After just one year, ASU junked its scholarship program for illegal immigrants. Sarah Fenske wonders who will step up for them now

Last year, when Proposition 300 went into effect and undocumented students were barred from getting in-state tuition rates at Arizona universities, Arizona State University did a brave thing: It enlisted private donors to do what taxpayers would not.

If students graduated from an Arizona high school but couldn't prove they were in this country legally, ASU awarded them a privately funded $12,000 grant called the "Sunburst Scholarship." The goal was to bridge the gap between in-state and out-of-state tuition — and keep a few hundred kids from dropping out of school.

Naturally, the plan drew fierce criticism from the usual suspects, not to mention threats of an audit from legislators who wanted to ensure that not one dime of taxpayer dough was going to Mexican-born kids.

Well, the legislators can stop worrying. Last week, ASU officials confirmed to me that they're discontinuing the scholarships.

The funding ran out, they said. Then they declined my request for specifics.

I suppose we should just be grateful that they did the right thing for a year. It cost an estimated $3 million to provide scholarships to 207 undocumented students, after all, and that doesn't factor in the blowback from the angry xenophobes who may have decided to take their bequests elsewhere.

In any normal universe, the Sunburst Scholarship would hardly be controversial. The students in question have done nothing wrong: Surely, Lou Dobbs wouldn't suggest that they should have defied Mom and Dad as 3-year-olds, or even third-graders, and vowed to stay in Mexico unless their parents obtained valid visas. (Well, okay, maybe Lou Dobbs would suggest that. Sigh.) In the loony anti-Mexican climate in Arizona today, though, the scholarships were truly an act of courage, and ASU President Michael Crow should be applauded for them.

But the demise of the Sunburst Scholarship raises real questions.

For one: When ASU realized the funding had run dry, why did it not contact leaders in the Hispanic community to come up with a transition plan? The activists I've talked to said they'd heard that the scholarships were being terminated only after getting calls from frightened students. Turns out the students learned they were being cut off in a letter from the school telling them to look for alternate financing for next fall. Clearly, this could have been handled with a bit more grace.

Here's another question: Just how hard did ASU work on getting donations for this scholarship? I haven't heard any direct requests for support. Granted, I'm not rich and not an ASU alum; I wouldn't blame anyone for leaving me off their fundraising list. But with an issue like this, you'd think a public plea would be in order — if nothing else, a story in the newspaper urging people to give. I can't find any evidence that ever happened. When we last heard about this issue, President Crow made it sound as though the matter was taken care of. ASU had found private funds. Period.

Which makes me wonder this.

Did ASU really run out of money? Or was it just easier not to raise it?

With legislators breathing hot air and an angry mob at the gate, it surely would be easier for ASU to cut 207 Mexican-born students adrift than to keep fighting.

"The fact that they're stopping these scholarships makes me feel like the pressure was greater than they could take," says Luis Avila, a local Latino activist and recent ASU grad.

I hope Avila is wrong about that. But I have to admit he may be on to something.


For seven years now, Congress has debated doing something about the students who come here, illegally, as little kids. Just about everybody agrees there should be a way for those kids to earn citizenship. Just about everybody agrees that society benefits if they're able to afford college.

The bipartisan plan to make it happen is called the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act. It's been discussed, it's been filibustered, and it was even slipped into the immigration reform bills of 2006 and 2007. It just can't seem to get approved.

So the kids are stuck in limbo. Born in Mexico but educated through high school in the United States, they're in No Man's Land.

These days in Arizona, their situation is even more tenuous. They can't get tuition breaks to go to any state-funded university, but they also can't get hired for any job without their employer's risking his business license. But they can't just pack up their bags for Mexico, either — for many of them, this country is all they know.

Congress has screwed these kids because of its inability to do something, and Arizona voters have done their best to twist the knife. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that ASU, despite a noble $3 million investment, is dropping the ball.

But as easy as it is to blame ASU, and blame the government, there's another side to this story. And it has to do with individual responsibility.

Conservatives like me have always argued that if the public sector were forced to shrink, the private sector would step up. Before Social Security, for example, people took in elderly relatives. Today, we complain instead about the poor quality of government-financed nursing homes.

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38 comments
Michael
Michael

This is an old article, but because of how insane it sounded to me, I felt obligated to post a comment.

Ok, so you are writing this article to point out that you think arizona/asu have done the wrong thing by cancelling grant money, as well as any aid, to illegals attending state universities(I assume this encompasses CC's too).

My response:

I have already paid for your k-12 education. I paid for your siblings education. I paid for your medical bills. I paid for your free lunch(breakfast) that you recv'd because your family is apparently poor. I paid for the food stamps and any welfare your family recv'd. NOW, you are upset because we caught on to your shady tactics and are having you pay the same tuition a US citizen from another state pays? REALLY?

I paid into the stupid financial aid trust fee every year I attended ASU, WHILE working 40+ hours a week. Why is it the people of arizona's responsibility to pay for MORE of your education? How come I shouldn't get pell grant money before you do? Why do I have to pay for your education and mine? There are proper channels to gain citizenship to this country and you need to follow them. Otherwise you are as much a criminal as a bank robber. We all pay for your actions and are tired of it. You are a trespasser. If you want anyones respect, you should leave this country and go back to your birthplace, apply for citizenship, and then attempt to get financial aid like everyone else does. You are not better than everyone else.

Ed Coyne
Ed Coyne

"They are in this situation becuse of propositon 300 which denied them the right to obtain any scholorships that were not privatly funded."

No, they're in this position because their parents decided to break the law and enter the United States, illegally.

Ed Coyne
Ed Coyne

You obviously don't get it. There isn't widespread "anti-Mexican climate". There IS, however, a very widespread "anti-illegal immigration climate". One might benefit themselves to recognize the difference.

________
________

Same here Ana from surprise. I am a student who has never needed ESL programs but has worked hard to do well in school. Spanish was my first language yet I strived to learn english and be successful in school, without anyone's help. To this day my parents do not speak english. They were never able to help me much with my schoolwork. Nevertheless, I graduated 9th out 500 students in high school. That is top 1 percent. I received a merit based scholorship to attend asu. However,now the scholorship has been denied to me. What good does this do to anyone. Why impose such a destructive measure that hurts more than it helps. People like me should not be denied the opportunity to gain an education. With an education we will only help the country we call home.

Ana
Ana

It's absolutely unbelieveable how heartless and selfish many of you are. I agree with the person who said earlier, "...these students are NOT asking for an udeserved free ride. They are in this situation becuse of propositon 300 which denied them the right to obtain any scholorships that were not privatly funded. If it were not for propositon 300 these students would have been allowed the merit based scholorships they had already earned, applied for, and won."

The key word there being earned. They have worked just as hard if not harder to earn the grades and accomplishments... but for what? To have their goals and future flung further from their reach?

Many don't realize that receiving U.S. citizenship is a very time consuming process. And I'm not talking about waiting in line. I mean months and sometimes even years of waiting for an appointment and a response from them.

We claim to have overcome racism, yet the way you treat America's future seems just like the complete opposite. It's such a shame.

Whether they're illegal or not, whether their Hispanic, blue, or Russian, every student who's determined to go to college has the potential to do so and shouldn't have to face a burden that's four times the size than it is for everyone else.

What's most ironic is that since illegal immigrants aren't allowed to work... how on earth are they expected to pay so much more than in-state tuition? Especially considering that the in-state tuition would've already been a challenge.

It's pathetically sad that the connotation of immigration leads to hispanics when the reality of the situation is that Hispanics ARE NOT the only immigrants in this country, let alone the first ones. Wake up people! Study/remember the United State's past. The only thing that changes is the race that is harrassed. From Italians in New York, to Asians in California... Isn't the reason we study the past is so that we don't commit the same mistakes?

And to the person that said our children's education is dumbed down because money is spent on programs for immigrants... get real. I'm hispanic and I didn't need those programs. I received my education just like every other kid, with the State's standards. And I turned out way more than fine. A 32 on the ENGLISH section of the ACT. Yes, a HISPANIC WHOSE FIRST LANGUAGE WAS SPANISH and who studied French for two years. PROVING THAT NO MATTER THE RACE or "hindering of education" because of standards/funding, it's ultimately up to the student to decide what they'll take from it. And the standard's have absolutely nothing to do with money. Try "No Child Left Behind". And what about those programs for kids who are behind in reading/math/etc. that AREN'T specifically for immigrants... and yes, they do exist.

A last point... Considering that most of these children are bilingual... and AZ Universities prefer that they study a language in high school (making them tri-lingual), doesn't that just prove that they have the mentality to become something great? (And a language is not as easy to learn for those that say, "Just learn the language." You try it.)

Angry Taxpayer
Angry Taxpayer

Whether their tuition is privately funded or not, illegal aliens would still be taking up college enrollment slots that should rightfully go to U.S. citizens.

Since those schools and colleges were built with the tax money of U.S. citizens, and funded by the same, illegals have no legal or moral right to go there without the consent of those same taxpaying citizens, nor the right to take up enrollment slots rightfully belonging to U.S. citizens and their descendents.

What's fair is fair.

If they want or need an education, let Mexico fund and provide it, in Mexico.

We have no legal obligation to feed, house, clothe, educate and employ the world at our own expense, nor the right to force other U.S. citizens to do the same at their expense.

Doing so is simply unconstitutional, illegal and immoral.

Stealing is wrong.

Stealing to give to a recipient you deem worthy is also wrong.

Stop trying to justify your criminal financial exploitation of U.S. taxpaying citizens just so you can subsidize those charity cases you piously deem worthy of help.

Charity should be voluntary, not government mandated and backed by the threat of force, which is precisely what the IRS uses if you don't pay your taxes. Taxes that self-appointed do-gooder wallet rapers like Fenske and her Feathered Friends would love to illegally misappropriate to subsidize non-citizens at U.S. citizens expense.

Step away from the tax revenues, take your hands out of your fellow citizens wallets, and put them on your head.

Thank you.

an american at heart
an american at heart

in response to lucasI would like to let you know that it is difficult to become a citizen, much more than completing high school. I beleive you do not know what you are taliking about because i am 18 and have seen 3 immigration lawyers, none of which made it "easy with few years and few tries" fro me to become a us citizen. I have been responsible in going to school and never getting in trouble with the lwa. I speak fluent english and know much about american history , yet i cannot become a us citizen without having to go back to mexico and apply there. Not to mention face the possibility of not being able to come back and loosing all that I know ( I have lived in AZ for 17 of my 18 years of age).Returning to Mexico would not guarantee a path to legal status. Attempts to come back legally are often difficult, with roadblocks such as ten year bans on re-entering the U.S.All i want is to be a citizen to the counrty I know and be able to go to school to become a nurse. However, with proposition 300 that is not an accesible option for me. I want to call for a contructive rahter than destructive soulution to this problem.Why not allow people like myself that want to do things the right way to go to school and become citizens through the dream act.All that proposition 300 is doing is leaving young adults trying to make something of themselves in this country without that option. Allowing them education and citizenship will only help our country.

Lucas
Lucas

Why is it that illegal immigration feel that they can be here illegally, but now they want to used up the scholarships that should go to Americans. The Proposition 300 was a smart thing to do. I do not know why it took this long for undocumented students were banned from getting in-state tuition rates at ASU. Why is it that undocumented students can get done with high school, but didn�t have the time or put the effort to become legal citizens. The couple that I met that were from Germany became legal citizens after a few years and few tries.

Citizen
Citizen

Technically, non-citizens shouldn't even be able to be ADMITTED to ASU and take a spot from a citizen, never mind get scholarships and in-state tuition (which CITIZENS from other US states can't even get).

Get real.

This financial and social rape of US taxpayers has gone on LONG ENOUGH, and we are NOT going to take it any longer.

Theresa
Theresa

Free tuition for students who can't prove they are "legal" citizen? Well I agree with the program being pulled/discontinued...my daughter was born right here in AZ, lived here till she was 12,until we moved to AK, (my husband was in the miitary) and stayed for seven years, then we came back and she was told she would have to pay out of state tuition....she has lived on her own since she was 18, and supports herself. She couldn't qualify for Grants without using our income and she can't get "free tuition, room and board" even though she graduated tops in her class. So for now she has had to put school on hold.

Citizen
Citizen

Who's going to compensate the taxpayers for the 12 years of free education those children of illegal aliens received in primary and secondary school at taxpayer expense?

Should my and other citizens property taxes continue to go up to pay to educate the children of non-citizens who are here illegally?

Sounds unConstitutional to me, and very susceptible to a court case to defend the rights of taxpaying citizens from being forced by law to finance services for non-citizens.

Someone needs to start filing lawsuits to put a stop to such blatantly illegal financial slavery of citizens for the benefit of non-citizens.

K
K

How about more tuition money for US citizens of ANY color. Sorry, but it's a bit offensive to hand out $12,000 for being here illegally, even if it wasn't their choice as children.

How about this instead -- give these "illegal Americans" as I call such children a path to citizenship considering they had no choice and know mostly being American (with an age limit of entering the country at something like 12-14 years old or younger).

THEN, they can vie for the same scholarships as ANY OTHER CITIZEN.

Enough said.

VSW
VSW

A friend just recently brought to my attention your article �Dream On�. After reading it, I was quite dismayed at the fact you are so willing to help those who refuse to abide by our laws. The word illegal means: contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, or prohibited by law. It is a sad state of affairs when illegal aliens have more benefits and rights than legal U.S. citizens. Our own veterans don�t even have life this good and they fight for and give up their lives for this country, which is being given away at their expense. Good for ASU for cutting off the funding. I am an ASU Alumni and I resent the fact that free funds are being offered to illegal aliens...I had to earn the help I received and I watched many other deserving students struggle financially to obtain their education and then walk out of school heavily in debt.

Don�t get me wrong, I am all for anyone coming to this country and making a new life for themselves and their family, but only if they do it legally. They need to be responsible for the same financial burdens that citizens are, such as taxes, insurance, healthcare, etc. I know I am not alone when I say I am tired of paying more out of my pocket to fund others� livelihoods. Vehicle insurance costs are rising because illegals don�t carry insurance; healthcare costs are going through the roof so illegals can have free healthcare; not to mention the increase in costs incurred due to the increase in crime rates; taxes are higher so illegals can have housing, cars, and education...plus the cost of everything being in Spanish along with English. Our own homeless citizens and VETERANS are not privy to all of these perks. This is America...if you live here, you are an American and you speak English!

My son is attending UTI and is funding his college education with student loans, which means he will be in debt when he finishes school. He is a legal U.S. citizen and a son of a deceased Vietnam Veteran. We are still trying to get financial help from the VA. He has applied for several scholarships only to be turned down. He is not eligible for any grants because being under the age of 24 my income is counted. I make less than $50,000 a year and I won�t tell you what my expenses are or how deep in debt I am. I know a lot of families who are in the same boat as I am. We are all unable to get the financial help we need, while free funds are being thrown at illegals.

I bet you don�t have any children, especially one attending college or I bet you would be singing a different toon. If you really want to help someone, let us know, as my son would be very happy to have a full scholarship. The Hispanic community is obligated to be responsible for funding the education for illegal aliens, as the rest of us are obligated and have a responsibility to our own children. I ask - who is obligated and responsible to see that our children of U.S. citizens are well educated?

_________
_________

Well I speak from experience and know that most if not all of the 207 students lost a merit based scholorship and conseqently received the sunburst scholorship as a replacement (privatly donated). The sunburst scholorship was not merely given to any illegal immigrant that applied, it was specifically designed for such students that lost another scholorship. Also, the fact that these students were deprived from their scholorships and then asked to pay 3 times regular tuition is not constructive. Although these studnets were not born in the united states, they lived in arizona for a majority of their lives and never left the state. I am one of these students and I have lived in Arizona 18 out of my 19 years of age, yet i do not qualify for instate tuition.

kevin brown
kevin brown

Maybe SOME are fretting they are losing merit-based scholarships, but the majority of the people I have read interviews from are bemoaning the loss of in-state tuition rates.

_________
_________

I do not think you people realize that these students are NOT asking for an udeserved free ride. They are in this situation becuse of propositon 300 which denied them the right to obtain any scholorships that were not privatly funded. If it were not for propositon 300 these students would have been allowed the merit based scholorships they had already earned, applied for, and won. Nevertheless, these scholorships were taken from them at last notice.

kevin brown
kevin brown

Hmmmm. Where to start? To Luis Avila: So, you're saying that since they were able to get in the country illegally, enroll in a public K-12 school, they should therefore be given a break on tuition? The "oh, we've done this much, what's a little more?" defense.

I lived in Arizona from about 6 months to 18, when I enlisted in the US Navy. I served 10 years and was honorably discharged. Upon my separation, I returned to AZ (with a wife and kids now) and attempted to enroll at Arizona State. I was informed that I was an out of state resident, since I didn't have a domicile in Arizona in the previous 1-2 years. And they charged me $50 for applying as an Out of Stater. Where is my Sunburst Scholarship? I served honorably in the United States Military, as a natural born citizen no less. The GI Bill sounds great on paper, but doesn't cover enough expenses for anyone over the age of 22 (read: has bills)

Instead of hand-wringing over the "loss" of educational opportunity for these ILLEGAL immigrants, perhaps we should take a look at what we can do for the veterans who stepped up and asked what they could do FOR this country, not what this country could GIVE them. (apologies to JFK).

brenda
brenda

The government and proposed legislature will pay to jail undocumented people, but not to educate them. I�ll bet that jailing undocumented people costs taxpayers a lot more money than funding the educational dreams of 207 kids who have managed to climb out of a system that is bent on destroying their ascent. Ironic of an institution who claims to want to serve all sectors of the Arizonan population and become the New American University. Irony and injustice is what taints the lives of people of Mexican persons. People should be ashamed of themselves. Undereducated, nativist people are a threat to the state and to the republic. We need to find something constructive for these people to do!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Reading the article, I have seen that there are many mixed views on the subject of illegal immigrants receiving a university education. I want to express my feelings about this article because it is very much related to my life. I am one out of the 207 students that is commented on. First, I want to share my testimony. I was brought to live to Arizona when I was one year old. Ever since, I have grown in this country, not knowing I was not allowed to be here. However, I slowly learned of all the things I could not do. I could not get help from my parents with my schoolwork, I could not get a learners permit, I could not get a passport, and I could not get a job. I, not knowing of my crime, was looked down upon and spoken negatively about in society. However, I wanted to advance and succeed in this country that I felt my own. I did well in high school by taking honors and AP classes. I was very proud of myself because I graduated ninth in my class out of more than 400 students. I received a merit-based scholarship that I earned with my hard work to attend ASU for four years. Nevertheless, the summer after I graduated high school and before I started my first semester at ASU, proposition 300 initiated. It was awfully painful to find out that I was not eligible for state/university funded scholarships. Thus, the scholarship that I had been awarded was taken away. Also, after having lived in Arizona for practically all my life, I no longer qualified for instate tuition. How would I obtain $17,000 for just one year of a college education? Fortunately, I was able to apply for the sunburst scholarship, which has helped me through my freshman year at ASU. Next year, however I might not be as lucky. In my life and through reading the comments posted I see that there are many negative feelings towards myself and people like me. Such views make me wonder do I not deserve to be here because in my heart I feel that I do. This country is all I have ever known. I am American. I understand that defying the borders of this country is illegal, but it was not my choice. My parents have always paid their taxes and have not committed any other crimes. I have worked hard, and I believe I deserve to be in the country I grew up in. Going to Mexico would be like going to a foreign country. Returning to Mexico would not guarantee a path to legal status. Attempts to come back legally are often difficult, with roadblocks such as ten year bans on re-entering the U.S. I can only be faithful and hope that this scholarship can be offered again and that the DREAM Act can be passed.

Blair
Blair

Uh, here's an idea- now that these Mexican illegals are adults, they can choose to go back to Mexico, get their education, as citizens, there, and if they want to come back, apply to come here legally. Or, here's a thought- they could use their supposed big brains and their first-class, American tax-payer subsidized education to, I don't know, do something positive to help their own wretched country. Think outside the box, and put the responsibility back on the shoulders of those to whom it really belongs. It's not my problem, and I won't be crying if masses of Mexicans go back where they belong.

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

Ever notice how all the immigrant bashers never sign f'en their names? And one of them always has some bogus letter about some illegal abusing the hallowed American system, as if most of these crackers aren't on welfare. Sign your names peckerwoods, or shut up!

Comment by Jack Swift � February 19, 2008 @ 10:52AM

Some of these immigrants (see letter from Florida teacher) deserve bashing . . . and more. And if your name is really Jack Swift, mine is You Don't Know Jack!

Jack Swift
Jack Swift

Ever notice how all the immigrant bashers never sign f'en their names? And one of them always has some bogus letter about some illegal abusing the hallowed American system, as if most of these crackers aren't on welfare. Sign your names peckerwoods, or shut up!

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

The following is a letter that my wife's co-wroker e-mailed to her. It is from a teacher in Florida and it communicates my own feelings quite well.

Letter by a Florida teacher............... A teacher speaks

This is a subject close to my heart. Do you know that we have adult students at the school where I teach who are not US citizens and who get the PELL grant, which is a federal grant (no pay back required) plus other federal grants to go to school?

One student from the Dominican Republic told me that she didn't want me to find a job for her after she finished my program, because she was getting housing from our housing department and she was getting a PELL grant which paid for her total tuition and books, plus money left over.

She was looking into WAIT which gives students a CREDIT CARD for gas to come to school, and into CARIBE which is a special program (check it out - I did) for immigrants and it pays for child care and all sorts of needs while they go to school or training. The one student I just mentioned told me she was not going to be a US Citizen because she plans to return to the Dominican Republic someday and that she "loves HER country."

I asked her if she felt guilty taking what the US is giving her and then not even bothering to become a citizen and she told me that it doesn't bother her, because that is what the money is there for!

I asked the CARIBE administration about their program and if you ARE a US Citizen, you don't qualify for their program. And all the while, I am working a full day, my son-in-law works more than 60 hours a week, and everyone in my family works and pays for our education.

Something is wrong here. I am sorry but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough.

Nowhere did they sing it in Italian, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German or any other language because of immigration. It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written. The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close. Sorry if this offends anyone but this is MY COUNTRY!

IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP -- please pass this along.

I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and GOD BLESS AMERICA!

PART OF THE PROBLEM

Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone -- YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM!

It is Time for America to Speak up If you agree -- pass this along, if you don't agree --- delete it!

Anonymous
Anonymous

This just in from azcentral.com blogs:

"While reading "ASU ends scholarships for illegal immigrants," I was overwhelmed by the absurdity of Luis Avila's statement. He's a 25 year old ASU student, who apparently is involved in many groups that work with Latinos. He maintains that this decision sends a clear message to high school students that it will be impossible for them to go to college. He ended his thoughts with, "It's a hopeless message." A hopeless message? Who is he kidding? If a person has a desire to get a college education and qualifies, whether illegal or not, nothing but nothing should keep that person from their endeavor. Ever hear of getting a job--maybe two and working yourself through the 4 or 5 years that it sometimes takes to get a degree? Not all of us were born with a silver spoon in our mouths and everything was taken care of for us. Many kids out there work and work hard to complete their education without the help of the over burdened taxpayers or even their parents. It's being self sufficient and independent. People of all races have been doing it for a very long time. It shouldn't be any different for this group of young people than it was for the others before them."

Personally, I totally agree with this viewpoint, as a Mexican student at ASU myself, I have worked full time for the past four years of my college career just to be able to graduate, so dont tell me that I am racist towards my own people just because I feel that if you WANT SOMETHING THAT BAD, YOU MUST WORK REALLY HARD AT IT, did you read it? WORK HARD and ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

Erika Page
Erika Page

Now I know why latinos or mexican americans has no power at all...latinos born here do not support their blood from south I am sorry of all of them...

Cachanilla
Cachanilla

I totally agree with Legal Latinas point of view, tuition is completely cheaper than dirt in Mexico and the Mexican Autonomus University is one of the best in the world, yet kids like Luis Avila and his friends continue to fight for a free ride that is unfair to those immigrants who came here legally, went through the K12 system and were actively involved in extracurrricular activities, sports and giving back to their community, and in the end you know what happened? One of those immigrants that adapted to the system and did everything a bright K12 student should do to attend an American university ended up receiving more than 30,000 in scholarships to attend college. Now I find it extremely ridiculous that just because people came to this country ilegally and dont pay taxes they should be receiving private funding from donors to attend college, when there are so many taxpayers out there whose children cant afford to go to college, especially ASU, and instead have to attend cheap sell out institutions like Phoenix College. It worries me that in the future my children wont receive any type of financial aid due to the fact that all the money available in federal fund and private donors would end up going to those whose parents havent even contributed to this country with their tax money and other bills.Its really easy to open your mouth everyday and try to make a living out of it without realizing all the theory and repercussions behind the issues you try to advocate for, but people like Luis dont even know what they are fighting for, they are so caught up in trying to be interviewed by the New Times and UNivision to be called a Latino activist, trying to be in the newspapers and other media, just because he opens his big mouth doesnt mean he is a genius in the subject nor does he truly understand the illegal immigrant community in Phoenix, he is part of an elite group of Mexicans we denominate FRESAS, Mexican yuppies who love money and fame, and who talk about knowing the world, art, music poetry just because they read the New York Times, like its some sort of educational bible, please, the illegal community would laugh at him any day by just looking at him and they would end up telling him how desperate he is to be part of mainstream American society instead of his own culture.And the New Times praises people like these who are so called activists for the community, yet wear Chanel sunglasses and Diesel jeans, why dont they donate the money from a 400 pair of sunglasses to a community service organization, at least I am a fresa and I admit it dude, todos somos parte de la misma hipocresia, deja de abrir la boca.

Chris In Tempe
Chris In Tempe

The parents of these "kids" are the ones who committed the first crime by bringing their children and themselves into the USA in violation of our laws. Had they obeyed our laws, I would be welcoming them here most warmly. Lawful immigration built this country and has always been a source of strength and vitality for America.

The problem is, once they become adults the children of illegal immigrants are responsible for their own status. It is up to them to correct it, and that includes leaving the country to which their parents have unlawfully brought them if that is the requirement of the law. We are, after all, a nation of laws, not the whims of the public's momentary attentions nor of the passions of special interest groups.

I do support the idea of the "DREAM Act" in its most fundamental concept. But as all crimes must be answered with a fitting punishment, I have a hard time accepting a version of the act that does not address the original crime. Permitting the newly adult child of law breakers to become citizens via a process of law is fine as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough.

Parents should be adjudicated and punished for the crime they committed. I do not want to crucify anyone here, again a punishment must fit the crime and not become an offense in and of itself. The parents of these former children, now adult students, should be required to correct their immigration status, to pay back taxes and fines and to perform a long period of community service.

If there is no evidence of crime beyond unlawful immigration, I would happily accept a tougher and longer road for the parents to become citizens themselves. This need not include leaving the country as a part of earning a way back in, I�d rather we find a constructive rather than destructive means of encouraging compliance. Those who do not accept the punishments would have to accept deportation. Those who committed additional crimes would have to answer for those actions as well.

As for any school targeting illegal immigrants for special financial assistance, I find that outrageous in the extreme. Again, once they became adults, these now college age persons are responsible for their own actions and status. They must correct it themselves, or instantly become law breakers in their own right. For a school to purposely seek to assist those in violation of the law to continue doing so, is to me no better than aiding in the continuance of a criminal act.

I am no believer in amnesty for criminal acts. Neither do I favor the extremism that is so commonly expressed on both sides of this problem. There has to be a middle path through this minefield, one that shows us to be a decent and compassionate people while being tough on crime and caring towards victims all at the same time. By taking the road to either extreme, all people accomplish is to display both their own inhumanity, and their own failure to behave as true Americans.

FedUP
FedUP

Luis Avila wrote: "As for the opposition in these comment boxes and out in the valley, I think it�s important to understand that most of these students are already an investment from our part, going through the educational system all the way through high school, has made this students American products of intellect, at our expense. Investing in the minds of brilliant youth, brought up to be Americans like the rest of our community, and following the same role models and educational structures that your own children follow too. Let them continue their education at the expense of those who want to pay for them like myself, and let them give our great state a stronger and more educated workforce."

To Mr. Luis Avila,

Investment?? How about MISTAKE?? We have already given these illegals free K-12 education, from our tax money. And now they want more??? We American Taxpayers had no input into this "investment" deal you're talking about. It was all a mistake. Congress did this on their own, without regard to our opinion. If we had known about it then, believe me, it would have come out differently. If Americans had known their tax dollar was going to fund the education of illegal aliens, you can bet your life that it would have been an overwhelming NO! Furthermore, Clinton's PC kept Americans from voicing their true opinions for fear of legal retribution.

Mr. Avila, I don't know who you are or what you are, but your statements are completely unPatriotic. A real American would have sided with the law: Illegal is illegal. Yes, do pay for the education of these illegals. We are not against their education; we are against their using American taxpayers to fund it. I would like to see my $1 go to a real, WITH PAPERS TO PROVE IT, American. For all others, well, I really don't care. I am an American and with American LIMITED RESOURCES, I have to side with funding my fellow Americans. You and your private donors can fund whomever you want to; that is your prerogative and I really don't care about that. I only care when it comes to my taxpayer dollars. I think, as a taxpayer, I have a RIGHT to say where I want my tax money to go to. Yes?

So please, MR. AVILA, it would behoove you to correctly & logically analzye the present situation, instead of feeding us with emotional rhetoric SOB stories. Today, many Americans are not as stupid as you think we are. Let's get down to the black-and-white of it, shall we? Ask Americans instead if they would want their tax money going to illegals or to Americans. Ask them POINT BLANK if they want to invest in true Americans or in illegals. ASK THEM THAT. It's a simple question: "Do you, an American, want your tax dollar to fund the further education (college) of children who are here illegally, brought here by their parents in defiance of US immigration laws?" If you really believe in your BS, you will have no problem asking the American public that.

Let's see where your real cojones lies.

FedUP

Erika Page
Erika Page

I just want to remind all the anti illegal students is that most of their parents work and pay taxes, they buy and pay taxes, they pay property taxes, and all the taxes that we paid...and so on

legalatina
legalatina

Who is to "step up"...gee, how about LA RAZA give money to these kids, or how about the Mexican consulates. Better yet, why isn't the Mexican government letting these kids and families know that public colleges/universities in Mexico including the world-class "National Autonomous University of Mexico" is free to Mexican nationals and doesn't require an entrance exam? These kids have every right and opportunity to pursue a college education in their home countries and often at a small fraction of what it costs to go to school here in the States. In many countries, like in Mexico, the cost of tuition is either free or less than what it costs an American student to buy college textbooks for the year. Why are these kids snubbing their noses like a bunch of spoiled brats and not taking advantage of that which they are already entitled to in their home country? American taxpayers and American public institutions should no longer be subsidizing illegal aliens, especially when they have every opportunity and right to attend college back home.

Sue
Sue

This whole thing disgusts me and I didnt even need to read the whole article - the key word is ILLEGAL ! Boohoo that their parents put them in the position of being here illegally, in a perfect world the parents never would have been able to stay in this country ILLEGALLY long enough to have these anchor babies. Boohoo that these ILLEGALS didnt get a chance to get a totally free education, when most people, like myself - at age 50 - are paying for her own education still. I have been working on different degrees since I was 28 with NO HELP and no free ride and nothing more than my own determination. Dont they have colleges in Mexico ? Also why is it that the new law put into effect on January 1 hasnt done a damn thing ? I wonder when the protests will start now that they are being treated unfairly?? Oh wait those already go on dont they ? To me those marches downtown should just be a way of the cops and INS officials to get into the crowd and ask for real ID. Where I used to work as financial manager the former one never checked social security numbers and when I took over i checked each and every one of them already employed and about 5 of them were employed for exactly ten minutes after I got the official notification that they were either using fake IDs or they were using a 16 year old females when they were in fact a 40 year old male. So I made out their last paycheck, (funny how ALL of them no matter what age they were had at least 8 dependents, that way no taxes were taken out) but I handed them their last paycheck and pointed the way to the back door - they come in the back fences they can leave by the back door and preferably keep on going back under that fence they or their parents crawled into this country under.

I just bought my first home in Mesa after living here for a year and you can bet your asses that I looked at the neighborhood at all times of the day because I sure in the hell dont want my property value lowering by living next to a ton of Juan and Juanitas. Oh and I also keep a camera in my car and when I pass by one of those day labor pickup spots I stop and get out so they see me - I am not afraid of them - and I snap all their pictures and if a car or truck is picking them up I take the picutres of the drivers and the car and license number. Funny how many times when the drivers see me as they start to pick one of these guys up that they drive off alone, hopefully to go hire some AMERICANS to do that work.

I am sick to death of hearing about their rights to housing (plenty of bridges and underpasses for them to sleep under) and their gripes about their right to health care - they HAVE no rights at least not in this country. While I work my butt off every day and have since a week after I got here last year - yet the jobs I have dont offer health insurance so I am living in constant pain while waiting for a health plan to kick in so I can have the surgery I was told I needed a year ago.

Bottom line:

Illegals = NO RIGHTS and GO HOME

Luis Avila
Luis Avila

It is incredible to find out that the lives of 207 students will be stranded because of the pressure that a small part of the Arizona community has put on Michael Crow and the ASU Foundation. I still applaud the courageous decision of Mr. Crow of announcing that the Sunburst Scholarships were going to be created, but I really stumbled on disappointment when I found out they are going to be gone. I am not only concerned for the students who won�t be able to continue their education, but for the thousands of High School seniors that are getting a clear message of hopeless sentiment.

As for the opposition in these comment boxes and out in the valley, I think it�s important to understand that most of these students are already an investment from our part, going through the educational system all the way through high school, has made this students American products of intellect, at our expense. Investing in the minds of brilliant youth, brought up to be Americans like the rest of our community, and following the same role models and educational structures that your own children follow too. Let them continue their education at the expense of those who want to pay for them like myself, and let them give our great state a stronger and more educated workforce.

As for the comment that attacks my persona, I just hope we can all focus on changing the minds of the people who are against us, and we stop taking time and space of a debate you and I could have over a cup of coffee.

Knowledge is power, let us be powerful!

FedUP
FedUP

The writer wrote: "Congress has screwed these kids because of its inability to do something..."

The real reason Congress has not acted is because it has NO responsibility over these illegal alien students (except to send ICE over and deport them). The people who have really "screwed these kids" are their own parents. And these kids KNOW THAT; they just prefer to be in denial about it and instead blame the "big bad government" of the USA.

Here's a fundraising idea: ASK THE GOVERNMENT OF MEXICO TO SEND OVER THEIR TAXPAYERS' MONEY TO FUND THEIR NATIONAL'S HIGHER EDUCATION IN THE USA. How about that? Sounds fair and just to me.

Cachanilla
Cachanilla

Once again the new times keeps using Luis Avila as a source in articles dealing with immigration and the issues surrounding it. I am a mexican student at ASU and not once have I seen this so called activist fighting for these students on campus and I am even well inolved and well aware of many of the situations and problems Mexican students face at ASU and if people really want a first hand account of these problems then maybe they should take the time to actually research the situation and talk to some of these students rather than get an opinion from a stupid mocoso fresa who has an awful radio show on Sundays were the utter lack of professionalism is in full display, what the hell is wrong with you guys come on! There are hundreds of other Latino activists who fight hard for our rights and actually make a difference

guy
guy

ur.... I'm kind of confused here. So, they lived here illegally, went to high school here without being/becoming a citizen, and I'm suppossed to feel bad that they aren't getting scholorships? Uh... maybe I didn't read into it enough, but I don't see why they are owed something. They got a free headstart in comparison to living in Mexico [that's why they moved here I'm guessing] and now they want more. I mean they aren't even US citizens. Shouldn't we be talking about making them citizens first as oppossed to giving non-citizens scholorships and grants?

H.L. Harris
H.L. Harris

Individual responsibility? You mentioned the University, the public and private sector and individual contributions. What about the parents of these childrens? Do they bear no responsibility for the situation? Incarcerated individuals have children too. The hopes and dreams of those children do not become the responsibility of society because of their parents crime. Perhaps it is your stance that illegal immigration is not a crime? By telling illegal immigrants that they can bring their children here and that Americans will pay to educate them, you are encouraging more of the same. In your obtuse way, you have touched upon one of the reasons that American citizens DEEPLY resent illegal aliens. THEY DISPLAY NO SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY. It is felt that is the responsibilty of American citizens to educate their children even if ours are cheated in the process. A parent is just supposed to gleefully accept being taxed to pay for the education of an illegal alien even if it prevents him from sending his own offspring to college who may then have to go to work to also pay for the education of an illegal. Younger American children are having their curriculums dumbed down while funds go to ESOL programs for aliens. Illegal aliens exhaust social support system such as literally crossing the border while their water breaks in order to have an anchor bay through which they can exploit the other aspects of our welfare system. I could go on but I think I have made mu point. You want better PR for illegal aliens, tell them to develop a respect for the rule of law and a sense of responsibility. Until them, I have no sympathy.

Julius
Julius

Sarah:

Could you please put me in touch with Mr. Gutierrez or anyone else in a position to receive donations for the (disappearing) scholarship fund you wrote about?

Thank you for all.

JuliusTucson

 

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