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

G. Wolf

May 14th, 2010
8:23 am

Send her back. The parents broke the law.
My two questions,

1.) Which legal child of Georgia lost out for education because of this girl ?
2.) Would the exact sane scenario be allowed in Mexico of an illegal American attending school there ?

andygrd

May 14th, 2010
8:24 am

The young lady in question defrauded the people of Georgia and United States… She lied to pay in-state tuition at the expense of taxpaying Georgians and Americans. She lied to the police, she ran rather accept due process, good start on her way to becoming a lawyer….. She violated the law, but that is okay, she is not white.. so it is okay (have to bring up the race issue)
Ms. Tucker likes to stir up race baiting, because she can sell the truth. She, like Mr. Limbaugh, are entertainers, they present ones-side positions just to stir the people up. Have you ever seen them present both side of the story in order for an educated person to drawn a conclusion? No, they don’t. They target the un-educated populace, just like the Mullahs in some of the foreign countries. They thrive on providing inaccurate or one-sided information…. She like so many others are nothing more than entertainers, they have long left the field of journalism.
If she wants the American life, if she is so intelligent and whats to be an American, why didn’t she approach Georgia Representatives at both the State and Federal levels to aid her cause? Nope, she lived a lie and defrauded. Hey ACLU, you are to protect Americans, not illegal!
In our International Company, we have individuals that are not American citizens. They have followed the rules and some are on their way to becoming American citizens. Those are the people that we want in this country.

Jo Yo

May 14th, 2010
8:25 am

He (or she) who is without sin should cast the first stone.

Joel

May 14th, 2010
8:25 am

The far left and far right like to grab a (small) piece of a story and make a case. Regarding Iraq, Bush always said that freedom has a “cost”- yeah- it’s called tens of thousands of lives. The far left says the immigration law is racist- never mind that if you are against you are, by definition, for the continued escalation of lawlessness, raping, kidnapping, drug proliferation- yeah I have heard it is a demand issue- and murder in the area. That is simply fact. I assume Ms. Tucker if illegal neo nazi immigrants, gosh forbid, took your daughter you would yell and scream “its the pasty arse white dudes- don’t check the hood!” If my son gives a police officer he would be arrested. Did you see the embarrassment Eric Holder made of himself? He could not be bothered to read a 10 page bill but he sure can make the political rounds. He, Rahm, Rove, and Cheney should be sent to political hades. I would be embarrassed to be a mouth piece for either side.

RealisticGeorgian

May 14th, 2010
8:26 am

Actions like these by GA sheriffs and the crazy hate-filled rhetoric only demonstrate to prospective domestic and international businesses that Georgia is not to place to move their businesses. It is a crazy state that does not embrace diversity. All that ugly, hate-filled language is coming out again. It is not a pretty picture for businesses who could potentially help lift Georgia out of this deep recession that was brought on by years of partisan Bush-era policies and those GA politicians who lined pockets instead of working for Georgians!

Nobama

May 14th, 2010
8:26 am

Why is the law only to be obeyed when it suits your purpose? She broke the law. I don’t care how upstanding you want to make her sound. She is driving an automobile without a license. She probably has no insurance. She lied about her address to the police and probably on her college application. Was she getting HOPE money? Our state resources are getting sucked dry. Of course people want to immigrate here. We give them free housing, free food and free healthcare. We educated them with our tax money and even teach them English in public schools. If we tried the same in Mexico, we’d go directly to jail. I’m not against immigrants, my ancestors were immigrants, but they followed the law. They should not be allowed to attend our colleges paying in state or out of state tuition. You can scream racism and hardliner all you want, we are tired of it and hopefully we can vote you all out in November.

Redneck Rick

May 14th, 2010
8:26 am

I love how so many point to communist or socialist nations when referring enforcement of border security, yet are the first to cry “socialist or communist” when referring to President Obama or Democrats. That being said…

…I feel for Colotl, but for an apparently very smart girl, she’s made some dumb mistakes that have not put her situation into a very good light. She KNOWS she needs U.S. citizenship and a drivers license, lied to get in-state tuition, and lied to the police regarding her address. I don’t know if deportation is necessary, but she should not receive in-state tuition. I’m a military vet to moved who GA from out of state at the end of my enlistment, and I was told by KSU that I didn’t qualify for in-state tuition, so I waited a year before I qualified.

Certain priviledges must be extended to citizens and documented aliens before all others, but compassion is necessary to identify those who are productive or have potential in society.

gale

May 14th, 2010
8:26 am

I question her innocence in this issue. She grew up here and cannot have missed the illegal immigration conversations of the last decade. She knew she came here when she was 10 apparently. She knew she could not obtain a driver’s license because of her status. She drove anyway. She was breaking multiple laws — knowingly.

Clay

May 14th, 2010
8:27 am

She is a criminal. There is no other word for it. She knew she was in this country illegally. She is driving without a license. She knowingly gave false information to the Cobb County authorities at her booking. That makes her a felon. She has been stealing from the honest taxpayers in Georgia by accepting benefits she is not entitled to–such as paying in-state tuition at KSU.

You claim she barely knows Mexico? She carries an (expired) Mexican passport and has a Mexican driver’s license. Sounds like she’s been back to Mexico more than once since she was a little girl.

We do not need more folks like Colotl. We have enough criminals as it is.

Jimmy62

May 14th, 2010
8:27 am

If the government hadn’t abrogated it’s responsibility by not enforcing existing law, this wouldn’t be a problem. Blame your politicians and interest groups, not the people who support enforcing the law. This girl has only her criminal parents to blame for her problems.

Reverie

May 14th, 2010
8:27 am

Have you ever met a ultra-left stance you didn’t champion? Cynthia, can you ever think for yourself. This borders on drivel and you should be ashamed to have your name associated with it. Poorly reasoned.

rightnextdoor

May 14th, 2010
8:27 am

RealisticGeorgian-are you one of her sorority sisters? You seem awfully angry. We are not racist, we just do not like people that follow the law, especially one that wants to be a lawyer. What’s that about? She needs to go!

Granny Godzilla

May 14th, 2010
8:27 am

I’m the great grandaughter of an illegal/undocumented alien.
I guess I’m lucky he was blonde haired and blue eyed, or I’d be
having to look back over my shoulder all the time watching for the INS.

My faith requires me to see these folks as refugees, coming to our country to find a way to provide food and shelter and the basic requirements of life for their families. To my way of thinking the hate
I see is un-American and most certainly contrary to the teachings
of the fisherman.

fishtales

May 14th, 2010
8:28 am

Realistic Georgian – Yeah…that plan worked real well for California didn’t it?

Jethro

May 14th, 2010
8:29 am

Fundamental to the core of our nation is the idea that we are governed by laws of the people, by the people, for the people. The laws apply to everybody. And while I do admire the stated goals and intentions of Ms. Colotl, I cannot abide by the fact that she is attempting to achieve these goals illegally. It doesn’t matter if her last name is Colotl or O’Shea or Lubyenka or Schmidt or Nguyen or Mbosa. The law – unlike you – doesn’t discriminate.

Like any person who breaks the law – any law – she has the right to have her case heard by a judge and a jury of her peers. I’ve no objection to that. I am not a judge, nor are you Ms. Tucker. I will let her case be heard. The question, Ms Tucker, is: will you?

Strait Road

May 14th, 2010
8:29 am

Liberals can’t grasp the concept of the rule of law. Some people, such as Ms. Tucker, are governed strictly by emotion. They mean well, but governing a society based on emotion leads to disaster. Look at the states where illegal immigration is widespread. They are in financial ruin and the liberals running these states are incapable of responsible government. Any person capable of applying logic can understand that an illegal population isn’t sustainable.

A CONSERVATIVE

May 14th, 2010
8:30 am

FOLKs…..DO NOT LOOK FOR LOGIC FROM Ms. Karl Marx…Think of what is logical..or reason…& Ms. Marx will support the opposing..radical view.,Cynthis is a left-wing radical

American Voice

May 14th, 2010
8:31 am

Send her entire family back to Mexico. They all broke the law and are enjoying the freedoms supplied by American citizens for American citizens. She has lied to policy, drove without a license, no insurance etc….SEND HER BACK NOW!

Rev Al Sharptongue

May 14th, 2010
8:31 am

Cynthia,

You know you have stepped in it today!! The racist hardliners will be here in force like yesterday.

I predict 7 pages of vitriol for this young lady, no compassion whatsoever.

This will turn into an online lynch mob in 5,4,3,2,…..

goober pyle

May 14th, 2010
8:32 am

CT – why do you only reply to comments by people that agree with you – like RealisticGeorgian????

LeeH1

May 14th, 2010
8:33 am

One problem with illegal immigrants is that we don’t know where their loyalties lie. Does she want to help the US, or does she want to use us as her tool to get ahead, and by stepping over anyone else in her way.
She takes a Georgian student’s place at the state college. She pays in-state tuition instead of her full way, cheating the Georgia taxpayers, and preventing other potential Georgia students from getting that same tax break.
She maintains her Mexican nationality. She has a Mexican driver’s license, but not an American one. I suppose no one will know about her car insurance status unless she runs into them with her car.
She wants to be a lawyer. Great. Just what we need. Another unethical lawyer prowling around. She is illegal. She lies to the police. She doesn’t get the proper paperwork. She cheats on college admissions. And now she wants to know how to manipulate American law in order to help her clients and enrich herself.

Besides, much of this could be changed if, instead of appearing at the Sherriff’s office, she went over to the Marines recruiting station and joined up. After a few years, her service to our nation and her abilities would help her out tremendously.

But applying to pay back to our country is evidently something she has never thought about. She only takes. She only lies, She only manipulates.

On second thought, we do know where her loyalities lie.

john galt

May 14th, 2010
8:33 am

So let me get this right. She “has” a Mexican DL? But her family came into this country when she was 10. So, either a) they give out DLs at a VERY early age in Mexico; b) she has returned to Mexico since then to get a DL and then entered the country illegally AGAIN; or c) she lied about this as well.

Cynthia, perhaps this is a very smart woman, a “cure for cancer” or the next great aria rattling around in her brain waiting, to be unlocked. A Supreme Court justice in the wings. A Pulitzer Award-winning AJC writer yet to pen her first opinion piece. But she has a pattern of lying to police and skirting the laws of our country.

Are you saying that we should administer IQ tests at the border to all comers? Those with promise, we’ll turn a blind eye while you scoot into Laredo. Those who fail, sorry but no pass?

Come on Cynthia. Those who break our laws deserve to pay the piper. Give her the degree, help pack up her things, and escort her to the border. Don’t worry, she’ll be back in the country soon anyway.

Chris

May 14th, 2010
8:34 am

She wants to stay? You want her to stay?

Fine.

1) Pay back the state/KSU for however many years of tuition she has gotten at a discount.
2) Contact the Mexican Consulate to resolve her immigration status and for her to either start the path to citizenship/green card
3) Serve whatever punishment a judge sees fit and pay whatever fine for breaking the law

It’s not hate. It’s not racism. It’s non un-American. I welcome any and all people who are willing to do what’s necessary to be here legally and within the rules I and the rest of the American citizenry have to abide by.

Artie

May 14th, 2010
8:34 am

She is here ILLEGALLY…what is so hard to understand about that?!?! The punishment fitting the crime…DEPORTATION!!!!

Joel

May 14th, 2010
8:34 am

Granny- it is not hate. We have had many administrations who can’t be (politically) bothered to fix the problem. The problem is hurting everyone. Your way of thinking is very patronizing and simple minded. Our paid politicians are not doing there job. You are wrong to use this as an opportunity to sit in your well defined glass house and throw stones.

ctucker

May 14th, 2010
8:34 am

goober pyle, because I can’t think of a logically answer to the other question.

Hoops McCann

May 14th, 2010
8:35 am

Granny, thank you for your admission of guilt. Repeat after me: Deport Granny Godzilla! That would be a great day for America. No one would miss your worthless, self-loathing self. Seriously, Granny, you are illegal, please leave.

A Lumpkin Resident

May 14th, 2010
8:36 am

The U.S. Does NOT need students like this. She stole 10 years of primary school education ($100,000) and 4 years of out-of-state tuition ($80,000) from the citizens of Georgia. If she wants to pay that money back, return to Mexico, make application for admission to Kennesaw as an exchange student, pay proper tuition, then I say allow her to return to school. Otherwise, she is a thief and a felon.

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
8:37 am

“My faith requires me to see these folks as refugees”

Your faith requires no such thing. You chose to run contradictory to common sense.

Ron Mexico

May 14th, 2010
8:37 am

I had plenty of friends in college who were in the U.S. on student visas. They paid dearly for them and out of state tuition. After they graduated, they filled out the proper forms to get work visas and stay in the United States. Some are now working to become citizens. Jessica Colotl spits in there faces.

on the left

May 14th, 2010
8:38 am

I know underestand why even the left wing ACJ fired you. You miss the issues and only see things thru your narrow viewpoint….which is usually not mainstream…..good luck in your next job since it appears you will be getting fired again……Maybe you can write an article on unemployment since you will have first hand experience.

Rev Al Sharptongue

May 14th, 2010
8:38 am

The same people talking about the law is the law are the same people who would have defended Jim Crowe laws in the past.

They will not admit it but they know its true.

They are bitter and cling to guns and religion and a hatred for people different than them.
Because most illegals are a brown color these people are in a rabid rage.

In the past when the laws were on their side, the sheriff in Cobb would have some of is boys come by at night and take the young lady from her cell and lynch her. You guys cant kill people indiscriminately like you used to in the not so long ago past so you come onto the internet and unleash your sick hatred for people solely on race. You will not admit its race but you have a LONG track record of being EVIL racist beings toward people different than you.

So most people of color do not believe you when you say its only about the rule of law

crabapplejoe

May 14th, 2010
8:39 am

Chris wrote: “2) Contact the Mexican Consulate to resolve her immigration status and for her to either start the path to citizenship/green card”

Once again, this girl has no basis to legitimize her status under current immigration laws…..for the rest of her life. That is the crux of the problem and the reason so many support the Dream Act. And contacting the Mexican Consulate certainly wouldn’t help her stay in this country.

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
8:39 am

The left, after excluding/ignoring the facts of almost any case, tends to bring in God, religion, racism, bigotry, hate and other such silly emootional reactions.

Basically a group of sore losers.

kayaker 71

May 14th, 2010
8:39 am

Another instance of selective indignation on the part of Tucker. And of course, the racial label must be brought up or it wouldn’t be a Tucker piece. You are getting pretty thin as a “journalist”, Cynthia,, when you defend an obvious criminal, no matter how good her grades are. I am also not sure what your definition of “racist” really is. If it is condeming this young lady’s illegal actions then count me in as a racist. If it is playing the tuition game and not paying her fair share for an education when I pay the full ride for my children, count me as a racist. If it is entering this country illegally and lying about her status to a law enforcement officer, count me as a racist. I don’t care if she is green with red stripes….. she has broken the law in multiple ways, and, along with her parents, should be allowed to enjoy the magnificance off her own country at the earliest opportunity.

Americangirl

May 14th, 2010
8:39 am

I am caucasian and a naturalized citizen. When I was two, my parents brought me to the US legally. I had a green card that was one day forgotten on a trip to Canada to see grandparents. I was held at the border with my mother until my father could return with my green card. Life is so much easier when people make good decisions. For Ms. Colotl, her parents’ decision to enter this country illegaly resulted in consequences that may have a profound effect on the rest of her life.

VolMan

May 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Some of the most vocal people I know who are against illegal immigration are Asian Indians who came here legally. One friend was separated from her husband for 2 years while he waited to enter the US LEGALLY. We have laws that must be followed.

Red

May 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Colotl was in the country illegally,and was aware of the fact.
Her passposrt was expired.
She was driving without a license,so one would presume without insurance also.
She knowingly gave a bogus address to law enforcement.
How was she supporting herself? If she was working,it was without a SS#.
If people in the country illegally are an asset,what about the three recently arrested in the NY area in connection with the failed Times Square bombing? 4 of the 9/11 terrorists had expired visas-let’s ask the spouses,parents & children of the 9/11 victims what their thoughts are about failure to enforce immigration laws.

Ernesto

May 14th, 2010
8:40 am

Jessica Colotl is a victim of our ineffective immigration system. To punish the bright because of their status is just like to let a patient not get medical treatment because of his/her lack of insurance. Laws are not always effective, humane, or moral. They must be modified for the greater good.

Dustoff

May 14th, 2010
8:40 am

She needs to be run out of the country just like the rest of the illegals who are getting free education, medical care, housing, welfare and other benefits paid for by law abiding taxpayers.

This illegals drive with no license or insurance, then have a wreck and disappear. They work for under the table cash and send most of it out of the country. They haqve no respect for our country or laws so who needs them!!!!!

Chris

May 14th, 2010
8:40 am

crabapplejoe @ 8:39

Feel free to back up that with a link, or quote. By all accounts she is a citizen of Mexico. Citizens of Mexico can indeed become citizens or obtain Green Cards. Feel free to prove that wrong.

Joel

May 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Thank you crabapple- we, the taxpayer and the people, need to fully understand the issue and facts and force our “leaders” to construct, implement, and enforce the correct law. The answer lies between “round ‘em up” and “ignore and it will go away”

Hoops McCann

May 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Deport Jessica Colotl and Granny Godzilla!

Scout

May 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Send her back ……… but only if you go with her.

MobetterBlues

May 14th, 2010
8:41 am

Cynthia represents the bigots in the black community. She feels people owe minorities something if they have dark skin color or are not white. She would have a different opinion if this person was white and conservative; enforce the law she would say because you broke it. Her commitments might have merit if there were no legal way to immigrate to the US.

I propose we model our law like the Mexican immigration law;Illegal entry into the country Mexico is equivalent to a felony punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Document fraud is subject to fine and imprisonment; so is alien marriage fraud. Evading deportation is a serious crime; illegal re-entry after deportation is punishable by ten years’ imprisonment. Foreigners may be kicked out of the country without due process.

Liberalism is a disease that has no cure.

Jeffery Dahmer

May 14th, 2010
8:41 am

So I killed and ate a few people. I knew it was against the law but I WAS HUNGRY! You people have so much hatred in your heart for the starving. Where is the compassion for me?

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
8:41 am

The greater good would be for her to become legal or leave and stop being a freeloader…a thief, if you will.

john galt

May 14th, 2010
8:42 am

Hey Cynthia, A Lumpkin Resident has a great point. Maybe you can put your Pulitzer Money where your pen is, and repay the state for these stolen education services. Then, let’s all get together for a Kumbayah moment, raise the money for a first-class ticket back to Mexico and give her the right to petition for a residency visa. Problem solved.

resno2

May 14th, 2010
8:42 am

Do her detractors REALLY want to send her back to Mexico, or are they more interested in getting reimbursed for the tax monies that had been spent on her behalf, as if she were a legal resident? She should be required to pay back dated out of state tuition rates at the very least. Her detractors are also curious as to how she was allowed to graduate from a Georgia High School, and then KSU (or the university system of Georgia) ONLY using that criteria as her proof of residency. The system is obviously broken, and unfortunately this young lady was allowed to get this far in this broken system. Is it fair? Fair to who?

kayaker 71

May 14th, 2010
8:43 am

Sharptongue,

You and your namesake are still walking over Selma bridge. I wonder if you are as big a race pimp as he is.