New York State Youth Leadership Council



Jun 09


Reposted from

Who is Walter Lara?

Walter Lara, age 23, came to the United States from Argentina 20 years ago. Unless Congress or the Department of Homeland Security intervenes in his case, he will be required to leave the U.S. by July 6th.
Walter, having lived in the U.S. since he was three, speaks English without any trace of an accent. Miami is the only home he knows. Growing up in Florida, Walter graduated from high school as an honors student, fourth in his class. He dedicated over 1,000 hours of service to his community.
After high school, Walter attended the Honors College of Miami Dade Wolfson Campus. Earning an associates degree, he was trained in computer graphics and used this education to do freelance web design. On the side, he has found time to be involved in sports and teach himself many aspects of computing. Walter Lara has never broken the law and continues to be an active and important member of his community. He aspires to work for Pixar as a graphic designer, but without a Social Security number or visa, and therefore unable to attend a 4-year college, he has worked instead as a cable installer for Direct-TV.
On February 17, 2009, he was on his way to Fisher Island for an install when he was stopped by I.C.E. officials. When he admitted to them that he is undocumented, Walter was arrested and jailed for 20 days. He now faces deportation within days to a country he has never known.


Homeland Security Defers Deportation of Honor Student for One Year

Victory Opens Next Leg in Fight to Pass the Dream Act

Washington, DC—Today, after 48 hours of intense activism by Congressional Leaders, bloggers, and thousands of grassroots activists who made calls and sent letters on Walter Lara’s behalf, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) moved to defer 23-year old Lara’s scheduled deportation back one year until July 3, 2010. In response to DHS’s deferment, Walter Lara issued the following statement:

“Today, words cannot express my gratitude to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson, Representatives Corrine Brown, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and the thousands of grassroots activists whose unified efforts have given me a second chance to live out my American Dream.
“As I look to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends this weekend, I have once again seen what makes America the best country in the world. Americans are fair, just, and kind. When we unite our strength to defend our shared values -opening rather than shutting the doors of opportunity – we can achieve anything. As I have said before, America is the only country I have known and I am an American. I have never been more proud to say that than I am today.

“But even as the dust settles on this tremendous personal victory, my sights are clearly set on the struggle ahead to build a long-term future for me and the more than 2 million like me whose lives may be cut short and dreams deferred.

“The action taken by the leaders in Congress and the Department of Homeland Security is an acknowledgment that our immigration laws are broken. The DREAM Act, if passed, would help people like myself, who came here through no fault of their own, stay in this country, be put on a path to citizenship and contribute to our nation.”