Top HS Grad, 18, Jailed for Deportation
Posted Jul 27, 2007 2:44 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
When Juan Gomez graduated from high school in Miami this year, everyone he knew expected great things of him. The 18-year-old reportedly is one of the most stellar students ever to attend Killian High—a popular football player, he also graduated among the top 20 in his 780-student class and earned near-perfect scores on his college admission tests.
Now, however, Gomez is jailed in a Broward County detention facility, awaiting deportation to Colombia rather than the start of a new school year in an honors program at Miami Dade College. His crime: staying in this country illegally, with his parents and brother, who moved here when Juan Gomez was 2 years old, reports the Miami Herald.
The case is putting a troubling individual face, for those who know Gomez, on a commonplace issue of immigrants living in this country illegally, and providing an unexpected civics lesson for his friends. More than 400 teens have rallied to his cause, and are petitioning legislators in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., seeking their help with his case.
Gomez is a "poster child for who we should NOT be deporting," writes Eric Krause, a Killian government teacher, in an e-mail to the Miami Herald. "Deporting a student who the entire Killian faculty would describe as one of the best our high school has ever produced is not the American way.''