November 30th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Family says undocumented student killed himself over fears he'd never go to college

By Rafael Romo, Senior Latin American Affairs Editor

(CNN) – Joaquin Luna was only 18. The senior at Juarez Lincoln High School in Mission, Texas, dreamed of going to college. But since he was in the country illegally, that was nearly impossible.

Luna was quickly losing hope of ever going to college, his family says. The Friday after Thanksgiving, Luna put on a suit, kissed his family members, went into the bathroom and shot himself in the head, according to family members.

"He didn't see no other way or no other option," his brother Diyra Mendoza told CNN affiliate KGBT.

Mendoza found the body after hearing the gunshot.

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Filed under: After High School • Issues • Policy
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Will S

    Why couldn't he go to college in Mexico? (or what ever country he was from). He certainly won't be going now.

    December 10, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Juuka Morinaga

      He was educated in English. American public high schools only teach in Spanish to get basic skills up. For university preparatory work, it's always in English.
      He may be a citizen of Mexico, but he was educated in the USA. He might have a tough time attending a Mexican university, where one would have to know EDUCATED Spanish.

      HOWEVER there are community colleges that don't ask questions. He should have attended a community college and gotten as much as he could.
      Also the university systems of Texas have deals where non-citizens who graduate from Texas high schools are eligible tp attend Texas universities, but I'm not sure where being a legal resident comes into play

      December 14, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Juuka Morinaga

      BTW some American high schools offer "Spanish for Native Speakers" courses, but it's not the same thing as being completely educated in Spanish.

      December 14, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  2. Steve Miller

    If he was illegal why should he get taxpayer funded aid for school? Lots of people don't go to college and don't off themself but it wouldn't make national news if he did it because his parents treated him bad.

    December 8, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  3. Chris

    It is very sad that a life is lost. I very much have to question either the way the story is written or the reasons the parents have cited. Multiple problems exist, the first being that the parents chose to come to this country illegally. The second is whether the issue was truly over going to college, if indeed it was just over this one issue then the mental issues have to run much deeper. Millions of legal residents are unable to attend college because of expense, academics, or even a lack of desire. Citing the inability to go to college as the sole reason just does not pass the smell test. The parents need to look to themselves for their responsibility in violating the law, as well as looking at the true reason for this tragic event. I will probably get the insensitivity vote by many readers but I have a great deal of compassion for a young life lost who will for sure not be able to attend college now.

    December 6, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Juuka Morinaga

      Erm, in many U.S. circles, being an illegal immigrant has the moral weight of jaywalking. Many in US cities don't see illegal immigration as a moral transgression. The law=/ morals

      In Hispanic circles, supporting illegal immigration is seen as helping out their people, so it's actually positive for them

      December 14, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  4. jdl2

    Tom American and Truth-bomb Thrower; A young man died, and his family is grieving. He didn't rob an old lady, or molest a child, he was a kid, afraid and depressed. Your comments ARE "cold and cruel" and make your use of the name "American" offensive. There are a lot of people who have lost a child to suicide because of bullies and fear-mongers like you two. Looks like Joaquin was another. Save your angry rants for something other than the death of a child. Condolences to his family.

    December 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  5. TomAmerican

    It looks like to me that the first major step in this tragic chain of events was his parents deciding to come here illegally. That is where 100% of the blame rests. May seem cold and cruel, but it is just a fact.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • emryldmyst

      i agree 100 %

      December 10, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  6. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    OH BOO HOO! The child of some PARASITIC CRIMINALS committed sucicide, so let's just throw all of the laws out of the window and let anyone and everyone come here and do whatever the heck they want. God knows the democrats needs the voters since they've written off all the evil white middle class.

    December 2, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Roch

      The parasitic criminals you are referring to probably pay their taxes and bills better than you do, I really don't understand the paranoia with this kind of crap, a lot of this people dont live out of welfare, pay their taxes and "dont" get the little $$$ you get during income tax.
      I see more "parasites" on every corner of this town asking for money..and living out of welfare.. those "parasites" are either white or black... food for thought my red-neck friend.

      December 3, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
      • TomAmerican

        Roch, maybe you should visit or talk to people who are social workers or work in emergency rooms. Especially along the border. They will paint a picture for you about illegals that almost scary beyond comprehension.

        December 5, 2011 at 12:45 am |
      • Steve Miller

        How are they possibly paying taxes better than any citizen that has payroll dedution. Even if they where not paid under the table(0 taxes) they would be useing a fake id(felony) and SSN#. Of these fake IDs they will put the maximun number of dependants. There is one woman who had her SSN# used in more than 200 jobs outside the state she works her full time job in. Illegals pick 2% of our produce but make up 29% of federal prisoners

        December 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • AGuest9

      So, Roch, I guess you're OK with B&E? If I kick in your side window tonight, barge in and start rummaging through your fridge, lay on your couch and take up residence in your home, you'll be OK with that? Squatting is squatting. It's truly sad. This kid didn't ask to be an anchor, but his parents made him just that. It's not our fault, it's their's. I hope they have been sent back home with his body.

      December 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
  7. VACHat

    Sorry for his death HOWEVER his family knew he was illegal. Perhaps his family memeber(s) are as well.l? . There are lots of seniors worried about getting into and attending college. For reasons such as the depressed economy, joblessness, family issues. He broke the law ;although it's not the way I would have chosen.

    December 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  8. Max


    December 1, 2011 at 8:37 am |