Sunday, January 20, 2008

Palomar College student leader is deported

Although the DREAM Act isn't mentioned in this article it sounds like Paola Oropeza would have benefited from the DREAM Act. According to the article she failed to leave the country after an immigration judge ordered her to, and this was the reason for her arrest and deportation. It is unfortunate that she did not seek help from friends and the community after being ordered deported the first time. The article states that she and her family are now seeking legal help, but as they are already deported the likelihood of any reprieve is slim. The article can be read below.

Palomar College student leader is deported

By: NOELLE IBRAHIM - Staff Writer

SAN MARCOS -- The president of a Latino student group at Palomar College has been deported to Mexico after she and close relatives were arrested in their Escondido home, immigration officials confirmed Friday.

Paola Oropeza, a 22-year-old advertising and marketing major at Palomar, was arrested Jan. 8 by a fugitive operations team with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for the agency in San Diego.

Oropeza was president of Palomar's chapter of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan), a national organization that advocates community service and academic success for Latino students, in addition to promoting awareness of Chicano issues and history. Recent club activities include a holiday toy drive for needy children, hosting a "Night of Culture" and celebrating Cesar Chavez Day on campus.

"I was shocked and upset," said John Valdez, MEChA adviser and multicultural studies professor at Palomar. "It's been very distressing to have this happen."

Oropeza could not be reached on her cell phone for comment Friday.

The student had been ordered to leave the country by an immigration judge, but she failed to comply with that order, said Mack. She could not provide details about Oropeza's immigration background, but said she did not have a criminal record.

"She was one of many other people arrested that day after being targeted as part of an ongoing fugitive enforcement program," Mack said.

Oropeza was arrested with three others who are believed to be her relatives, said Mack. Valdez, who said he received a distressed phone call from Oropeza after she was placed in detention, later identified the people as Oropeza's mother, father and older sister. The sister is still in deportation proceedings, while Oropeza and her parents were taken to Tijuana, according to Valdez.

"Paola was very much traumatized," Valdez said, describing the phone call. "She was raised here, she grew up here. The family is looking into legal support to help their situation."

In the nearly two years he has known Oropeza, Valdez said they had never discussed her legal status.

"I had no idea," said Valdez. "The thought never occurred to me."

Valdez described Oropeza as a studious, quiet person who was a productive MEChA president for two semesters.

"As a result of her leadership, MEChA grew in attendance and we were able to put together successful activities because of her work," he said. "I was impressed with the way she carried herself. I never saw her angry or speaking down to anyone."

Oropeza was poised to complete her transfer requirements during the upcoming spring semester at Palomar, which starts Tuesday.

"Her world has been turned upside down," he said.

Contact staff writer Noelle Ibrahim at (760) 740-3517 or


Anonymous said...

I saw a photo of her online, wearing a sombrero that said "Viva Mexico", now she can be activist in her beloved Mexico, demanding that the crooked president Calderon raise taxes on the wealthiest citizens and corporate interests so they can raise wages and provide opportunities for the Mexican people. She should be happy to actually be engaged in honest activism, instead of engaging in the racist hate group MECHA that she was president of. I know black families who have been attacked and abused by the racist attacks of illegal alien gangs in Los Angeles. They have spoken of how racist illegals have threatened and intimidated them. The Hispanic people should be ashamed of this behavior, especially given the fact that racism is pandemic in Latin America, and their ancestors, the Spanish were the ones who invented the trans-Atlantic slave trade, dragging Africans into ships to sell in what is now called Latin America. As bad, the Spanish committed genocide against the indigenous peoples of those lands.

The cost of living in Mexico is very low, her family should have no problem getting work, if they aren't lazy about it. I read an article that states that it only costs 8 thousad dollars for a lovely three bedroom house there. The universities in Mexico are free for Mexican citizens, and she and her family are Mexican citizens.

I think it's time that the Mexican people start taking responsibility for the failures of their government and be activist for change there, as the American citizens and their ancestors had to in the last century. When they engage in the hateful behavior that illegal aliens have, by forming racist, supremecist, hate groups like MECHA, LA RAZA and others, they only put themselves forward to be exploited by the Mexican government, and the corporate interests who seek to use them against poor, struggling American citizens. If this is how they think and behave, then it is easy to understand why their government back home is so corrupt.

omar said...

Cool, you did see the picture of Paola wearing a sombrero that said VIVA MEXICO. But were is the crime in that? isn't that what the US is all about?

Think about it, what is the culture here in US? Ummm, ummmmmmmm, I dont know...

How about this, the culture here in the US is bringing so many other cultures together. That is exactly what culture here is, so many people from all around the world here in the US. I have never been to another country and seen so many different races. I mean, you do criticize the fact that she is wearing the the Sombrero with VIVA MEXICO right? Why dont you criticize the hell out of other races also? Come on, you do see Puerto Rican flags all over the place dont you?

And yes, the cost of living in Mexico is a lot cheaper than in the US. But labor is way under paid as well. What you heard about getting a 3 bedroom house for 8 grand is ridiculous. I have a house in TJ and the house cost me 142k 4 years ago.

I do agree with a lot of people that say they should not let in a illegal immigrants, but why not let the ones that are there already stay? I mean, they do pay taxes just like everyone else, at least Paola did. Plus, where is the humanity? I mean this person had been here for almost 20 years, and then they give her the boot. Lets flip the script on this real quick. What would you do if you are a 22 year old that has been living in the US for almost 20 years, and then they give you the boot? Especially when they take everything away from you. All the money that you had in your bank account, car, house, personal belongings. Everything, just the clothes on your back. What would you do?

Oh, and I do agree with you with what you say about MECHa and La RAZA. But maybe you should think about what you say because Americans have the same type of things, but yours are really, to the heart, hate groups. They are called KKK and Minute Man.

I really wish I can get to see a minute man one of these days, and probably debate with the looser. I would like to try to understand why they like to but into other peoples lives?

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