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Father and daughter hugging at graduation

Source: Hill Street Studios / Getty

Leslie Silva was not about to experience her high school graduation without her father — even deportation wasn’t going to stop her.

Leslie met up with her dad two hours before she crossed the stage so he could see her in her cap and gown. According to Leslie, her father was deported three times, so she had to meet him at the U.S.-Mexico border.

She posted a video of the occasion that has since gone viral, which you can watch below.

Leslie says this was the first time she saw her father cry. “He said he felt really honored and he thought it was really nice of me to go see him before my graduation ceremony,” she told the El Paso Times. 

Leslie’s father was first deported when she was 7 years old when he was caught living in El Paso illegally in 2007. Then he was deported two more times for trying to return to his family.

“He has missed a lot of me and my sisters’ lives — graduations, parties and everything. So we thought it would be kind of special to see me before graduation day,” Leslie said. “I have the opportunity and privilege to have him close to me and we go to see him every weekend.” This is something Leslie said many other children of immigrants don’t have the opportunity to do.

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