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  1. #1
    Senior Member FedUpinFarmersBranch's Avatar
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    SOB-Living the Peninsula illegally:caught in the middle

    Living the Peninsula illegally: Immigrants who come for education caught in the middle









    By Diane Urbani de la Paz, Peninsula Daily News


    EDITOR'S NOTE — This is the first of a two-part series.

    The second part will be in Monday's PDN.

    FORKS — It's an immigrant story that's played out sadly for more than a century:

    Parents bring their children into the United States of America, hoping to give them a brighter future.

    But while this country's opportunities stem from the beacon of free education, some immigrant children will have nowhere to go once they've finished school.

    Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants — including those carried into the country by their parents — from working.

    And no amount of study, no high school diploma nor bachelor's, master's nor doctoral degree, makes an illegal immigrant legal.

    For decades, undocumented immigrant parents have been coming to the North Olympic Peninsula to find underground work in the woods of Forks or the farms around Sequim.

    And since free schooling is something this country offers every child, regardless of where he or she was born, those immigrants' offspring do have a shot at an education.

    But for the child brought here without permission from the U.S. government, the future is cloudy.

    Congress has tried to overhaul the nation's immigration policy, but no real changes have come about.

    Can't be hired
    Hiring an illegal immigrant is still against the law.

    Many migrant workers tap into the black market of fake Social Security cards and other falsified identification, and some employers look the other way when paying them.

    If caught, those bosses face stiff penalties.

    It's a catch-22 for the 21st century, and Kevin Rupprecht, principal of Forks High School, knows it well.

    He grew up with Hispanic immigrants in eastern Washington, taught immigrants' children at Clover Park High School near Tacoma and now works with whole immigrant families in Forks.

    "When I talk to parents, they tell me the reason they moved here, legally or illegally, is because they wanted their kids to get a good high school education," he said.

    "When I ask them, 'Then what?' I don't always get a straight answer."

    Forks High's graduates may go to Peninsula College, the University of Washington, the Evergreen State College or another state institution.

    Washington state law allows undocumented immigrants to attend college.

    Virjean Edwards, the UW's associate registrar, said that during the 2007-'08 academic year, 121 of the school's 41,000 students were "presumed undocumented," since they declined to give proof of legal residency when they enrolled.

    But if the U.S. Border Patrol were to apprehend a carload of those students at a checkpoint, they could still be deported, said Jorge Baron, executive director of the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a resource center founded 24 years ago in Seattle.




    No paths to citizenship
    For a young person brought here illegally, "there are no paths to citizenship," added Baron.

    "When people hear about children who've lived here a long time, and now they're young adults who haven't become citizens, the assumption is that they've been lazy.

    "But there is no paperwork," to help such immigrants become legal.

    "Young men and women wanting to become legal residents are afraid to contact Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, and they should be," Baron added.

    That agency's mission, as part of Homeland Security, is to detain and deport illegal immigrants.

    An undocumented immigrant should instead contact an attorney or a resource center such as the Immigrant Rights Project, Baron said.

    If the individual has a parent who is a U.S. citizen, he or she may be able to apply for legal residency.

    "But there are a lot of people we interview whom we tell, 'There is no avenue for you to apply right now.'"

    Process can take years
    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (www.USCIS.gov) is the clearinghouse for people seeking legal residency.

    The application process takes years; immigrants who are receiving legal status this year applied in 2002, said Sharon Rummery, a spokeswoman for the service.

    U.S. citizenship will take several more years.

    To move into the United States legally, an individual must stay in his or her home country while either a very close family member or an employer petitions for the immigrant's residency, Rummery said.

    One may apply for a student visa or for lawful permanent residency, aka a "green card" — but that must also be done before the individual enters the country.

    "So, indeed, for many people who are presently undocumented, there's no way for them to become legal here," Rummery said.

    "There are no exceptions for those brought in as children."

    Nor are there exceptions for students who went to college while in illegal status.

    Laws made by Congress
    "Many people blame these laws on immigration agencies but, of course, laws are made by Congress, reflecting the will of the people," Rummery added.

    Baron has a different perspective.

    "This is a reflection of our broken immigration system," he said.

    "These young people have finished [high] school. They've stayed out of trouble. This is the only home they have known."

    In recent weeks, a number of young people lacking residency documents have been arrested at U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints across the North Olympic Peninsula.

    A few from the West End have chosen to return to their native Mexico rather than going before a federal immigration judge and risking deportation.

    The result of intensified Border Patrol presence: a tense atmosphere on the streets of Forks.

    Debbie Scannell, coordinator of Peninsula Colleges Forks extension, worries that college-age immigrants will stay away from her classrooms.

    Peninsula College offers English courses for $25, as well as general education classes for students working toward associate of arts degrees.

    Students can take these courses regardless of their legal status.

    And they may go on to a four-year university, thanks to House Bill 1079, enacted five years ago by then-Gov. Gary Locke.

    If a student attended three years of high school culminating in graduation in Washington state, he or she can pay state-resident tuition, which starts at $2,268 per quarter, instead of the $7,740 nonresidents pay.

    But the student cannot receive federal financial aid.

    Can be detained
    In addition, college students without residency papers can be detained by ICE, Baron said.

    At the other end of Clallam County, counselor Mitzi Sanders talks with the children of illegal immigrants at Sequim High School.

    She's had students who, after growing up in Sequim, returned to Mexico and obtained the student visas that enable them to attend college legally.

    But others lack the resources to make such a trip.

    So no matter how high their grade-point averages or community involvement, they won't be among the recipients of the more than $1 million in scholarships awarded yearly at Sequim High.

    "The [scholarship] donors want them to be here legally," Sanders said.

    "That's their call."

    Scannell, for her part, said Peninsula College will continue opening its doors to immigrants.

    "We are very supportive of anybody attending school," she said, adding that immigrants she knows "have everything going for them. All they need is to go to school."

    When a young person is prevented from continuing his or her education, "I think it is a great loss of human resource and talent to this community."

    -------------

    ON MONDAY — For Forks High School senior Mayra Rodriguez, and for this city of 3,200, this fall is a time of fear mixed with hope.

    ------------

    Sequim Dungeness-Valley Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.


    Last modified: October 04. 2008 9:00PM


    http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/artic ... /810050304
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  2. #2
    Senior Member grandmasmad's Avatar
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    So no matter how high their grade-point averages or community involvement, they won't be among the recipients of the more than $1 million in scholarships awarded yearly at Sequim High.

    Darn right about that!!
    That money should go to CITIZENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is the equivalent of the difference between a burglar and a houseguest. Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  3. #3
    Senior Member Captainron's Avatar
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    College is always touted as the doorway to a better life. How many college-educated baristas are working at Starbucks now---for eight dollars an hour? At least in a beginning construction job they would make 12-15, except illegals have taken those jobs.
    "Men of low degree are vanity, Men of high degree are a lie. " David
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  4. #4
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    Hiring an illegal immigrant is still against the law.
    I am rolling on the floor with laughter just at that statement, as it shows a heck of a lot of bias. No college in many states; no work opportunity in this country, and any path to citizenship (which is not necessarily forthcoming) will take too long.
    Recommendation: take the free education you have already been given by American generosity in taxpayer dollars and go home. Fix your own country with what you have learned here.
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

  5. #5
    Senior Member miguelina's Avatar
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    How about those kids whose parents get into selling drugs to make a better life for their families? ILLEGAL is STILL ILLEGAL!

    I don't CARE how a criminal rationializes their behaviour, it's still criminal!

    I get a laugh out of these scum that whine they come here for a better life for their children and their "children" haven't even been BORN!!!

    Who are they kidding? They come here to get on the public dole, they don't come to work! If they were so hard working, why did they run away from working hard in their own countries? Blah blah blah, the pity party is over amigo, get out!
    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)
    "

  6. #6
    loneprotester's Avatar
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    I am tired of hearing how the invaders live, how about Americans, do we matter anymore?

  7. #7

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    "Parents bring their children into the United States of America, hoping to give them a brighter future.
    They bring them over to get welfare and handouts from the American citizens.

    " But while this country's opportunities stem from the beacon of free education, some immigrant children will have nowhere to go once they've finished school. " Free education? Maybe for the illegals who use the school system to babysit their children while they steal American jobs.

    "But for the child brought here without permission from the U.S. government, the future is cloudy." That isn't our fault, it is the fault of the parents who brought them here.

    I refuse to feel sorry for low life invaders,

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