Our View: Camarillo has earned citizenship

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:46 PM

Editorial Board

Martha Camarillo is an illegal alien. She came to the United States when she was seven, taken here by her mother. Together they slipped through U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Ms. Camarillo Freston (her married name) is also an individual who deserves to be a citizen of the United States.

Her life has been one that any of her peers would acknowledge as exceptional. A 2012 graduate of Weber State University, she earned the Crystal Crest Woman of the Year Award and has received a Phoenix Fellowship to attend the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

It’s wrong that this young woman, and many more individuals with similar histories and accomplishments, are not U.S. citizens. They came to the U.S. under the care of their parents. They grew up in the United States, went to school here, played sports and other activities, eventually chose advanced education or other paths once they graduated. For all intents and purposes, they are Americans. They have lived their lives immersed in U.S. culture and they have excelled here.

Yet, Camarillo and others carry the burden of not being citizens. For these DREAM ACT-type residents, it is cynical to deny them what they have earned — citizenship. We invite our readers to go to Standard-Examiner columnist Mark Saal’s interview with Camarillo (http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/07/06/weber-state-scholar-breaks-her-silence-immigration-story). And we have another request. We’d like one of Utah’s U.S. senators, Mike Lee, to meet with Camarillo. She’s eager to talk with the senator, in a respectful manner. She believes that Sen. Lee, who opposes immigration reform, wants her to move back to Mexico.

Perhaps Sen. Lee would have a different take on the issue? In any event, we agree that a chat between Camarillo and the senator can only be a positive. The senator would be able to explain his position to someone who is affected by his stance on immigration reform. And conversely, the senator would have an opportunity to talk with a resident affected by his positions, and who is, for all intents and purposes, a Utahn. Brian Phillips, a spokesman for Sen. Lee, told the Editorial Board that the senator would be happy to address this issue, and added that there are many avenues — from email to town hall meetings, to contact the senator.

We find it difficult to believe that anyone would consider Martha Camarillo Freston less than qualified to be a U.S. citizen. Immigration reform is meant to assist persons such as herself, who have earned citizenship.

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