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

RepublicanBaptistMale

May 14th, 2010
11:21 am

I am not sure I ever saw the reason for why we need more students like Jessica. Is it because we need more lawyers?

Huh

May 14th, 2010
11:21 am

Bravo J Kase!

Richard

May 14th, 2010
11:22 am

HDB: I have no way of quantifying this statement, but I am fairly confident that liberal individuals such as Cynthia Tucker are the ones who are making this story front page news to advance their beliefs on the topic of ILLEGAL immigration.

In my earlier post, I made it very clear that I tend to side with conservatives on most issues but I have always deplored both Reagan & Bush’s actions & inactions on the immigration issue. I will reserve judgement on President Obama’s immigration policies whenever his administration takes action. This is how open-mindedness works. I do not adhere to the philosophy that “I hate Bush, so I hate everything he does.” Or I hate Obama, so I hate everything he does.”

Acer706

May 14th, 2010
11:22 am

Cynthia,

First, you shouldn’t drive without a license. Second, you do not lie to police officers. Last, respect the systems that are in place and show that you want to become a citizen.

She will be fine if she sets an example to abide to the system. However, when the media turns this into Student v. Raciest Conservatives, we will all wonder why anyone wants to be here anyway?

Also, they were nice to give her a year to finish school. I hopped the fence to go to Chick-Fl-A in High School and I got suspended… and I was only there for 5 min.

Len Griffin

May 14th, 2010
11:25 am

I did not go to Vietnam and become wounded to defend the rights of people who are not citizens of America. I will not allow them to demand that we fly thier flag next to mine. I will not allow them to demand that we provide their language in government offices. I will not allow them any right earned by Americans for Americans. My father’s family was from Ireland. They came, learned English and defended the United States in the Revolutionary War. My Mother’s family was from the Cherokee Nation. They learned English and defended the United States in the Revolutionary War. If you want to be an American do it with honor by obeying the law of our land and become an American not act like a theft sneaking in when it’s dark.

Elvis

May 14th, 2010
11:27 am

resno2 – First, undocumented immigrants pay billions in income taxes each year and at least $7 billion in Social Security taxes, helping to sustain Social Security for the baby-boomer generation. Most contribute more than they receive in the long run.

You ask a tough question as to enforcing laws, and political scientists have debated that for hundreds of years. The problem is that some laws are unjust. We had the same debate during the civil war and during civil rights. Jesus was crucified for violating Jewish law (healing on the sabbath, etc.) – major civil disobedience. I think we have to pray a lot and be willing to really think outside the box. There are basic universal laws of human rights that trump local laws.

Again, these questions cannot be answered with simplistic sound bytes that are designed to win elections.

Libertarian

May 14th, 2010
11:27 am

@Len Griffin
Well said and thank you for your service.

Drifter

May 14th, 2010
11:29 am

Sorry guys, I’d love to debate you all day, but some of us have to get to work. Instead of whining about the illegals taking my welfare money (which isn’t true anyway), I’ll go out there and earn my money. If I’m somehow supporting illegals who are out there contributing something to society, I greatly prefer that over the deadbeats doing nothing but blogging. Have a nice day.

HDB

May 14th, 2010
11:32 am

Libertarian

May 14th, 2010
11:13 am
@HDB I’m so tired of your “this is bc of Obama, where were you when Reagan gave amnisty” BS. Maybe you’re right with some people…maybe some people really are racists that just hate obama. But I’m not. Reagan was president when I was BORN. So I couldn’t really be outraged at the age of one. We’re not all as old as you. But we get it…everyday you’re on here slinging racists accusations at everyone. I’m sorry that you’re so filled with hate for white people, I really am

One: I have NO hate….I’m just calling it as I see it……
Two: You have to look at the American policy IN TOTAL…not just what is happening NOW!! The immigration policy IS selective in its application….and people won’t admit to that either!!
Three: The outrage that is present is SELECTIVE in that it was not as cacaphonous prior to the Obama Administration…..and there has to be another reason for the selective volume…and too many people are afraid to admit it!!
Four: Because you are not as old as I am, your experience MUST differ from mine…that’s not a problem…but because you don’t fully understand MY experiences, you tend to minimize mine while maximizing your own…..

Let’s just be honest…and be willing to look at ALL sides of the equation…and allow due process to take its course before rendering a verdict!!

Josh

May 14th, 2010
11:35 am

CT,

can you link where you got your stats that crime is down in AZ. I have friends who live there and they say its not. Or lets not forget that AZ is #1 in child abductions of children going into the sex slave industry (Atlanta is #2 by the way) because of the drug cartel coming from Mexico. We can stop there and say that is enough to start upholding the laws of this land. Something Liberals care less about. CT, you should personally take a trip down to the border to see all that occurs for the law abiding citizens who live along the border. Your perspective will change. As for the student at KSU, I feel for her because she came with her parents when she was a child. Her parents are the ones who broke the law. I am all for people becoming citizens legally. You ought too as welll. We HAVE to uphold the laws of this land. It is what keeps society safe for everyone. In my opinion, she should go through the process to be a legal American citizen. She has a lot to offer. But it has to be done legally. I am tied of the left playing the victims and crying card game when laws are broken. That is why the left are not good judges or Supreme Court Judges. You are called to follow the law not change it and play the victim card. Its time that we get back to upholding the laws of this land.

Tommy Maddox

May 14th, 2010
11:35 am

HDB:

The problem with a law on the books does not relate to how it was applied to someone else. It matters how it is applied when you [or in this case - the student] are the one charged and are standing before the Court.

MadMax

May 14th, 2010
11:39 am

The U.S. Needs? What we “need” to do is send you back to mexico city right along with her; lets see how mexico deals with you being an illegal alien. “WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?”

Joel

May 14th, 2010
11:40 am

Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison. Immigrants who are deported and attempt to re-enter can be imprisoned for 10 years. Visa violators can be sentenced to six-year terms. Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminals.

The law also says Mexico can deport foreigners who are deemed detrimental to “economic or national interests,” violate Mexican law, are not “physically or mentally healthy” or lack the “necessary funds for their sustenance” and for their dependents.

Where is the outrage?

Elvis

May 14th, 2010
11:42 am

During the good economic years, we had 300,000 undocumented people entering the US per year – contributing greatly to those good years. But our current immigration system only issues 5000 visas per year. Thus the problem.

Also, it would take Jessica at least 12 years to attain any kind of legal status here. If you were in her shoes, would you wait that long?

The system is broken and must be fixed this year.

Peadawg

May 14th, 2010
11:43 am

Len Griffin, AMEN!!!!!!! AMEN!!!

HDB

May 14th, 2010
11:43 am

Richard May 14th, 2010
11:22 am

Thank you for your objectivity!! Many here are just looking at one side and exploding with outrage due to that one-sideness. Many won’t go and look at the TOTALITY of American immigration policy and see the selectivity of it all…and how the appplication of the same is invoked…..

Len Griffin May 14th, 2010
11:25 am
I did not go to Vietnam and become wounded to defend the rights of people who are not citizens of America…..

Libertarian May 14th, 2010
11:27 am
@Len Griffin
Well said and thank you for your service.

Len….if you AND I swore the same oath (I’m ex-Navy during the Vietnam Era)….we swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution….
The people that are IN THIS nation, citizen or NOT, are covered by the blanket protection of that document….so I also swore that THOSE THAT ARE HERE in THIS nation will be protected by the document I swore to protect!!

Libertarian — we appreciate your sentiments….but look at things a bit DEEPER than what you’re doing now!! There’re more than just what’s on the surface!!

Richard

May 14th, 2010
11:43 am

Drifter: I am really glad you took an hour out of your BUSY schedule to visit us loser bloggers. I love the self-promoting announcment of your work ethic instead of answering the simple question posed to you about explaining how using public services without paying taxes is not burdening government institutions Sort of ironic that he paints with such a wide brush that all bloggers are unproductive deadbeats while attempting to convince us that not all Hispanics are unskilled workers that place a financial burden on the taxpayers of this country. Nice!

HDB

May 14th, 2010
11:47 am

Tommy Maddox

May 14th, 2010
11:35 am
HDB:

The problem with a law on the books does not relate to how it was applied to someone else. It matters how it is applied when you [or in this case - the student] are the one charged and are standing before the Court.

Not true…..Brown vs. Board of Education was applied to me…but I wasn’t before the court; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applied to me, but I wasn’t before the court…….

The application of certain laws does not require that I stand before the court, but it still applies to me. What about the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE?? I do not have to stand before a court…but that right still applies…..

Mrs. W.

May 14th, 2010
11:48 am

Once again you miss the point. She is not an immigrant – she is an illegal alien. Not her fault I do realize since she was brought here as a child. However, that does not entitle her to benefits that are meant for LEGAL U.S. citizens. She also made a huge mistake in lying to the police and she wants to be a lawyer..!! HAHA. She will probably make a good one, already off to a good start there.

Bob

May 14th, 2010
11:49 am

HDB, why are you equating a law that was passed by congress and signed by Reagan to a woman breaking the law ? She broke the law by driving without a license then lying. She was not targeted just because she is illegal, she was targeted because she is illegal and seems to lack respect for our laws by giving a false address. She has the same status as the times square bomber buddies, illegals that can be arrested for not having the proper papers, and Holder, not sherriff Joe, was doing the roundup.

thomas

May 14th, 2010
11:51 am

funny how many a democrat and liberal disagreed with torture (which I do as well) but many democrat and liberal whaled about the “rule of law”.

1 question.

Are you all only concerned with laws in which you agree or do you feel that all laws should be enforced, or go through the proper legislative process to ammend the law? Seems not so, apparwently many of you are only for enforcing the laws in which you agree with.

HYPOCRITES! That includes you CT.

Why is there no outrage over the country of Mexico’s immigrant policies? They seem to be a lil’ more strict on us than we are on them about crossing the boarder.

Wonder Why? I bet it has nothing to do with VOTES!

jim in Jackson

May 14th, 2010
11:53 am

Spring has sprung; just smell about. Spring has sprung, the skunks are out.
(I’d gladly trade 3/4 of you jerks for this young lady. You guys have too much baggage and need to see a Psychologist; specially those who were in Vietnam;Check with the VA; they have counseling available for you.)

Irish Ron

May 14th, 2010
11:54 am

For a law to be a JUST LAW it must meet 3 criteria.
1. Be legal.
2. Make sense.
3. Agree with our values.

The current Immigration Laws fail the tests of items 2 and 3, which is why we need Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I encourage everyone to stop the myopic rhetoric and actually understand that the current law does not make good walking around sense and totally violates our American values.

Acer706

May 14th, 2010
11:57 am

Elvis,

They do boost tax revenues for the Federal Government. It’s like free money, which is why we have had loose enforcement of the Federal Laws in place. However, the State infrastructure is crippled and not able to keep up. Driving wages down, impacting those who VOTE. Arizona and other states are simply going to have to enforce the Federal Laws themselves.

Sarah H

May 14th, 2010
11:57 am

I haven’t been reading this blog for long but I have come to a conclusion. Ms. Tucker gets paid more if she has more comments; therefore, she makes the controversary.

Elvis

May 14th, 2010
11:58 am

Amen to Irish Ron!

T-Town

May 14th, 2010
12:02 pm

Jimmy’s a poet, but just don’t know it

HDB

May 14th, 2010
12:03 pm

Bob May 14th, 2010
11:49 am

Because it took a lot of people BREAKING the law for Congress to FIX the law!!

If you also checked the paper today, her attorney has stated that she’ll make bail….and with the documents she presented…that SHE BROKE NO LAWS!! I’m waiting until DUE PROCESS is done to reach my conclusion…unlike many here!!

Hootin Nanny Yum Yum

May 14th, 2010
12:06 pm

If any US citizen, or foreign citizen in the US legally, was not accepted to KSU or failed to receive adequate financial aid because of this young lady, it is a CRIME.

Send her back to Mexico and let her follow the process to become a US citizen.

Ian

May 14th, 2010
12:06 pm

Best and brightest? Please, come back to planet Earth. Her parents broke the law by sneaking her into the country. Then she exploits the State college system paying the same as U. S. legal residents and citizens when she is not entitled. And she lies to the authorities when she is stopped. She has had over 10 years to apply and she did not. She cheated our system.

Deport her and she can apply for residency from Mexico.

How sad the media is diluted from the obvious truth. Usually the surname explains allot.

Elvis

May 14th, 2010
12:11 pm

Acer706 – They also pay sales tax, pay rent, etc. …. but the main issue is the federal government must reform our immigration system so states won’t be tempted to do what Arizona (and Georgia?) are doing. We simply cannot afford to arrest, detain and deport 12 million people. No way! We need an immigration system that secures our borders but also allows more flexibility as to the number of immigrants that can come here to work legally when needed by our economy. Finally, we must find a more reasonable way to give the12 million that are already here some kind of legal status (learn English, pay back taxes, pay reasonable fines, background check, etc.). Then local law enforcement can get back to focusing on real criminals – not those who have minor traffic violations and civil issues not of their own making.

T-Town

May 14th, 2010
12:13 pm

Mr.or Mrs.HDB; If you were to read Ms. Tucker’s column where she stated: “she came to this country illegally, with her parents, when she was a child.” No where within Ms. Tucker’s blog did she state that the young lady ever establish citizenship within the United States. So apparently to you Ms. Tucker is making, though indirectly, a statement without due process that the young lady is here illegally.

Doug Patterson

May 14th, 2010
12:14 pm

All Cynthia knows is race, race and more race. She is a one trick pony who should be very glad she is black because her race has given her a job. If she were white she would have been fired a long time ago.

Cynthia would be outraged if she learned that an African American legal citizen student were denied admission to KSU because an illegal alien from eastern europe had taken their spot.

Robyn

May 14th, 2010
12:16 pm

She’s broken several laws. What gives CT and her ilk the power to decide which laws should be obeyed ?

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
12:16 pm

I hope she goes to jail for awhile and/or gets a big fine then gets deported.

Acer706

May 14th, 2010
12:17 pm

In all actuality, this is a non-issue until after November. Not even the smart Politician would touch this during an election year. It is a lose/lose. Our Attorney General pointed issue back to Arizona to blame before stating that he has not even read the TEN(10) page bill! Absolutely, hysterical!

I do know one thing. The Obama Admin. is loving this Oil Spill right now. However, they hate that BP is being beyond cooperative… even sending live feed from the ocean floor.

I’m sure they will push the Demonize Button somehow.

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
12:18 pm

Ace…Holder and Neopolitan are both completely irresponsible.

PearlJam

May 14th, 2010
12:21 pm

Where the uproar about the parents including their child in the crime they committed.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
12:22 pm

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
12:24 pm

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Bo Diddley

May 14th, 2010
12:27 pm

Illegal is illegal. Unless and until the law is changed, it should be enforced. Ours is not a democracy. It is a representative republic and the legislature is charged with enacting the will of the people. The will of the people is that immigration laws be enforced. Thus, this young girl’s plight is in keeping with the foundational tenets of this great republic.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
12:29 pm

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. -Ephisians 2:19-22

T-Town

May 14th, 2010
12:29 pm

Jimmy says: “I’d gladly trade 3/4 of you jerks for this young lady. You guys have too much baggage and need to see a Psychologist; specially those who were in Vietnam;Check with the VA; they have counseling available for you.”

Mr. Jimmy; I’m one of those Vietnam Vets that needs counseling. I spent enough time there to fill one to many body bags with black, white, brown, red and all of ‘em very green boys. The one thing they all had in common was that they had spelled their red blood and died so people like you could come out of the sewer and make that statement. I have more respect for all those who died there and would trade any one of them for you.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
12:32 pm

“Do not deprive the alien or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this. When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the alien, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.” -Deuteronomy 24:17-22

Jay

May 14th, 2010
12:33 pm

Either we have immigration laws or we don’t. Anyone who says that the young lady should not be deported is saying that in some cases its cool to break the law. I understand that she came here with her parents in violation of our immigration laws and has managed to go unnoticed for this long, however, a crime, a violation of our immigration process has taken place.

I’m not against immigration to this country by anyone who wants to come here and go through the process of achieving citizenship. I am, however, against illegal immigration for whatever reason.

Either we have immigration laws or we don’t.

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
12:39 pm

Thanks JC…now depart from us and sin no more.

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 14th, 2010
12:41 pm

JC….sounds like you been snookered into purchasing one of those Liberal pro tax progressive bibles. You should demand reimbursement.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
12:43 pm

Truth hurts, huh?

blutto

May 14th, 2010
12:43 pm

Irish Ron: “the current law does not make good walking around sense and totally violates our American VALUES”

And what would those be? Diversity? Equality? Economic Justice? Tolerance? Empathy?

The current law actually uphold our VIRTUES such as integrity, responsibility, honesty. See the difference?

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
12:46 pm

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John14:6