DENVER -- At a hastily called news conference here Saturday afternoon, the president-elect of the American Educational Research Association was sporting an unusual name tag over her official badge. It said "I Could Be Illegal." Another scholar at the press conference wore a name tag that said "Being Brown Isn't a Crime."
A minor traffic violation by Jessica Colotl, a senior at Georgia's Kennesaw State University, is turning out to be anything but a minor incident. Colotl is from Mexico and doesn't have the legal authorization to live permanently in the United States. While Colotl is, by all reports, an excellent student, her situation (uncovered because of her traffic violation) has set off demands that the state do more to block the enrollment of students who are in the country illegally.
Months ago, Sandra Soto was asked by her dean to be the faculty speaker at the graduation convocation last week for the University of Arizona's College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. Soto didn't know it at the time, but her commencement speech would closely follow the adoption of two new Arizona laws. One gives the police more authority to question anyone they believe may be in the United States illegally -- powers that critics say will lead to widespread ethnic profiling.