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Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Imagine coming to this country as a young child, having an ordinary life as an acculturated child of immigrants, only to discover in the process of applying to college that they, and you, are in fact here in this country illegally. Your entire life has been a smokescreen. And now you are faced with an impossible choice; make application to become a legal resident, and risk deportation in the process, or continue to live in this country illegally.

Today’s LA Times ran an article about undocumented college graduates. I did not know that undocumented students were even eligible to attend college in the States. I seem to recall questions regarding my place of birth and my citizenship on the college apps, but perhaps things have changed.

THe irony is that the system has put these young adults in an untenable position. A 1982 Supreme Court ruling permits illegal immigrants to receive a public education, during which time they are encouraged to stay in school and go to college. The same encouragement all students in our school system receive. Public universities do not ask about legal status and some private institutions even have scholarship money available to help these kids get a college education. Here’s the kicker — upon graduation, they are defined not by their academic achievements but by their immigration status. A status foisted upon them by their parents whose only desire was to give them a better life, full of opportunities.

Immigration is a hot button topic especially here in the Golden State where it is estimated that 40% of the US undocumented population resides. That’s at least two million people. Two million people. Many of whom DO pay taxes. DO put into Social Security (with no benefit to them as they are ineligible to receive it.). [Which is good news for our belaboured Social Security system.] And which is why the following snarky comment from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R, Huntington Beach) is both misleading and hurtful:

To these students, I say I hope you return to your home country right away and I hope you repay what you have spent of other people’s money. It’s a horrible crime.

Many of these graduates came to this country as infants or small children. They are native English speakers with no working knowledge of any other language or culture. This is the only home they have known.

What are they supposed to do now?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Dadgiraffe permalink
    Tuesday, 8 July 2008 9:10 pm

    I intend to vote for Debbie Cook to unseat Dana Rohrabacher!

  2. Tuesday, 8 July 2008 10:08 pm

    This one stresses me out. I believe in education for all, but I have a problem with illegal immigration. It creates many issues that I don’t think are of benefit to anyone.

    Workers are exploited, resources are strained and we find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    I am not arguing that all illegals are bad people. I think that the majority are probably great. But when they hide between the cracks it is hard to measure whether they are giving anything back.

    And we know for certain that many are suffering. In their position it is easy to be exploited. At the same time, there are other issues that crop up, questions of whether they place an undue strain upon limited resources etc.

    In the end it is just a bad situation. I’d like to see real attention paid to it for everyone’s sake.

  3. Wednesday, 9 July 2008 2:54 pm

    Well looks like were on the same topic blog wise.
    It’s really sad, and as for politics, I’m not shy about my dislikes, however, not being a citizen myself I can’t vote. We are all human and deserve respect, sometimes our circumstances are not of our own making and we must do the best we can. Sometimes there are hard decisions to be made and all we can do is hope we are making the best decision we can with the cards we are dealt. I work with enough kids that are in this position, or worse yet are legal with parent who hold their paperwork over them (thats another story), to know how hard it really is for many of these families.

  4. Frume Sarah permalink
    Sunday, 13 July 2008 10:35 pm

    This issue is so very complicated and I certainly have no way of solving it in just one posting. I wanted to bring attention to one of the many facets to this dilemma — one that I certainly never had any knowledge — to show that this is no back-and-white conflict. The grey area is immense.


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