Erik Vargas is a recent high school grad with stellar grades and college scholarships, and he's attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. He also recently received extreme backlash on Twitter after he admitted that he's an undocumented immigrant.
His announcement of this achievement and his immigration status is what started the trouble:
At first, he was thrilled to receive so many likes and such positive attention for the tweet. But that soon changed. Vargas had to delete the tweet after what he calls the "Trump Twittersphere" began flooding him with hateful comments and direct messages.
Here's an example of a message he received:
He was aware this could happen, and it was in fact his motivation for the tweet in the first place:
As ironic as it may sound, I did it for visibility.
There is a blind, unjust, conservative belief among far too many Americans that immigrants — specifically those who come from south of the border or anywhere else that’s not Western Europe — are generally bad people. We are stupid, we are rapists, and we are evil, they say.
Vargas wanted to be an inspiring face that contradicts some people's assumptions about undocumented:
But, for the sake of more than 11 million undocumented American lives, I believe it’s crucial that undocumented Americans say just that. It is crucial that people know that we are terrific human beings. It is a crucial risk to take.
A lot of the haters forgot that scholarships can come from private and non-profit organizations (which means they do not include any government money). Vargas was certain to point this out:
He also had some fun with trolls who still did not quite grasp that concept:
More and more undocumented students are being vocal and visible about their status, especially when they're headed to top universities like Vargas:
If more undocumented students are speaking out, it looks his plan is working. They'll just have to balance the time-consuming effort of defeating trolls on Twitter while succeeding in the Ivy League.