Star student not allowed back into U.S. because of illegal pastPosted: Updated:
Daniella Aguado wanted to be an english teacher ever since high school, and at 21 years old, she has succeeded.
Success was never a foreign concept for Daniella - especially at Mountain View High School in Mesa.
"I had a wonderful experience in high school. I love studying," says Daniella "I had good grades."
"Good" is putting it politely. Out of over 800 seniors, Daniella graduated in the top 15, with well above a 4.0 GPA.
She was in the National Honor Society and tutored other students which led her to teaching.
"She was the type of person that gets things done yesterday. If I had a student aide like her every year, I could probably do this for another 15 years." recalls Jeff Lewis.
Jeff Lewis taught math at Mountain View for 3 decades, and figures he had almost 5,000 students in that time.
He says it's hard to remember most, but he remembers the best.
"I'm a better person because I had Daniella as a student in my class," says Lewis.
"I did all I had to do. I did the exams. I did the applications. I got accepted." Daniella got a scholarship to Brigam Young University in Utah.
But it wasn't enough. Because of a secret that even her fondest teachers didn't know about.
Daniella had been living in the US illegally since she was 13 - and all the brains in the world wouldn't change that.
And if she wanted her scholarship, she would have to go back to Mexico alone, and apply for a student visa. So she did.
"And that's when they told me I couldn't receive the student visa because i have lived in the states without a student visa before. And that probably I was taking advantage of the country and the government." Daniella recalls.
According to the Arizona Department of Education, in 2007, the state spent about $6,000 per student, and up to 150,000 were undocumented.
Estimates reach as high as $1-billion dollars to teach english as a second language in K through 12th grades.
State Senator-electRussel Pearce says "What does it take to wake up America? How much is ok? Is this all collateral damage as we provide cheap labor for the corporate oligarchy, those that are profits over patriotism? Enough is enough!"
Pearce has championed the effort to strengthen enforcement on what he calls an "invasion of america." He says allowing someone who has broken our laws to return and benefit even more would cause a criminal domino effect.
"You know, many of them are good people. And I understand that, probably the majority of them are good people to be honest. And are looking for a better way of life and I'm sensitive to that." Pearce emphasizes "But we're a nation of laws. And you can't ignore the damage to America."
Immigration attorney Bob McWhirter says Daniella's only damage to the US is using her talents elsewhere.
"If this country's immigration law should stand for anything, it should stand for this country wants the best and the brightest to come to this country from all over the world. That's how this country became great. Right now, we're throwing away the best and the brightest and saying to her to go someplace else." says McWhirter.
For a young woman who learned english in six months and began teaching it to american students within a year, Daniella Aguado's drive drove her from a life and family she can't come back to. For the past 3 years, she "has" achieved her goal - she's teaching english, to students in Mexico City.
But she won't get her doctorate at BYU - or teach at an American university like she wanted to.
And because she can't even visit the US, she has no idea when she'll see her family again, if ever.
"One of the hardest things was to go to church without my family. Because I have to sit on Sundays by myself, and it's like, ughh... The lonely girl."