Meet Elier Lara.
Elier was brought to the United States when he was just 4 years old. Now at 18, he has no memory of Mexico, yet the Department of Homeland Security wants to send him back there.
Last year, Elier was on a trip to New York with other students from his high school to compete at Nationals for Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE). Through his leadership on the Business Professionals of America team, he and his teammates were able to take second place at the State level, earning them a trip to Nationals. After placing in the highly competitive field, garnering Honorable Mention and receiving the competition’s Innovation Award, Elier was singled out at the airport before his team boarded to fly back to Cincinnati. And all because he was carrying with him his only form of identification – a school ID.
He was arrested and forced into deportation proceedings right in front of his teammates and coach. He is now waiting for his court date to appear before the judge who will the decide Elier’s future. Elier’s family is originally from an area near the US border which has been decimated by drug cartel violence. His hometown has experienced car bombings and a civilian massacre. Sending him back to Mexico will not only separate him from his family, but it will endanger his life.
Elier is facing deportation back to Mexico, a country he no longer remembers, because he doesn’t have a “valid” form of identification. The fact that he was on a school trip, coming back from a school competition, proves that he’s an asset to his community in Ohio and to the country. Elier has excelled academically; he graduated high school with a 3.8 GPA and has won many awards and recognition for his hard-work.
He wants to pursue an advanced degree in Information Technology and obtain a PhD. Elier has lived in the United States for most of his life and has excelled in his studies. Ohio can’t afford to deport a young, motivated entrepreneur like Elier Lara.