Dreaming of U.S. citizenship

Principled Chat blogger Yvonne Watterson’s former students have graduated from high school in Arizona but can’t afford college because they’re undocumented. They work “Mexican jobs” for low pay and dream of achieving legal status so they can pursue careers in nursing or pediatrics. A legal immigrant from Ireland, Watterson is a strong supporter of the DREAM Act which would offer a path to citizenship to young illegal immigrants who qualify for college or military service.

She’s starting a charter school, Alhambra College Prep, that will aim to give students a chance to earn college credits while in high school.

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Comments

  1. > a path to citizenship to young illegal immigrants who qualify for college or military service.

    That’s exactly how the Romans did it.

  2. If they serve in the military, I have no objections to them being fast-tracked for citizenship.

    Qualifying for college quite frequently means “Are you breathing? Have a room temperature IQ, but not smart enough to realize you’re not qualified, so that you have to re-take classes and bring in more money?”

    Sorry, but it’s true. And I don’t think that “qualifying for college” should get the fast track like serving the nation you want to be a citizen of.

  3. Homeschooling Granny says:

    How is this for separate and unequal. Some people come here legally through a long, expensive process during which they prove, among other things that they can support themselves, or will be supported by others but not by the public. Others come illegally and claim benefits. How do I explain this to my DIL and granddaughter who are legal immigrants?

    If we are not going to enforce immigration laws, then let’s just abolish them all rather than making suckers of the law abiding.

  4. BadaBing says:

    There needs to be a moratorium on legal immigration, but now that there are so many immigrants here to influence politicians, I doubt that will happen. Too many immigrants too fast. Too, too many that don’t assimilate. Too many not to have a deleterious impact on the quality of life where I live. Too many not to have an impact on the collective consciousness of our nation.

  5. superdestroyer says:

    If the undocumented children of illegal aliens are working, then everyone should ask whose identities they are using to work? My guess is that their identities were stolen. It is one thing to blame your parents for being an illegal alien but can they blame their parents for identify theft (and the associated tax fraud, credit fraud, liar loans, etc)?

    How can the illegal aliens claim to be able to produce a high school transcript when one has no idea whose identity they are using? How can illegal aliens apply for financial aid when they use stolen identities to function in the U.S.?

  6. I actually support the DREAM act with the following modifications:

    #1 The student has to have been brought to the U.S. before the age of 12 (the current bill says 16).
    #2 The student has to have earned a regular high school diploma and have a GPA of at least 2.75 (the current bill is open to GED holders and has no minimum GPA requirement).
    #3 The student must never have been arrested (the current bill just says no convictions).

    These kids are here, whether we like it or not. Many of them were brought to this country when they were too young to have a say in the matter.

    If they’ve got the brains and work ethic to earn a college diploma or complete vocational training then I, for one, think our country could use their talents. They’ll most likely be a net positive from an economic standpoint.

    The problem with immigration in this country is that we have too many uneducated and unskilled folks consuming more in services than they’re contributing.

  7. How about a DREAM Act that sends these students back to their home countries, along with their parents?

    This would achieve multiple worthwhile goals:It would reverse the “brain drain” from the third world.It would create a class in those countries with access to English language media and less tolerance of political corruption.It would open many college slots for US citizens.It would make some parts of the country attractive to Americans again, and reverse the emigration from e.g. California.It would reduce the population and ecological stress of the nation in general.
    What’s not to like?  (Hope the ordered list works out, the preview doesn’t function for me.)

  8. (no, of course it didn’t work, dammit.  Joanne, can you convince the webmaster to allow &t;ol> and <ul> tags?)

  9. Yvonne WAtterson says:

    Homeschooling Granny …
    our immigration law punishes blameless children. They did not,as infants,choose to come to America. Now, many of them are young adults who have followed all the rules … some of them don’t find out about their status until they are 16 – 18.
    Imagine if your granddaughter couldn’t work, drive,go to college,because of something her parents did?
    What should you tell her? Perhaps talk to her about Dr King’s dream of an America with a place at the table for every needy child,room at the inn. As an immigrant from Northern Ireland who simply fell in love and married an American 20 years ago, and as the mother of a daughter who did nothing except be born on American soil, I have been dismayed by the manner in which I have been accepted, while my resilient, gracious, hardworking students have been treated with a hatred I never expected to find in America in the 21st century.
    I am hopeful that these young people can stay safe until the DREAM becomes accessible. It is theirs, just as it belongs to you and to me.
    yvonne

  10. superdestroyer says:

    In many states, nurses have to be finger printed. What name and SSN is an illegal alien going to put on the form when the apply for a job at the hospital. If they cannot get a job will they just steal another identity in order to keep working.

    I have to agree to E-P. Why not send back the English speaking U.S. trained illegal aliens and let them fix their country instead of freeloading on the tax payers of this country.

  11. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Yvonne,
    So why not just abolish immigration law since we are not going to enforce it?

  12. Ragnarok says:

    Yvonne Watterson said:

    “[O]ur immigration law punishes blameless children. They did not,as infants,choose to come to America.”

    Their parents did, though.

    Should they be deported or not? If yes, what would happen to their children? If not, aren’t you encouraging others to break the law and thumb their noses at those foolish enough to obey the rules and wait in line?

    At the very least you must admit that this is a complex issue, and your blanket amnesty proposal is both simplistic and unfair.

  13. Wouldn’t it be better for these hard working and high achieving students to go back to their countries of origin and “help” improve the quality of their own native public schools? It seems unfair for these students to get a better education than their peers back at home.

  14. The DREAM act would not be a “blanket” amnesty. Only those who have the brains and work ethic to actually earn a college degree or complete vocational training would get citizenship. That group is much less likely to wind up “freeloaders” than uneducated and unskilled folks who qualifies for a green card simply because a family member is a U.S. citizen.

    There are plenty of college slots available in this country. Only a small percentage of schools are selective. And if the immigrant kid is able to get into a UC Berkeley or similar school, then definitely it would be to America’s benefit to allow him/her a path to earned citizenship.

  15. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Crimson Wife,
    You still have not addressed the issue of inequity. Aren’t all citizens supposed to be equal before the law? Why throw high hurdles in front of legal immigrants while complaining about the hardships of illegals, demanding special entitlements for them not available to the legals? It certainly does not foster respect for law.

  16. Only those who have the brains and work ethic to actually earn a college degree or complete vocational training would get citizenship.

    And there would always be schools which set the bar for this very low out of sympathy, the same as universities set the bar low during Vietnam to maintain student draft deferments.

    The residency of these illegal immigrant children is essentially stolen property.  It doesn’t matter that they didn’t steal it, it is still not theirs.  The citizenship of “anchor babies” are proceeds of crime, and rightfully forfeit.

    This entire “problem” is due to pervasive refusal to enforce the law.  If the legal residency of parents was checked when children were enrolled in school, this problem would not exist.  Ignoring this problem has caused more problems.  It is time to fix the problem at its source.  Deport, deport, deport!

  17. The law should change. Why should somebody with no education and no skills qualify to come to this country legally based on whom they’re related to and then we deny kids who could actually be net contributors to this economy?

    The problem with immigration is that we have all these folks who consume more in the way of resources than they contribute. We don’t need somebody who dropped out of the 2nd grade in some 3rd world country but has a relative who is a U.S. citizen to sponsor him/her. We do need smart, hard-working individuals who will help our economy grow.

  18. Homeschooling Granny says:

    Crimson Wife
    If you think that the Immigration Service is letting in multitudes of ill educated people who won’t work hard once they are here, you haven’t had the experience with IS that my family has.

  19. Carol Mickle says:

    I would prefer they be deported and go thru the legal process to return when they attain adulthood….but if that Dream Act were to pass (sigh) then would like to add this to Crimson Wife’s changes: that their college degree has to be in real scholarship that leads to real paying work to support themselves and contribute to America, and not something divisive like gender, race, or ethnic studies or peace studies or the like…

  20. Why should somebody with no education and no skills qualify to come to this country legally based on whom they’re related to

    Yes, we should terminate family unification visas (and also the Diversity Visa Lottery).

  21. If there are people who have an employer here that wants to pay them for their services, people here who are willing to sell or rent them property to live on, and other people here who are willing to sell them food, clothes and other goods, why should these people need to get permission from the state to come and live here? That sounds pretty racist to me. But, then, I think that freedom and opportunity should be for everybody, not just Americans.

    As for the concerns that some of these people may wind up being supported by American taxpayers, many Americans are guilty of this as well. Isn’t that just as bad? If we should deport these people for living off the American taxpayers, shouldn’t we also deport Americans who do the same thing?

  22. “An estimated 400,000 legal and 350,000 illegal immigrants are unable to read or write even in their native language, according to a July 2007 report from the Migration Policy Institute, an independent Washington think tank….According to the Migration Policy Institute, the number of foreign-born adults with less than a fifth-grade education increased 25 percent from 1.74 million immigrants in 1990 to 2.18 million in 2000. It then dipped 2 percent to 2.12 million immigrants in 2006.” USA Today 12/18/07 http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-12-18-819282666_x.htm

    So yeah, there *IS* a huge problem with uneducated immigrants in the U.S.

  23. If there are people who have an employer here that wants to pay them for their services, people here who are willing to sell or rent them property to live on, and other people here who are willing to sell them food, clothes and other goods, why should these people need to get permission from the state to come and live here?

    Because a billion or so people would do it if they could?  What would be left of our roads, schools, farmland, parks and wilderness after that?  What would be left of our society after it was overwhelmed by sheer numbers?

    The current citizens of the United States have spoken:  they don’t want the level of immigration that’s now occuring, let alone complete open borders.  And when the elites violate the laws to get cheaper labor or voters who will support them, it corrodes the foundations of this nation.

  24. So, Engineer-Poet, if you want to hire someone of your choosing or sell or rent your property to someone of your choosing, then other people are entitlied to say no, you can’t do that? That doesn’t sound like justice to me. It sounds like a bunch of racist busybodies telling other people how they will be allowed to live their lives.

    Corrodes the foundations of this nation? What foundations are you talking about? Certainly not liberty and justice. You must be talking about something else.

  25. So, Engineer-Poet, if you want to hire someone of your choosing or sell or rent your property to someone of your choosing, then other people are entitlied to say no, you can’t do that?

    Try renting your 2-bedroom house to a group of 15 people.  You’d be overwhelming the local services, for one thing.  Doesn’t the health department have something to say about that?  Don’t the neighbors? 

    That doesn’t sound like justice to me. It sounds like a bunch of racist busybodies telling other people how they will be allowed to live their lives.

    Nobody mentioned race until you brought it in.  Culture is significant, but sheer numbers and crowding are problems all by themselves.  And if these people didn’t want to be in whatever conditions prevailed in their home countries, why did they continue having children who would have to endure them?

    Corrodes the foundations of this nation? What foundations are you talking about? Certainly not liberty and justice.

    Yes, I am.  Crowding more and more immigrants into the USA limits the liberty of the people born here.  Raising their taxes to provide services for “neighbors” whose presence on our soil is against the law is a gross violation of justice.  And don’t get me started on the various nuisances, starting with the ubiquitous “Press 1 for English”.

  26. No, Engineer-Poet, you try renting your 2-bedroom house to 15 people. I’ll pass on that. But if I want to rent or sell my 2-bedroom house to someone of my own choosing, whether they are from Mexico or China or wherever, what right do you or anyone else have to decide I can’t do that? I say you and others have no such right, regardless of what any law says. You are not me and you have no right to make decisions for me. And whether these people create problems for the neighbors or not is an issue totally separate from where they came from. Plenty of Americans create problems for their neighbors, and there are ways to deal with that.

    You ask why these people continue to have children who would have to endure the conditions prevailing in their home countries. Why do Americans who can’t afford to provide for children continue to have them? You seem to take it as a given that these people are all coming here to mooch off the American taxpayers. Some certainly are, but many Americans do the same thing. The solution to that problem is to end public welfare in favor of voluntary charity, not keep people that want to improve their lives by coming to the United States from doing so. As I said before, I believe that freedom and opportunity are for all people, not just Americans.

    Liberty and justice requires that people who are not harming anyone else be allowed to live their lives in whatever manner and wherever they please. The fact that some Americans are willing to offer these immigrants jobs and places to live doesn’t limit the liberty of the people born here.

  27. One more thought. Liberty and justice require that we treat people as individuals, and that each individual is judged on their own conduct and not the conduct of others who happen to be a member of the same group. Some here want to judge immigrants based not on their individual conduct but on their nationality. Which is why I mentioned racism.

  28. you try renting your 2-bedroom house to 15 people. I’ll pass on that.

    Hey, what happened to “… of my choosing?  Are you admitting that the public should have some say in what I do with my own property, if it affects them?  Sure looks like it, and we have plenty of laws on the books (Constitutionally tested) which back that up.

    But if I want to rent or sell my 2-bedroom house to someone of my own choosing, whether they are from Mexico or China or wherever, what right do you or anyone else have to decide I can’t do that?

    Oh, you can do that.  You can sell to someone from the other side of the globe (rumor has it that Britons are buying real estate in Detroit, sight unseen, on speculation); you just have no business demanding that they be allowed legal entry to the country because of that.

    whether these people create problems for the neighbors or not is an issue totally separate from where they came from.

    Is it?  Propensity to create trouble has a strong correlation with national origin; machismo, religious supremacism and cultures which promote drunken driving are examples.  And when one of the troubles is sheer demand on resources, ANYONE is a problem.

    Plenty of Americans create problems for their neighbors, and there are ways to deal with that.

    I missed where you laid out the case for importing more problems when we already have problems.  I missed where you laid out the case for importing e.g. unskilled immigrant workers when unskilled US workers have a huge unemployment rate and wages have been at minimum for years.  I missed where you laid out the case for putting more people in states where there are serious and growing water shortages.  I missed where you laid out the case for bringing in people who will need schools, roads, houses and the like when we’ve got a deep recession and don’t have the revenue to maintain what we’ve already got.

    You ask why these people continue to have children who would have to endure the conditions prevailing in their home countries. Why do Americans who can’t afford to provide for children continue to have them?

    I don’t know, and I would happily vote for carrot-and-stick incentives to do the right thing even if folks like you would call me “Nazi” or, heaven forbid, “racist”.  But I don’t owe anything to the foreigners; that’s THEIR government’s and THEIR population’s concern.  The ~4.5% of the world’s population which is US citizens is enough to deal with without importing other people’s problems.

    You seem to take it as a given that these people are all coming here to mooch off the American taxpayers.

    Their intent is irrelevant, what matters is their effect.  It’s been calculated that the public expenditures on a two-earner minimum-wage couple with two school-age children is not only more than they pay in taxes, it is more than they earn (and no, their children’s contributions to Social Security will not match the public subsidy for at least two generations).  And how in the world can you advocate importing people who need the dole when we’re running trillion-dollar deficits?  Are you totally insane?

    I propose exactly the opposite:  no more resident or immigrant visas except the “O” visas (persons with essential skills) and their immediate family.  Fix our interpretation of the 14th Amendment to eliminate “anchor babies”; any children born to non-residents would be considered citizens of their parent’s home countries, not the USA.  And fix the problem of our unwise immigration policies of the past by paying people to surrender their residency and leave; make it a requirement of parole for criminals.

    The solution to that problem is to end public welfare in favor of voluntary charity

    Get back to me when you’ve succeeded in doing that.

    not keep people that want to improve their lives by coming to the United States from doing so.

    And what do you do about the supply of roads, schools, police, housing, farmland, endangered species, WATER?  YES, keeping people from coming to the United States IS the solution.  Either the problems these people are enduring are inherent to themselves, or they aren’t.  In the latter case, their lives can be improved right where they are; in the former, you have no business asking anyone to bring them in.

    Congress is Constitutionally tasked with the job of deciding who can enter the USA.  Even under the 14th Amendment, non-citizens have no right to enter the USA except under our laws (illegal immigration is an “invasion” under Article IV, from which Congress is required to protect the states).  The people are fed up with excessive immigration (both legal and illegal), and you are going to see an increasingly angry public.  Get used to it.

  29. “Propensity to create trouble has a strong correlation to national origin.”

    Thank you for that revelation, Engineer-Poet. I had you pegged correctly from the beginning.

  30. Using the ad hominem of “racist” as the centerpiece of your argument suggests that you haven’t pegged anything correctly.

  31. These days, a “racist” is anyone who’s winning an argument with a leftist.  It’s the last-ditch rhetorical tactic of someone who lacks facts, or worse, the facts are Politically Incorrect and therefore only mentioned by said “racists”.