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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE honor student held in detention center

Kari Zavatson holds a sign during a student rally to support Victoria Chiwara, SE Cornerstone student, currently detained by immigration authorities. From the detention center, Chiwara said she hopes to be released soon and not be transported back to Zimbabwe.  Photo by Johnathan Deaton-Lee/The Collegian
Kari Zavatson holds a sign during a student rally to support Victoria Chiwara, SE Cornerstone student, currently detained by immigration authorities. From the detention center, Chiwara said she hopes to be released soon and not be transported back to Zimbabwe. Photo by Johnathan Deaton-Lee/The Collegian

By Susan Tallant/editor-in-chief

Kari Zavatson holds a sign during a student rally to support Victoria Chiwara, SE Cornerstone student, currently detained by immigration authorities. From the detention center, Chiwara said she hopes to be released soon and not be transported back to Zimbabwe.  Photo by Johnathan Deaton-Lee/The Collegian
Kari Zavatson holds a sign during a student rally to support Victoria Chiwara, SE Cornerstone student, currently detained by immigration authorities. From the detention center, Chiwara said she hopes to be released soon and not be transported back to Zimbabwe. Photo by Johnathan Deaton-Lee/The Collegian

A TCC student working toward a premed degree might not get to graduate this spring unless the blunder made by her previous attorney is cleared up. Students held a rally for the honor student last week on SE Campus to draw attention to her situation.

Victoria Chiwara, Cornerstone student, has been held in a West Texas detention center since Jan. 10. She is hoping to be released soon, not deported.

Chiwara moved to the United States from Zimbabwe six years ago on a temporary visa. Her attorney at the time did not file the correct paperwork when she arrived and also caused her to miss an appeal, according to a recent Star-Telegram story by Nathaniel Jones.

Chiwara is hopeful the matter will soon be cleared up so she can get back to school.

“ I am hoping to be out soon,” she said in a Collegian interview. “I have already missed a lot of school.”

And according to her friends, Chiwara never misses class.

“ I knew something was wrong when she was not at school the first day of class,” Samantha Windschitl, SE Cornerstone student, said. “She doesn’t miss for anything.”

Windschitl finally learned what happened to her friend a few weeks later.

“ It was awful; I cried,” she said. “She deserves so much better than this.”

Windschitl said she was planning on taking a road trip with Chiwara after their graduation.

Chiwara plans to attend Baylor University after graduating from TCC and wants to do mission work with Voice of the Martyrs.

“ I want to work with persecuted churches located in places not allowed to share their faith,” she said.

Chiwara was unaware of all of the media attention she has been receiving and said she was very grateful for the rally held in her honor.

“ I just want to thank everyone for what they are doing,” she said. “They did not have to do anything, but I am very grateful and thankful.”

Chiwara said the employees at the center are treating her okay, but she misses everybody.
“ It is just not home,” she said.

Chiwara’s classmates also want her home and even named her top of the Cornerstone honors class.

“ So often we take for granted the privilege of living in America,” Becky Butler, Cornerstone classmate and friend, said in an e-mail to The Collegian.

“ Having this situation happen to someone so deserving to be here is devastating.”

Butler said time is running out before Chiwara might be transported back to Zimbabwe.

“ It was absolutely heartbreaking when our class learned that Victoria was being kept in jail, alone, placed with criminals unbefitting of her character,” she said. “There is nothing more that the Cornerstone class wants this semester than to have her back in our classroom.”

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