Patterico's Pontifications


Harvard Student Can Stay in U.S.

Filed under: Education,Immigration — DRJ @ 7:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Harvard University student who emigrated illegally from Mexico to Texas with his family at age 4 will be allowed to stay in the U.S. for an indeterminate period.

The student, Balderas, had been traveling on a Mexican passport until his most recent trip, when he tried to use a student I.D. after losing his passport. Immigration reform advocates point to cases like Balderas as reasons to support the DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to illegal immigrant children who pursue some college education.


37 Responses to “Harvard Student Can Stay in U.S.”

  1. Since he’d been traveling on a Mexican passport, and obviously knew he had no visa, the “student” knew he was here illegally. I’ve no sympathy.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  2. It’s OK to go to college in this country as long as there is no tax generated funds involved.
    There should be no automatic offer of citizenship after graduation.

    I have friends from Latin America going to college here, and they are paying full boat for their fees with no prospect of becoming citizens upon completion of their educations. They deserve it more than children of illegal aliens because they are paying full fees, and are completely legal. These are the kind of immigrants we need.

    bob (9838b5)

  3. rejoicing in heart
    do beat shitting in his pants
    any day of week

    ColonelHaiku (2ce3dc)

  4. Seriously, all he is doing is taking a slot from an American or a foreign national who respects America enough to be here legally.


    Kalroy (815aa1)

  5. Nice personal principles we have here. Someone who wishes to practice law begins that endeavor by breaking it. Paging Ms Morrisette…

    Gazzer (d79016)

  6. We had a report in the AZ Republic last week of an illegal alien couple, with requisite anchor baby, who were scooped up in a recent Arpaio raid on a car wash. They are now both convicted felons. They requested a hearing in front of an immigration judge which was granted. Here’s the good bit. He was granted a date in mid 2012, she was granted a date in May 2013! Even though they have ZERO chance of being granted residency because of the felonies, they are still given their “day in court.” Of course, they may legally work until their hearing.

    Gazzer (d79016)

  7. I don’t think he wants to be a lawyer. An earlier article said Balderas is studying molecular and cellular biology and wants to be a cancer researcher.

    One of the reasons Harvard gave for supporting Balderas is that he had shown he could do top work by completing his first year. That immediately reminded me of the student who excelled at Harvard despite the fact he had apparently conned Harvard into admitting him.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  8. Found the link here

    Please note that the male “could not remember” what papers he showed to get the job in the first place. Meanwhile, in another part of town some schmuck is trying to recover from the effects of identity theft. We are doomed.

    Gazzer (d79016)

  9. In cases where employers are charged with knowingly hiring illegal immigrants, I wonder if they would get a criminal trial before the immigrants get deported.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  10. Very few employers have been charged in AZ precisely because of the “knowingly” part. Plausible deniability.

    Gazzer (d79016)

  11. we should make him an American citizen and tell him to study hard and make something of himself

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  12. One has to wonder if the young man were attending a state college or even a community college, would he be afforded the same leniency? Or what if he had less significant aspirations than cancer researcher?

    What does rulebook say about subjectivity in making these decisions? This is another form of discrimination. Ironic.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  13. Sounds like this student was a total walking test case.

    I’m sure the lawyers have a brief already prepared, and it will take it all the way.

    Patricia (160852)

  14. Hmm, Patricia, I’m thinking that this may not only be a test case, but a well-timed test case, what with the federal suit against Arizona and all.

    Ag80 (1b8eea)

  15. Gazzer:

    Very few employers have been charged in AZ precisely because of the “knowingly” part. Plausible deniability.

    Maybe. I know there have been successful prosecutions in my area, and it seems the issue is whether employers had and could produce facially valid I-9s and other required documents. Some employers are conned by fake documents but sometimes there aren’t any plausible documents, and I guess those are the cases that get prosecuted.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  16. Patricia and Ag80, unfortunately I think you’re both right. And if they were going to make this *the* case, why not go with a Harvard student rather than a state university or community college. Much better airplay.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  17. “One of the reasons Harvard gave for supporting Balderas is that he had shown he could do top work by completing his first year.”

    DRJ – My impression of Harvard and its grads was that the only difficult thing about it was getting in.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  18. I know there are students who work very hard at college but there plenty who don’t, including at Harvard.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  19. From Wikipedia (caveat emptor):

    “…Harvard College reduced the number of students who receive Latin honors from 90% in 2004 to 60% in 2005. …”

    When I was TA at Stanford, I had to take over a class for a sick faculty member. During the organizational meeting with the students, I said that the average grade for the class should be a high C to a low B.

    A young fellow disagreed, saying that the average grade should be a high B or a low A.

    Why?, I asked.

    “We proved ourselves by getting in,” the young worthy replied.

    So some folks at Harvard defend the honors situation in that fashion.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  20. Oh, and from Harvard’s own website:

    My math is not reassuring, when it comes to them tightening up.

    Guess what the cut offs are in the UC system?

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  21. Here it is from UCLA, currently:


    Latin Honors

    The College and schools award Latin honors according to overall grade-point average at graduation. Honors are reflected on official transcripts and diplomas. Eligible students must have completed at least 90 (98 for the School of Nursing) University of California units for a letter grade. The levels of honors are summa cum laude, magna cum laude, and cum laude. The minimum GPA requirements for the 2010-11 academic year are as follows:

    School of the Arts and Architecture: 3.896 for summa cum laude, 3.831 for magna cum laude, 3.742 for cum laude
    College of Letters and Science: 3.877 for summa cum laude, 3.792 for magna cum laude, 3.660 for cum laude

    School of Nursing: 3.877 for summa cum laude, 3.792 for magna cum laude, 3.660 for cum laude

    Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science: 3.871 for summa cum laude, 3.771 for magna cum laude, 3.624 for cum laude. In addition, the school requires the upper division GPA to be 3.871 for summa cum laude, 3.771 for magna cum laude, 3.624 for cum laude; a minimum 3.25 GPA in the major; and at least 80 upper division units completed at UC

    School of Theater, Film, and Television: 3.948 for summa cum laude, 3.879 for magna cum laude, 3.772 for cum laude
    Requirements are subject to yearly change and other eligibility restrictions. Contact the College or school for information.”

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  22. DRJ and Eric – Thanks for the comments. I was basing mine also on the many Harvard undergrad and grad students I’ve worked with over the years.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  23. Daley, there are good students and bad students everywhere. And the “better” schools have their share of snobs. I went to UCLA as an undergraduate, and Stanford for my PhD. And even though my training at Stanford was not as rigorous (based on looking at programs) as that at, say, Wisconsin-Madison or UIUC, there are lots of people who get all impressed by the Palo Alto nonsense.

    To be sure, I went to school with some people who are doing remarkable things now—much, much, MUCH more successful than me. But the same is true for people I knew who entered the PhD program in my field at UCLA.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  24. Eric – I think a lot of school is what the individual makes of it, but I remain convinced that Harvard is overrated from an educational perspective.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  25. I think that is true for many places nowadays, daley.

    I’m not an engineer, but the Olin School of Engineering is one heckuva experiment.

    I really like small schools, because the students can’t hide from the professors, the professors actually teach and interact with the students, and so forth.

    But that might be my reaction to having gone to a huge and impersonal school.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  26. I went to large schools and I like them. At large schools, students can goof off or they can make the effort to learn, ask questions, and work hard. It’s up to the student to decide whether to coast or get motivated, and learning to be a self-starter is an important quality for a successful career.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  27. On the other hand, DRJ, I have had a number of former students tell me that my ability to work with them and encourage them, one on one, was instrumental in turning their lives around.

    Maybe they should have done it on their own, or perhaps their parents should have taught them that kind of self-sufficiency.

    I couldn’t have done that, teaching and doing research at a large school. And I had a heck of a time as a student at a large school, as I dealt with testosterone poisoning and growing up (the same thing?).

    Frankly, I try to be the professor I wanted to have when I was a student. And one size certainly doesn’t fit all in that area, just like any other.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  28. In fact, I had a sad thing happen this year. Two people I know in my own area of research had a child starting at my institution as a first year student (did you know we aren’t supposed to say “freshman” anymore?).

    So they asked me to be their child’s advisor and they leaned on the registrar to put the child into two of my classes as a first year student.

    The student did not do well, complete with academic probation. And the parents were not happy (though, again, I am forbidden from discussing student grades with parents due to the FERPA laws).

    All I could do is my best to guide and help the student. It was up to him or her to take advantage of the opportunities.

    Sad story.

    Eric Blair (c8876d)

  29. Absolutely. I’m not saying small colleges are bad, only that large colleges have their good points.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  30. so we are just not going to bother to enforce the law anymore?

    DaMav (6ab8ce)

  31. What does rulebook say about subjectivity in making these decisions? This is another form of discrimination. Ironic.

    Comment by Dana — 6/19/2010 @ 9:02 pm

    Dana, I just ask myself – “Self, what would the Wise Latina rule?” And go with that.

    Or not.

    NavyspyII (df615d)

  32. Dana and Ag80 — let’s watch and see who this kid’s attorneys are. ACLU? Maldef?

    It’s a set up.

    Patricia (160852)

  33. If I rob a bank can I plead about it’s disproportionate effect on my children, and therefore have no consequences? Actually attaching any consequence to any crime is probably a bad thing. It will lower self esteem, “I was so stupid to get caught.” It will disrupt my families income, the children won’t have me around. Why can’t we use these arguments for any crime? Oh, I am an old white male!

    Dan (431719)

  34. If a high percentage (or at least a noticeably higher percentage) of immigrants from Mexico had the wherewithal to attend schools like Harvard, I wouldn’t be quite as worried about the issue of the “undocumented” — and problems associated with — to begin with.

    Mark (411533)

  35. Eric – I’m surprised my whistle hasn’t worked yet.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  36. Don’t blow the FERPA whistle on me, daley!

    Eric Blair (02a138)

  37. It’s good to see that someone pointed out above what’s happening: he took a Harvard education from a U.S. citizen.

    However, simply pointing that out here won’t have an impact. You have to point it out to the face of a politician who supports the act, and then upload video of their response to Youtube.

    In case anyone is willing to do some work and actually do something, promote asking the question at my name’s link.

    When you want to actually do something (af204a)

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