California Congressman Bob Filner: We Must Not Deport Alien Junior College Student; Reason: She’s a Track Star!

The other side has a new cause célèbre Dreamer. Today, it’s 20-year-old Ayded Reyes, an alien student at Chula Vista’s Southwest College. Reyes, according to the story first reported by espn-W, is “California’s top-ranked junior college athlete.”

For those of you who have been following the thousands of weepy “it’s too cruel to deport me” stories during  the past ten years that Congress has unsuccessfully tried to pass the DREAM Act, you can probably fill in the rest of Reyes’ story without any help from me.

But, just in case, here it is: Reyes came to the United States when she was only two and she 1) has no memory of or any friends in Mexico, 2) is brilliant as evidenced by her 3.50 grade point average, 3) volunteers with the sick and elderly, 4) has a “sweet, effusive and energetic” personality and 5) wants to be an obstetrician. [“If They Make Me Go Back, I Will Be Lost,” by Jamie Reno, espnW, December 29, 2011]

According to reporter Reno’s story, the San Diego Harbor Police Department arrested Reyes in her boyfriend’s car where the couple was parked beyond the posted closing time at the port. When Reyes couldn’t prove that she was a legal U.S. resident, police turned her over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement where she was detained for five days.

But, again no surprise to the initiated among us, Reyes soon made friends in high places. No doubt following ICE director John Morton’s prosecutorial discretion memo, ICE released Reyes. Prominent San Diego immigration lawyer Jacob Sapochnick took Reyes’ case pro bono. And U. S. Representative Bob Filner (D-51st District) has filed a private bill, H.R. 3281, that would grant Reyes citizenship bases on her so called “special circumstances.” Sapochnick and Filner argue that Reyes is the victim of racial profiling, a charge that Port of San Diego spokesman Ron Powell denies. (Filner has a NumbersUSA F- immigration grade)

During my 25 year teaching career at a heavily Hispanic California public school district, I would say that outside of her ability to run fast there’s nothing particularly compelling about Reyes’ case. Vague references to charity work are easily contrived especially if deportation is looming.  As for Reyes’ desire to become an obstetrician, let’s at least be honest. From her status as a junior college student, Reyes would have more than a decade of intensive study before she becomes a board certified medical doctor. A high community college GPA rarely translates into success at medical school.

While it is unlikely that H.R. 3281 will pass (it has no co-sponsors), Filner’s bill delays any possible action against Reyes indefinitely. And it stands as another glowing example of how broadly ignored federal immigration laws are.  If being a junior college track star and, according to hearsay from friends and family, being  a “sweet” person is the standard for non-enforcement, then few aliens have anything to worry about.

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