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May 18th, 2010
09:09 PM ET

Deportation or Degree: What to do with Non-citizen Students

The plight of Georgia college senior Jessica Colotl has spotlighted the dilemma facing thousands of students like her nationwide.  They entered the country as children, not of their own will, and now are trying to pursue higher degrees while facing risk of deportation.   This problem is far from new.  Congress introduced the DREAM Act nine years ago to help students who are illegal immigrants.  But it remains just a proposal.

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Bob

    It is a total breakdown of the whole system, statring with immigration, the school system and most of the government. The parents probably are the culprits first by them being here illegal and our system just not doing their job. I think if the student is in his or her last year, let them get their degree and then deport them and the rest of the family. It is unfortunate for the child but people must obey the laws of the land, our land.

    May 18, 2010 at 9:53 pm |
  2. Ol'Bob

    How about we work out a deal with Mexico so that every American citizen is also a citizen of Mexico and vice versa? Then all the poor Mexicans can work for nothing in the US and all the poor Americans can go to Mexico for reasonably priced medications and health care.

    If that doesn't work we could just take all the states that really really hate brown people and spin them off into their own all white country called Yankeeland. We can build a 50 foot wall around it to keep those people out of the US and Mexico and the rest of us can just get on with living our lives and not worrying about who we are going to hate today. People who do not suffer from BPTDD (Brown People Tolerance Deficiency Disorder) would not be required to stay in those states.

    Ol'Bob

    P.S.

    For the mentally challenged among us. The preceding is an example of sarcasm. Look it up.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:10 am |
  3. Carl

    The question missing in your bias is, "Did she come into our country legally as an immigrant OR did she come in as an illegal alien? Then answer your own question.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:49 am |
  4. Luis Teixeira

    The congress have to debate the immmigration reform now....thousan of students can fix their problem....with the dream act...we can fix our borders...and companies could be strongly penalize if they hire immigrants with out proper documents....

    May 19, 2010 at 7:42 am |
  5. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    The dream act conflicts with the standing federal immigration bill the American people payed for this illegals education long enough along with the others hear against the law our leaders cant even read a 10 page bill from Arizona so how can we exspect them to write a new one the students only have there parents to blame .

    May 19, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  6. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    This is an attempt to make Americans feel sorry one million times over .

    May 19, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  7. deepwater don

    How about she becomes an American citizen?If not there plrnty of schools in Mexico that will offer the same curriculum.

    May 19, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  8. Ralph

    I just watched Calderon complaining about the Arizona law. He said we need to UNITE our people. I think that said it all. There seems to be a conspiracy of some kind to litterally unite Mexico and the US into one country.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  9. Uchi

    This girl should be provided a path for citizenship but her parents should be deported. Sad to say it is tough to divide a family but there should be consequence to illegal actions. She should go through the process like any international student goes through like a job training for a year and if she is not made permanent by the work sponsor, she should be sent back...If employer wants to sponsor her then it will go to proper immigration procedure getting a work visa and she can then apply for permanent residence.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:23 am |
  10. mike

    She was brought her by her parents at a young age illegally.. not her fault …. since her parents brought her here illegally she cant get a license so of coarse she is gonna be breaking the law. She was accused of giving misinformation she says she didn’t and the story between the cop and her conflict and she has witnesses. This whole illegal immigration seems to be taken to far she was here for 11 years… whatever life she had in mx is no more someone who has been in the country for 5 min legally is more of a citizen then a girl who is going to working going to college and has been here for 11 years yet we want to deport her??? to me its not about being here legal or illegal its about what you do with it when you get here she had to stay hidden or this would have happen long ago comments plz?

    May 19, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  11. Uchi

    If they really want to get the illegals then sift through the elementary school system as well. The children's life starts there so the sooner they are found out the less state money is spent on them. No child should be admitted to the US school system without providing their papers not because they are being targeted but because it is their parent's fault for bringing them here. It is free education and no questions asked, free lunch and free or subsidized activities is available to them so it becomes a magnet for them to come and stay. It is not the child's fault but if the US would take a strong stand that only legal residents are allowed in the US education system, it will not have this problem. The children born in the US should be allowed to stay but illegal parents should have a way of obtaining permanent residency no matter how long or how much it takes...Citizenship should never be given for free. Amnesty is not fair and an insult to all those who have waited in line and abided by the law.

    May 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  12. MGilman

    Why are we rewarding illegal immigrants with a degree? Particularly when thousands of working class AMERICAN students are denied a college education when we enroll illegal immigrants, AND the taxpayers have to subsidize their education!

    May 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
  13. MGilman

    Most Americans families can't afford to send their children to college... yet we are being made to subsidize higher education for illegal immigrants and other foreign students! Outrageous. She and her parents should be deported. It is clear in the law, stop making it a pity issue or ethnocentric issue, it is the law. When an American is caught breaking a law, i.e. shoplifting from a store we don't have advocates rushing out to say "oh, well she is disadvantaged, she should be given help at the taxpayers expense"..... 12 million illegal immigrants came here knowing it is illegal to live here without a visa or applying for citizenship. They knew their stay was temporary and could be deported any time, now Americans and Government is being made the villian.... sorry its total B.S.

    May 19, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
  14. Michael

    This would not be an issue if Bush had passed immigration reform as he promised during his election campaign. Instead he did nothing. What is happening now to the State of Arizona is a shame. The state is being crucified by the court of public opinion. Arizona is protecting our boarders from further illegal immigrants past, present and future. This includes expired visa's that remain illegally throughout the United States. Arizona did what was right. President Obama is doing what Bush did to immigration. Talking about it while doing nothing. The law is clear. Anyone living in the US illegally is an illegal alien. That is breaking the law. She was brought here by her parents illegally. It is not her fault but it is because she knew this before hand and did nothing to upgrade her status. If Arizona did nothing to "Senate Bill 1070." That is a loyalty to illegal immigrants.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  15. Dual Citizenship in the U.S & Arizona

    While no one would doubt that she is a very nice person who is trying to better herself via education…this story is simply another effort to generate sympathy for illegal aliens in this country. Let me see...she was not born here like a lot of anchor babies whose pregnant mothers come here illegally from Mexico because U.S. hospitals cannot legally refuse them hospital care. At the same time, it is not her fault that her illegal alien parents chose to violate the sovereignty of US country borders & laws and bring her here. This story could not have been better hand crafted for the likes of illegal alien loving pro-amnesty people like Rick Sanchez who have absolutely no journalistic integrity. Hey Rick, you and Glenn Beck should get married as you two are cut from the same mold except his is from the extreme right and yours is from the extreme left. You two could be a modern day “Bickersons”. And regarding this girl who is being used as a pawn by special interest groups…find a way to let her finish her education. It is very refreshing to see someone who is making personal efforts in the direction of their personal and professional development. The very fact that she is trying to learn and grow puts her light years ahead of the red necked white trash in my neighborhood in Phoenix who could not pass a citizenship test if you held a gun to their head.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
  16. Arizona Citizen

    Let’s turn this around. If this happened to an American in another country, they would be promptly deported. USA is the only country in the world that does not enforce its own immigration laws. While no one would doubt that she is a very nice person who is trying to better herself via education…this story is simply another effort to generate sympathy for illegal aliens in this country. Let me see...she was not born here like a lot of anchor babies whose pregnant mothers come here illegally from Mexico because U.S. hospitals cannot legally refuse them hospital care. At the same time, it is not her fault that her illegal alien parents chose to violate the sovereignty of US country borders & laws and bring her here. This story could not have been better hand crafted for the likes of illegal alien loving pro-amnesty people like Rick Sanchez who have absolutely no journalistic integrity. Hey Rick, you and Glenn Beck should get married as you two are cut from the same mold except his is from the extreme right and yours is from the extreme left. You two could be a modern day “Bickersons”. And regarding this girl who is being used as a pawn by special interest groups…find a way to let her finish her education. It is very refreshing to see someone who is making personal efforts in the direction of their personal and professional development. The very fact that she is trying to learn and grow puts her light years ahead of the red necked white trash in my neighborhood in Phoenix who could not pass a citizenship test if you held a gun to their head.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:03 pm |
  17. Rachel

    While she may not have been to blame at the time she was first brought here (her parents were to blame originally), she most certainly carries the blame for not applying for a visa once she turned 18 and could legally do so. She had enough time to get a Mexican drivers license, insurance, a Mexican passport, and get a car, but apparently not enough time to follow the law. This from someone who claims they want to go to law school?!

    She also had to lie on her college application and indicate that she was a US citizen in order to qualify for in state tuition and steal from the taxpayers of Georgia. Not only should she be deported, but her college credits should be withheld until she pays for the out of state tuition rate that she should have been paying for all the years she has attended thus far. Why should she be granted any more slack than any other thief?!

    May 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm |
  18. Michael

    There are about 7 billion people in the world and a large number if not the majority would love to become US citizens.

    It sounds like some of you believe that any of those 7 billion who are able to sneak across the border and avoid detection for a few years should become citizens. (Prior to citizenship should they be furnished an education and whatever other benefits they can get?)

    If I have misunderstood you and you really do believe in setting and enforcing some requirements for immigration please share with us what requirements you would have and would be willing to enforce.

    May 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
  19. V.

    Undocumented higher education students should be given the opportunity become legal citizens of this country. They have shown willingness to contribute to this country in a significant way. We, the people of planet earth should support and strive to achieve a unification of our human race – who ironically with its great capacity and intelligence has been deprived, robbed and brainwashed away from the fact that we are one specie – a very intelligent one, so stop attacking immigration for the sake of your ego, selfishness, and envy masked by the pretext of "it's the law". V.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
  20. CHARLEEN IRBY

    It is sad for the child but as long as we keep rewarding illegal behavior of the adults by allowing their illegally here children to take college slots that should have gone to people born here, or who are naturalized, we will never stop the flow of people crossing into this country. Either her parents have worked under the table & thus paid no
    income tax all these years or they compounded their law breaking behavior by stealing someone elses Social Security number. The young lady herself apparently didn't have a drivers license, which is illegal Still she feels entitled to be able to finish college here. How do we know that once she graduates she won't just disappear instead of allowing herself to be deported? Besides aren't her parents also being deported? They should all go together.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  21. Jeryl D

    Allow her to finish her degree then send her to her home country. Allow her to apply for citizenship or residency like any other desirable immigrant.

    May 19, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  22. Mark

    I am too aware of situations like this and it breaks my heart. I am a high school teacher in Southeast Georgia and daily teach many students who are in this same situation. Parents wanted what was best for their families and came to the United States to provide that life. While I think these families should have come the legal route, many have been here so many years that they are several generations rooted in this country.
    Most Hispanics (legal or illegal) are very hard working and contribute greatly to the communities in which they live. They are very devoted to their families and provide wonderful examples of what so many American Familes should be doing. I encourage everyone to get to know the hispanic families that live and work with you whether legal or illegal and your heart will pour out to them just as mine has for so many years. The answer is not to load up 12 million and send back across the border but to work out an agreement that will allow all involved to benefit.. These people offer a lot to our society. Many would like to do the right thing but are afraid for their families. We need to do what is right as well by helping these people be productive citizens of a country who up until recent years was a God fearing country built on the idea of freedom for all and helping others.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:55 am |
  23. Misty

    She should be deported. She is here illegally and she lied to get into college and pay in-state tuition. I support President Obama, but I won't support him or Democrats in Congress if they intend to wipe the slate clean for millions of law breakers. Especially when those who sneak across the southern border will be given more favorable treatment than those who flew in from some other country or took a boat.

    May 20, 2010 at 9:28 am |
  24. Michael in Phoenix

    She should not have been her in the first place. Bye-bye.

    as far as people coming into the country for training.
    Stop giving subsities to train people from outside this country. Start helping those inside the country so we can reduce the need for h1-b and h2b work visas. There are jobs in this country that we cannot find people to fill.

    May 20, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  25. fatima

    this is really not fair,the law makers have to think about this, since the damege have already been made they have to give the illegal immigrants papers that's the only solution to this problem,common i believe they here for a reason we sould accept them in a good faith, this are people who have kids here .what will happen to this kids if must of there parents sent home? and even about the economic as long as they are still illegal immigrants is going to get worse,if they are allow to stay here have there green cards,works here. that's going to make the economic back on track, it will be easy for them to find a jobs, paying taxes every year.is gonna save us alot .and the way the illegal immigrants are teated here it's not nice,they don't feel at home and i believe if this where americans in africa or mixco they will be teated nicely they will feel at home.we sould not be this selfish lets us put hands 2gather and help this people out .remember it could be you and it could me !!! by the way you law makers sould not forget that all the hard works being done here is been done by the illegal immigrants,if you go to some hotels in the united state most of the housekeeper are illegal immgrant that inculd most companies etc all they are doing is to better therelives , is that a crime? hmmm wonders shall never end! this is the problem,not all illegal immigrants are going against the law,i believe that every community have the good and the bad. this bad illegal immigrants the goverment is talking about they're just try to make a living for themself, what else do the goverment want them to do? when they refused to give them papers, to save us all this stress. no jobs hire here without a proff of immigration.so is like they pushing them to do all kind of bad stuff. even to get into a college is a probelm for the illegal immigrants befor you even ask for an application to apply for school the first thing they will ask you is that do you have a SSS? there are so many illegal immigrants i know they want to go back to school to archive something with the midical assistant program,but they couldn't get into any of the colleges just because they are not citizen here ,they cant even get the student grants.hmmmmm when i go out there everyday i see some american citizen's wasting there time on street useless all they do is women,gun,drug etc,they have all it take to be somebody in this country,but no they choose to waste it. while thousands of illegal immigrants wants to be in there position even for a day.

    May 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  26. Ch1m3ra

    First of all, we have student visas available, illegal is illegal, I cannot seriously comment on her educational status when so many American kids are being educationally neglected, she should be deported, give her help to obtain a student visa, then she can have her education, after all the millions of kids who need basic education

    May 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
  27. THOMAS

    IMPRISON ALL employers tha hire illegals. Confiscate their propety, and all finances!Everything else will fall into place!

    May 20, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
  28. dave

    Legal age you responsible for your actions. Every day an illegal alien decides to remain and reside illegally , they have decided to commit a crime. Their parents earned nothing deciding every day to break the law.
    We did amnesty and America will never do it again. They waive picket signs and never sign the right song, "we broke your law, it was wrong and we will do whatever you want to remain here". Those who say deport them all are in for a math lession. 12 million clogged through a court system...right to speedy trial...less than .1% would ever get deported. UP to $6,000 (especially if they have an attorney) to detain, run through court, and buy their plane ticket out. The only solution: allow them to register, provide their punishment, and adjust them. Fix state system so it is not possible to function illegally in the United States. Reform now and state action at that time, not before. Dont put it off, there are college kids who do need to become legal or leave.

    May 20, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  29. Louis

    This country was built on the backs of immigrants and slaves. Give these children a break. Don"t talk about fairness, when its ok to pay children in third world countries wages of 10 cents a day, and you can make millions, upon millions of dollars profit....

    May 23, 2010 at 8:50 am |
  30. Alan

    All students who are not US Citizens should be registered aliens. Schools have offices/departments to handle foreign students. All foreign students need a visa or a green card. If here illegally they should be deported.

    May 23, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  31. Jania

    I know I have said this before on other webpages dealing with Jessica Colotl but I will say it again:
    I am really getting tired of people calling this racial profiling and that we should not punish her. It is not her fault. First of all she is an illegal. Do people not understand the definition of the word illegal? I guess not. She also broke our laws. She gave false information to the authorities, which is a felony. If she has or had her car registered did she steal someone's information in order to do so? She needs to pay for her actions. Her parents did not tell her to lie, write down false information on her college transcripts, and lie about her illegal status. She is no longer 11 years old but a 21 year old women who is capable of making her own choices and decisions. She chose to lie and give false information. She should be penalized for her actions. I like how everyone screams racism this has nothing to do with racism. If a white male did the same thing he would be thrown into jail. Look at the Harvard student who falsified his college documents and transcripts he is now is jail. What makes her so special?? She has no rights here since she is not a citizen. Why should we just give her a slap on the wrist and say she did nothing wrong when she cheated the system. If she wants to finish school she NEEDS to apply for a Visa and do it the correct way and pay back any sort of HOPE money she acquired seeing she had a 3.8 GPA in HS and pay back the instate tuition she owes. It is not fair to legal immigrants who come here to learn and are sent back to their country because their Visa(s) expired. Why do the illegals get more privileges and rights then American Citizens, Legal Immigrants, and students from other countries who come here on a VISA? Where is the justice in that? She is an illegal. She broke the law and does not deserve any special accommodations. We have laws for a purpose and I guess it is okay for Illegals to break those laws but when citizens break those laws we have to pay the penalty.

    May 23, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  32. Karen

    I cannot understand how she stayed in the school system from age 11 without being found out. And how is she going to college? How is she getting grants, etc? I am sorry but these grants need to go to citizens and LEGAL aliens. She should be deported.

    May 24, 2010 at 4:43 am |