Immigration activists discuss need for reform
by Kathryn Dobies
kdobies@mdjonline.com
June 09, 2010 12:00 AM | 4530 views | 32 32 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Charles Muhammed, minister with the Nation of Islam and president of the Cobb United for Change Coalition, makes a point during the forum on immigration in the United States at the Vinings Branch of the Cobb Public Library on Tuesday.<br>Photo by Mike Jacoby
Charles Muhammed, minister with the Nation of Islam and president of the Cobb United for Change Coalition, makes a point during the forum on immigration in the United States at the Vinings Branch of the Cobb Public Library on Tuesday.
Photo by Mike Jacoby
slideshow
VININGS - Immigration activists conducted a forum Tuesday night on the need for immigration reform in light of the situation surrounding Kennesaw State University student and illegal immigrant Jessica Colotl.

During the two-hour forum, more than 50 people - excluding Colotl - crowded into a meeting room at the Vinings Branch of the Cobb County Library to listen to five panelist answer questions about illegal immigration.

Most of the panelists' supported strict reform of immigration laws, including the eradication of programs like 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.

"287(g) is unreformable. 278(g) has been co-opted and abused by Cobb County Sheriff Neil Warren, Wild West Warren, which I say with disdain, not as a compliment. As well as Butch Conway in Gwinnett County," said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. "We're talking about what could potentially happen in Arizona and we're worried and we're upset and we're angry about it. You know what? In Georgia, that's already the reality. The police are abusing their power. The Cobb County Sheriff is abusing his power; the Gwinnett County Sheriff is abusing his power; as demonstrated by going after this young lady, Jessica Colotl."

Many KSU students who supported Colotl asked what form of comprehensive immigration reform the panelist preferred and how far they were willing to go to fight for the rights of illegal immigrants.

Gonzalez responded that while he and his organization do not favor unlimited immigration, there needs to be a sensible way for the government to enforce the laws, and that illegal workers should be legalized.

Angela Flores, a KSU alumna and co-founder of the Mexican American Student Association, said, "Most people don't understand in Jessica's case she was brought here as a child, and there was no way for her to become a citizen. So don't ask why she didn't become a citizen. Don't ask why, you know, she is illegal. Because there was no path to citizenship. And there is no path to citizenship for so many people today."

Colotl, 21, was stopped on KSU campus March 29 for a traffic violation and later arrested for driving without a valid license. She was turned over to immigration authorities after it was discovered that she was in the country illegally, entering with her parents at an early age. 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.

Rich Pellegrino, director of the Cobb Immigration Alliance, said Colotl wanted to come to the forum, but her lawyers warned against it because of the media attention it could attract.

The forum was originally scheduled for KSU's campus, but a spokesman from the Cobb Immigrant Alliance claimed a group of tenured professors at the university protested that location. In response to the claims, university officials provided a June 2 letter addressed to MASA President Pablo Valle saying that since the program was not a fully student-led forum, the group of sponsors would have to go through a different process to use the university's facilities. The letter said that university officials offered to reserve a place for the forum while the sponsor group went through the process of reserving a spot on the campus, but the groups decided to go elsewhere for the event.

The other panelists at Tuesday's forum included Charles Muhammad, president of the Cobb United for Change Coalition, Gerald Rose, president and founder of New Order National Human Rights Organization, and Matthew Cole, a KSU student and chairman of the KSU Libertarian Student Association. Professor Devin Robinson of Oglethorpe University was the panelist moderator.
Comments
(32)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
fallguyx55
|
June 11, 2010
For all of you who think that laws against illegal immigration are racist, thing of the many people from the EU that get deported every year. If I go to Canada for a vacation I can not get back in without a passport. Hell my family has lived here for almost 500 yrs and I have to prove that I am a U.S citizen. The one that is being treated unfair it the American Citizen. By all rights this is a sovereign nation with rights given to its citizens under law and Constitution. We are also a Republic which means we are a nation of laws which no one group has the right to be treated different from another. The law being that if you are here illegally your going back home.
passerby
|
June 10, 2010
**ROLL CALL***

Nation of Islam, R. Pellegrino, J. Gonzales, C. Muhammad, G. Rose "all aboard" your passage to HELL is NOW boarding! Oh, and by the way, when you meet up with your like minded comrade, Osama, tell him too, "welcome to HELL!"
peter a.
|
June 10, 2010
When you think about the sort of rhetoric of hate — it assumes that everybody’s packing their bags and racing north. It’s just not the case, and the kind of people who choose to immigrate are really people who look a lot like the American ideals. They’re ambitious. They’re fairly self-confident. They’re risk-takers. They’re kind of strong, hearty people. They’re usually driven because they want to protect their families, which are on the borderline of really falling apart because there’s actually no way to make any money in the country they’re sitting in. That’s the majority and then there’s a new stratum globally — very successful, capable professionals who move around mostly in the science and engineering fields.

Our housing industry, our service industry, our gardening, landscape industry, you name it — it’s been dependent for decades on Mexican labor. None of those people qualify for an employment-based visa. So when the hate mongers say, “Why can’t they wait in line? Why can’t they get a visa?” — there aren’t any visas to get! There’s no line to wait in! And that’s why everyone who knows this area of law says without comprehensive immigration reform you really aren’t going to solve any of these pop-up issues.

mk-prayers for Kathy
|
June 10, 2010
While all the illegal alien advocates & slimey attys. fall all over themselves to represent this smug-faced ILLEGAL alien, Coloti,(for fame, fortune, or ego)-.... think about this,....

Kathy Inman will be having more surgery tomorrow @ Kennestone Hospital,... 10 years , TEN years , after a car crash killed their only son, Dustin,... Billy has been taking care of his wife, who has really suffered alot!! The illegal, Gonzolo Harrell Gonzalas is still on the run!

You can help this family @ any Regions Bank,.. accepting donations in the "INMAN FAMILY FUND".
Indian Joe
|
June 10, 2010
So Jennifer broke he law on the traffic/no license/fake address - but according to Rich and Jerry, these are just minor offenses for which she should not be held responsible. So why should anyone be surprised that they also do not believe that people who illegally came to this country should be held responsible for their actions. Next will hear they just robbed the bank because their welfare ran out, or they were refused, or lost their job, etc so that is OK too. I hope Sheriff Warren goes after all of them, the illegals and the abettors. We have played with this situation for too long - and they know no one is going to really do anything - kind of like the little kid who gets away with anything he wants to do or say - knowing he is not going to be punished. The time has come to stop the words and start taking action and if rich and Jerry don't like it - they can go back to Mexico with them and start a movement for equality down there - trouble is they know if they do that they will end up in a hole and never be heard from again. Nothing politicallty correct abuot Mexico
el paso
|
June 10, 2010
The anti hispanic law in Arizona is unconstitional. The law encourages racial profiling, whcih is already a problem according to Homeland Security. A state does not have the right to set immigration policy or to enforce immigration law. If a state can establish immigration policy, what's next, do they decide they can declare war. It is scary how easily some people are to throw the constitution out the window.
nick111
|
June 10, 2010
12million x $500 back taxes = ??? billions into the system !!!

USA needs reforms now . Obama go for it !!! we are with you!!!
robbieh
|
June 10, 2010
an interesting point in coloti's case is that kennesaw state is willing to allow a student charged with a felony to enroll. sure it's only a charge at this point, but, is the school that hard up for tuition? what is it saying to the rest of the student body? respect is not a prerequisite?
Tom Pendley
|
June 09, 2010
I just want to know when Georgia is going to enact an Arizona type law. It is way over due.
Maretta
|
June 09, 2010
Why don't these people go back and fix their own countries instead of running away like cowards and leaving their countries to continue to rot. Imagine what they're going to try and do to the U.S.
fallguyx55
|
June 09, 2010
Nation of Islam: has a certain anti-American sound to it. Oh ya back in the 60s Malcolm X said "By any means necessary" a cry echoed by the Nation of Islam from which he rec. instruction from but later denounced as a corrupt Islamic group when he found true Islam. NOI was a terror group and still should be considered one today. Ask Charles M. how many illegal people from all over the Islamic world use Mexico as thier own doorway into the U.S. The jails on the border states are full of these potentail Islamic Terror members. Good reason for him to want illegals to be left alone. Mexico needs to get it's house in order so as the people would want to stay.
cobb tax payer
|
June 09, 2010
Have Ms. Colotl's parents been arrested and deported yet? Please, Sheriff Warren, look for them and start the process. <3
NO AMNESTY
|
June 09, 2010
These are ILLEGAL ALIEN advocates, not "immigration activists."

An impartial national poll released by Quinnipiac last week shows that 66% of voters want "immigration reform" to focus on stricter enforcement of laws, and only 26% want reform to focus on integration of illegals into our society.

Thus, the American people will NOT accept Obama's and Charles Schumer's amnesty scheme -- rather, we demand enforcement of our current immigration laws.
el paso
|
June 09, 2010
The Dept. of Homeland Security has found that the 287(g) program is being misused. Local officers have misused the program by targeting undocumented immigrantswho have been arrested for minor offenses. Can anyone saym Jessica Colotl?
Wake Up Call
|
June 09, 2010
What was the phrase used above.....hmmmm.... "...the RIGHTS of illegal immigrants" ?

That sure looks like a non sequitur to me.

(Note to Rich and Jerry: That means "it does not follow", i.e. (id est-that is) by being here illegally, general citizenship rights are forfeited. The "rights" you two often speak of, simply don't exist.)
Fed Up
|
June 09, 2010
The point that seems to keep getting missed is Mss. Coloti broke the law and lied to the police. Legal or not! Black, white, blue, green, no matter, the law was broken. If I had of done those things I would be put under the jail. Instead she gets to finish school and charges are being delayed? What’s up with that? I am a tax paying American and I promise you if I had done the same I would be in jail right now. As for immigration concerns, I don't understand the problem. There ARE current laws and guidelines in place, use them, and enforce them. If a person goes through and completes the process to become a citizen then fine, if not they should be sent home. You can’t just go live for free in other countries including Mexico. They enforce their laws.
Judy M
|
June 09, 2010
Jerry Gonzalez, There are approximately 30 million American citizens who have lost their jobs within the past 3 years. There are 7.5 million employed illegal aliens in the United States of America (that does not include those who work off the books).

Those illegal aliens have sent an excess of $40 billion dollars out of the United States this year. That does a world of good for our economy doesn't it?

Would you like to tell me one more time why as a tax paying American citizen, I should want to support people from countries that refuse to support their own and depend on the United States to take care of them and even encourages them to break our immigration laws?
Lawful Behavior
|
June 09, 2010
When you come to the U.S. illegally, you are an ILLEGAL alien. If you want U.S. citizenship, then APPLY through the proper channels. We are intelligent enough to know that Colotl was alledgedly brought to the U.S. when she was a child and had no choice in that decision. HOWEVER, Colotl is an adult by law now, and by law she is OBLIGATED to follow the laws of the U.S. That means returning to the country of her birth & citizenship in order to be in compliance with the laws. If Colotl wants to apply to enter the U.S., then do it by the LAW. Just because you break one law, does NOT mean that you now have the right to break other laws. Colotl you are an ADULT now and you need to behave as one.
Vinings Resident
|
June 09, 2010
I am disgusted that the Vinings Public Library let these criminals into our library. Disgusting
Pat H
|
June 09, 2010
80% of Americans approve of Arizona's law. We cannot afford continued invasion of illegals and their many children. Since only about 50 people showed up, support for the likes of Jerry and Rich has dissipated.

I wish the Sheriff would file charges against them for aiding and abetting illegals - which is a felony, along with Dr. Papp, the university attorney and the head of security who drove her from detention.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides