Transy student says classmate targeted her for deportation

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Paola Garcia says she is afraid for her future.

"I want to be able to have a plan for my life," she said, "and be able to be confident in pursuing that and being in the country."

For Garcia, a senior psychology student at Transylvania University, there is more uncertainty now than ever. Garcia says she is a "Dreamer" under the DACA program, and she says ever since a fellow student called her out on Facebook, her life has been a nightmare.

Garcia says a classmate posted a screenshot of her Facebook profile, urging: "Everyone go report this illegal at my school bragging about breaking the law." Garcia said she thinks the post is in reference to a line in her Facebook biography that said "Undocumented. Unapologetic. Unafraid."

Garcia says that happened over the summer, and since then she has gotten harassing messages on Facebook, saying things like "Unapologetic... Reported" (with pictures of the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement logo); "Thank you for your information, I.C.E. has been notified...good luck in your trip back"; "They're coming for you"; and screenshots of someone submitting a tip form to I.C.E.

On Wednesday afternoon, Transy officials confirmed to WKYT that the student who made the post, identified as Taylor Ragg, is no longer enrolled at the university. The university would not say whether he was expelled or left voluntary.

Garcia posted an emotional plea for help on YouTube over the weekend, asking folks to reach out to school administrators. Since then, Garcia says she has gotten message after message of support from the campus, city and country.

"It's little things like that," she told WKYT's Garrett Wymer, "and I wish I could sit here and read off all the amazing things I've been receiving."

Garcia, 21, says she came to the United States with her parents when she was two. She grew up in St. Albans, W.Va.

Yet after 19 years, Garcia said in the video she posted, America still does not feel like a home to her. That is one reason Garcia does not want her story to stop here. She wants it to spark change, so others, too, can feel welcome in their own homes.



 

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