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

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
8:44 am

Doesnt matter Resno, broken system or not, its HER RESPONSBILITY to deal with HER issues.

Joel

May 14th, 2010
8:44 am

Reading more true thinking commentators- Kayaker, Ernesto, etc- I assume I can check when the blog hits 200 and the majority of the comments will be well thought and rational. Ernesto- she does have a “victim side” and there is a solution that doesn’t bypass what other immigrants are forced to do.

ctucker

May 14th, 2010
8:44 am

So, Granny, are you here illegally too? Maybe you should be deported as well.

Up Yours!

May 14th, 2010
8:45 am

I am waiting on the day that someone commits a murder. The defense will be that OUR government is picking what laws to enforce so the murderer is being UNFAIRLY PROSECUTED.

The law is the law. Either change it or enforce it. Not only is she illegally here but she willingly broke other laws. Throw her in jail and then throw her out of the country!

Hoops McCann

May 14th, 2010
8:45 am

Cynthia Tucker supports criminals and others breaking the law as long as it justifies her liberal agenda! News at 11

Scout

May 14th, 2010
8:46 am

Cynthia:

How about this ……….. based on your thread the other day let’s let her finish her education (at her expense) and then adopt your suggestion and make it a “felony” for any business to ever hire her !

That way she will move to a country where she can get a job?

How’s that?

Worthington

May 14th, 2010
8:46 am

She broke the law whoop-de-doo, Bush lied us into a War of choice that lead to the slaughter of innocent civilians, blood on America’s hands, throw him in jail while your thorwing her out of the Country….

Chris

May 14th, 2010
8:46 am

Hoops @ 8:45

Indeed. In other news, MEN LAND ON MOON!!

Richard Eastside Atlanta

May 14th, 2010
8:47 am

As a radical writer Cynthia encourages illegal entry into our country.

As a racist she encourages people of color to boldy break law and become a household name of shame.

As an embarrassment to the writing profession perhap she should be deported to a land that appreciates her BS drivel!

Would she have written this article if it had been a white female from Bulgaria same circumstances? Of course not! her blind bigotry is the worse kind FROM HER EYES ONLY

Rev Al Sharptongue

May 14th, 2010
8:47 am

Racist in your hearts, no compassion at all.

Hate, hate, hate masked as righteousness, “she broke a law”, so what screw an unjust law.
If her family came here for a better life and has succeeded why punish them? wheres the goodwill?

There is none for people of color by racist people. I would respect most of you more if you just admitted to being prejudice, rather than trying to hide behind irrational fear,and logic

Mike O.

May 14th, 2010
8:49 am

Why does this have to have anything to do about race or hate. It’s amazing how many people want to turn this into some sort of agenda. It’s a law, plain and simple. Either she an others are or aren’t breaking it. If they are, the penalties for breaking those laws need to be imposed.I would love to know why the ACLU is getting involved,isn’t that the American Civil Liberties Union? I’m pretty sure it’s already been established she’s not an American citizen,correct? Solution to all those that find themselves here illegally, go back to your home country, follow the proper proceedures to come here legally, become a naturalized citizen and then vote, problem solved. And just so nobody trys to make this about race, I’m a homegrown brown person (Cherokee), oh yeah!

fishtales

May 14th, 2010
8:49 am

Hey Rev I hear ya…but who determines what laws are just and unjust. You? Me? Or do laws have to be legislated and passed by LAWMAKERS?

Matt

May 14th, 2010
8:51 am

I often don’t agree with you Cynthia, but you’re absolutely right about this one. We need to put her on the fast track to becoming a US citizen. It doesn’t make sense to penalize her, she was 8 years old when she was brought into the country illegally. It’s time we stop using immigrants as scapegoats and realize that most are an asset, not a liability. She is a talented and bright young girl, we need more citizens like her. Don’t forget, we are a country founded by immigrants and many of you leaving negative comments wouldn’t even be in this great land if it wasn’t for immigration.

Chris

May 14th, 2010
8:51 am

Rev @ 8:47

‘Screw an unjust law’

That’s not how this country works. You follow the laws or you get them changed. We don’t get to pick and choose what laws we follow just because we don’t think they are good or we don’t like them.

resno2

May 14th, 2010
8:51 am

Cynthia is Sexy!!@8:44 – Yes, it is her responsibility. The broken system I was referring to was the one that allowed, and enabled, her to do what she did.

American

May 14th, 2010
8:51 am

It took SEVEN paragraphs for Cynthia to play the race card in this editorial…..I guess that’s improvement.

We are a nation of LAWS. There are consequences for breaking the LAWS. If we don’t enforce our LAWS then why even bother having them? Yes, this college student in this case seems to be a bright mind, she has accomplished much, and she seems to have a bright future ahead for her. But her parents broke the law – and so they must live by it. She is an illegal alien and therefore has no more legal status in this country than someone who sneaks across to work in the California produce fields.

Does our immigration system need reform? Heck yes. It needed it years ago. We have a government in Washington that doesn’t have the guts to reform it. We also need a wall between us and Mexico to help enforce our laws. Let immigrants come here LEGALLY and keep the undesirable ones OUT. It’s time to stop getting trampled on and stand up for ourselves as a country.

papason100

May 14th, 2010
8:51 am

I’m Black and I just married my Canadian fiancee and had to drop 1500 to immigration so she can be legal here. Sorry but she needs to be deported,how fair is it that we have to do things the legal way and others try not to and are made into a victim.. Black,White,Mexican,Green, she Broke the Law!!

Peadawg

May 14th, 2010
8:52 am

Rev Al Sharptongue, so you support all lawbreakers? Or just some? Do you support/defend murderers and rapists? Or just ILLEGAL immigrants? Please, do tell.

crabapplejoe

May 14th, 2010
8:53 am

@Chris: I can provide you with a link to the Immigration & Nationality Act if you so desire. It would take you about two days to read it and you wouldn’t understand it as it is more complicated than our tax code. The simple fact is, even if this girl married a U.S. citizen tomorrow, she could not legitimize her status. I would refer you to Section 245 of the aforementioned act. Even if she married a U.S. citizen (which is generally considered the fastest/easiest way to U.S. resident status) she would be required to return to Mexico for ten years before she could obtain a U.S. resident visa. As for the suggestion that she join the U.S. military…they would not take her because of her illegal status. That is one of the aims of the Dream Act…to allow folks like Jessica to legitimize their status through service in the U.S. military. Congress refuses to pass this legislation because of the backlash on the right against any form of “amnesty”. I’m not sure how serving in the U.S. military is an “amnesty”…..

come on

May 14th, 2010
8:53 am

All this girl had to do at some point in the last 10 years or so is apply to become a US Citizen. If not she could have applied for a green card.
What Cynthia “racist” Tucker fails to realize is that this girl broke federal law and were she in Arizona it would have been federal and state law. She have gotten free services that US citizens have paid for. She has gotten reduced tuition at KSU. She and her family should have to pay for everything that they have received in the US from healthcare to school.

Using Tucker’s own argument that this girl has so much to offer and has no other blemishes. Neither did Jeffrey Dahmer. Many people who break laws don’t have criminal histories, have done good in their communities, and have a lot to offer. That doesn’t make it right though.

If she is willing to pay for all the services of this country that she has mooched and she gets a valid green card or becomes a citizen then she can stay – otherwise send her back to third world Mexico.

Hmmmmmmm

May 14th, 2010
8:55 am

RealisticGeorgian wins the prize……. What a joke you are Realistic….

She broke the law and wants to be a lawyer…… Hmmmmm, sounds good to me, she should fit in well…

yamama

May 14th, 2010
8:55 am

Because she is a minority, it’s ok for her to break the law. Seems like that is the theme here. Sure, let her stay. Why not? Let’s all work a little harder so people like this, who have no regard for the laws here or procedures to become a legal citizen can stay here and prosper. If a white person drove without a license and lied to the police, there is no doubt what would happen. But, in this case, no problem. If you are born here legally, work hard, and do what is right you get a big open hand from the goverment asking for your money and other people get supported from it. It makes me sick.

Artie

May 14th, 2010
8:56 am

Get real, Ernesto!!!!! People need to accept responsibility of their actions. Quit making excuses for people. You obviously are an ENABLER!!!!!

aeesh guppy

May 14th, 2010
8:56 am

i am a immigrant physician, came here legally and i am tired of illegal immigration which is bankrupting this country.
i dont buy ajc newspaper because of stupid obama supporters like you.
ms tucker, i am shocked you are still employed by ajc for political correctness.

godless heathen

May 14th, 2010
8:56 am

So she wanted to be a lawyer. Doesn’t the ABA have any requirements? I couldn’t get a License in my profession without either being a legal resident or committing fraud. What was this woman’s intention?

Dumb All Over

May 14th, 2010
8:56 am

You have to obey the law. Good people make bad decisions and break the law. Just because you are a good person (I believe that Jessica is) does not exempt you from paying for your mistakes. When Jessica is a legal citizen then she can stay. She now has to make the right choices to stay here in America. Something she should have done a long time ago. Being a good person is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

“Remember the longer you don’t enforce your immigration laws, the more difficult it is to do so.”

Ivan

May 14th, 2010
8:57 am

From Merriam-Webster;

Main Entry: 1il·le·gal
Pronunciation: \(ˌ)i(l)-ˈlē-gəl\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French illegal, from Medieval Latin illegalis, from Latin in- + legalis legal
Date: 1538
: not according to or authorized by law : unlawful, illicit; also : not sanctioned by official rules (as of a game)

Now, what exactly about ILLEGAL do you not understand?

RealisticGeorgian

May 14th, 2010
9:00 am

This is why I am an independent. Both the Democratic and Republican parties are sadly ineffective with political insiders who don’t know how to work on good policies to update our immigration policies to address realistic 21st century problems.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 14th, 2010
9:00 am

This issue holds little interest for me. I am an open borders advocate, always have been, so I am not particularly horrified to discover the presence of an “illegal” in Cobb County. But I disagree with the premise of today’s essay by our gracious hostess. I cannot think of a reason that the US needs any college student, legal or illegal.

The presence of college students adds nothing to the nation’s weal, as they are consumers and not producers. Almost all college students are subsidized by taxpayers or parents or both, thus they divert precious capital into non-productive uses. 75% of college students study worthless courses, as if we need another history or psychology major.

The better course would be to allow other nations of the world bear the expense of preparing students for life, then to open our borders to those now-educated and potentially-productive future entrepreneurs and employees. I’m all for a brain-drain – bring them here from other countries. The effect would be to shift capital from those countries to ours. The present system, alas, is to produce minds here for export, a net negative for our country.

Peadawg

May 14th, 2010
9:02 am

RealisticGeorgian, this has nothing to do w/ which party you’re with. This has to do with breaking the law.

Chris

May 14th, 2010
9:02 am

I’m in the process of reading that act, and it’s a tough thing to read.

However, one aspect seems to stand out:

245,i,1,C – ) 2a/ who, in the case of a beneficiary of a petition for classification, or an application for labor certification, described in subparagraph (B) that was filed after January 14, 1998, is physically present in the United States on the date of the enactment of the LIFE Act Amendments of 2000; may apply to the Attorney General for the adjustment of his or her status to that of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence. The Attorney General may accept such application only if the alien remits with such a pplication a sum equaling $1,000

Now I haven’t had a chance to read all the corresponding articles, but it LOOKS like there is a path to citizenship there. Keep in mind I’m not saying you are wrong, but that I need to know more about it to make an informed decision and argument.

Chris Broe

May 14th, 2010
9:02 am

What is the Independents’ policy on illegals?

Granny Godzilla

May 14th, 2010
9:03 am

I think this would be the perfect opportunity for President Obama to say something along the lines of….the Democrats got the economy turned around, made health care a right and will soon pass financial regulation….why don’t you wonderful Republicans bring an immigration bill to the floor?

Yes, that’s the ticket.

I challenge the GOP to put their legislative “money” were their mouths are.

Instead of leading an agry mob with torches and pitchforks – lead
on immigration reform legislation.

Call Saxby and Johnny and get them motivated.

Ponder

May 14th, 2010
9:04 am

“..she came to this country illegally..” and is a negative burden on our societal resources. Illegal is Illegal!!!

Question – perhaps someone can provide information how Mexico handles their illegal immigrants??

resno2

May 14th, 2010
9:06 am

This is a perfect opportunity for obama to keep his damn mouth shut, and his nose out of state business, let the State of Georgia deal with it.

Gary Farmer

May 14th, 2010
9:06 am

I find it both interesting AND informative that the only person that Cynthia Tucker has chosen to respond to so far – and that with an agreement – has been “RealisticGeorgian”, who may very well be Georgian but is anything but realistic. A few personal experiences here:

1.) RG says openly that “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.” That’s funny – I would think that a sheriff upholding the law would be a sign that this is a GOOD place to move a business, but that doesn’t compute in the world of the looney left. He/she then goes on to say “It is a crazy state that does not embrace diversity.” That might be true… looking at the Atlanta city government and the various state agencies with which I am personally aquainted, it would very much appear that white males are not tolerated very well: a very distinct lack of tolerance to be sure… And then “All that ugly, hate-filled language is coming out again.”. Funny – nobody so far has actually said they hate this girl. They just don’t want someone who by her very actions is a criminal and who avows a desire to become of all things a lawyer continuing to break the law.

2.) All the self-appointed “experts” who say she couldn’t possibly have done anything to become legal have no idea what they are talking about. I personally know of several (3) people who came to this country illegally, and then fought their way though the courts to become legal residents. Now, I do NOT agree with how they got here but I have to respect that they took the time and effort to eventuially make their presence legal.

3.) This is NOT an “immigration” issue, and all those who seek to make it so do so in order to obscure the facts. It is a case of someone who is a criminal. She is not “undocumented” – she’s ILLEGAL. Mexico’s policies on illegally being in theri country are far more strict than ours – but nobody seems to care since Americans are not attempting to illegally emmigrate to Mexico. Europe’s policies on illegally being in various European countries are far more strict, but again, no one cares, for the same reason. It is time that the US enforce the laws, close the borders, and reclaim the country.
4.) Finally – PLEASE don’t use that tired old “the illegals are only taking jobs no one else will do” garbage. What, nobody picked crops, got clean laundry, or had their lawns mowed before the illegals got here? No, what illegals do is UNDERCUT Americans and legal immigrants who would have done the jobs but would have gotten paid better for doing them. In short, illegals hurt employment for everyone else.

Cynthia Tucker has found a willing platform in the form of the AJC, but that doesn’t change the fact that she continues to be a liberal shill masquerading as a journalist.

Chris

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

Granny @ 9:03 –

I’m all for it. Feel free to call them up.

crabapplejoe

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

Come on wrote: “All this girl had to do at some point in the last 10 years or so is apply to become a US Citizen. If not she could have applied for a green card.”

Come on folks….if you have absolutely no knowledge of the U.S. immigration laws then don’t pontificate about their effects on people’s situation. One more time….Jessica has/had absolutely no way to legitimize her status in this country under existing immigration laws…that is the problem that this case illuminates. Yes, she and her parents broke the law…is there some way to fix the problem…NOOOOOOO. She can’t pay a large fine (she would if she could)…she can’t volunteer to serve in our military (they can’t take her)…she is not entitled to a student visa….she can’t just apply for U.S. citizenship without first obtaining a “green card”. Even if she married a U.S. citizen tomorrow she would have to return to Mexico for ten years before returning to the U.S. with a “green card” immigrant visa. That’s the facts folks.

T-Town

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

Ms. Tucker;

Though I have sympathy Ms. Colotl, as a former law enforcement officer I can recall numerous cases where people have committed murder or other very serious crimes, fled the area of the incident, assumed a different name and life (one, as I recall was a relative of the Kennedys: Michael Skakel). For some reason, they then came in contact with a government authority and their real identification was obtained and the criminal lived an exemplary life for many years.

Now under your reasoning, since the person “turned their world around” and became a model citizen, got an education, a job and paid their taxes, we should overlook the person transgression(s) and not prosecute them. Though extreme in my example, selective prosecution should not be the solution.

Gotta Go!

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

This article encapsulates the entire “why we are being overrun with illegals” problem. We cannot pick and choose. If the are illegal, they have to go back. No exceptions. Our immigration policies and enforcement are a joke. There has to a tightening of the laws. Close the borders. Enforce the laws.

PEOPLE, STEP UP AND WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN!!! THIS HAS TO STOP! WE ARE BEING INVADED. OUR EDUCATION IS FALLING TO RUIN. THE DRUG TRADE IS RUNNING THE BORDERS. WE CANNOT AFFORD OR CONTINUE TO ABSORB ILLEGALS INTO OUR SYSTEM.

Ms. Tucker, if I thought you even believed half of what you wrote, I’d never read another article of yours. You are a great shock-journalist. What a hoot! Keep up the good work.

hoodtechie

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

That’s right ct come into this country illegally, use up all the resources meant for our citizens, lie to the authorities on pertinent information and you have the gall to support her. You are the type of liberal that this country can do without. What about all the students that weren’t able to get into school because of thousands of illegal’s like this taking up slots. No sympathy for the American student here who is legal huh.Please ct take your social security money and everything else owed to you and move to a socialist country, seems you’d be happier there anyway. As an African American you are an embarrassment. Not only do you try and spin things to your views but you are very much misinformed on a lot of your topics that you write about, please tell me you don’t have kids.

dw

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

Hey Cynthia,

If they are legal, let them come to the U.S. !!!

This is definitely an unfortunate scenario. But the answer is not
as easy as you think, nor probably what I think as well.

If “illegal” doesn’t matter, and it most apparently does not in your world, what about convicted criminals in jail. I mean, based on your criteria, illegal doesn’t matter, so they should get a free pass as well. Somebody, somewhere broke the law. So what to do.

Mike O.

May 14th, 2010
9:07 am

“She intends to study Law” really? So if that is or was her intent, she surely knew exactly what she was doing. Everyone can argue the immigration law is a joke, but it’s our joke @ the moment, so deal with it. I wonder, would Ms Tucker and those like her, including some of the posters here show this kind of outcry if this were a Nigerian, Hatian, Korean or better yet Arabic person?

Charles

May 14th, 2010
9:08 am

The law is a ass. Those who call for her to be thrown out of the Country can be seen throughout history. Burning witches, fighting the end of slavery(used to be the law of the land), interning Asians, denying women’s right to vote, and other civil right that threatens their ignorant mind’s worldview…..

Rev Al Sharptongue

May 14th, 2010
9:08 am

That’s not how this country works. You follow the laws or you get them changed. We don’t get to pick and choose what laws we follow just because we don’t think they are good or we don’t like them.

Like Jim Crowe? Rosa Parks should have moved to the back of the bus because that was law?
Blacks should use separate facilities because it was law?

I’m sure MOST of you would have or have said the same thing about civil rights protesters and MLK.

Ron Swanson

May 14th, 2010
9:09 am

So you think someone who breaks the law and demonstrates blatant disrespect for it should become a lawyer? She is welcome to come back and finish her degree once she applies for a visa.

Sergey

May 14th, 2010
9:09 am

Synthia,

Pls don’t put your words in mouth people who don’t like her here.

She and her parents have shown disrespect and ignorance of law of our country for many many years. She and her parents have been stealing public money for years by attending public schools and public universities. They routinely lied about their citizenship while filling many many applications. My be she is bright, but she far away from being honest person. She and here parents also have shown ignorance toward other immigrants by jumping ahead of people who patiently waits to enter country legally.
Here troubles of her own making. We don’t need bright but dishonest people. The biggest difference between Mexico and USA that people in US learn to respect the law. You seams to lag on this skill.

The fact that she used to easy life in US doesn’t constitute excuse for breaking the law.

MobetterBlues

May 14th, 2010
9:10 am

Cynthia and jay Bookman are the primary reason the AJC is on the decline. Their liberal thoughts help elect Obama and destroy what is left of freedom and capitalism; both of which they enjoy and have profited from.

Mtn. Man

May 14th, 2010
9:10 am

Gale, Simple!,she will credit card purchase forged documents,needed to be admitted to the bar! She will make an excellent attorney,specializing in immigration issues…….her portfolio just got a jump start! Mtn. Man

T-Town

May 14th, 2010
9:10 am

One comment: Mr. Skakel did not change his name, but did lead an exemplary life married to a golf pro.