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Illegal Immigrants and Sealed Documents

Online readers respond to "Dead End," by Chris Vogel, June 19.

Honor system: What part of "illegal" do you not understand? I know many people who have entered this country legally and they also resent those who bypass the "system." These are people from countries that are devastated by war, and yet they choose to follow our laws.

Comment by Barb

Vote yes: The DREAM Act is a wonderful piece of legislation. It gives these students an opportunity to continue their education. Many were brought to this country at a very young age and are American in every sense of the word, as they have known no other land. Hopefully after the November elections, the Senate will have enough votes to move this forward.

Comment by note2self

Not the kids' fault: I think the DREAM act is a good thing. In a perfect world, and if our immigration system were fair and rational, perhaps it would be fair to consider students' immigration status. However, that's not where we are. For many people, there is essentially no legal way to get here. Barb mentions "war" — what do you think brought the Central Americans here? Civil wars and their aftermath are a major cause of undocumented migration. Many of these wars were actually U.S. proxy wars, fought in other people's backyards. NAFTA and CAFTA, and the associated economic deregulations, have also had a major role in dislodging people from their work. U.S. policies in other countries have been major causes of the flight of economic refugees. No way should we be blaming the kids.

I know young people who were literally carried across the border in their parents' arms — they had no role in the decision to come here. Ignorance is a social evil, and should be combated in all possible ways. Leaving a generation of young people frustrated, resentful and with no place to go will not lead to any good. Knowing that they can't go to college leads many to drop out of high school, putting them on an even shorter dead end...It's far better to let these kids study and become productive, committed members of society.

Comment by MH

Here's the good news: The entire public university system of the National Autonomous University of Mexico is free to Mexican nationals like the students highlighted in this article. In fact, they have had every right and opportunity to pursue a college education at world-class universities in Mexico since day one. The DREAM Act is a ruse to grant immigration benefits to young adults so that once they become 21, they then can bring in the rest of their illegal alien family members and through chain migration sponsor an unlimited number of family members that aren't even in the States yet.

These kids should be grateful that they were not deported before they got the chance to take advantage of a free public K-12 education and free medical and other benefits subsidized by American citizens and taxpayers. I don't hear a word of gratitude for that. Why doesn't the Mexican consulate inform the illegal alien students from Mexico about the low-cost, free opportunities to study in Mexico?

Comment by LEGALATINA

No excuse: I am so sick and tired of the "It's not our fault our parents brought us here" excuse. If you are going to college, that means you are 18 years old. And under U.S. law, that means you are an adult. As an adult, you are responsible for your own actions now and cannot blame your parents anymore. So you can't use that excuse anymore. This is getting really old and boring. Why don't you DREAMers just tell us the truth instead of hiding behind the "You can't punish us for our parents' sins" excuse? Americans are not stupid. Just admit it and publicly say: "I am illegally here, and I don't want to be deported." Period. Just say it like it is. Don't give us all your smokescreen 4.0 GPA, "I just want to be a doctor" crap. We are not buying it. Don't confuse the public with your sob stories. Go home and get over yourselves.

Comment by Ex_OC

No anchor babies: Let's say my name is Maria and I came from Guerrero 17 years ago, bringing an infant who has now graduated from high school in the U.S. If DREAM passes and my kid turns 18, gets residency as a result of going to university in the U.S. or doing military service, yes, he'd be able to petition for me. Does that mean I'd get instant residency? I don't think so. People who've come in without papers can only do what's called consular processing. They have to go back to their home country to file their papers. People who have worked for more than a year without papers are barred from reentry for ten years when they leave the U.S. So if my kid petitions for me and I go home to Guerrero to file my papers, I'm south of the border for a minimum of ten years — and I can't reenter legally unless I pre­sent proof of having been outside the U.S. for the whole time. I'll be expected to present rent receipts, tax returns, letters of employment, the whole shebang. Even if the visa line for my class of people is shorter than ten years — and it isn't, ­necessarily.

If I have younger children to take care of, it may well be several years before I'm even willing to leave to file — depending upon how dangerous and/or deprived my home area may be. The vision of "anchor babies" creating a tidal wave of family immigration is really exaggerated.

Comment by MH

Leave: It's wrong for these illegal aliens to be here. They can't legally get a job anywhere in America. They are wasting their time going to school. Nice how they talk about cheating the system using fake IDs — not the kind of nationals I want on a path to citizenship. Erika is not a student, she's a criminal. Things are changing and DREAMers should start accepting that they are going to have to leave. Forget the education and start packing.

Comment by Lynx

Sealing Documents

Not Our Fault: From Chris Vogel's story ["A New Retreat"] of June 26, readers might infer that a sealed document was available via the Harris County District Clerk's Web site through some fault of the office.

This is what happened: After a settlement was reached in the civil suit, the defendant's attorney filed two motions and inadvertently attached the settlement agreement to both of them. The attorney then filed a motion to seal the agreement attached to just one of the motions. Even when that was granted, the settlement agreement attached to the other motion remained public.

Then, on June 19, the attorney filed an emergency motion to seal the second motion. As soon as that was granted, access to the settlement agreement was restricted properly.

"We take our duties very seriously and are particularly careful when it comes to sealing documents," District Clerk Theresa Chang said. "We have steps in our processes to ensure documents are sealed when that is ordered."

Fred King
Communications Coordinator
Harris County District Clerk
Theresa Chang

High Culture
Press writer is nationally recognized for his arts feature

Troy Schulze, a frequent contributor to the Houston Press, has received second-place honors in a national journalism contest sponsored by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.

Schulze was cited for his Press story "Black Box Office," about African-­American urban theater in the Arts Feature category of the AltWeekly Awards.


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