Dreamers: You too can earn Legal status. Read about Elizabeth Olivas. If you are like Elizabeth, talk to an Immigration attorney. If you don't know an Immigration Attorney, go to your local Catholic Church and ask for their recommendations to find one.
(CNN) -- The Indiana high school student who was in danger of missing her graduation ceremony because of a visa mix-up in Mexico returned home early Friday morning. The smiling teen was met at the Indianapolis International Airport by her Dad and all of her family members, balloons and signs.
"Now I can continue to pursue my dreams," Elizabeth Olivas, 17, told reporters.
High school student Elizabeth Olivas had faced a three-year ban from the United States. Her attorney, Sarah Moshe, had said the U.S. State Department approved a waiver, allowing Olivas to return home and deliver the salutatorian speech at Frankfort High School on Saturday.
Elizabeth was an undocumented immigrant who was brought to the United States by her parents when she was 4. She traveled to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, last month to beat a deadline to apply for a visa. According to immigration laws, children of immigrant parents have until 180 days from their 18th birthday to leave the United States for their country of origin and apply for a visa. The consulate in Mexico granted Olivas an appointment for May 4. Her attorney, Moshe, calculated on two different legal calendars that the 180th day would fall on April 17, so Olivas departed for Mexico that day so not to miss many of her classroom courses in America. But at her May 4 appointment, Olivas was told she had left the United States on the 181st day.
The calendars her lawyer Moshe used did not account for the leap year. The mix-up could have meant Olivas would be banned from the United States for three years, living with her grandparents in Juarez until she could apply again.
"The waiver was approved, and we just finished issuing and printing her visa," read a statement from the U.S. State Department, according to Moshe. "We gave her the visa packet and she will be left the Consulate Thursday, visa in hand!. Congrats and best of luck to Elizabeth and her family! She is very lucky to have such a great team working on her behalf."
Olivas' father is a naturalized U.S. citizen. He filed an immigrant visa petition for his daughter to gain legal status. The petition process began years ago, but the process was slow, Olivas said. She said she had been "essentially begging for an appointment."
"The problem was we couldn't secure an appointment at the consulate," Moshe said.
In the six weeks since Olivas' arrival in Mexico, she participated in classes remotely with her laptop and kept her grades up during the final weeks of school.
Her only hope to return to Indiana quickly was a 400-page parental hardship waiver that she presented to U.S. consulate officials Thursday. Her appeal argued her diabetic father would suffer from being apart from his daughter.
Now back in the United States she plans to apply for permanent resident status.
Steve Edwards, principal at Frankfort High School, called Olivas a "phenomenal kid."
"She is a mentor to those younger than her," Edwards said. "There is just not a bad thing to say about Elizabeth. She's an awesome girl."
Olivas' medal and diploma were presented to her on Saturday, he said.
"Regardless of this whole process, she graduated on Saturday," Edwards said. "She gave her speech in front of the crowd. We are all so proud to see her graduate."