A Texas A&M student was denied confirmation to the student senate because of his undocumented status.
Last Tuesday night, the Student Senate decided not to confirm graduate student Luis Zelaya as Vice President of Diversity, citing his immigration status as a main concern of those who voted against him.
“It’s hard,” Zelaya reportedly told Fox Latino News. “I was just told by my family that I don’t belong here, that no matter how hard I work, how American I want to be, that I will never be good enough.”
Although most of the student senators supported Zelaya’s bid, the 30 to 26 vote fell short of the two-thirds needed for confirmation, according to Fox Latino News.
Zelaya, who emigrated from Honduras at age 14, left a life of violence to join his mother in Houston in 1999.
In 2012, he joins an estimated 300 undocumented students at Texas A&M.
Earlier this year, he attracted national media attention when he ran for student body president, a position never before held by an undocumented student.
Though he eventually lost to John Claybrook, the newly elected president nominated him to the vice president of diversity position believing that there was no one more qualified. Senators, students and organizations leapt to his defense, according to the article.
Texas A&M’s student newspaper, The Battalion, ran a front page editorial on Tuesday asking the student senate to change its decision in the second and final confirmation attempt.
Many argue that Zelaya’s undocumented status could be a null issue if legislators would pass the DREAM Act.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (HB 1403), otherwise known as the Dream Act, was first introduced by then-Representative Rick Noriega in 2001.
The bill would have provided certain illegal immigrants, who met specific requirements, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent U.S. residency if they completed two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning.
In 2010, the legislation passed the House of Representatives, but was blocked on Dec.18 in the Senate by a vote of 55 to 41 by Republicans and a handful of Democrats during the lame-duck session.
It is expected to come back up in the 2013 legislative session.
The Advocate has previously reported on the plight of undocumented students hoping for the passage of the act.
For the full story on Zelaya, click this link.
Was the Student Senate justified in not voting Zelaya into office because of his undocumented status?
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