Fresno State student president outed as illegal immigrant. Does it matter?
Fresno State University student body president Pedro Ramirez was revealed to be an illegal immigrant by an anonymous tip. He says he won't step down.
An anonymous student at Fresno State University outed student body President Pedro Ramirez – revealing that Mr. Ramirez is an illegal immigrant the day after the state supreme court ruled that illegal immigrants could claim in-state tuition.Skip to next paragraph
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The incident is further evidence that the issue of undocumented immigrants at US colleges is becoming increasingly heated, with 10 states allowing in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
Moreover, Congress continues to consider the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children and attend college or join the military. Senate majority leader Harry Reid has vowed to bring the bill to a vote this year.
Mr. Ramirez, brought to the US from Mexico when he was 3, says he didn’t know he was not a citizen until he was a senior in high school. Elected student body president last June, Ramirez is working without the $9,000 stipend for his position because he refused to lie on employment papers.
Fresno State President John Welty said in a statement that Ramirez personally notified him after his election about his immigration status and volunteered to serve without pay. Mr. Welty said that Ramirez has fulfilled all the requirements of state law and that his status does not bar his participation in student affairs, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Others agree. “He is playing within the rules so he shouldn’t step down,” says Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento. She says she has had several undocumented immigrants in classes over the years and says they “work extra hard.”