Family: Immigration Challenges Drive Teen to Commit Suicide

An eighteen-year-old aspiring engineer in Mission killed himself last week, because he feared his immigrant status would prevent him from attending college.
Wed November 30, 2011 1:29 am
Screenshot | Valley Central’s Action 4 News

An eighteen-year-old aspiring engineer in Mission killed himself last Friday because he was worried his immigration status would keep him from accomplishing his goal of going to college, his family said. This led some immigration-reform activists to call him a martyr for the DREAM Act.

“He was actually doing this for the cause, mainly the Dream Act. He was doing this to show politicians, to show that something had to be done because there are a lot of kids out there in the same situation,” Diyre Mendoza, Luna’s brother, told the Washington Times.

Luna, an A- and B-student at Juarez-Lincoln High School, had applied to college but found his immigration status made him ineligible for some scholarships. Mendoza showed a reporter from Valley Central’s Action 4 News some architectural renderings of an apartment complex Luna had created for a school project.

The Guardian published a story detailing the last dramatic moments of Luna’s life: “Before he died, Joaquin Luna put on his best suit, white shirt and black skinny tie, the same outfit he wore every Sunday without fail to the Pan de Vida church in his home town of Mission, Texas. As his brother put it: ‘He dressed himself to go to God.’”

Mendoza told the Guardian that Luna was disheartened by the passage of Arizona and Alabama’s harsh immigration laws, and by the federal DREAM Act’s death in the Senate last year. The DREAM Act would have provided a

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