Letter to the Editor: "A Dream For Some, A Nightmare For Others"

Hi there. I'm writing in regards to the article entitled "A Dream For Some, A Nightmare For Others" by Julie Newsome.

I would like to start out by saying that the illustration on the website is offensive and racist. The fact that you would allow for something like to be publish shows a lot not only about your character, Julie's character, but also about Santa Monica College's character. It's ridiculous that something that offensive would be published anywhere, much less on a school website. The picture is insulting and racist. Making a mockery of anyone's culture is not a sign trait of a good journalist. It's a cheap trick to generate controversy because the author of the piece does not that enough talent to do so with simply words.  While the picture says a lot about Ms. Newsome's ignorance, it says even more about her lack of journalist talent. It's shameful.

The article itself shows how utterly uneducated Ms. Newsome is when it comes to undocumented students. Where to begin?

"In a nutshell, Joe from Massachusetts is stuck paying $50,000 to attend UCLA while Jose, here illegally from Guatemala, is paying $20,000 because he immigrated to California when he was 15."  This is utterly unacceptable and shows lack of research. The parents of undocumented students pay taxes much like the parents of students with legal statuses. The only difference is that undocumented parents cannot file for a tax return nor will that money ever make its way back into their lives. Undocumented immigrants pay taxes, despite myths, because if they don't, the IRS will come after them much like it will come after a US citizen. The only difference is that undocumented immigrants will never see that money again nor will they ever get to reap the benefits of what their tax dollars pay for.

Disagree? Undocumented immigrants cannot apply for any government aid of any kind without a social security number so the myth that undocumented immigrants live off of the government is invalid. Try getting help from the government without the proper documentation. You will be denied, I promise. So yes, Jose deserves to pay in-state tuition because his parents have been paying taxes. They don't have a choice. And just to clear things up a little bit, chances are that Jose was brought here by his parents when he was much much younger than 15 and is an American by all standards expect legally.

Let us not forget that Joe can take out students loans, apply for scholarships, get financial aid and apply for a job if all of that isn't enough while Jose can't get any of that nor can he legally apply for a job to help him pay his way through college. Doesn't sound like Jose has got it so easy.

Moving on.

"Regardless of the justness of this measure the question remains: how was Jose allowed to even attend an American high school without any proof of citizenship?  If the problem is not the flood of illegal immigrants coming to America, it must then be that they can so easily slip through the cracks to gain special preference over natural born American citizens and the lawful foreigners who completed the arduous process of immigration."  Please illustrate what "special preference over natural born American citizens and the lawful foreigners who completed the arduous process of immigration" undocumented immigrants are gaining because I can't see any. They are stripped of basic rights. In states such as South Carolina and Georgia, undocumented students are not allowed to attain public universities even if they can pay for it. In all but four states, simple things such as driver's licenses are denied to undocumented immigrants. And good luck getting a job to make ends meet if you're an undocumented immigrant. Be ready to do back-breaking work for 14 hours a day to be paid less than minimum wage. Don't even say that undocumented immigrants are taking American jobs because how many undocumented lawyers and doctors do you see? Zero. You only see undocumented immigrants doing the work that no one else wants to do for wages that are way less than reasonable. Furthermore, in states like Arizona, undocumented immigrants are stripped of basic human rights. They're treated much like the Jews were in the Holocaust. They are terrorized, abused and even stripped of going to regular jail; they are forced to go to tents in the middle of the desert. So again, explain to me how undocumented immigrants are gaining "special preference over natural born American citizens and the lawful foreigners who completed the arduous process of immigration" because honestly, I am intrigued.

"According to University of California 2008-2009 statistics, about 400 students currently enrolled across their ten campuses were illegal immigrants.  It is ultimately perplexing that illegal immigrants can even enter into California higher education without the proper documentation.  In order to attend Santa Monica College I had to produce ample amount of evidence to prove that I was a citizen of not only the US, but also a California resident.  I also know many people who have come a very long, hard way from other countries to attend California schools and they could not have done it without obtaining all the necessary student visas."  400 out of how many students? The truth is that if undocumented immigrants worked just as hard, if not harder, in high school than US citizens, then they deserve to go to a good school. Anyone who argues with that is bitter because they weren't good enough to get into the school of their choice and yet an undocumented immigrants worked hard and got in. Going to a good school is a reward for putting in the hard work and being smart. There is no way around that regardless of what Ms. Newsome tries to argue.  This article also fails to see that these undocumented students were brought here as very young children. Coming to the US and living here out of status was not their decision, most of them were even unaware of what was happening. A two year old child has no idea what it means to be legal or undocumented and said child is punished for the parent's decision to come to America illegally.

Some may argue that while these students were brought here at a young age, in situations which were out of control, once they turn 18 they are legal adults and should make the conscious decision to go back to their country and that failure to do so results in them being worthy of the title "criminal." Excuse me but when most teenagers turn 18 and want to stay out all night and party, most parents tell them no because while they may legally be 18, they are not grown and do not get to make their own decisions until they are financially independent, correct? Why is that those same people who claim that their 18 year old cannot handle being out until 2 am thinks that another 18 year old should pack up their bags, leave school, leave behind their family and head to a country that is foreign to them because America is all they've ever known? Doesn't it seem hypocritical? Their child can't handle being out late at night but someone else's kid because their parents made a bad decision with good intentions, should pack up their bags and leave the life they know for something uncertain and down right dangerous (because let's face it, there's a reason their parents left in the first place)? The hypocrisy in this scenario is way to much for anyone with half a brain.

The only solution to this problem is the passage of the DREAM Act, followed by a Comprehensive Immigration Reform that would fix our broken immigration system as well as securing the borders. Those brought here as minors should not be punished for the victimless crime that their parents committed and if the immigration system weren't so broken and it didn't take 10-15 years for someone to even be considered to enter here legally, than maybe illegal immigration wouldn't be such a problem.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this lengthy email and hope that I helped clear up some of the ill-informed information that was written there by Ms. Newsome. I hope that in the future you will be more careful when allowing such articles to be published.

Thank you for your time. Have a fantastic day.


Hilda Queiroz