College President Gives His Blessings for Illegal Act
In the Spring 2013 Lehman Today magazine of Lehman College, a CUNY 4-year college located in the Bronx, New York, one learns that Melissa Garcia-Velez, class of 2014, has been "advocating for the rights of undocumented immigrant youth" since early in her freshman year. In 2010, Garcia-Velez "stepped up to create the Lehman DREAM Team, the first student-run support group for undocumented students on campus."
As a result of her efforts, her advocacy work "quickly turned into a bigger effort to advance civic engagement throughout the Lehman College community." Consequently, she was "awarded the prestigious Newman Civil Fellowship, which honors inspiring college student leaders who are actively involved in solving challenges facing communities across the nation." How ironic that at the Newman Civil site, the vision statement reads as follows (emphasis added):
Campus Compact envisions colleges and universities as vital agents and architects of a diverse democracy, committed to educating students for responsible citizenship in ways that both deepen their education and improve the quality of community life. We challenge all of higher education to make civic and community engagement an institutional priority.
Garcia-Velez, from Bogotá, Colombia, moved to New York at the age of eight. As an undocumented student, she went to high school in the United States. Then she volunteered for a non-profit organization called New York Cares and College for Every Student to help low-income students attend and graduate from college.
Lehman's President Ricardo R. Fernandez, who recommended Garcia-Velez for the Newman Civic Fellowship, asserts that "Melissa embodies the essence of a Newman Civic Fellow mostly through her efforts as a student rights activist who passionately advocates for the rights of undocumented youth through examining the root causes of injustice toward this population." Furthermore, "Melissa has turned her struggles into determination, empowering and inspiring students to continuously defend their liberties."
Thus, euphemistic language supplants the truth. The "undocumented youth" are part of the illegal immigration problem. The "root cause of injustice toward this population" is the fact that far too many Central and South American countries are corrupt. Thus, there are few educational and economic opportunities, so people flock to the United States.
This student has derived every benefit of American society, from free speech to free education, with no adverse consequences. What "injustice" was done to her or her family while illegally residing in America?
Thus, a patina of respectability coupled with a militant exceptionalism with no regard to the rule of law is now in place. Anyone who dares to question this situation will be viewed as unfeeling at best and a racist at worst.
In the picture that accompanies this article, Ms. Garcia-Velez is shown wearing a yellow tee shirt that states, "Undocumented, Unafraid. We Will No Longer Remain in the Shadows - NCDT." At the NCDT site, one is reminded:
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies. We are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities. We also aim to create awareness of the broader struggle for social justice. We will escalate in our efforts to achieve a just reform that is acceptable to-and guided by-the voices of those directly affected by our broken immigration system.
We do not shy away from purposeful direct action and civil disobedience in the pursuit of a more just future for our immigrant community.
Our movement is sustainable. Our movement is community-led. Our movement fights against the institutionalized discrimination and exploitation of our communities.
In fact, this woman and many others have never remained in the shadows. Instead, they are publicly breaking the law, with the blessings of school principals, college presidents, award fellowship committees, and a current White House administration who continually uses class warfare and race-bating to divide this country.
Thomas Sowell asserts that "the very thought of formulating immigration laws from the standpoint of what is best for the American people seems to have been forgotten by many who focus on how to solve the problems of illegal immigrants, 'living in the shadows.'"
And let us not forget the alleged immigrant who comes from a jihadist background and uses porous borders as a conduit to hurt this nation. This rarely comes up in the discussion of illegal immigration; instead, a pathos-laden picture is painted that ignores all logic and intelligent discussion.
It would be commendable if Garcia-Velez and the Lehman community actually had a rational discussion about "solving challenges facing communities across the nation," but, as is wont in a liberal discussion, this is unlikely. No one will discuss the economic costs of amnesty or the results of abdication of law and rules.
Then there are legal immigrants who are angry at the obvious double standard. In 2011, Shakil Hamid, a legal immigrant from Bangladesh, spoke out against Maryland's new law that would offer in-state tuition benefits to illegal aliens.
'These people are taking seats in college away from our kids,' Hamid told the Post. 'Why should we reward their dishonest behavior?'
Josephine Beyam, who waited patiently for four years before legally immigrating to the United States, observes:
'Everyone wants to get an education, but you can't just come to this country illegally and think everything is free. You have to be patient and legalize yourself. "We have been through thick and thin. This country is a blessing, and the government is very generous. If you are not born here, you have to start from the beginning, but I accept that, because you can still pursue your dreams.'
Yet all these rational concerns are pushed aside as the militant extremism reminiscent of the 1960s continues to rear its ugly head. We, as a nation, have forgotten that while America should always be welcoming of new immigrants, the "huddled masses" also have a moral obligation to this country.
As Americans now worry about whether their phone records or internet chats are being monitored, the illegal immigrant who has flagrantly broken the law arrogantly maintains her grievance with the blessings of her college president.
Welcome to America!
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.