sen. Bill Nelson, still fight to get the measure passed.

We hope Lara is photogenic, because he is about to become a poster child.

Lara would seem like the perfect case for why the DREAM needs to become a reality. He graduated from Miami-Dade College with a 4.7 grade point average and has done 1,000 hours community service. He didn't find out he was an illegal alien until he tried to get into the University of Central Florida after graduation. Authorities arrested him in February while he was at work installing satellite TV.

During what he thought was his remaining months in the land of the free, Lara organized rallies and websites and on Wednesday he went to Congress to seek help and tell his story. With most politicians headed out for an early start to the Fourth of July weekend, Lara was waging his own fight for independence.

He may find an ally in President Obama, who has said he is in favor of immigration reform, but in this fight, there are no promises.

For now, Lara is unpacking his bags and hopes to enjoy some more of that apple pie that America is so famous for.

Contact Us