Paltry crowd hears protests over illegal student
by Kathryn Dobies
kdobies@mdjonline.com
May 21, 2010 12:00 AM | 3699 views | 47 47 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA - A small group of immigrant rights activists gathered before a paltry crowd on the Marietta Square on Thursday to protest Sheriff Neil Warren's treatment of illegal immigrant Jessica Colotl, claiming he unfairly targeted the KSU student, but gives preferential treatment to his friends and colleagues.

"Why would a big man with a badge go after a 21-year-old college student, who's a top performer, an asset to this country, an asset to this state? The questions are just too many," said Rich Pellegrino, director of the Cobb Immigration Alliance, to a crowd of about 20 residents and media members.

Pellegrino and his supporters called for Warren to reply to the allegations of selective law enforcement. They also called for him to drop the charges against Colotl, who did not attend the gathering, and repeal 287(g), an agreement Cobb County has with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to check the immigration status of everyone booked into the county jail.

If the sheriff does not respond to the allegations, Pellegrino warned, he and his supporters would possibly seek civil rights charges against him.

"From this point on, the coalition will be watching," Pellegrino said. "We will watch the sheriff and the other law enforcement officials, the elected officials, to see if they really believe in the rule of law or if it's just a neat slogan in order to expediently target who they don't like."

The sheriff was not available to comment Thursday; however, Chief Deputy Sheriff Lynda Coker said Warren would respond within the next few days.

"Sheriff Warren hasn't had a chance to review all of the allegations made against the sheriff's office, and plans to respond as soon as he's had that opportunity," Coker said. "In the many years that I have worked with Sheriff Warren I have never observed him being selective in enforcement. He always legally and consistently enforces the law."

Colotl, 21, was stopped on KSU campus March 29 for a traffic violation and later arrested for driving without a valid license. After Colotl was booked into Cobb Jail, she was turned over to immigration authorities. She was taken to the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, Ala., on April 1, but was released May 5. Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities agreed to defer any action against her for one year so she could return to her studies at the university.

On May 12, the Cobb Sheriff's Office obtained a warrant for Colotl on a felony charge of lying to law-enforcement officials, based on a reportedly false address she provided upon her book-in at the Cobb County Jail in March. On May 14, Colotl turned herself into Cobb authorities and was released on a $2,500 bond.

D.A. King, founder of the Dustin Inman Society, an anti-illegal immigrant group, applauded Warren for his work as a law official.

In response to Thursday's press conference, King said, "It looks to me very much like the Thursday train from cuckooville has arrived in Marietta, Georgia, and the usual suspects have disembarked and are demanding attention with race-bating. The despicable attempt to discredit the brave and dutiful Sheriff Warren in Cobb County is coming from all the right enemies. Neil Warren is an American hero. Here in Cobb County we are very grateful that he has authority to enforce the law."

Pellegrino, however, said King is an example of Warren selectively enforcing the law.

Pellegrino cited an August 2008 Cobb County Commissioners meeting, in which King displayed two fraudulent Mexican identification cards. King said he had obtained the fake IDs and enlarged them to show how easy it was for illegal immigrants to get them. As obtaining a fake ID is illegal, Pellegrino filed a complaint with the Cobb County Sheriff's Department. King was investigated, but never charged.

Officials said the IDs, which were blown up to the size of desk calendars, were clearly not intended to be used. However, Pellegrino quoted Georgia Code, which states that intent to use is not a factor in the law. Pellegrino also accused state Rep. Matt Dollar (R-east Cobb) of similar charges regarding a presentation of fake IDs in the Georgia Assembly. Dollar did not return calls for comment from the Journal. King called Pellegrino's charges against him frivolous.

You Don't Speak for Me, a Hispanic-American national organization against illegal immigration, reached out to the Journal on Wednesday in response to Colotl's case.

Mariann Davies, vice-chair and charter member of the 20,000-member group, said it's unfortunate that Colotl and other students like her don't take advantage of educational opportunities given to them in their home countries. Davies said all Mexican nationalists are eligible to attend the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City for free.

"Again, it's unfortunate what this gal did - she violated the law ... You don't do that," Davies said. "I see this as a very black and white issue and I don't understand why anybody would think she's deserving to stay. Plus she has every opportunity available to her to go to a world-class university in Mexico for free."

Pellegrino said, "The big picture is about immigration and immigration reform."

In Washington on Thursday, Mexican President Felipe Calderon spoke to Congress in opposition to the new Arizona immigration law, saying that comprehensive immigration reform is vital to secure the countries' border.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-east Cobb) said Isakson did not have a response to the speech because he was unable to attend due to an ethics committee meeting.
Comments
(47)
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GetLEGAL
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February 21, 2011
If an individual or family are here illegally, it's ridiculous to claim themselves an "asset" to the country. There is an immigration and naturalization PROCESS. To evade this process is blatant disrespect for this country and for all those immigrants who ARE "assets" - having gone through the steps to be here legally. The U.S. cannot serve as a "catch-all". Why do we have laws providing for this if don't apply them consistently? Feeling sorry for someone is really not a reason to bend the policy. If you disagree with the policy, work get it amended with a clause to provide a grace period for individuals like Jessica. Otherwise, either get on board or get out. Unless the policy amended, she does NOT have a "right" to be here - and neither do others like her.
AngelaGA
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May 26, 2010
Also, there are many undocumented families that submit federal income taxes every year in hopes of one day becoming documented. There are many undocumented that have taxes taken out of every paycheck. Undocumented people pay sales taxes every time they make a purchase, property taxes, and all the other ways we citizens pay taxes.

Please don't believe the myths that say undocumented people do not have to pay taxes! They often pay more than the average citizen.
AngelaGA
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May 26, 2010
I know people can't have empathy without understanding. Jessica Colotl was brought here as a child, and if she would have applied for citizenship when she turned 18 she would have been deported. That is why she is a victim of the immigration system. There is no path to citizenship for people like Jessica.

We all are unsafe when there is selective enforcement of the law. It is so unfair when the most vulnerable in our society are targeted. That is why I am thankful that people like Rich Pelligrino are courageous enough to speak out against what is happening in Cobb County.
A Christian
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May 24, 2010
Pellegrino

How dare you quote the Creator as supporting your stance. Christ continually said to pay Ceasar what is due to Ceasar Mark 12:17. Has this girl done that? Have any of those that are here illegally? I have compassion for this girl, but all of us are bound by the law and that means paying taxes. I know many senior citizens in this country who are barely making ends meet because they are doing everything legally and have to pay their taxes and many do not qualify for free assistance that is offered. Those of us who are choking on all the taxes we are paying do resent paying taxes for those who are not. While I want this girl to have a better life, I feel she should do it legally and through the proper channels. Also, as a student at KSU myself (an adult student) and choking on the tuition and fees I have to pay, I continue to wonder if she paid tuition? If not, I resent that and I don't see how you can justify her cheating the system and get a free education. Christ never condoned breaking the law. He did ask us to love each other, but loving someone does not mean letting them do whatever they please.

Uncle Sam
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May 24, 2010
Rich Pelligrino,

Uncle Sam wants YOU...to leave this country.

Go somewhere else. How can you support people that come here illegally attaching themselves to our great land like leaches draining valuable and costly government services without contributing to the costs of those services?

Show me the Colotl's Federal Income Tax submissions for the past 10 years and I will be happy to campaign for Jessica to stay.

Until that day, I am happy to give you and them a ride to Mexico.

Love,

Uncle Sam
Uncle Sam
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May 23, 2010
This country needs more Rich Pelligrino's. Sorry Uncle Sam was being sarcastic again. Pelligrino's concern for the people in this story should be commended. The prisons in this country are literally filled with real live 'legal american citizens' that ran afoul of the law though. It is a real shame that Rich can't find the time to advocate for them!

Everyone should be welcome to immigrate here...and immigrants should play by the same set of rules expected of citizens. I think Jessica and her family should be allowed to stay...as soon as they can provide proof that a)they have paid income tax the last 10 years b)they have become nationalized US citizens c)they all have valid driver's licenses and car insurance.

Welcome to America where we are all entitled to the same government services and where we ALL must share in those costs.
sharinanopininion
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May 22, 2010
It matters not if she is top performer..she broke the law....plain and simple
Know the Truth
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May 22, 2010
Rich, the true citizens, you know - the tax paying, law abiding ones, dont like you, dont listen to you, and despise your philosophy. Go away you litle pest. And take your criminal associates with you. Hey, I know, go to Mexico.
Rich Pellegrino
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May 22, 2010
I am going to call out the bullies from now on and challenge them to go after someone their own size, and the end result will be what always happens to bullies. (By the way I received calls all day from strangers who tracked down my phone number to say that they support my stance against these official bullies, including from some good ole white boys, tired of the Sheriff's and others' selective enforcement--and not one derogatory call. So I guess the anti-bullying troops are growing and you bullies are already scared and running :-).

sitnontopofamtn
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May 21, 2010
We in the USA must give thanks we have the right to free speech, and these race baiters ought to be as well. Can you imagine someone trying that in Mexico?
javasgirl
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May 21, 2010
It makes no difference what this girl has accomplished since her parents brought her to this country. The bottom line is, she is in this country illegally. She is taking from legal residents funds for college and a seat in that classroom. As the single mother of a 16 year old boy who will have to rely on student loans and possible grants in addition to any help I may be able to give him, I have a huge problem with this. My son was born an American, as was I, my mother, my mother's mother and everyone in my family that we have traced back to 1801. I have family members who have fought and died for me and my son and the rest of Americans to have a right to a better life in THIS country. What have she and her parents done for this country other than to live here illegally, take our jobs, and take our education? If they love this country and the opportunities it offers for a better life, become a citizen. But to do that, you will have to learn our language so you can better understand the proceedures in which you must follow to do so. This is the exact same thing I would be asked if I were to apply for citizenship of another country, why is it that everyone expects America to be any different on this issue than others? At the age of 18 she knew she was in this country illegally. At the age of 18 she became solely responsible for her actions. All she had to do was apply to be a citizen. After learning, for free, our history and our language in our schools, citizenship would have been nothing more than a simple formality for her. It's hard for me to find any sympathy what-so-ever for this girl or her family. No matter what her GPA is or how close to graduating college she is.... she deserves to be deported along with her entire family for breaking the law.
Rich Pellegrino
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May 21, 2010
Secondly, the purpose of this press conference was to call out the "rule of law" bullies--the Sheriff and other elected officials--who hide behind their badges and titles, and the guise of the rule of law, to bully innocents when they let their friends and supporters break the law with impunity. That is over. (And yes, to bullies, "size matters" ,which is why they are bullies in the first place:-). It was comical to see one of these "rule of law advocates", D.A.King, at the press conference breaking the law again with his false id, and complaining that our side is emphasizing the rule of law in regards to his actions. I guess you can dish it out, like most bullies, but can't take it. Let's see if his friend the Sheriff charges him! Read my lips: all of you bullies went over the line when you targeted this young girl--I have adopted her as my daughter and I pledge to protect her and every other young person from these bullies--and every true American should do the same--otherwise you are a bully--plain and simple. Finally, the only whiners here are the anti-immigrant lobby and their supporters who apparently need scapegoats to hide their own insecurities and inabilities (classic characteristics of bullies), while everyone in our coalition stands up for all people, including poor white people who no one wants to help. We know that the Creator has put us all here to help each other and has provided enough for us all--we just have to learn how to share. Bullies have not learned how to share, or how to love themselves, so they try to hurt others. Tough love demands that we first identify, isolate and stop their destructive actions towards themselves and others and then we can teach them how to love themselves and others. In Cobb County, we are putting all bullies on notice, no matter how high and mighty you think you are--you will not get away with it anymore; we will shine the light on your law-breaking, lying, and bullying--and will stop it.

To Mike R
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May 21, 2010
Please take in the illegals into your house. The rest of us never wanted them or their language and culture. And most of us don't care who knows about that fact.
Voter ignored
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May 21, 2010
Way too little talk from candidates for Governor on this.

I am writing in Neil Warren for Gov.
King fan
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May 21, 2010
Great quote D.A. ! And oh-so true!

"Train from coucouville".... love it. Rich really is too Rich. And he seems upset about no amnesty so far...again.

Get used to it Rich and go bother another community. You have exposed your self here to the point that you are a well-known fool.
Rhoda in Cobb
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May 21, 2010
After reading Mr. King's explanation of the benefits laws and illegal aliens yesrday and other federal laws posted on his blog, I see that illegals would have to leave the country if we enforced our laws. They would have no choice.

What a concept.
Hatter mad
|
May 21, 2010
Yowsa!

These people are clearly shameless and are using what they are taught in Liberalland- race, race, race.

If I were Sheriff warren, I wouldn't dignify this silliness with a peply. THAT is what Rich hates most. To be ignored.

How crazy are they? Even Jerry Gonzalez didn't show up! HA LOL!
Law and Order
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May 21, 2010
@ Mr. G

I guess we can pick and choose which laws we want to follow in this country now? Then cry when we are caught breaking them?
anonymous
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May 21, 2010
I support Sheriff Neil Warren!

On the sidelines
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May 21, 2010
The woman is not in the country legally. Those who are here illegally are deported within 30 days of their discovery.

This woman should be deported.

There is no issue here for conversation.

Enforce the laws.
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