What a waste of an opportunity for this country. From the Newark Star Ledger:
Vidal Tapia is by all accounts International High School's brightest prospect. A teacher-described "pillar of strength" at the Paterson school, he carries a 4.0 GPA, a National Honor Society membership and a slew of community service hours. He was tapped as his class's valedictorian to give the commencement address in June. Eventually, he wants to work for NASA.
But his plans might fall short of even graduation, not because of any academic problems, but rather an immigration snare. By next week, the 19-year-old senior could be sent back to his native Mexico, barred from returning to the United States for a decade.
Tapia immigrated here illegally about five years ago. Since then, his petition for U.S. residency has been accepted and an interview for a green card was scheduled for Wednesday at the consulate in Ciudad Juarez. But because he unlawfully crossed the border and now is an adult, he is likely to face a 10-year ban from setting foot on U.S. soil, regardless of whether he qualifies for residency status. That would mean no commencement speech in June, no diploma in the near future and no American job possibilities until he's in his 30s.
"I'm here to continue my education. My hope in this country is to become better and better," said Tapia, sitting in a school conference room Thursday. "Having to go back will disturb all that — all my goals."
Greg Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.