An illegal immigrant who graduated from the University of California, San Diego this spring proudly waved a green, red and white Mexican flag as she walked across the stage during commencement ceremonies on Sunday.
The flag-waving UC San Diego graduate is Indira Esparza, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune.
Esparza, 22, moved to the United States with her parents from Mexico when she was two years old. Her parents were (and presumably remain) illegal immigrants.
Taxpayer-funded officials at UC San Diego advised the Union-Tribune’s reporter and photographer on the scene to focus squarely on Esparza. It’s not clear if these administrators knew in advance that the student had plotted to pull the foreign flag stunt.
School officials had informed Union-Tribune reporter Lyndsay Winkley that Esparza faced financial trouble as a UCSD student, as well as concerns that her family members could face deportation. (RELATED: Obama Administration Released 156 Criminal Aliens TWICE Instead Of Deporting Them)
The administrators said Esparza was also worried that other students might view her negatively because of her illegal alien status.
If Esparza was concerned about how other students might view her immigration status, however, she certainly made no attempt to downplay it. Instead, the Mexican citizen helped found the Undocumented Student Services Center at UC San Diego.
Esparza plans to become a teacher, and will immediately continuing her education by pursuing a Master’s degree at UCSD.
It’s not clear how Esparza obtained funding to attend UCSD as an undergraduate or how she will finance her Master’s degree.
In any case, the San Diego newspaper dutifully featured Esparza’s story and a photograph of her unfurling the Mexican flag on stage in its coverage of the graduation ceremony.
Local response to the flag fracas has been largely negative. The paper has received over a dozen angry letters. Reader comments below the story are also critical.
The Union-Tribune cites one comment saying: “I can’t imagine living illegally in another country, and waving an American flag in people’s faces. Rude.” (RELATED: Students Have No Right To Wear American Flag Apparel Because Some Mexicans Might Be Offended)
Another comment reads: “What a slap in the face of her hosts; the citizens of these United States of America.”
The Mexican flag manages to become news fairly frequently here in the United States. Last summer, for example, a Southern California woman lost her job and faced death threats after she used her cell phone to videotape an encounter with a homeowner over a Mexican flag flying in the homeowner’s front yard — and published the video on YouTube. (RELATED: Woman Who Really Hates Mexican Flag Loses Her Job Over Hatred Of Mexican Flag)