A Georgia college student, Jessica Colotl has been in the center of the state’s immigration debate for over two years and now gets another reprieve from her impending deportation.
Colotl, who is a student at Kennesaw State University, was pulled over in a routine traffic stop in 2010. At that time she was undocumented, which police discovered and initiated the deportation process. She applied for a deferment, which was granted for one year so she could finish school. Now that school is finished, she has been granted another year which will allow her to stay in the country.
But her future remains uncertain, since Colotl was brought the U.S. as an undocumented 11 year-old, gaining citizenship, even with the help of an immigration attorney, would require that she leave the country and go back to Mexico.
Colotl says that when this year is up she will apply for another deferment, but finds it difficult to make plans for her future. She currently works as a paralegal for Atlanta immigration lawyer, Charles Kuck, and plans to go to law school so that she, too, can become an attorney.
“I’m contributing to society just like anybody else,” Jessica told the Atlanta News 11, “I have a job. I pay taxes. I’m not a burden on society. I’m just trying to be like any other American.”
Colotl’s story is a familiar one; millions of young people were brought to the country illegally by parents who chose not the follow the legal immigration channels by obtaining work visas, HB-1 visas or green cards. Their children often pay the price as they get older; risking the chance that they will be returned to place they no longer know as home. For some of these young people, an immigration attorney may make it possible for them to become a naturalized citizen.