Harvard, Immigration

Harvard Student v. Border Patrol

Those in favor of hunting down illegal immigrants who come to this country looking to better themselves will probably view this story as a victory. They’ll skip right past the part where we find out that the illegal immigrant in question came to this country when he was four. Instead they’ll accuse this guy of “taking” a spot that should have gone to a deserving American.

A spot at Harvard University…

The WSJ Law Blog reports:

[W]ith the all the recent hubbub over the country’s immigration policy, it was perhaps only a matter of time before we had a story from Cambridge, Mass., courtesy of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Eric Balderas, a rising sophomore at the college, is facing possible deportation after being detained at the San Antonio airport when he tried to board a flight back to Boston last week using a Mexican consulate card and a Harvard ID. After airport authorities alerted ICE officials, Balderas was led away in handcuffs and told to appear at a July 6 immigration hearing…

Balderas and his mother crossed into the United States illegally when Balderas was 4, according to the Harvard student newspaper.

You have to love immigration officials. Keeping our country safe from terrorists? Drug Smugglers? Aryan gods and goddesses who make our indigenous white people feel crappy about themselves? Nope, they’re harassing a Harvard kid whose only crime is failing to fill out proper papers when he was four. Bill Murray’s Dad in Scrooged wasn’t this harsh.

It’s hard not to be sympathetic to a person like Eric Balderas. The dude wants to be a cancer researcher for god’s sake. The Boston Globe reports:

Balderas said he is the son of a single mother who left an abusive husband and worked 12-hour days packing biscuits while raising him, and his younger brother and sister in San Antonio. At home, he would babysit his siblings while juggling homework on his own.

“I honestly never thought I’d make it into college because of my status but I just really enjoyed school too much and I gave it a shot,” he said. “I did strive for this.”

Now he is at one of the world’s best universities, majoring in molecular and cellular biology.

But on Monday, as he sat handcuffed, he said he contemplated suicide at the thought of being sent back to Mexico. He does not remember his hometown of Ciudad Acuna, in the northern state of Coahuila. His family is in Texas.

But some scholars —  like George Washington law professor Jonathan Turley — see amnesty for people like Balderas as some sort of threat to the rule of law in this country. Yesterday, the Law Blog excerpted a piece (MSNBC darling) Turley wrote for USA Today:

Indeed, high-ranking Obama officials . . . have suggested that they might refuse to deport those arrested under the Arizona law. While we continue to tell millions around the world that they must wait for years to immigrate legally, Congress and the White House are considering a new amnesty proposal to benefit an additional 11 million illegal immigrants.

Funny, it seems like Balderas and his mother were tired, and poor, and yet yearned to breathe free. And they made it here. And now the kid is doing well at one of our best universities.

But that’s not going to be enough for some people. Maybe in his next life Balderas can try harder to be born in the right place so his quest to better himself won’t threaten to bring down the entire United States legal system.

Immigration Crackdown Nets Harvard Student . . . For Now [WSJ Law Blog]
Harvard student faces deportation to Mexico [Boston Globe]
Does the ‘Rule of Law’ Even Exist in the U.S. Anymore? [WSJ Law Blog]

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