Education is a Crime

By Guest Columnist Jul 08, 2008

by Jarad Sanchez Graduation day is supposed to be a time of celebration. Wearing the cap and gown is a rite of passage that lets the world know that after years of personal sacrifice, you have survived the mental emotional strain of the classroom. Graduation day is supposed to be a time of celebration and perhaps even a little anxiety about a very bright future. But for undocumented grads across the country, graduation day is yet another reminder of how America views them. Though they have been in the U.S. since well before puberty, and they have graduated from the most prestigious universities in the land, they are cursed by xenophobes and turned away from jobs for which they are perfectly qualified. "To these students, I say I hope you return to your home country right away," said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), "and I hope you repay what you have spent of other people’s money. It’s a horrible crime." I can’t help but wonder what is so horrible about graduating from college that one would call it a crime? Is it because an education is a privilege and not right, something that can be taken away at any time? Is it that only some are entitled to learn while others are not? Article 26 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document I am certain Congressman Rohrabacher is unfamiliar with, states the following, “Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.” Notice there is no exception for nationality, ethnicity, immigration status or birthplace of origin. Our own courts have recognized as much. In other words, the only real crime would be to deny qualified students a proper education.