Illegal immigrant students lobby for a chance at legal residency

Illegal immigrant students lobby for a chance at legal residency – Full Story
By Jennifer Delson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
October 5, 2007
Illegal immigrant students boarded rush-hour Metrolink trains in Santa Ana last week to bring attention to pending legislation that could make them eligible for green cards and put them on the path toward U.S. citizenship.These young adults, brought to the United States by their parents when they were children, tried to explain to commuters why the federal government should give them legal U.S. residency. Without green cards, the students said they could graduate from college but would probably have trouble pursuing professional careers.
Under the Dream Act, immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years, have a high school diploma and meet other requirements could receive conditional legal residency. Over the next six years, they would have to spend two years in college or the military to qualify for permanent legal residency, a step toward citizenship.

If you support the DREAM act I hope you’ll call, write, and fax your representatives letting them know how you feel.

If you don’t support the DREAM act I hope you’ll at least give your opinions with thoughtfulness and compassion. It is ok to be against illegal immigration, but it is not ok to hate or be racist. Hate and racism are not the American traits we should be holding up to the world as our most valued.


4 thoughts on “Illegal immigrant students lobby for a chance at legal residency”

  1. Regarding the article on the students boarding Metrolink trains, the first issue this raises is about Metrolink policy. Did the students violate the Metrolink policy against soliciting on its trains? This policy is described in the Metrolink Ride Guide on page 7. From the passenger point of view, we expect Metrolink to enforce its policies even-handedly, so why didn’t the conductor require these students to comply with the policy.

    Next, I’d like to comment on the way that the story was presented in the Times. The photograph accompanying the story clearly shows pre-teen students. These students were not those who boarded the trains. They were also all, by appearance, Hispanic, while the article went on to describe a Korean effort in support of DREAM. The apposition of young children to the article is then clearly designed only to engender compassion. All of the “students” described in the article must have been old enough to be high school graduates because anyone high school age or younger would have been violating the state education law by skipping school.

    So we have three people described in the article.

    Frank Nunez (No college, 24)
    Jessica De Nova (Long Beach State, no age)
    Carlos (No college, no age)

    I’m going to guess here, but all three are, once again, apparently, Hispanic. Of course, when the pro-illegal immigrant groups lobby, they always charge racism or anti-Hispanic sentiment against their opponents. Well, here was an opportunity for free publicity in the Los Angeles Times, and the pro groups only presented faces of illegal immigrants with south-of-the-border heritage. I would posit that the pro groups can be more aptly labelled racist because of the their own lack of inclusion of Asian, African, and European illegal immigrants.

    Back to the students. Only one identified the college she attended. And one didn’t want to be identified. The reporter made special note of how well-dressed they were. Call me cynical, but did the reporter get any background about these “students”. Which high school did they graduate from? Which college did they attend? Are they currently enrolled in a college program? Did they graduate? How many years have they been in this country illegally? Did their parents bring them to this country before they were 16 (the DREAM requirement)?

    Having seen the past tactics of the pro groups, I would venture to posit that one or all of these “students” would not actually qualify for the DREAM Act. Perhaps, one or all are even legal residents or citizens. And perhaps, one or all are being paid by one or more of the pro groups as activists. If any of these possibilities are true, doesn’t that call into question their statements and activities.

    I guess my question is why are U.S. citizens required to take self-serving descriptions of the people presented in these anecdotal articles as the gospel truth? While if we take a position opposing the pro groups, we are labelled out-of-hand as racists, bigots, xenophobes, or any number of other disparaging labels. Why is it un-American to demand that the laws of the country be respected and enforced?

    Now to the specifics of the DREAM Act. If it were truly to help individual young people who have demonstrated initiative to make something of themselves under the burden of being here illegally, I would not oppose it.

    The problem is DREAM is not about that. DREAM is about fraud. It encourages fraud from the onset with an application that can’t be challenged and immediately suspends any pending immigration actions against the applicant. I have to chuckle whenever I read that the applicants have to “meet other requirements”. Meeting any of the “requirements” is as simple as making a statement that the applicant meets the requirement. I had to provide more proof to get my children registered in grade school than a DREAM applicant will have to provide. And if it is discovered that the applicant perjures himself or herself on the application there is no consequence. And if it is discovered that the applicant has been involved in criminal activity either before or after their entry into the United States, it can’t be used against them and can’t be reported to the proper authorities under severe penalty ($10,000 fine) to the bureaucrat who violates this provision. Even that 17-year-old Santa Monica rapist, as reported in the San Jose Mercury News last week, would be eligible for DREAM.

    Perhaps my primary objection, however, is that it doesn’t just reward the deserving students who, arguably, cannot be blamed for the actions of their parents. Once the DREAM applicant gets legal status, he or she can begin the chain migration cycle by getting legal status for his or her parents, and so on, and so on, and so on.

    My next major objection is that it is not only retroactive, but also prospective. Not limiting DREAM to those that are already here simply encourages foreign parents to make sure they bring their young children with them, because eventually their illegal act will bring them permanent residence status and the full panoply of social and welfare benefits that we Americans provide for our most disadvantaged residents.

    And finally, we should recognize that all of the DREAM applicants will have received a significant benefit in achieving a high school diploma and perhaps even a college education funded by the American taxpayer while our own children have had to deal with all the disadvantages of an overburdened educational system. And isn’t receiving two years of college or technical school just another benefit. Why aren’t American children who graduate high school being guaranteed that same benefit?

    And then there is the military service option. This is actually the only option, if were restricted to actual military service (but it isn’t), that tends to demonstrate that the DREAM applicant really wants to repay the country for the huge benefits the applicant has already received. However, if this were the only option, it would exclude too many young people from the amnesty, because the military has quite high standards on who it enlists these days.

    So, if DREAM is really for the benefit of the deserving few, then Senator Durbin should limit it to those deserving few and make sure that no one with a criminal history of any kind is allowed to get the prize. And Durbin should also severely penalize anyone who falsifies their application. But Durbin has already stated that he won’t make any more compromises. And the reason is that limiting DREAM wouldn’t be worth it because it then wouldn’t be a general amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants in this country already.

    I am a first generation American. My parents emigrated legally as children to this country from Germany during the depression and the rise of National Socialism. In each family’s case, it took as many as seven years for all the family members to be reunited in this country.

  2. The bottom line is we need a sensible solution to the 12 million supposed illegal immigrants in this country and denying their children a chance at higher education is not going to help us in any way.

    If you want to know what upsets me the look at this picture. Is this the message you’d like your parents to have received when they arrived?

  3. That’s actually a pretty tame photo, some Americans exercising free speech. My grandparents and their children endured much worse by the first-hand accounts I’ve been told.

    Germans, Irish, Italians, Polish, Chinese — all the large immigrant groups that came to this country endured their own gauntlet, but they all persevered, established themselves, and integrated themselves into the fabric of America despite the hardships they endured at the hands of the established population.

    I see two big differences between the current immigration situation and the those of the past. One is that the crisis is caused by people ignoring our laws and expecting no consequence. The other is that the illegal immigrants are demanding benefits and availing themselves of benefits that were intended for our own disadvantaged citizens.

    When my headstrong grandmother followed her husband by herself to this country, she was detained at the port of New York and would have been deported (sent back on the same ship) had she not have been able to prove that she was allowed to enter legally. She spent more than a day in detention while it was sorted out.

    It’s somewhat amusing that you won’t even recognize that there are 12 million or 20 million or 30 million (no one knows for certain) foreigners here illegally. Why do you place “supposed” in front of illegal? After all, they either have legal documents or they don’t.

    From the article we started with, it’s clear that no one is denying these illegal children a higher education. The article makes it appear that the three named students have had at least part of a college education and maybe even have a degree. Their complaint is that they can’t now get a job legally because of their undocumented status.

    So, it appears to me that we’ve been very accommodating to allow these students to receive years of education at our expense.

    And I am total agreement that we need to have a sensible solution for the current illegal population. It’s just that we’ve heard that before. In 1986, Congress’s sensible solution to the floodgate that was opened in 1965 was to legalize almost all of them and in return, the government would prevent the situation from recurring.

    Well, the problem got worse, and the Congress tried to fix it again in 1996 and that didn’t work, so it got even worse.

    And all along the way there have been a dozen or so little amnesties for different groups since the big one in 1986.

    So, how many times should the American people be fooled before they say enough is enough?

    The vast majority of Americans want the problem of illegal entry (including visa overstays) solved. And we want it solved before we treat the symptom of the millions already here.

    There is a large group of special interests that doesn’t want it solved. The employers want all the cheap labor they can get. The labor and ethnic organizations want more political power. Those are both self-serving interests that don’t take into account what’s best for the country as a whole.

    So, the bottom line is that we want entry into this country demonstrably controlled before any more benefits are bestowed upon those already here illegally. In the meantime, they’ll have to tough it, just like all the previous immigrant groups had to do. The fact that they are behind the eight-ball, so to speak, is their own doing. They took a risk coming here illegally and they may get caught and deported before the ultimate solution arrives.

    And ultimately, they may gain a legal status, but then again, they may not. It’s up to them to determine whether it’s worth the risk to stay while we figure it out.

  4. Yes, I realize there are 12 million illegal immigrants (up to 30 if you believe some groups). The use of supposed in front of illegal was an error. What I meant is that there are supposedly 12 million illegal immigrants.

    I think a big part in this is Americans are breaking the law by knowingly hiring them and this did start with the legal work visa programs that have been in practice for quite some time. It’s not as if people just started walking across the border and knocking on farmers doors. If we can’t even follow the law (and many Americans don’t follow every law – ever been on a highway?) then what difference should it make if the very people we are coaxing over here do?

    I understand this is not an easy argument. I am only against the mistreating of another human being. If there is a solution, that doesn’t involve shooting people in the back, that will keep the illegal immigrants out then let’s go for it. However, I see and here many anti-immigrant speeches, in this area of the country, and they are quite anti-Hispanic. If you have seen and heard what I have you’d understand.

    Just go to the rally links and read some of the speeches or skip my commentary and watch them on YouTube. (search for Morristown ProAmerica Rally, Voice of The People Freeland, and Voice of The People Harrisburg.)

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