Miami Valedictorian Could Be Deported

From the Annals of How Screwed Up Is Our Immigration System?

ABC News (“Miami Valedictorian Could Be Deported“):

North Miami High School senior Daniela Palaez has a 6.7 GPA, the valedictory nod from her classmates, a brother in the U.S. Army and deportation papers to Colombia.

In a hearing on Monday a federal immigration judge ordered the 18-year-old Palaez, in the U.S. since she was 4 years old, to voluntarily leave the the country for her native Colombia by the end of the month after her request for a green card was denied.

“Everything I’ve worked for, it’s, like going down the drain in a matter of days,” says the aspiring surgeon who has already applied to a number of Ivy League colleges. “I consider myself an American. [Deportation] would mean I’d leave a country and go back to a country that I don’t remember, a country [where] I don’t feel at home, and I don’t even graduate high school.”

[…]

Palaez was 4 years old when she arrived in the U.S. with her family from Columbia on a tourist visa. Her residency application was denied in 2010. Her mother returned traveled to Columbia five years ago to get treatment for colon cancer and now can’t return to the U.S. Palaez’s brother is in the U.S Army and just returned from a tour in Afghanistan. Her father received permanent residency through Palaez’s brother, but she is stuck.

Her departure is not imminent, and her attorney is planning to file an appeal that would prevent her removal from the U.S. Right now, Palaez is trying to get a pre-approved student visa, but congressional support is needed to expedite such a request. She has gained the strong support of three Florida members of Congress, at least two of who plan to write to the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement on her behalf.
Palaez’s attorney, Jack Wallace, says it may be years before she is actually deported.

Answer to the opening question: This is so screwed up that I’m going to refrain from worrying about how she managed to get a 6.7 GPA.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Actually it’s not screwed up. Read a little more closely. She and her family arrived 14 years ago on a tourist visa. Tourist visas are not green lights to stay as long as you want. Plus it’s not as if she’ll be deported tomorrow. There’s an appeal process. Her family is to blame, not the system. They should have applied for residency over a decade ago. They waited until the last minute and now they’re stuck. Ignorance of the law is no defense and being dilatory is a recipe for self-inflicted snafus.

    Yes, I can see the emotional appeal of her particular situation. I’m not blind. Obviously she’s a great kid. She’s exactly the sort of person we want with a Green Card and, ultimately, as a citizen. Tough cases make bad laws, however, especially when laws are not followed. Selective application of laws is tantamount to lawlessness. If for example a Silver Star recipient breaks the law we don’t just waive the law because of how great of a guy they are. Same thing for an honors student.

    That all said, when Bush 43 was in office they enacted a stepped-up path to citizenship for people with “extraordinary talents.” Maybe there’s a way to juxtapose this case with that provision. I don’t know. There are immigration law experts out there who could shed some light on that issue.

    Lastly, the main problem with our immigration system outside of literal border control is that we need higher caps across the board. It’s not a bad statutory framework from the standpoints of visa categories, residency standards, citizenship standards, asylum, etc. We just need to allow more good people in. We need a lot more H-1B slots. We probably need some executive discretion for extraordinary cases like this Daniela Palaez. But that’s not the current law.

  2. Answer to the opening question: This is so screwed up that I’m going to refrain from worrying about how she managed to get a 6.7 GPA.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academic_grading_in_the_United_States

    Not all schools use 4.0 based GPAs anymore. Some use 5.0 based scales to match AP and ICCB grading. Some use a 9.0 or 11.0 based scale. Additionally, it’s common for honors, AP, or college courses to be awarded additional points so that class rankings favor students taking the more academically rigorous curricula, rather than students who did well taking all regular courses.

  3. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    When your law, your ideology or your religion require you to harm a child then your law, your ideology or your religion are wrong.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    In fact, I’m going to call that Reynolds’ first law. Until someone tells me it’s already been coined.

  5. @michael reynolds:

    Is there an exception if the child is actually trying to kill you? e.g. can I harm this child:

    http://www.ethanham.com/blog/uploaded_images/child-1-796755.jpg

    Or do I have to let him and his cohorts continue slaughtering our village?

  6. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: Agreed. I can be a hard-hearted SOB on lawbreakers. But 4-year-old kids? This girl did nothing wrong and the benefit she got from her parents’ transgressions are largely the result of her own hard work. Coupled with the fact that our society would be poorer without her than with, I just can’t think of a single reason to send her to Colombia. Columbia, maybe.

  7. Jenos Idanian says:

    Alternate headlines:

    Illegal alien shocked to be treated like illegal alien

    Teen suffers because callous parents break law

    Court decides “Tourists” can’t stay in country for 14 years

    The simple version of this story is the parents tried to beat the system, and bet their child’s welfare and future on beating the system. And they lost.

    Let’s see… 2012 minus 14… they’ve been “tourists” in the US since 1998. I know America’s a big country, but that’s a hell of a long time to spend sight-seeing. And since tourist visas don’t grant the right to work, I think we can assume the parents also violated labor laws.

    All to escape that third-world hell-hole of persecution and victimization, Colombia. Good lord, how can any human being even hope to survive in such a place?

    The young lady’s had 14 years of free education on behalf of the US. I think we’ve done more then enough for her.

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    @michael reynolds: When your law, your ideology or your religion require you to harm a child then your law, your ideology or your religion are wrong.

    She would be returned to her parents’ home, her land of birth, her land of citizenship. That’s not “harm.”

    But I see much useful application for your Law. Start with the Palestinians who use their children as weapons against the Israelis. Then move on to Operation Rescue and about 20 years ago when they used their children to charge abortion clinics — often across traffic. Then Planned Parenthood, who provided abortions to underage girls without notifying the parents. Or even authorities, when the gir’s pregnancy was prima facie evidence of statutory rape and they were legally required to do so.

    I think I can learn to like Reynolds’ Law.

  9. @Jenos Idanian:

    All to escape that third-world hell-hole of persecution and victimization, Colombia.

    If Columbia is so great and you think there’s too many people in the US, why don’t you emmigrate there? I mean since apparently we’re voting on who to allow in our country, why should we limit it to this girl? I’d rather have her here than you.

  10. Console says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The funny thing is that colombia still pretty much has a civil war going on.

    I don’t usually argue points with the clueless. Just knowing that I’m more well-informed than people like Jenos is enough for me to disregard any poorly thought out, shoot from the hip nonsense opinion they have.

  11. Console says:

    Did the honorable men and women at the department of homeland security at least check to see if the girl is actually from colombia this time?

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    I’ll buy him a one way ticket.

  13. An Interested Party says:

    I’ll buy him a one way ticket.

    Yes, but which alias would he use there?

  14. Graham says:

    I heard they stuck this on some statue somewhere. Must not be very prominent, but I’ve always felt it made for a pretty immigration policy:

    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
    “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
    With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

  15. Graham says:

    Er, I mean mean “pretty good”.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Graham:
    Communist. 😉

  17. Graham says:

    @michael reynolds: Heh. I like it when we agree. 😀

  18. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: If Columbia is so great and you think there’s too many people in the US, why don’t you emmigrate there? I mean since apparently we’re voting on who to allow in our country, why should we limit it to this girl? I’d rather have her here than you.

    Because I was born here. And that means I get to stay. And she wasn’t. She was brought here under fraudulent circumstances.

    Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

  19. @Jenos Idanian:

    She would be returned to her parents’ home, her land of birth, her land of citizenship. That’s not “harm.”

    If you can’t see why it would be harmful to send an 18 year-old to a country that she never lived in since she was 4 years old, then you really are even denser than I thought.

    And that’s the most polite way I can think to say that.

    You honestly can’t understand how being plopped down in a foreign country (for that is what Colombia is to this young lady, regardless of the fact that she was born there and spent her infancy and toddlerhood there). As best as I can tell from the article, I know Colombia better than Miss Palaez does, since I at least lived there for a year and have contacts to whom I could turn for help and to find a job and such if I had to do so.

    Yes, I understand the legal issue here. But, as James notes, the legal situation is screwed up. Of course, part of the the reason it remains so screwed up is that people such as yourself play the robotic and simplistic “those are the rules” card as if said rules were written in granite by the finger of God and are therefore immutable truths rather than imperfect policies created by imperfect humans within imperfect institutions. Laws can change, or hadn’t you noticed?

    Life isn’t a game wherein all you have to do is consult the Goren’s Hoyle or the Dungeon Master’s Guide to figure out what to do. We, as humans, have intellect and judgment and sometimes we actually have to use it.

  20. Also, on a far less significant level, why is it so hard for a major news company to properly spell “Colombia”?

    (And since they can’t spell, I am betting that, due to AP courses, she has a 4.7 GPA and the 6.7 was a typo).

  21. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Because I was born here. And that means I get to stay. And she wasn’t. She was brought here under fraudulent circumstances.

    Ah, I see the Justice-Untempered-With-Mercy school of Republican politics is alive and well.

  22. @Steven L. Taylor:

    Of course, part of the the reason it remains so screwed up is that people such as yourself play the robotic and simplistic “those are the rules” card

    I wonder if Jenos is willing to accept that “well, I may not like it, but the rules are the rules” logic when it comes to things like birth control mandates, environmental regulation, government healthcare, etc.

  23. @Jenos Idanian:

    Because I was born here. And that means I get to stay.

    Why? Just because you were born on this side of the imaginary line doesn’t make you a special class of humanity, deserving of special rights above and beyond those of other mortals. If the government has the power to decide who is and isn’t allowed to be in this country, that power applies to you just as assuredly as it does to Daniela Palaez.

  24. Boyd says:

    Since “discussion” of the real substance of the article has turned to little more than ad hominem, I’ll pipe up to say that the first thing that struck me in the article was the 6.7 GPA. And even if Dr. Taylor is correct and it was a typo for 4.7, I still say,”…whaaaaa?”

    My daughter graduated from high school a few years ago with a 4.something GPA and ranking 6th in her class. I thought then that the geniuses that design these systems had gone over the edge. Miss Palaez’s 6.7 (or even 4.7) GPA merely provides confirmation.

  25. @Boyd:

    I thought then that the geniuses that design these systems had gone over the edge. Miss Palaez’s 6.7 (or even 4.7) GPA merely provides confirmation.

    Why? It’s not like “Thou shalt have a 4.0 based grading system” was engraved on stone tablets that descended from the sky to the hands of John Dewey bathed in a ray of heavenly light and heralded by the trumpeting of angels.

    If there’s anything that’s a sign “having gone over the edge” here, it’s the fact you’ve apparently formed some significant emotional attachment to a completely arbitrary number.

  26. Boyd says:

    @Stormy Dragon: If you weren’t so irrationally attached to estimating your self-worth by how much you can snark at others, then you might actually think about what’s under discussion rather than generating idiotic and un-thought-out (yeah, it’s not a word, but there’s no doubt about its meaning) “I’m so much smarter than you” self-aggrandizing effluvia from your keyboard.

    So since you apparently can’t figure it out on your own, let me make it explicitly clear: on a scale from 1 to 4, having a score in excess of 4 is idiocy.

    Which, now that I think about it, likely explains your defense of the practice.

    Moron.

    P.S. I apologize for the above unrestrained and unfiltered response. But there’s so much of this “Aren’t I the smart liberal!” going on in OTB comments these days, that sometimes I just have to get it off my chest.

  27. @Boyd:

    So since you apparently can’t figure it out on your own, let me make it explicitly clear: on a scale from 1 to 4, having a score in excess of 4 is idiocy.

    Why is this idiocy? Because Boyd can’t handle the fact that grading practices have changed in decades since he graduated? The 4.0 system was developed back before the idea of tracked education evolve, and there’s now a need for the GPA system to reflect the fact that an A in a AP course is not the same as an A in an honors course or an A in a non-academic course. The practice of awarding bonus points to higher tracks is a perfectly elegant way of doing this. What’s your alternative?

    P.S. I apologize for the above unrestrained and unfiltered response. But there’s so much of this “Aren’t I the smart liberal!”

    Well, I’m smart enough to realize that I’m not a liberal by any reasonable definition of the term.

  28. @Boyd:

    There’s also the typical Tea-party glass jaw at work here. They have no problem calling anyone who disagrees with them as “idiots”. “morons”, or “having gone off the edge”, but how DARE any of those moronic crazy people snark back at them.

  29. An Interested Party says:

    But there’s so much of this “Aren’t I the smart liberal!” going on in OTB comments these days, that sometimes I just have to get it off my chest.

    That’s a very interesting statement…Stormy Dragon has shown him/herself to be very far from a liberal, and yet what he/she wrote in this particular instance got him tagged with that label…perhaps it is part of the argument that I have seen others hint at how the comments at this blog have supposedly been taken over by liberals…

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    Sigh… the underlying principle here is that the “original sin” (speaking metaphorically) was committed by her parents, who came here as a family under fraudulent circumstances. They said they were coming as “tourists,” and lied. They promised to go back home, and instead they stayed. And, presumably, also violated the labor laws to work under the table to support themselves.

    I do NOT believe in rewarding law-breaking. The mother has been banned from returning, and that is how it should be. She broke our laws, she should pay the price.

    The father was granted residency. I disagree with that, on principle, but at least he had his day in court and there were apparently some extenuating circumstances.

    The son enlisted in the military. He is “trading” service for residency. I respect that deal.

    The young lady in question is in a very sympathetic situation, but one thing must be kept in mind at all times. We, as a nation, owe her nothing. Residency and citizenship is not an entitlement for those not born citizens. Her circumstances suck, but they suck because her parents chose to put her in those circumstances.

    The only argument for her is borne of sympathy — and our sympathy is something we can choose to grant or not, not something to be demanded.

  31. I do NOT believe in rewarding law-breaking.

    If fidelity to the law, regardless of the content of that law, was a virtue, this nation would not exist. Our founding principle is that people have rights to individual liberty, and that is the government choose to rule in a way contrary to those rights, it has no legitimacy.

    “Lex iniusta non est lex” — St. Augustine

  32. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Then, may I respectfully suggest that we actually change the law instead of simply having this fight over and over again when circumstances like this happen? Go out on a limb, sport, and suggest a reform that would cover circumstances like these.

  33. @Jenos Idanian:

    I do NOT believe in rewarding law-breaking. The mother has been banned from returning, and that is how it should be. She broke our laws, she should pay the price.

    She was four years old when she was brought here. She did not break the law. This is not insignificant.

    Further, I note that you have just dropped the claim that there is no “harm” is deporting her from the country that is clearly her home to one that clearly is not. Again: not an insignificant issue.

    And yes: the laws very much need to be changed. However, there is absolutely no way for this to happen at the moment, unfortunately. So, instead, we are left with an ad hoc system that is clearly broken.

  34. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I do NOT believe in rewarding law-breaking. The mother has been banned from returning, and that is how it should be. She broke our laws, she should pay the price.

    Help me out, here. What law has the child broken?

    Go out on a limb, sport, and suggest a reform that would cover circumstances like these.

    Dream Act?

  35. Console says:

    @Boyd:

    a) you mean 0-4
    b) not every class is scaled 0-4. If the class is 0-5, then it makes perfect sense to get a 5.
    c) how much does your old ass really have worthwhile to say about the present day school system?

  36. Eric Spunberg says:

    As a third-generation American who is a religious follower of US Economic interests, embracing my country to the fullest; I cannot sleep comfortably knowing this Valedictorian, Daniela Palaez, who gave her all to the same American dream I inherited, is now allowed to stay here. It is rare that an immigrant would have a window of opportunity to prove her mastery of knowledge to stay and better this country with her heart, soul, and mind….nontheless she passed this test with flying colors and deserves a stay. Letting someone with the legacy of Daniela into this country is the solution, not the problem, to the educational supply we so need in our country. Daniela Paleaez rightfully belongs here in the United States where she always lived, where she learned and was nurtured. Let her stay!

  37. Eric Spunberg says:

    As a third-generation American who is a religious follower of US Economic interests, embracing my country to the fullest; I cannot sleep comfortably knowing this Valedictorian, Daniela Palaez, who gave her all to the same American dream I inherited, is not allowed to stay here. It is rare that an immigrant would have a window of opportunity to prove her mastery of knowledge to stay and better this country with her heart, soul, and mind….nontheless she passed this test with flying colors and deserves a stay. Letting someone with the legacy of Daniela into this country is the solution, not the problem, to the educational supply we so need in our country. Daniela Paleaez rightfully belongs here in the United States where she always lived, where she learned and was nurtured. Let her stay!

  38. Jenos Idanian says:

    So… no one wants to suggest how to change the law to keep things like this from happening? Just more whining about how unfair it is?

    This is a bizarre area of law. Is she here in the United States legally? Absolutely not. As a child, she was brought here on a tourist visa, which expired well over a decade ago.

    But she didn’t actively break a law; as a four-year-old, she had no way of comprehending the law and was entirely dependent on her parents — who did willingly break the law, both for themselves and her.

    The goal of her parents breaking that law was to benefit themselves and her. Do we allow them to achieve their goal by allowing her to stay? That only invites more parents to break the law like that (and we already have plenty enough of those.) Further, what about when the child is discovered as a minor? Do we allow them to stay, but send their parents home?

    This is a relatively simple case. She has a parent in Colombia, so that makes it slightly easier. (Note the qualifiers there, “relatively” and “slightly.”)

    Come on, people. You’ve had two hours and five comments to offer a reform to the system. Instead, you’ve whined about the “unfairness” of the law and nit-picked me. (And no, Steven, I didn’t “drop” the “no harm” argument. While it’s got its problems, it’s hardly like the other nations we’re currently accepting refugees in large numbers.)

    You all claim to be so much smarter than me and most other people. Surely you can find a solution beyond the stereotypical liberal “we won’t change the law, we’ll just ignore it in just this case. And the next one. And the next one. And the one after that…”

  39. @Jenos Idanian:

    I guess you missed the reference to the DREAM Act, which is one suggestion.

    But the issue in this case is not what kind of comprehensive immigration reform we need, it is whether this individual ought to be deported.

    And yes: lack of addressing an issue is dropping it. Indeed, it was typical of you: you rarely address direct confrontation on a given point, but rather move on to something else.

  40. @Jenos Idanian: Also another typical tactic: that somehow the use of qualifiers fixes major flaws in your position.

  41. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Every single version of the DREAM Act I’ve seen sets up circumstances where it would be more advantageous to be an illegal alien than an American citizen. On that basis, I oppose every version of it I’ve seen.

    And I stand by my previous position: Colombia, while not up to US standards (and, really, what nation is?), is hardly a war-wracked third-world hellhole whose people desperately need to flee to survive.

    The linked article offers no reasons for why the young lady’s family chose to break US law and fraudulently come here on a tourist visa obtained under false pretenses. No one is making an argument that they are political refugees, or fled violence and persecution. It is just as plausible that they came for economic reasons.

    Here’s a compromise: she can stay. But in exchange, one would-be immigrant from Colombia who has followed the law, filled out all the permits, paid all the fees, and waited patiently must be denied. Not for any fault of their own, but simply to “make space” for this young Colombian national. Fair enough?

    Alternately, one of her supporters can volunteer to go to Colombia in her stead, and remain there as long as she remains in the US. Either way, the balance is maintained.

  42. @Jenos Idanian: BTW, the story suggests that there are legal routes to allow her to stay. However, they are extraordinary and a bit ad hoc.

    This is the way things are going to be until we reach a national consensus on immigration (something the GOP in particular at the moment is making impossible, especially since a significant part of the base is decidedly anti-immigrant at the moment).

    The main problem at the moment is that usually any attempt to raise the difficulties in this situation results in people, such as yourself, carrying on about not letting anyone benefit from an illegal act and diatribes about sanctity of the law. And then any discussion of changing the law usually results in cries of “amnesty” and the aforementioned concern about people benefiting from lawbreaking.

    Yes, major reform is preferable, but at the moment the specific issue at hand is Ms. Palaez..

  43. @Jenos Idanian: You didn’t ask for a policy that you liked, you asked for a policy proposal that would address the situation.

    And the issue is not about political asylum, it is about dealing with a young lady who has lived here since she was 4.

    Here’s a compromise: she can stay. But in exchange, one would-be immigrant from Colombia who has followed the law, filled out all the permits, paid all the fees, and waited patiently must be denied. Not for any fault of their own, but simply to “make space” for this young Colombian national. Fair enough?

    Alternately, one of her supporters can volunteer to go to Colombia in her stead, and remain there as long as she remains in the US. Either way, the balance is maintained.

    The sad thing is, you think you are being clever.

  44. BTW, since you brought up “harm” (granted, in another sense) earlier, can you explain what the specific harm is of this girl getting residence status?

    Strikes me that she sounds like a potential asset to the US.

  45. Jenos Idanian says:

    My apologies. I did just say “solution.” I thought “feasible” was implied, but clearly it was not.

    Here’s my problem with the DREAM Act. Imagine an American family that lives near the border of their state. The parents both work and pay taxes in the neighboring state, but reside in their own. (Say, live in Georgia and work in Florida.) Their child wishes to attend college, and the geographically nearest school is a state school in Florida — which also has a great program in their field. Even though the parents work in Alabama and pay taxes that support the school, they still have to pay the out-of-state tuition rate.

    Meanwhile, an illegal alien who happens to live in Florida also applies to the same school, the same program. Under the DREAM Act, that student would pay less than the aforementioned American citizen whose parents have been supporting the school with their tax dollars for years. I find that unacceptable.

    My examples were provided because no one had brought up a solution to the situation (apart from the article’s mention of the DREAM Act, which I have just detailed my opposition), so I figured someone had to get the ball rolling.

    You’d think I’d know better now. It seems that in many people, their brains don’t have room for both sympathy and reason. Give them enough of an emotional hook, and thinking goes right out the window.

    OK, fine. Let’s just abolish all immigration quotas and grant residence visas to all who ask. That ought to get rid of the whole “spent the last 14 years playing tourist” fraud issue.

    And I’m still curious to hear how the family supported itself for those 14 years. They couldn’t work legally, and I sincerely doubt they were getting fully supported by relatives back home…

  46. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: BTW, since you brought up “harm” (granted, in another sense) earlier, can you explain what the specific harm is of this girl getting residence status?

    Finite resources. Her claim should not take precedence over others.

    Strikes me that she sounds like a potential asset to the US.

    And that rationale sounds a bit like the ends justifying the means. “Sorry I broke into your house and crashed on your couch, but I vacuumed the rugs and mopped the kitchen. So, no fair calling the cops, right?”

  47. @Jenos Idanian:

    No, it is reasonable cost/benefit analysis.

    And if you think that this situation is identical to the scenario you described, then no wonder you have such a hard time sorting out the policy situation.

  48. An Interested Party says:

    Indeed, it was typical of you: you rarely address direct confrontation on a given point, but rather move on to something else.

    Maybe he’s afraid of being banned yet again…

    Alternately, one of her supporters can volunteer to go to Colombia in her stead, and remain there as long as she remains in the US. Either way, the balance is maintained.

    A better alternative would be for you to go to Colombia…after all, she’s seems to be a far better asset to this country as well as being a much better representative of it than you…

  49. @Jenos Idanian:

    Finite resources.

    BTW, you do realize that the probability here is that a student of this caliber is likely to go on to a very successful career and, therefore, be a net positive to the economy. Indeed, if she becomes a surgeon, she would be in the top 1% of income earners and have clearly positive impact on the economy. How does that fit your “finite resources” argument?

  50. @An Interested Party:

    Maybe he’s afraid of being banned yet again…

    I could be mistaken, but I don’t think he was banned, but rather threatened to leave and never come back (and hence the new name). But again: I may be misremembering the commenter in question and the chain of events.

  51. Graham says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Which finite resources?

    People don’t come to this country to leech off of our amazing socialist utopia. They come here to work for a better life. These people own businesses, work, pay taxes, and support their communities.

    They want jobs. Yes, those jobs require resources. Supplies, tools, etc. They need homes, cars, and food.

    This natural economic demand creates wealth, it doesn’t take it from you. Economics is not a zero sum game.

  52. Richard says:

    For one, being high school valedictorian is hardly a sign of future success or even that the person will be an asset to society. The inequality of talent distribution at the high school level can mean that in a low-income neighbourhood affected by gang violence, the most sober kid can end up being valedictorian without any ability to compete at the next level.

    I state this remembering an outstanding fellow classmate on an H4 visa in my high school, which was known to be quite rigourous, being denied application to American universities after his status changed in the middle of the process. He ended up going to school in the UK and he is doing quite well there. So yes, the US does routinely turn away arguably more talented individuals than this lady.

    I have a vehement distaste for allow exceptions in the rules whenever there is a tearful case example. I agree that immigration law in the US needs significant reform, but as it stands now, her accomplishments so far do not merit an exception.

    And how the heck did her family stay that long without anyone noticing or tracking them down? There should be posting of names to an FBI list for people who overstay tourism visas. They can be huge national security risks, after all. And those things can be easily tracked electronically, allowing confirmation of departure for everyone at an appropriate time, and sending gentle reminder emails to those whose visas are about to expire.

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    Here’s why I said “finite resources.” It’s never just one exception.

    According to Wikipedia, the estimates of the numbers of illegal aliens who’d benefit from the DREAM Act is anywhere from 7,0000 to 2 million. Regardless of those precise numbers, that’s 7,000 to 2 million seats in college that will be denied to American citizens and legal residents.

    Besides, I seem to recall that a lot of other immigration measures (from my side) were shot down with phrases like “only as a part of comprehensive immigration reform.” So I’m inclined to toss that phrase back.

    So, let’s recap the unanswered questions:

    1) Apart from the unacceptable DREAM Act, what proposed solutions are there to the situation demonstrated here?

    2) How did the young lady’s family support itself for the decade or so they were here under fraudulent circumstances?

    3) What should we do to discourage more parents from doing the same thing to gain the benefits of American residency for their children in violation of the law?

    4) Why should this young woman get the benefits countless others are seeking — but doing so legally?

    Every single act of “compassion” in cases like this is also, inevitably, a slap in the face to those trying to come here legally. It’s telling those following the law that they are fools, because we will reward line-cutters and cheaters, while insisting that those who stayed within the law keep jumping through hoops. It encourages more people to present faits accompli like this young woman’s parents did with their children.

    NOT a good precedent to set.

  54. @Jenos Idanian:

    Every single act of “compassion” in cases like this is also, inevitably, a slap in the face to those trying to come here legally.

    No, it underscores the screwed up nature of the entire process of coming here legally.

    On regards to your point#1: I am not going to write legislation in a comment box and even if I did, I have little doubt that you would find it acceptable, as it would, no doubt, contain elements of the dreaded amnesty.

    I understand your position: you think you are arguing from a place of profound principle about law and order. Instead, what you are really doing is defending an utterly broken system and acting like you are scoring points.

    One of the fundamental flaws in your position is that you think things like this:

    It encourages more people to present faits accompli like this young woman’s parents did with their children.

    No, situations like this aren’t what cause people to come to the US illegally. What encourages people to come here is that they are looking for a better life. This is going to happen regardless of what is done in this case. People are willing to die walking across the Sonoran desert for the chance to come clean toilets in a Tucson McDonald’s. The forces are work here are far deeper and more profound than you are acknowledging.

    Also: these are human beings that we are talking about here. This also seems rather missing from your high school debating club approach.

  55. Jenos Idanian says:

    OK, fine, I’ll try another approach. Where is your compassion for those would-be immigrants who are obeying the law and following the process?

    On regards to your point#1: I am not going to write legislation in a comment box and even if I did, I have little doubt that you would find it acceptable, as it would, no doubt, contain elements of the dreaded amnesty.

    I didn’t ask for written legislation. Just an outline of your reforms. Guess that’s too much to ask. You’re more interested in getting personal than the issues. Understandable; one must play to one’s strengths, and “problem-solving” doesn’t seem to be one of yours. Easier to just bash around others.

    I don’t recall anyone saying the system isn’t screwed up. But forgive me for having a memory — the immigration “reforms” of 1964 and 1985 both contained amnesties and pledges that it would reduce or eliminate the illegal immigrant problem, and in both cases things promptly got worse. So I’m a tad suspicious about how “amnesty” will fix things this time, promise, for sure.

    Is this young woman in a rough spot? Absolutely. But why? Not because of the US or our policies, but because her parents put her in that spot. Why is it our place to make up to her what they did to her?

    Here’s an analogy: think of her as a fetus, and the US as the unwilling mother. Don’t we have the “choice” to not “carry her to term” and “abort” her presence in the US? Legally, she’s as dependent on the US for her continued presence as a fetus is on its mother for its continued survival. If the fetus has no legal right to insist on continuing support, does this young woman?

    Yes, I’m using absurd analogies. This one, the “send someone back in her place” one, and so on. In the end, all analogies tend to be absurd. But I’ve yet to hear a cogent argument for allowing her to stay in violation of the law while allowing the law to stand. So I use them to mock the absurdity of the other side.

    If it sounds simplistic, that’s because it is simple. Either the law is right, and should be enforced, or it is wrong, and should be amended. And all the snark and sniping and nit-picking only goes so far in obscuring that simple truth.

  56. Septimius says:

    If Daniela Palaez was a high school dropout should she be allowed to stay in the U.S.? Would it be any less harmful to deport her to Colombia if she wasn’t the valedictorian? Maybe we should have a GPA requirement for kids liker her. If you get a GPA higher than 4.0, you get an automatic green card.

  57. @Jenos Idanian:

    The law is wrong and should be amended. But the problem you refuse to acknowledge is that Iitnis not going to be amended any time soon and hence the need for ad hoc remedies.

    The only fix is to acknowledge the powers of supply and demand in play which includes a substantial increase in allowed immigration.

    Until we do that, no policy will “fix” anything.

  58. @Jenos Idanian: BTW, for a guy who has claimed in the past not to be a Lombaugh listener, you really use his methodologies.

    Mocking and bein absurd may make for good radio (at least in the opinions of many) but they
    make for poor argumentation. You are annoying because, really, you think that mocking qualifies as intellectual discourse.

  59. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven Taylor: The law is wrong and should be amended. But the problem you refuse to acknowledge is that Iitnis not going to be amended any time soon and hence the need for ad hoc remedies.

    Well, part of the reason it won’t be amended any time soon is that “my” side has offered changes, which go nowhere except get us called racists and xenophobes and worse, and “your’ side just offers vague platitudes about “reform” and “fairness” that have zero substance. So yeah, with that going on, it ain’t going nowhere.

    I once suggested coupling a doubling of immigration quotas with a truly draconian enforcement — those caught here illegally deported and banned for at least a decade, massive crackdown on labor law violations, real border security, and the like. How’s that sound to you?

    The problem with ad hoc solutions to a systemic problem is that after a while, the ad hocs start forming their own precedents and we end up with more exceptions than rules. When the system is broken, it should be fixed. And when “your” side is insisting on a regular basis that it’s broken and we need “comprehensive immigration reform,” I expect at least a few concrete proposals from those pushing for the changes. If you don’t understand why, let me refer you to the 2008 presidential election, when one of the choices embodied vague, undefined “change,” and hoo boy did we get it. Hell, we’re still getting it, and in a most uncomfortable place. I’d like to think we’ve learned a little something from that experience.

    Limbaugh hardly holds a monopoly on mockery and derision. I’d wager you listen to him far more than I do. Frankly, he bores me, and has for… let’s see… I’d say since early in the Clinton administration. My “style” is more derived from the great stand-up comics, most particularly Steven Wright and George Carlin. (That’s a comment on how I feel they’ve influenced me than any kind of claim of kinship or equality.)

  60. @Jenos Idanian:

    I suppose it depends on you think the “sides” are (and they are more complicated than you suggest. I point out that the last serious immigration reform was done by Reagan and the last major attempt was by Bush 43.

    . My “style” is more derived from the great stand-up comics, most particularly Steven Wright and George Carlin.

    If you say so. I have to admit, that made me LOL (well, chuckle out loud, anyway).

  61. An Interested Party says:

    Somewhere, George Carlin shakes his head…

  62. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: If you need me to spell it out, I am a huge admirer of both Carlin and Wright. Yes, I’ve drawn inspiration from their styles. How much quality I draw is certainly debatable, but I owe them far more credit than I owe Limbaugh, who I find a crashing bore.

    if you think my style is like his, whatever. As I said, I don’t listen to him, but if you do, then you’re more familiar with his style. I will say that one of the things I do know about him is that a major part of his schtick is a huge dose of ego and self-aggrandizement (facetious or not), while I prefer self-deprecating humor. From what I recall, phrases like “proven right 99.9% of the time,” “talent on loan from God,” “operating with half my brain tied behind my back just to make it fair,” and the like are part and parcel of his routine; I’d never say anything like that.

    I note that I’m still the only one who’s actually suggested something resembling an actual immigration reform, but I’m not the one who’s talking most loudly about how broken it is…

  63. andrewred says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Thattrue its problably honors and Ap classes