Colotl, 22, is among hundreds of thousands of young people who have been brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents. Many hold out hope that Congress will eventually provide a path to legalization for certain illegal immigrants brought here as children.
Groups of illegal immigrant students have come out around the country over the past year, staging high-profile actions designed to draw attention to their plight and urge lawmakers to act.
Last month, Perez was one of seven illegal immigrant youths who demanded greater access to higher education by sitting down in an Atlanta street blocking traffic until police arrested them.
Unlike the students who have revealed their illegal status voluntarily, Colotl didn’t choose to go public. She supports their actions, she said, but has been too busy with school and her sorority to participate.
“I know a lot of people in the community sometimes wish she would come out more, but it’s completely understandable with everything she’s been through that she doesn’t want to,” Perez said.
Colotl’s case sparked public concerns that Georgia state colleges and universities were being overrun by illegal immigrants, that taxpayers were subsidizing their education and legal residents were being displaced.
Yet a study conducted by the university system’s Board of Regents found that less than 1 percent of the state’s public college students were illegal immigrants, and that students who pay out-of-state tuition — which illegal immigrants are required to do — more than pay for their education.