By Joe Guzzardi
March 14, 2012
Daniela Paleaz and her sister Dayana symbolize the great divide between what citizens expect from their government and what elected officials do instead.
The Paleaz sisters are Colombian illegal immigrants who, until recently, were in deportation proceedings. Their parents overstayed their tourist visas 15 years ago. But Daniela is also a DREAMing North Miami High School student scheduled to graduate this spring. While you may not recognize Paleaz by name, you’ve read her story dozens of times.
According to mainstream media reports, all DREAMers are brilliant and aspire to attend impossible-to-get-into universities where they’ll study subjects reserved for geniuses only. The specifics of Daniela’s case are that she has a 6.7 GPA, wants to attend Yale to major in molecular biology. As for Daniela’s GPA, her inflated grades are so preposterous as to have no validity. And there’s nothing unique about a good high school student who wants to attend an Ivy League university.
Daniela’s story has an interesting sub-plot. Along with her sister and her lawyer, last week Daniela flew to Washington, D.C. where she was welcomed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio as well as U.S. Representatives Frederica Wilson, David Rivera and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Pause here to grasp the improbability and inappropriateness of two teenaged aliens meeting face to face with six Congressional members to bemoan the unfairness of their impending deportation even though it is in accordance with federal law.
The sisters didn’t worry long. Thanks to the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion policy that allows Homeland Security rather than the rule of law to determine who stays in the country, ICE gave the sisters a two year reprieve. Representative Wilson jubilantly proclaimed: “This is what Congress is all about. This is what this nation is all about.”
I view the Paleaz case quite differently from Wilson. First, Paleaz and her family have already benefited enormously from their illegal presence without, as far as I can tell from multiple accounts, expressing any gratitude. The sisters enjoyed taxpayer funded K-12 education that probably included English as a second language and special reading classes during their primary schooling. Her family may have received some federal subsidies; most alien households do.
Then there’s the question of why, with a fixed number of incoming freshman seats available annually, one of them should go to an alien, even in the unlikely event that she is a genius. Yale accepts only one in 10 of its applicants. Among those rejected or put on the waiting list, many would have qualifications equal to Paleaz’s.
If you’re worried that to deny Paleaz a place in the U.S. university system means that Americans will lose out on a budding molecular biologist, think again. The National University of Colombia, a 150-year-old widely respected institution, teaches molecular biology. I checked. Let Peleaz study in her native country and then, as millions of others do, get in line to legally come to the United States.
Finally and most troubling, even though the DREAM Act has been soundly defeated for more than ten years, the whining never ends. Whether Republicans or Democrats control Congress, Americans’ objections to the DREAM Act are so resounding that its advocates can’t muscle it through.
Nevertheless, Rep. Rivera plans to introduce the STARS Act (Studying Toward Adjusted Residency) which he proudly claims the Pelaez sisters helped him draft.
In an election year, STARS has no chance of getting to the House floor for a full vote. To introduce a much needed reality dose to the endlessly complaining DREAMers and to quiet the noise they make, I offer this simple, legal solution: deport a few.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. His editorials have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]