Larissa Martinez surprised those assembled for her high school graduation when she revealed her status as an illegal immigrant during a valedictorian speech. Martinez had graduated at the top of her class with a 4.95 GPA and decided to use her valedictory speech to influence how illegal immigrants are perceived.
The question remains: so what? Is Martinez’s achievement somehow enhanced by her illegal status? Would a similar achievement by a legal immigrant be somehow diminished? How does her status as a valedictorian add anything of substance to the immigration debate? Whether you’re for expanding immigration, for restricting it, or for maintaining the status quo, the arguments for and against those positions do not rest on the potential of immigrant students.