Undocumented Teen Describes Leaving Arizona for "Friendlier" New Mexico

Alberto grew up in Phoenix, after his illegal-immigrant parents took him here when he was two years old. The young man, now 18, left town this summer for New Mexico to escape Arizona's oppressive, anti-undocumented fervor.

Santa Fe's New Mexican newspaper details his story in its online edition today, reporting that he's one of several public school or community college students who've found Arizona's eastern state "friendlier" to folks in his shoes. From the article:
"In Arizona, I'd be too scared to say, 'I don't have a Social (Security number).' Here, it's OK," said Alberto, referring to Northern New Mexico College in Española, where he is a student.

In July, he left Phoenix and decided to pursue his dream to major in psychology to become a high-school counselor. Staying in Arizona meant not attending school, not being able to drive. And the only possibility of work was in construction, alongside his father.

In New Mexico, Alberto (his last name isn't given for obvious reasons) can obtain a driver's license and pay in-state tuition for college courses. And no power-hungry sheriff looking to bust him for another headline.

Okay, if Alberto's given legal status, we can see how someone could argue that his parents were rewarded for breaking the rules. Maybe his parents are to blame. But he was 2 when he was brought here -- give him a break.

Where's Dick Durbin when you need him?

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.