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Indiana student stuck in Mexico gets US visa to return home to speak at high school graduation
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ' An Indiana high school homecoming queen stuck in her native Mexico on an immigration technicality received a U.S. visa Thursday and was expected to make it home in time for her graduation, her attorney said.
Star Frankfort High School senior Elizabeth Olivas, 18, was due to return to Indiana on a flight Thursday night, Indianapolis attorney Sarah Moshe said. Olivas confirmed her good news in a text message moments after receiving the visa Thursday afternoon at the U.S. consulate in Juarez, Mexico, Moshe said.
"JUST GOT OUT VISA IN MY HANDS," Olivas told Moshe in the text message. "IM COMING HOME! THANK YOU SO MUCH, IM SOO HAPPY!"
Olivas has lived in Indiana since she was 4 years old. However, immigration law required Olivas to travel to her native Mexico within six months of her 18th birthday to get a visa or green card, according to the Indianapolis Star, which has closely tracked the teenager's plight.
She was a day late, and the delay in receiving the visa threatened to keep her in Mexico while her classmates graduated Saturday at the school about 35 miles northwest of Indianapolis.
Moshe said in a news release that the State Department sent an electronic message saying the visa had been approved and printed.
"Congrats and best of luck to Elizabeth and her family!" the message said.
Frankfort High School Principal Steve Edwards confirmed Olivas was due back Thursday night.
"We're just fired up that she gets to graduate with her classmates," he said.
Olivas is senior class salutatorian, an athlete and a homecoming queen, Edwards said.
"She's a model citizen. She's one of our best," the principal said. "She's a well-liked kid and she's involved in the school and the community. You can't find too many better."