“Undocumented, unafraid” and unwelcome today at Georgia’s premier campuses

High school students staged a mock graduation at the UGA arches today to protest state policy toward students who are here illegally. (AJC file)

High school students staged a mock graduation at the UGA arch Tuesday to protest state policy toward students who are here illegally. (AJC file)

High school students staged a mock graduation today at the University of Georgia arch to protest the state policy’s of documenting citizenship of students. Chanting “undocumented, unafraid,” the students expressed dismay at the policy, which they said will lock them out of UGA and other prestigious campuses.

Illegal immigration became a volatile issue in Georgia after it was discovered that Kennesaw State University charged an illegal immigrant in-state tuition in violation of state law. Now, illegal immigrants are barred from any University System of Georgia campus that turned away academically qualified students for the past two years. (The impacted campuses are UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia College & State University and the Medical College of Georgia.)

The State Board of Regents adopted the policy last fall after months of angry debate and legislative posturing over assertions that these students stole spots from those legally here. While officials said campuses are not overwhelmed by thousands of illegal immigrants, the regents adopted the policy to placate legislators and reassure taxpayers that illegal students weren’t taking spots. Those students may attend the system’s other 30 colleges, but must pay out-of-state tuition, which is about three times as expensive.

The AJC reported last week that only one out of the more than 10,000 students granted preliminary acceptance to those five coveted campuses was barred from enrolling because the student is an illegal immigrant. It’s not clear whether illegal immigrants aren’t applying because of the new policy or whether they weren’t attending in the first place.

But the policy has sparked frustration and disappointment in students who have lived in this country most of their lives, but whose parents are not legal citizens. And what’s led to the protest Tuesday in Athens.

According to an account of the protest by the Associated Press:

About 25 young people, most wearing graduation caps and gowns, paraded across a busy intersection in Athens Tuesday and onto the University of Georgia campus to protest a new university system policy on the admission of illegal immigrants.

Several dozen supporters chanted and cheered as the protesters, many of them high school students, walked through the arch onto the university’s main quad, receiving fake diplomas in a mock graduation. Addressing their supporters and the media, a number of them publicly declared their illegal status.

“I want the education after high school because I don’t want to end up a deadbeat,” said 15-year-old Alejandro Galeana. “They’re taking away the education that we have a right to.”

The sophomore at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens was brought to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 2. He doesn’t think it’s fair that if he works hard enough to get the grades to qualify to go to one of the state’s top schools that he should be denied admission because of his immigration status.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

218 comments Add your comment

d

August 23rd, 2011
8:46 pm

I cant wait for the crowd that thinks I should feel sorry for the illegals to weigh in on this one. I don’t and never will feel sorry for them even if it isn’t the kids fault. Go through the process like many did before you and then you can reap the rewards that come with citizenship. The fact that the 15 year old thinks he has “rights” shows what the main problem is. He thinks he’s entitled to something he hasn’t earned. Then again, many of today’s kids feel entitled to everything without actual merit, but that’s a different story.

sloboffthestreet

August 23rd, 2011
8:55 pm

What d said.

Legal

August 23rd, 2011
8:56 pm

GrannyCares

August 23rd, 2011
8:59 pm

Why do some folks feel like they have been disadvantaged when they are not successful in coercing taxpayers in giving into their demands for ‘A LOT FOR NOTHING FROM THEM’? Their ideas DEFY LOGCI! Whether it be an illegal (just find the term in the context we are speaking unreal) immigrant, or a minority that feels they were disadvantaged growing up, what gives them the right to come to my pocket and DEMAND RESOURCES TO DO what I may have worked for; saved for; sacrificed for; and probably along the way, may a heck of a lot different life decisions? Have they become that DEPENDENT ON THE GOVERNMENT? If so, then this period should be a serious wake up call for them to PREPARE THEMSELVES FOR THE FUTURE, and LEARN TO STAND ON THEIR OWN TWO FEET. By the way, college is not for everyone.

DrJimmy

August 23rd, 2011
9:02 pm

Mr. Galeana has no rights. He is not a citizen and evidently neither are his parents. Become a citizen – legally – then you have rights. Until then, you are a guest of the US people. We cannot afford to send non-citizens to college. Also, please do not direct your anger at us. Redirect your anger where it belongs, your parents who obviously came here illegally and made you an accessory.

Paulo977

August 23rd, 2011
9:17 pm

Dr??Jimmy

“Redirect your anger where it belongs, your parents who obviously came here illegally and made you an accessory.”…

Makes my skin crawl to read this!!!!

catlady

August 23rd, 2011
9:21 pm

We should be turning over every rock looking for really smart, motivated kids, instead of the entitled, lazy citizen kids so many parents are turning out.

FBT

August 23rd, 2011
9:24 pm

Maybe the high schools could help the students gain legal citizenship now and it won’t be a problem when they are ready for college.

FedUp

August 23rd, 2011
9:25 pm

Let’s see. He’s 15 years old and came here at the age of 2. That means he (and his family) have had 13 years to become legal citizens, yet they haven’t. Tell me again what “rights” he has?

mike

August 23rd, 2011
9:30 pm

It is amazing how folks whose ancestors stole, murdered, cheated and tried to exterminate people already living on a land which they deemed they discovered, now feel as if they have a God given right to reject others. I assume they do understand they are slowly but surely becoming a minority. What are they going to do about that. Start using the same tactics are their ancestors did.

PJC

August 23rd, 2011
9:31 pm

This is neither a pro-illegal or anti-illegal comment but I am echoing @catlady’s comment. Some accommodation should be reachable for kids who want to be here and want to strive for the highest level of success possible. I see too many “eligible” kids who milk their parents for all they can and either drop out due to lack of performance or end up on the 6 year plan while they are still trying to find themselves. Bottom line is that there should be a way for minor children of illegal immigrants to be fast tracked for citizenship with a sponsor family assigned to them.

Orange11

August 23rd, 2011
9:34 pm

What part of “Undocumented, Unafraid and Unwelcome” don’t they understand? I know, it was the 5.8 earthquake that drove them to this lunacy.

FreeTexan

August 23rd, 2011
9:44 pm

Rights as a citizen come with responsibilities. Illegal aliens have no rights.

sloboffthestreet

August 23rd, 2011
9:49 pm

catlady and PJC

catlady first, Cats are lazy. You still feed them, adore them, empty the turds from their litter box for them, disgusting, I know, and would die for them, so I have a hard time following your logic.

PJC

Move to Mexico and fast track all the brilliant Mexican Kids you like. I see a lucrative future for you. NOT!!! Perhaps you should go back a week and look into all the teachers that like the middle east. Perhaps they like cats?

PatrioticMary

August 23rd, 2011
9:49 pm

Neither this kid who THINKS he deserves special “rights” because his parents broke the law, nor any other illegal alien deserves a darn thing from this nation except to be catapulted back across the border. I am so tired of hearing the whine that we can’t punish these kids for their parents’ bad choices. PLENTY of American kids pay for the bad choices of their parents every single day and always have. How many of THEM march in the streets crying like little babies? I have never seen a protest by the children of AMERICAN criminals.

For those of you who think they deserve a chance at citizenship and an education in one of the colleges OUR tax money pays for…you DO realize they will then sponsor their criminal parents, not to mention loads of their other relatives, to become legal blood suckers, don’t you?

Also, have you not noticed how many of these kids major in law or politics in colleges paid for by Americans? What the heck do you think they’re going to do with those degrees except infiltrate our courts and government and change this nation to the point it will be the same third world toilet they crawled out of? Many of them have sworn to do so and if America doesn’t wake up and stop falling for the nonsense they are up to, that’s just what they’ll do.

Do you want to leave a better America for YOUR children or not? Charity begins at home.

sloboffthestreet

August 23rd, 2011
9:52 pm

Hey Chico, can you say Jose Bias and Geraldo Rivero????

Sarah

August 23rd, 2011
9:56 pm

d –
What exactly did you do to “earn” your citizenship? Get luck enough to be born in the right place at the right time? I don’t think these kids are acting entitled. They’ve worked just as hard as their classmates and just want an opportunity to be part of this great country.

PatrioticMary

August 23rd, 2011
9:57 pm

Mike, you need to stay current. We’re not talking about what happend 500 years ago and we’re not responsible for what people we never knew did, wrong or right. Quit trying to guilt trip Americans for something they never did. We’re SO over it…you should be too. Your argument isn’t even an argument.

sloboffthestreet

August 23rd, 2011
10:01 pm

For the second time this week for the slow people!

http://youtu.be/LPjzfGChGlE

Esmerelda

August 23rd, 2011
10:02 pm

Where is ICE when you need them?

PatrioticMary

August 23rd, 2011
10:02 pm

Sarah, these kids may have worked hard but so did the AMERICANS who paid property taxes so these illegal aliens could clog our schools and dumb down our own kids…while their parents entered illegally, worked illegally, and most likely collected welfare illegally. If you feel so warm and fuzzy toward these kids, I would suggest YOU support them. I’m sick of it.

sloboffthestreet

August 23rd, 2011
10:06 pm

If you happened to watch the above video you should realize if your a legal American that,,,,,Your Rich B

kg

August 23rd, 2011
10:14 pm

Do the work to become legal and then relax. How horrible it must feel for these kids but its up to them.

just me

August 23rd, 2011
10:17 pm

The comment made by Sara is wrong, My father was in world war two, my family has fought and died for this country, we have earned the right to be here, I was born here, my children and grandchild was born here, I have family in the war right now, we are American’s

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Really amazed

August 23rd, 2011
10:25 pm

I suspect there are many illegals!!!! This counts as diversity. That is the main thing colleges are looking for these days, It is a sure sign of exceptance, even over gpa/SAT scores. Sad but true. The colleges will never admit to this. Another form of cheating the system.

NY Teaching Vet

August 23rd, 2011
10:27 pm

Children have always had to deal with and overcome their parents’ questionable choices. As an educator, as a parent, as a community member, I applaud any child who works hard and tries to succeed academically.

I work hard, I pay taxes, and I want t those taxes to be well spent. It hurts my heart when I see children throwing away their education, and maybe throwing away their lives by making bad choices.

But initially, children are not living in poverty because of their choices; they are not in foster care because of their choices; they are not being brought up by extended family members because of their choices; they are not here illegally because of their choices.

We have many support systems for children who struggle with life obstacles. Some come from private organizations, some are faith based, some are government based, but the goal is the same: to help children. I believe every child deserves a chance.

Right now our immigration system is a mess. I’ve heard (and I’m still learning) that the only answer for children who may have been brought here at the age of 1 or 2 is to go to their “home” country, and then apply for citizenship. I can only imagine if I were born abroad, moved to the US at the age of 2, and then when I became 18, was sent back to fend for myself, in a country I didn’t know – a country that was not my home. And then I had to wait, and wait, and wait….to possibly come back to the only home I’d ever known.

No easy answer here, but I do wish people could share their thoughts respectfully, and from the heart.

PatrioticMary

August 23rd, 2011
10:29 pm

For those of you who feel so sorry for these kids that you would sell our nation to the lowest bidders, you are being duped. These open borders extremists PLANNED it that way! They use the children DELIBERATELY…I have read this on many of their websites. They do it to pull at your heartstrings KNOWING these kids, if made “legal” will sponsor their law breaking parents for citizenship, along with hundreds of their other relatives. They planned it, executed it and you drank the kool aid without ever doing your own research to see what they’re up to. What a bunch of suckers.

I agree

August 23rd, 2011
10:31 pm

Who in this country is not illegal, come one give me a break. All this is about is white people fearing that they have lost the majority rule in America. I want more brown and black people to come here so when we ready to kick their A—-ses we will have pletly help.

Illegals just using and abusing the System

August 23rd, 2011
10:47 pm

“d” started it off right with his comments. This is what is wrong with America, not right. We have become so soft that we accommodate those who feel they are the most entitled, so entitled that they do not have to follow rules and laws put in place so that they ultimately benefit the immigrant. The bottom line is those who become legal are those are those that should be lauded and those that don’t are just using and abusing the system. They are not victims, they are victimizers and non-assimilaters, and “entitlement” demanders.

Orange11

August 23rd, 2011
10:51 pm

I agree, you must be one of Cynthia Tucker’s new students.

ATLman

August 23rd, 2011
10:59 pm

Hey mike, my ancestors came from Africa in chains smart guy. Quit making this about race, there are plenty of LEGAL people of color who are tired of you racists making this issue about race.

Sane Person

August 23rd, 2011
11:01 pm

For those on this board and elsewhere who constantly complain that the illegals in this country should just go through some process to be here legally, how exactly, pray tell, do you propose they do this? What forms should they fill out, or what process or procedure should they follow? The answer is that for blue collar laborers, the vast majority of illegals, there is no legal option or avenue to pursue. None.

AmericanPieHole

August 23rd, 2011
11:01 pm

“15-year-old Alejandro Galeana. “They’re taking away the education that we have a right to.” This is the problem with being assimilated in to crime by their parents they think they have the right to break the law. Send this moron and his parents back to his country and perhaps he can help his native land with what he learned here.

Paulo977

August 23rd, 2011
11:05 pm

mike

August 23rd, 2011
9:30 pm
“It is amazing how folks whose ancestors stole, murdered, cheated and tried to exterminate people already living on a land which they deemed they discovered, now feel as if they have a God given right to reject others”

You said it so well!!!

DwayneL

August 23rd, 2011
11:10 pm

This illegal aliens do not belong in our colleges and the thought of some states allowing them to receive in state tuition makes me sick! Why in the hell should they get a benefit before American citizens?? They all need to be rounded up and deported.

DwayneL

August 23rd, 2011
11:11 pm

Also, the indian comparison is getting very old and doesn’t fly.

Paulo977

August 23rd, 2011
11:24 pm

NY Teaching Vet

August 23rd, 2011
10:27 pm
re: “from the heart”

“it is only with the heartthat one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Speedy Gonzales

August 23rd, 2011
11:29 pm

“The Guide for the Mexican migrant” … I dare you to Google it..

Ole Guy

August 23rd, 2011
11:30 pm

Once again, one must ponder the big question…”just exactly what is the point of discussion here”? This is not a question of race, nor of the social injustices hundreds of years ago. If we want to fish, hunt, drive, fly airplanes, etc…WE GO THROUGH A LAWFUL PROCESS. If we want to visit/live in another country, WE GO THROUGH A LAWFUL PROCESS. Failure to subject ourselves to a SPECIFIC lawful process while continuing to fish, hunt, drive, fly airplanes, visit/live in other countries, etc is (drumroll)…(like it or not)…BREAKING THE FRIQUIN LAW!

So, once again, without benefit of the violin strings in concert with the (so-called) downtrodden; without yet another review of the tired ole mindless “they drug my ancestors here in chains” arguement; without imagined rights to an education despite ILLEGAL status…

WHERE’S THE ARGUEMENT?

sldkfjslk

August 23rd, 2011
11:36 pm

I’m going to be laughing hard in about 10 years when the legal born citizens of the people whose labor helped build all the homes y’all thought you could afford, all the people who slaughtered the chickens you BBQ every weekend, all the people who laid the sidewalks you stroll along and picked the onions y’all used to eat, all the people you spit upon now, get the right to vote and stick it to you. You want to know the reason politicians across the country are suddenly in a rush to deport the illegals they once courted? It’s because they realize they’re about to be voted out of office and I can’t wait. Viva Mexico!

sldkfjslk

August 23rd, 2011
11:52 pm

Old Guy,

You’re suddenly interested in the law? How convenient. You weren’t interested in the law until the LEGAL citizens of this country ruined the economy and you needed someone to blame. People throw out this high and mighty law argument when the people who really break the law and really do severe damage to the economy walk or cash out or gently fall back to earth with thick wallets and golden parachutes. Fight the real enemy. Regulate wall street. Get the lobbyists out of our inept politicians purses and leave the newest residents of this country alone. And here’s some violins for you. Were you interested in laws when this state was robbed from its previous legal residents. Were you interested in laws when free blacks were arrested on trumped up charges and worked to death in prison camps. Where were the law loving residents of this state while they were stringing up Leo Frank from a tree. If people like yourself love the law so much they should have defended minority rights with the same zeal they seek to deport Hispanics. But it was convenient to sit back and let evil prevail while we ascended the socioeconomic ladder wasn’t it. So go back and cling to your laws now that the deck is stacked in your favor. You wouldn’t want anyone else to threaten the status we so legally have attained through the years.

zeke

August 24th, 2011
12:32 am

The point is not whether these kids have a problem and are truly misguided!IT DOES NOT MAKE ON DAMN DIFFERENCE WHETHER THEY WERE BROUGHT HERE AS CHILDREN OR CAME HERE AS ADULTS! THEY ARE ILLEGAL! BY DEFINITION CRIMINAL FELONS! THEY MUST BE ROUNDED UP ARRESTED DEPORTED IMMEDIATELY! OBAMA AND HIS DUPE LACKYS MUST BE IMPEACHED IMMEDIATELY FOR VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION AND IMMIGRATION LAWS!!!!!

Crystal

August 24th, 2011
12:33 am

I wonder if that 15yo kid realizes that if he were to be able to get into UGA, he would have to pay out of state tuition, which hs about 3x the rate that a legal Georgia resident would pay. He is not eligible for the Hope Scholarship or other federal financial aid.

Jim

August 24th, 2011
12:57 am

@NY Teaching Vet: I suspect we’d disagree on a solution to this problem — I’m inclined to see the law followed until our politicians decide to change it. If they don’t change it, the law stands. I don’t take self-righteous pleasure in pointing that out, but the law IS the law.

Having said that, though, you’re just about the only person who posted who said something I agree with wholeheartedly: “No easy answer here, but I do wish people could share their thoughts respectfully, and from the heart.”

If only everyone else here would behave like you …

crazy thoughts

August 24th, 2011
1:54 am

Talking about the mistakes of parents, it is clear that people in this state hate beyond comprehension. It is clear that it was all passed onto you from generation after generation.

what part of the demands of those illegal students actually asks for tax payers money??? they are asking for ACCESS TO EDUCATION, so they do not end up uneducated like most ppl in this state. They are willing to pay OUT OF STATE TUITION 3X HIGHER meaning their tuition does not get any tax payers subsidies (just like the one paid by international students).

Now from the tax payers perspective even if I dislike those undocumented Americans (who do not know another homeland and who in many cases speak English better than their parents language),it makes total sense to grant these young boys and girls access to higher education, and a path to legality.
remember since WE THE TAX PAYERS have already poured millions of dollars on these kids education (elementary, middle, and high school), let them stay here to become useful elements of society. let them repay this country all the resources already invested in them. why hatred blinds us from seeing what truly is the best benefit for the society. stop being for once the incarnation of your parents mistakes and stop hating for God’s sake.

itsmeagain

August 24th, 2011
2:05 am

What a bunch of self righteous jerks commenting on this thread. People implying that they “earned” their citizenship by being born here. Or claiming that a 15 year old has the ability to apply for citizenship by himself. Believing that it’s as easy as walking into an immigration office and asking for citizenship. This 2 year old kid has basically lived in the US his entire life. His first language is most likely English (i’m sure at 2 years old English was the first language he learned). The only people i see here who believe they are entitled to anything are the US citizens claiming that they and only they are allowed an education. And then as soon as you block these kids from an education, you start complaining about how immigrants are causing crime. Maybe it’s because you didn’t allow them to have an education? Bunch of spackers.

BitterEXdemocrackkk

August 24th, 2011
3:04 am

Illegals are UNwelcome anywhere in America. GTF OUT NOW, you creepy leeches. Go make your own homelands better, instead of stealing your
‘rights’ from us.

Note

August 24th, 2011
3:20 am

Name one other country that allows anyone to receive education, welfare, benefits, or services without demonstrating citizenship or legal status.