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

Granny Godzilla

May 14th, 2010
2:14 pm

Terrance you post:

“Is the revenue worth the loss of personal identity? I don’t think so. How about you, Granny?”

Why of course I want all our identities stolen – NOT.
Goofy question.

While I will agree it does happen……

Immigrants stealing U.S. Social Security numbers for jobs, not profits

gary

May 14th, 2010
2:16 pm

I’m with Cynthia! I feel that I should be able to break any law that I find I don’t like or that I wish to get around. And of course I’ll get the public to rally around my cause!

stranger in a strange land

May 14th, 2010
2:19 pm

JC – is that supposed to actually answer my question?
You might have just as well said: “Judas went out and hanged himself”. “Go thou and do likewise”

atlshirt.com

May 14th, 2010
2:21 pm

gary

May 14th, 2010
2:16 pm
I’m with Cynthia! I feel that I should be able to break any law that I find I don’t like or that I wish to get around. And of course I’ll get the public to rally around my cause!

Gary, White men are not afforded such luxuries… you should be in jail for being a white male…you racist!

MakeItPlain

May 14th, 2010
2:27 pm

atlshirt.com…you should be in jail for being so flexible that you are sniffing your own colon right now. Racism doesn’t stop racism.

Jack Straw

May 14th, 2010
2:28 pm

This is the Genarlow Wilson case all over again; if somebody at the AJC likes you, you are above the law. Now that’s power!
I say deport her parents, and let the young lady stay.

Mrs. W.

May 14th, 2010
2:28 pm

Realistic@ I actually feel bad for this young woman to a certain extent but….. why was she driving without a license and why did she lie to the officers. I think she lied because she was raised by her parents to be dishonest because of their ILLEGAL status. Many have argued that if we hunt down the illegals it will make them afraid to come forward when they have witnessed or know about criminal activity. I truely believe that they will not come forward regardless and because of that, and many other valid reasons they do not need to be in this country without following the letter of the law. Also, do all of you really think that only the Mexicans know that border is open? I’ll bet you that all of the terrorists know it too.

Ernesto

May 14th, 2010
2:30 pm

287g is design to deport illgeal aliens commiting crime! Speaking fluent English (better English that many Georgians), achieving a college degree, and being a good resident of the state are the kinds of immigrants that should be given a chance to stay!

Ceriee

May 14th, 2010
2:32 pm

I do agree with you Cynthia that the US needs more college students like Jessica Colotl who are legal citizens. The woman featured was she given a grant to attend a University? Was she given the opportunities to and financial assistance to attend a college and hopefully become a promising student? Possibly. It is not right that our own country’s young citizens wishing to attend college and need that assistance have to compete with illegals who circumvent the laws citizens are reminded to uphold. How is this fair? Why is this fair?

radiowxman

May 14th, 2010
2:35 pm

So again, since the woman will have a US college degree, she should have a fast track to a green card/citizenship over everyone else.

I wonder what the people from other nations with college degrees waiting patiently in their home countries for a green card would think about that.

And now we know: a college degree makes someone more important.

If you’re a unskilled laborer? Make it a felony to hire you.
If you’re a skilled laborer without a college degree? Make it a felony to hire you.
If you’ve got a bachelor’s degree? Welcome in with open arms!

MakeItPlain

May 14th, 2010
2:38 pm

Ernesto, does the “better English than many Georgians” statement encompass ebonics? Spanglish?

HDB

May 14th, 2010
2:40 pm

MakeItPlain May 14th, 2010
2:11 pm

While I reserve judgment on what has been REPORTED to have been said by Atty. Gen. Holder, having read SB 1070, HB 2162, and the subsequent SB 1070, I DO see where it allows racial profiling and forces American citizens to carry a PASSPORT as proof of citizenship!!

THAT is the beginning of the creation of the police state!! THIS CAN NOT BE ALLOWED!!

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
2:41 pm

@ Ernesto “Speaking fluent English (better English that many Georgians), achieving a college degree, and being a good resident of the state are the kinds of immigrants that should be given a chance to stay!”

I would add one condition. That they honestly complete the application process for a student or work visa. She knowingly avoided doing that and failed to pay her fair share of tuition. If a US citizen from another state besides Georgia did that (even without the immigration issues) they would be charged with fraud and possible expelled from the university.

Jessica (a 22 year old adult that knowingly broke laws to avoid paying full tuition) is a poor symbol for immigration reform.

atlshirt.com

May 14th, 2010
2:41 pm

MakeItPlain

May 14th, 2010
2:27 pm
atlshirt.com…you should be in jail for being so flexible that you are sniffing your own colon right now. Racism doesn’t stop racism.

If you can not beat them, then join them!

Terrence

May 14th, 2010
2:46 pm

I get it, Granny, as long as it’s for jobs, it’s o.k. It’s the employer’s fault for not checking closely enough. It’s not the employee’s fault for presenting a false I.D..

AFL-CIO v Chertoff–At a time of historically high unemployment rates, the government’s decision to rescind the ‘no match’ rule comes not a moment too soon. By utilizing the error-ridden Social Security Administration database for verification of eligibility to work, the rule would have threatened the economic livelihood of millions of Americans.

Error-ridden SSA is a government bureaucracy. If it’s your much-to-be-admired government, why is it error-ridden?

From your NYT link. In 2000, using data from the Social Security Administration, the Utah attorney general’s office found that the Social Security numbers of 132,000 people in the state were being used by other people, far more than the state could prosecute.

This use caused problems even when the person using the number led a financially responsible life, said Hamp, the assistant attorney general. “I’ve had families denied public assistance for their children or disability payments because records show somebody is working in their Social Security number,” he said.

Hard working illegals, eh?

Dick Hertz

May 14th, 2010
2:47 pm

Jessica represents the greatest fears of poor and working class whites and “white” ethnics-the newcomer overachiever. If someone can come from a foreign country and different language and poor background and exceed people who have had all the benefits of this country for generations, it overturns the applecart that says “I may be X but at least I’m not a n/s/w/g/c/d/!” Next thing you know you’ll have a black president and the whole world will be upside down. America uses race and ethnicity to sidestep the conflicts of class and wealth constantly; we just find more genteel ways to circumlocute the real issues.

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
2:47 pm

Makeitplain and HDB – Holder admitted yesterday in congressional hearings that he had not read the law when he started criticizing it.

“WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Eric Holder told a House Judiciary Committee Thursday that he has not yet read Arizona’s 10-page Illegal Immigration Law, despite repeatedly making statement about the possible unconstitutionality of the law.

AG Holder has allegedly been making comments and challenges to the law based on what he was able to “glean by reading newspaper accounts, … television.”

The Arizona law has been under heavy fire from the Obama administration despite its wording that essentially only reinforces federal immigration law.”

Relax and take a few deep breaths. We’re not on the way to a police state yet.

Huckabee The Next POTUS-2013

May 14th, 2010
2:49 pm

Hey granny, at least I didn’t vote for the garbage who currently has the oval office. Oops, I must be a racist because I just put down barry….barack…obozo, or whatever he is calling himself this week. 32 more months until the community organizer can pack his gladrags and let a real man take over and begin repairing all the damage he will have done by then. It may take decades but we will pull ourselves out of the black hole oblahblah has put us in.

Tom Middleton

May 14th, 2010
2:50 pm

Let her stay! With her family’s love for this country, their daughter’s education and preparation for the future, and her willingness to turn her shoulder to America’s “wheel” once her education is done, she’s heads above most of the bozos on this blog.

And judging from the low-caliber tone of all the reactionary posts, the political gene pool around here could definitely use another hefty dose of high-quality chlorine, and may God send many, many more! :)

stranger in a strange land

May 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

MakeitPalin @ 2:38 – I curious about answer to that question to

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
2:53 pm

@ Tom M…

She knowingly lied to get cheaper tuition when she could have renewed her student visa. Is this the kind of person who is likely to put her shoulder to Americas wheel? I’d trade her in a minute for any one of the thousands of applicants who are trying to get visas legally today.

commoncents

May 14th, 2010
2:55 pm

Now, if she was pulled over and they found out she was wanted for a viloent crime and wasn’t a successful student, this wouldn’t be a story. She would be deported just as planned, and life for the rest of us would continue as normal.

But… go figure that this illegal immigrant cheated and lied to the system for so long that she made it to college, and now the left wants to support her for being so courageous and being the ideal immigrant that they wish would cross our border!

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
2:55 pm

Jimbo and Maniacs comments were time stamped a half hour early and keep going to the bottom. That’s weird.

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
2:58 pm

@ Commoncents- I’ve got a better example of a woman (friend from Church) who found out in her 30’s that her parents brought her here as an infant and she has no documentation. While immigration gave her the option of applying for citizenship she didn’t have the fees to cover the cost. Shortly thereafter she amassed some serious hospital bills that she now owes because she couldn’t get coverage.

A small bit of financial help could have saved her a lot of grief for a situation she did not cause and wanted to fix. She has never been pulled over for a traffic violation.

But she’s not a cute college student so the ACLU, AJC editorial staff and host of activists aren’t knocking her door down to help.

Smokewagon

May 14th, 2010
2:58 pm

She seems like a hard working smart lady. This is the kind of person America needs to grow strong. I suggest that for every illegal caught that we deport an entitlement person that refuses to work in their place.

Doug Patterson

May 14th, 2010
3:00 pm

Cynthia have you read Arizona’s law??? No much like our great African American Attorney General you have not. If you had you would not make such ignorant comments about it. Bottom line is you are a racist through and through. It is not about brown. It is about legal vs. illegal.

commoncents

May 14th, 2010
3:03 pm

Jimbo and Maniac are just the voices of the future. Don’t mind them… yet :)

Tom Middleton

May 14th, 2010
3:03 pm

You Asked @2:53 pm

Do you cheat on your taxes, Asked? Did you lie in your last job interview for a better job? Does you wife or girlfriend think you’re a better man than you know you are? Yes? Maybe you’re the one who should go!

thomas paine

May 14th, 2010
3:05 pm

I don’t know all the details, but she says she wants to do the right thing. Yet she’s been driving for almost 4 years without a license or insurance, lied to the cops about her address, and is planning on taking her degree back to Mexico and never paying our society back for all the help.

I don’t care how much she bats her eyes and looks innocent, she clearly has no respect for the law or this country. People that try to do the right thing generally manage to actually do the right thing most of the time. She’s clearly full of crap.

blutto

May 14th, 2010
3:05 pm

HDB: “I DO see where it allows racial profiling and forces American citizens to carry a PASSPORT as proof of citizenship!!”

I do not see those items there. Page and paragraph please.

commoncents

May 14th, 2010
3:07 pm

You Asked: you’re right, it’s not fair. But there is also a difference between not knowing about it and not acknowledging it.

But when did she find out? Surely she would know the first time she ever applied for a job and had to provide a birth certificate or SSN from when she was a teenager. How does she drive? Any driver’s liscense?

year

May 14th, 2010
3:09 pm

I say let’s kick all out who have committed crimes?? Why just the Mexicans??? There’s a lot of African Americans and White Americans who’ve driven drunk, without a license, had drugs in their cars, speeded, killed people, molested children, kicked their dogs, not paid their taxes, ran red lights, stole, and so many other illegal activities. If we got rid of all of these people that broke the law, this will be a terrific country!

Good Lord, help these Americans who feel that just because you were born here, you have a right to kick everyone else out, and not let anyone else in. I would much rather live next to this Illigal Mexican family sending their daughter to college, then a legal family living on welfare not bothering to try to better themselves.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
3:09 pm

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-38

dj

May 14th, 2010
3:11 pm

She broke the law and crime is not down in Arizona. Quit Lying.

Ralph

May 14th, 2010
3:13 pm

Cynthia never could understand the distinction between legal and illegal. You can tell by the way she uses the term immigrants when she means illegal immigrants. Big difference.

The ideas that she espouses are the ones that will destroy this country.

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
3:13 pm

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” -Galatians 3:28

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
3:14 pm

@ Tom,

Do you cheat on your taxes, Asked? (Never -in fact I skipped a few deductions I wasn’t sure I had the proper documentation for).

Did you lie in your last job interview for a better job? (No- that would be stupid.)

Does you wife or girlfriend think you’re a better man than you know you are? Yes? (Yes of course – she is very loving and accepting of me. I always try to live up to her expectations – BUT I NEVER LIE TO HER).

Maybe you’re the one who should go! (No my ancestors came here legally)

A "Voice"

May 14th, 2010
3:14 pm

RealisticGeorgian

May 14th, 2010
8:18 am
Jessica Colotl will probably do more good than those Georgians who sit on their butt complaining on an AJC blog rather than actually doing something to bring positive change to our society and economy

There is absolutely nothing that guarantees that Jessica Coloti will do good or better than any Georgian and nothing to guarantee that she will bring “positive” change to our society . . .you don’t know that . . . I don’t know that! But, that has nothing, absolutely nothing to do with the issue of illegal immigration nor does the argument that she “might” make some fantastic contribution to this country. Cynthia Tucker doesn’t know that for a fact. . .nor do you. The issue has to do with her being entitled to the same benefits afforded naturalized and legal immigrants and everything to do with her being illegal. True enough she was a child when she was brought here. Where are her parents now! How many brothers and sisters does she have who have also benefited from being here. Those who argue we should love one another . . . where’s the love these illegals have when they get out and hold up the Mexican flag. . where’s the love they have . . where’s the respect for the law. . . where’s their loyalty . . not with the country that has given them the “American Dream!”

Some People are stupid

May 14th, 2010
3:15 pm

Of yall ever read, she got in-state tuition because she graduated from a Ga High School. She didn’t lie about that to get any tuition assistance. That was an error on KSU part, but if you see a GA address and a GA high school with ga transcripts, wouldn’t you assume she was a ga resident.

An to the poster who said she was taking her degree back to Mexico, she has no choice, she only has a year to be here.

Average Joe

May 14th, 2010
3:16 pm

Cynthia, by more than 10 to 1, based on the posts. People favor enforcing the law.

Can you please tell us on what legal basis she should remain in this country?

Having a 3.8 grade average or being here illegally for 10 years don’t qualify as a viable defense.

SS

May 14th, 2010
3:16 pm

In another AJC article it stated “She worked nights to pay for school with hopes of becoming a lawyer.”

…how is this possible? She had no SSN, no DL! How was she paying taxes on the wages she earned? Who is the employer that hired her? I say end the 1 year reprieve that they gave her and boot her, and her family, out NOW!

Some People are stupid

May 14th, 2010
3:16 pm

Tom-
How did your ancestors come here legally??

J.C.

May 14th, 2010
3:17 pm

“The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Some People are stupid

May 14th, 2010
3:20 pm

Those who argue we should love one another . . . where’s the love these illegals have when they get out and hold up the Mexican flag. . where’s the love they have . . where’s the respect for the law. . . where’s their loyalty . . not with the country that has given them the “American Dream!”

I didn’t know I was suppose to be waving the American Flag everywhere I go. I guess just screw my heritage. Must have missed that in my american dream class.

commoncents

May 14th, 2010
3:22 pm

A “Voice”

I’m going to have to disagree with you. You state that “Cynthia Tucker doesn’t know that for a fact,” when, in fact, CT knows. She knows all

You Asked

May 14th, 2010
3:23 pm

“…but if you see a GA address and a GA high school with ga transcripts, wouldn’t you assume she was a ga resident.”

Our grade school made us bring in proof of residency (title deed, utility bill in our name, etc). Why on earth aren’t college students supposed to do so?

She knowingly defrauded Kennesaw State University. If a citizen of Alabama did that for in state tuition they’d be convicted of fraud.

stranger in a strange land

May 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

j.c. (you need to loose the caps)
My question an hour or so ago and your continued scripture references: nevermind – you’re obviously not the J.C. that I know,
However, feel free to keep flipping through the pages and pointing at random references. Someone may benefit since God’s word does not return void – right?

Edward Timmons

May 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

It’s funny how Criminals always appeal to the good natured law abiding Citizens to get what they want. Cynthia wants us to just forget the bad things this Mexican (she had a Mexico passport) did. Let’s just look at the good things. The reason our system doesn’t work, is because when it does work, we make sure it doesn’t. This was a good example of how the immigration department works with local law enforcement and some of us can’t stand it!! Deport her and let’s continue finding the rest of them illegals!!!

HDB

May 14th, 2010
3:25 pm

blutto

May 14th, 2010
3:05 pm
HDB: “I DO see where it allows racial profiling and forces American citizens to carry a PASSPORT as proof of citizenship!!”

I do not see those items there. Page and paragraph please.

HB2162 – Section 1-501: That was merged into SB 1070
SB 1070 – Article 8: Section 11-1051: Law dated 4/30/2010. It denotes
“LAWFUL CONTACT”….that can be taken as someone sitting on a porch and the police getting out of a car to ask you for ID.

HB2162 was merged into SB 1070……read the SEPARATE BILLS before reading the merged bills……

Jimbo

May 14th, 2010
3:26 pm

She is illegal. She should be deported.
Why discuss it? ct always fights for “change”, the kind that will ruin this country.
I say – “NO YOU CAN’T!”