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Mayte Lara, a high school student in Texas, celebrated her graduation this month with a tweet announcing: "Valedictorian, 4.5 GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, ... good legs, oh, and I'm undocumented."
Her tweet went viral. She received thousands of likes and retweets. Many wrote to congratulate her.
But there were more messages criticizing Lara for being undocumented. There were so many negative tweets that less than a week after graduation, Lara had already deleted her account on the social network.
One of the tweets, user Noah Holt wrote said: "Mayte Lara is a prime example of how illegals hurt our country, taking away spots that could go to LEGAL CITIZENS of the US."
#MayteLara is a prime example of how illegals hurt our country, taking away spots in college that could go to LEGAL CITIZENS of the US
— Noah Holt (@Noah_Holt_63) June 9, 2016
In another tweet, user Cool Arrow wrote: "I did it legally, nobody should get a short cut," showing a screenshot of a submitted tip form to U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.
@maytelara29 I did it legally, nobody should get a short cut. pic.twitter.com/UZC5ipnqNY
— Cool Arrow (@cuervo_jones) June 5, 2016
Some users complained that Lara wouldn't have received a free education if she were white, criticizing affirmative action,which aims to give minorities in the United States equal opportunities to receive a college education and get jobs.
But the Texas Education Code dictates that state universities may waive tuition for the first year to the highest-ranking graduate in each state-accredited high school, something Lara achieved at Crockett High School.
“State law also does not distinguish between documented and undocumented graduates of Texas high schools in admissions and financial aid decisions,” Kylie Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson at UT-Austin, told KXAN.
However, some came to Lara's defense - including a celebrity. Solange Knowles tweeted: "You are so pop'n #MayteLara <3"
On Facebook, Lara's classmate Tee'Baby Hutton wrote: "Please leave her alone! You all just want to see people down! How about we start up lifting people instead of tearing them down! That's how you make America great again!"