St. Mary's University graduate Benita Veliz has been granted a few more months to prepare a case challenging her deportation to Mexico. Veliz, 23, graduated valedictorian of her class at Jefferson High School before going on to earn degrees in biology and sociology, with honors, at St. Mary's. A traffic stop in Helotes in January led to her arrest and detention.
Veliz was brought to the U.S. at age 8 by her parents and was raised entirely in the States; she is not currently eligible for citizenship, and would be barred from returning to the U.S. for a decade if she is deported. The DREAM Act, which is working its way through Congress, is designed to offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants like Veliz who complete college degrees or serve in the military. But the new court date, September 9, may still come too early.
"I would have liked October 9," said Veliz's attorney, Nancy Shivers. Shivers is hopeful that as long as the DREAM Act is close to passage, Veliz will be granted a reprieve.
Veliz, who is scheduled to be a bridesmaid in her best friend's wedding September 12, wrote her college thesis on the DREAM Act. "At the end of the day," Veliz said, "it's just going to be another story unless there's actual immigration reform."