Immigrants who won robotics competition

Inspiring Immigrants Who Bested Elite Schools

In light of all of the anti-immigrant rhetoric we have been hearing, today I wanted to share optimism about immigrants in our country. Last night I watched a documentary about a group of four teens from Arizona – Oscar Vazquez, Cristian Arcega, Luis Aranda and Lorenzo Santillan. They lived in an impoverished neighborhood and attended a dangerous school. One had been a a member of a gang as a young teen, and they struggled with violence on and off-campus. Three of them were undocumented immigrants.

What do you expect that these kids accomplished as high schoolers? How many do you think achieved anything memorable, graduated or went on to college? The cards were stacked against them. But with a barebones budget and old car parts, these high school teens McGuyvered  an underwater robot that won a competition against teams from he most elite universities in the country, including tech school giant, MIT. All graduated from high school, and all went on to college. One of the students was deported to Mexico due to immigration issues, but he was able to come back to the United States with the help of Senator Dick Durbin after some time.

Next month, a movie called “Spare Parts” will hit theaters. This film, starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei, will tell the story of the underdog immigrants who were able to innovate a robotics masterpiece out of trash bits and pieces.

I love this story because it testifies to the fact that this country is still the land of opportunity for immigrants. Anything can happen here when you’re willing to take initiative and experiment with ideas. Once you gain legal status, you are free to manifest your dreams.

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