The U.S. needs college students like Jessica Colotl

WASHINGTON —  If immigrants represented the best and the brightest, we’d eagerly welcome them into the United States, right? If they learned to speak English. If they were strivers and achievers. If they worked hard and reached for the brass ring, we wouldn’t deny them the opportunity to join the American mainstream. Would we?

Yes, we would.

Jessica Colotl, 21, is a senior at Kennesaw State University, a political science major and a member of Lambda Theta Alpha, a college sorority. She wants to attend law school.

However, she came to this country illegally, with her parents, when she was a child. And her detractors don’t care what she’s accomplished since then. They want to send her back to Mexico, a country she barely knows.

Following a routine traffic stop on campus in late March, Colotl was arrested and sent to a federal detention facility to await deportation. After an outcry by friends and support from faculty members, immigration authorities agreed to defer action on her deportation for a year, giving her time to finish her undergraduate degree. Said college president Daniel Papp, “We are especially thrilled she will be allowed to continue her studies here at KSU.”

But that has infuriated some hardliners. For them, Colotl’s illegal entry is the most salient fact on her resume, her lack of a green card more important than her grade-point average. Her academic achievement, her English skills, her all-American sorority girl status — none of that placates the “WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND?” crowd. As one suburban Atlanta newspaper columnist wrote, “Most citizens don’t care how much ‘potential’ the young lady has.”

The uproar, though ugly, accomplishes something important: It brushes away the layers of pretense, polite subterfuge and politically acceptable criticism. The truth is laid bare: We’re a recession-weary nation wrestling with a bout of brutal, racially-tinged nativism — seeking scapegoats for economic failure, unsettled by demographic upheaval, unable to cope with a flatter world.

The intense backlash against undocumented immigrants — especially those from south of the border — isn’t really a reaction to overtaxed public services or rising crime. (In most of the country, including Arizona, crime is down.) Instead, it’s a backlash against the dizzying pace of change, against a cultural landscape growing more diverse, against a voting base growing browner with each census.

Arizona’s ugly immigration law — which, according to polls, is supported by a majority of Americans — is one sign of the harsh climate toward those without papers. Other signs dot the political landscape: Sen. John McCain’s retreat from his earlier embrace of comprehensive immigration reform; the reluctance of a Democratic Congress to wade into the debate before mid-term elections; the eagerness of other states to copy Arizona’s brand of apartheid.

Even the nation’s Latino Republicans feel the fury of their neighbors’ xenophobia. Writing on a conservative Web site, Robert Gonzalez, a Mexican-American attorney and a Republican, described the discomfort he felt as he overheard campaign volunteers, whom he had enlisted to work in Tucson for George W. Bush, talk about Mexican immigrants:

“Some of the things I heard coming from these volunteers, regarding “the Mexicans,” shook me: about how they should be kept out, about how the border fence could not be built high enough, made it seem as if we were the real threat to American society,” he wrote.

In Georgia, Colotl’s troubles continue. She is in the gun sights of a local sheriff who says she gave him a fake address  (lying to law enforcement authorities is a crime) and of anti-immigration activists who have made her an unlikely symbol of a failed system that, they claim, unfairly subsidizes illegal immigrants. GOP gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson, meanwhile, has proposed that illegal immigrants be shut out of the state’s colleges and universities, a plan that represents an embarrassing step backward.

But Johnson’s proposal has this virtue: It makes clear that he doesn’t care how well undocumented immigrants speak English.

845 comments Add your comment

Joel

May 14th, 2010
4:13 pm

A fool gives fool vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Proverbs 29:11

HDB

May 14th, 2010
4:13 pm

GimmeABreakAlready
May 14th, 2010
4:09 pm

Question: Why do you wish to eliminate an organiztion whose purpose is upholding the Constitution (The Bill of Rights)? Granted, some of the cases that the ACLU tries can make your blood boil, but they are supporting the Constitution!! Rather have them than to be without them!!

Average Joe

May 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

ctucker@3:29. I would agree with the fact that we do need college graduates and even MORE tech school grads than college types. However, the “application” of “common sense” is a matter of perspective. As such, it can’t be used to argue a case in court. Common sense may sway an opinion if it can be linked to law that supports the same. However, if the rule of law isn’t followed, there is no basis for a legal interpretation to use “common sense”. So, being a good person with excellent grades doesn’t trump the law as passed by our representatives.

stranger in a strange land

May 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

j.c. – that’s nice, but ‘aliens’ (or the stranger in a strange land) were actually slaves – not exactly what we’re talking about in the here and now. If you invoke OT law along with the NT references, I’d still (really) be curious to know how you reconcile all those NT references with how Yaweh had the Chosen People came to inhabit the Promised Land, and how they then dealt with ‘immigrants’ (in my OT version – they weren’t too friendly), and I don’t think they’re all that welcoming over there these days either. Father, Son, Holy Spirit – you were there back then, you’re still here now, and you said you do not change. So what’s the answer?

Tom Middleton

May 14th, 2010
4:15 pm

You Asked@3;56pm: “I already said I thought it was unfair of a Cobb County police officer to target me as I was coming out of my emmissions test.”

Quick one, Asked. But if you thought it was UNFAIR but were such a wimp that you didn’t fight it, why do you think Jessica (and her supporters) shouldn’t fight either? This is your understanding of the Golden Rule? Dude, you need to work on it really, really hard. Sorry, but you just lost the argument!

Dean Schade

May 14th, 2010
4:15 pm

I never agree with the lib Cynthia Tucker on anything but this one, I have to agree. I know being illegal here is a crime but there are millions out there. every second person on Jimmy Carter Rd in Norcross is illegal. Why don’t they arrest them. Why waste resources after one person who never killed, robbed anybody. You have TERRORISTS, MURDERERS, RAPISTS out there waiting to pound on us, but our wonderful law enforcement & the stupid media made a big freakin deal out of this. Go catch the real criminals and leave this girl alone.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
4:17 pm

“Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.” – 1 Timothy 6:20-21

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:19 pm

Tom- I understand the Golden rule. and despite your self proclaimed argument winning post you don’t seem to grasp the basic fact that I have not advocated for any punishment beyond what Jessica should have to be accountable for.

Obeying the law isn’t being a wimp. I was wrong to delay my emmissions test a week past the due date and the officer was within the law, even though I didn’t like his tactics. What is there to fight?

If Jessica was still a child who unwittingly broke a law she knew nothing about it would not be correct to ask her to pay. However, she is an adult who knowingly avoided paing full tuition and knowingly lied to a police officer when caught without a lisence.

I repeat – I don’t advocate her deportation. I do advocate her paying her fines and tuition while completing her degree. Then she needs to get in line for a work visa or citizenship like any other law abiding immigrant.

David

May 14th, 2010
4:20 pm

So many of these comments to me seem just heartless and disgusting. This girl was brought here as a child and grew up here and knows only her life here – it is not like she made the decision to come here. WE, the citizens of this state and country, decided to take away her options and make her live in fear rather than stepping forward, explaining her situation, and finding a resolution. WE decided to prevent her from getting a driver’s license.
As one example of the hatred fed by real stupidity, take this comment by “free”:
“she needs to pay out of state tuition for the years she was there, get her diploma, and then seek LEGAL status. she’s been caught and now it’s time to do the right thing by us because we’ve done the right thing by her.”
This is totally wrong. Education is funded by (property) tax dollars and to some extent the lottery. Participation in the lottery is entirely optional. Paying property taxes is not and having lived here for all the years she was in school she or her parents paid property taxes, either on a home they owned or as part of their rent for an apartment (apartment owners being profit minded include costs like that in the rent they charge). They have also paid sales taxes, gasoline taxes, income taxes, ad valorem taxes, and every other tax any citizen pays.
So you can yell about status all you want, but she and her family have probably paid MORE in taxes than any citizen (they will never get a refund from the IRS like you do and they will never see a dollar of the Social Security they have paid in) so don’t argue that they havent paid their own way for services!!!!!!!!!!

Ed Kaylor

May 14th, 2010
4:20 pm

Seems the overwhelming thread is to deport the illegal person. Many throw out the “What would Jesus do” line. Well, from my reading of the Bible I think he SUPPORT THE LAW. Render unto Ceaser…..
Just think about how many legal residents and/or Americans have been denied a place in college or funding because of an illegal. Those illegals who are not from Mexico can’t go back to Mexico because the Mexican goverment would put them in prison or depot them or both!!
As usual the liberal is on the wrong side of this issue. Even the liberal press can’t hide the fact that 60+% of the American people want the Federal Government to do their CONSTITUTIONAL duty and protect our borders. Is that too much to ask, Cynthia? Apparently it is.

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:20 pm

“Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.” – 1 Timothy 6:20-21

Good idea – I think I’ll stop wasting my time with foolish bloggers pretending to be Jesus Christ by quoting scripture.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
4:24 pm

“Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise” Romans 12:16

Kick down the door !

May 14th, 2010
4:24 pm

Hey Joel:

I don’t know to many American citizens kicking down the door to Mexico to become an illegal Mexican resident. If you know any, let me know, so I can get them some medication !

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:24 pm

Deportation when she is within a year of her degree is draconian. There is some room for mercy here and KSU President Dan Papp made the right decision.

She should however be responsible and accountable for the laws she broke, pay the tuition she owes and any fines from lying to the police.

While she did not make the decision to come here at 10 years of age, she did make the decision to lie about her residency at the ages of 19-22. She should be held accountable. If not what does that say to the millions of people who have worked very hard to gain legal admittance to the US and our Universities, while paying their full tuition?

stranger in a strange land

May 14th, 2010
4:26 pm

j.c. – since you don’t know, I’ll take the advise of J.C. – who divinely inspired the writer to tell us to beware of wolves in sheeps clothing.
(for your sake, i just hope you believe what you post)

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:26 pm

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” -Proverbs 25:24

Mr Charlie

May 14th, 2010
4:27 pm

The cat is out of the bag. Our government let us down, they let the businesses employ these illegal workers without penalty. So, after 20 years of this, it is too late to “crack down”. As a matter of fact, Bushes policies increased the amount of illegals, for they used to go home after the fruit season, but with the increased border tightening after 911, they stayed in our country and migrated east to make a living, fearful they might not be able to return. There should be changes made to allow a path to citizenship, or else you can expect a civil war.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
4:28 pm

“Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong.” -Proverbs 3:7

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:30 pm

A “civil war”?! Really Mr Charlie… Treason is hardly a good response to a poor enforcement of our laws.

Remind me, how did that civil war thing work out for us the last time?

wdw

May 14th, 2010
4:36 pm

you won a Pulitzer?…was it a COPY?????

middler and so tired of all the rhetoric :

May 14th, 2010
4:36 pm

Enter your comments here This young lady was an excellent student. However, she is not a citizen. And the crimes, yes crimes, she committed when detained indicate she is not someone who should be allowed to remain. Especially to become a lawyer. Remember what lawyers are supposed to do?

The immigration situation is very sad and hurts a lot of people. Some innocent at the time of the initial crime like this young lady. However, as the descendant of legal immigrants on both sides of my family who came to this country for the same reasons this woman is here I do not think excusing certain people here illegally is right. My ancestors, some as recently as the early 1900s went through the quotas,quarantines, and processes and some made it here legally. Others were returned to their country of origin. Some died in camps in WWII.

We cannot pick and choose some illegal aliens and punish all the others. That is a form of profiling too. Many of the illegal immigrants have brown skin. If they came from Canada and were white I would feel the same way. Wanting to enforce the laws and protect our country isn’t racist no matter what color the people committing the crimes.

I cannot go to Mexico without legal papers and illegally enjoy the benefits of their citizenship nor would I expect to. In my part of Atlanta many of the public elementary schools teach all but ESOL classes in Spanish and their signs are in Spanish. The students are not made to learn English so that they mainstream into American society but remain in their subculture. This is wrong. Having English as our official language and requiring all official and legal documents be in English is not wrong. If someone here illegally is from Ireland, France, Haiti, Israel, China, India, or Mexico he or she should be deported. It would be nice to be able to allow anyone open access and not worry about healthcare, jobs, or anything else. Unfortunately, the world is not like that. And we cannot be either.

This is a very smart woman. Yet she went to school illegally and even planned to enter the justice system. Her choices show that she is willing to circumvent the law if it suits her purposes. No one has that right. These choices were made as an adult, not a child. She has to take responsibility for her choices and pay the penalty for wrong ones.

ken R

May 14th, 2010
4:38 pm

Let her finish her education as long as it’s not costing the taxpayers 1 cent and then send her back to Mexico where she can practice law.
You are part of the reason that most people can’t stand liberals, you and your ilk will ruin this country.

Please tell us why you and other liberals don’t want people who have waited years to come to America legally, just how many illegals is enough?

stranger in a strange land

May 14th, 2010
4:39 pm

You asked – amen to that
jc (and CT – and anybody else for that matter) – if you want to drag the Bible into these discussions – no fair taking it cafeteria style. It’s all of it, or none of it.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
4:41 pm

“The most stupid fool is better off than those who think they are wise when they are not.” -Proverbs 26:12

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

May 14th, 2010
4:41 pm

Shoulden’t the title be “Embrace this ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT?” You are such a cow-tow for the leftist in this country, you should be ashamed.

Mr Charlie

May 14th, 2010
4:43 pm

You asked, I, nor my family was not around during the last civil war, but from what I heard, it did not work out all that well for anyone who was in it.

But yes, if we start to try and deport every “illegal”, there will be a civil war. They won’t leave without a fight. You can bet on it. Personally, I would probably fight on the “legal” side, but I do understand how America’s policies have let us to this point. I do not blame this girl, she was 10, I blame the failure of our system that turned a blind eye to the invasion during the Bush-Clinton-Bush years. It would have been a fight then, but it will be a much bigger one now.

mmm, mmm, mmm, Barack the LIAR Obama - BEND OVER, Here comes the CHANGE!

May 14th, 2010
4:44 pm

Dean, so the law abiding illegals are OK – News flash, just by being here, they are BREAKING THE LAW, TOO! AZ or bust!

BehindEnemyLines

May 14th, 2010
4:45 pm

She’s a criminal, plain & simple. A bright criminal perhaps, but otherwise still a criminal.
And no Cynthia, we don’t need any more of those, we grow plenty of our own already.

Mr Charlie

May 14th, 2010
4:46 pm

Is a law that is not enforced a law at all? Aren’t there still sodomy laws on the books?

Brian

May 14th, 2010
4:46 pm

Why would we not want people who contribute positively to society? I am for limiting immigrants, but not in cases like this.

Craig - The real Criag

May 14th, 2010
4:46 pm

Send her back, calling our immigration system messed up is one thing if you are a CITIZEN its a whole different cupcake when you are here illegally. Just because a law isn’t the way you like doesn’t mean you can ignore it. I would love to smoke and buy pot openly but I can’t and if I get caught then I have to pay for that. I would love to ignore things that are illegal like buying booze on Sunday but I can’t so she should respect our laws and go back to Mexico and apply legally.

Law Abiding Citizen

May 14th, 2010
4:46 pm

The US needs college students like the ILLEGAL Jessica C

… that is until one of them STEALS an education from a relative of Ms. Tucker’s !! Why don’t you investigate how ILLEGAL immigrants have stolen from the black community, then maybe your panties will bunch up in your behind!

Will you ever post something that is not riddled with BS?

I love this country

May 14th, 2010
4:47 pm

Well this girl is in a sorority and goes to college. She has to be a good girl. Do we really know her. She may be a terrorist for all we know.

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:47 pm

Mr Charlie – I see where you are going. I am more worried about a slow motion version of what the Visigoths did to Rome than a Civil war however. The Visigoth story is frighteningly parallel in many ways. We will reap what we sew – and if we choose not to enforce laws we have enacted that sends a very bad message to those who will want to pick and choose which laws they will obey.

Ron

May 14th, 2010
4:48 pm

Tucker is not dead yet? Bummer. I wish her and EVERY illegal would get the heck out. Including this chick from KSU.

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:49 pm

Lets hope the immigration officials are New Testament fans, this would be too draconian:

“Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.” -Exodus 32:27

(that was a joke folks…)

I love this country

May 14th, 2010
4:50 pm

I was waiting for someone to blame it on Bush. Different day, same chirping

Ron Mexico

May 14th, 2010
4:52 pm

Its like arguing with a wall with some of these people, so I give up. I am going to start breaking the law too though, so lock your doors people…

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:52 pm

I Love This Country-

Isn’t that one of the Constitutionally outlined duties of the President? “Taking blame for every dang fool thing any American does or is accused of doing.” I could have sworn it was in the Bill of Rights somewhere?

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

“See to it, then, that no one enslaves you by means of the worthless deceit of human wisdom, which comes from the teachings handed down by human beings and from the ruling spirits of the universe, and not from Christ. For the full content of divine nature lives in Christ, in his humanity, and you have been given full life in union with him. He is supreme over every spiritual ruler and authority.” Colossions 2:8-10

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
4:53 pm

Ron Mexico- Agreed, but you may want to skip my address. I am a second amendment fan. ;-)

Ron Mexico

May 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

Guess by the logic of these people on this site too, then 61% of this country are racist bigots too. Remember that.

Craig - The real Criag

May 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

100% are racist with CT being one of the leaders!

Ron Mexico

May 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

Me too, You asked!

Craig - The real Criag

May 14th, 2010
4:55 pm

Watch out for my house I am a HUGE 2nd Amendment fan

Ron

May 14th, 2010
4:55 pm

T – errible
U – gly
C – rappy columns
K – ind, only to other blacks.
E – qual (not!)
R – acist

Javier

May 14th, 2010
4:56 pm

CTucker,

“GOP gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson, meanwhile, has proposed that illegal immigrants be shut out of the state’s colleges and universities, a plan that represents an embarrassing step backward.”

EMBARRASSING? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!

That’s it. You are absolutely off your rocker if you think that banning ILLEGAL immigrants from our state colleges and universities is EMBARRASSING!

Arizona Law, GOOD!

Now on the other hand, what’s happening to Colotl is very unfortunate and she has her parents to blame. That being said, SHAME on our government for not putting more safeguards into place to check the citizenship of all those who inhabit this country.

Colotl should not be held responsible but it is in fact a grey area that cannot be taken too lightly for if we react too non-nonchalantly, then we are condoning more behavior like that of her parents who put an innocent young girl into this situation, and then we will see a spike in illegal immigration.

More measures need to be put in place for verification of citizenship so that we can catch these instances soon before another innocent is forced to got through a scenario such as this due to the misconduct of their parents.

Want a electric, check for citizenship. Want water, check for citizenship. Want a Netflix account, check for citizenship. Want to attend grade school, check for citizenship!

Craig - The real Criag

May 14th, 2010
4:57 pm

CT hates tax paying citizens, she only supports law breaking tax evading soon to be the majority but will still blame their problems on the white man.

LazySam

May 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

Glad my taxes and not those of her parents or herself paid for that education! She broke multiple laws.
That is the biggest problem with this. It’s not the colleges that should block illegals, it’s all public education and college grants that are paid for by American tax dollars that should be blocked.

If this was a male would the uproar be as big? If the person was a male illegal from Iran/Pakistan would everyone defend their right to stay?

Ooops

May 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

She was driving WITHOUT A LICENSE. You can assume that means she has no insurance so if she hits anybody they are out of luck when it comes to damages, injury or death. Of course, that wouldn’t be grounds for deportation either…..