By Alessandra Largent, KSU Sentinel --Kennesaw, GA
[Youth Radio Editor's note: this post comes to us from one of the staff of Kennesaw State University's official Student Newspaper. KSU student Jessica Colotl became a focal point in the national debate over immigration last week after being released from a detention center after lobbying by her school and sorority sisters. For another viewpoint from the campus, check out James Swift's "Colotl = Ca$h!" where the Sentinel writer lays out "why KSU'S most famous student is anything but a victim".]
What should be done with Jessica Colotl is the question on the lips of every student and staff member here at KSU.
Never has an issue so hotly debated on the KSU campus been one I was also reluctant to touch. Until now.
The truth is that I know Jessica Colotl and the truth is that I like her. I've sat next to her in classes and walked past her in the hallways, I've shared pleasantries and discussed dreams of law school with her and until very recently Jessica Colotl was another KSU Political Science student- just like me. But now she's the face of a debate that rages from shore to shore and fenced border to border. Her fate, her circumstances, her struggle now makes her seem very different from me, and from the rest of us here at KSU.
The truth is that I don't know what should be done with Jessica but what I do know is that she is not to blame for her current situation. Clearly a large portion of the blame for Jessica's situation lay squarely on the shoulders of her family who brought her into this country illegally in the first place. But hopes and dreams are a powerful motivator and not many in this country can claim to be here without the first brave steps of a hoper and a dreamer and an immigrant. A family's wish to deliver their child unto the best possible future available is hardly a crime but unfortunately for the family of Jessica Colotl, delivering your child unto this country and our school systems IS.
Being good in intention does not always make a person right in action and here we find the crux of the problem with illegal immigration in general.
The law is the cornerstone of our America, and if people wish to be American they cannot hope to ever do so by starting off with the flagrant disregard of the one thing Americans jointly hold sacred. But, again, hopes and dreams are powerful motivators and I can find no fault with the intentions of a good family to provide the best for their children.
The federal government's impotence and refusal to act against illegal immigration came to fruition with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (laughingly referred to as the Amnesty Act). Since then Americans have faced an onslaught of immigrants who know that we are not only weak and lacking a federal government that wishes to act in our interests and protect our borders, but who also hope that one day they too may be granted amnesty if only they can get settled into lives within our borders. Now this government will likely deport and make an example of one KSU student who a few weeks ago seemed just like me.
And to this impotent American federal government I say: shame on you. It is your impotence, it is your list of broken promises, and it is your refusal to work for the American people's best interest that has led to this situation. If anywhere along the years that have paved the way from 1986 to now you had acted decisively, with conviction, and with strength to control the problem of illegal immigration that has plagued this country then the face of our KSUer would never have been plastered across newspapers, magazines and television. The impotence of the American government has hurt not only the American people, but hopeful immigrants, and innocent children as well. Let the story of one innocent child, Jessica Colotl, be proof that when illegal immigration is left unchecked until the time it reaches fever pitch parties on all sides are hurt.
I don't know what should be done with Jessica Colotl, but I do know who to blame.