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ASI president an undocumented immigrant, serves without pay

By | November 16, 2010 | Briefs, News

An anonymous e-mail was recently sent to The Collegian that said Associated Students, Inc. President Pedro Ramirez was serving without pay because of his undocumented status. Ramirez confirmed this information.

Ramirez said that ASI administrators were aware that he would not be paid for the ASI position, but he willfully accepted it as a volunteer position.

“For me, it’s an emotional issue,” Ramirez said. “Not a lot of people know that I am undocumented. A lot of people I got to class with…students, faculty, staff and staff administrators think I’m a normal student.”

Ramirez, an AB 540 student, didn’t know of his legal status until his senior year of high school before his graduation.

AB 540 is a California state law that allows eligible undocumented students to pay in-state tuition fees instead of the more costly out-of state fees.

Ramirez is trying to coordinate an event in the Free Speech Area this Friday from 11a.m. to 1p.m. to support the DREAM Act. He hopes to have several university officials in attendance.

For the full story, check out the Wednesday issue of The Collegian.

Here’s a link to the full story.

A verified e-mail address is required to post a comment.Views expressed in the comments section are not representative of The Collegian unless so specified. Comments must be approved by a moderator before they are published. Comments that are inflammatory, profane, libellous and/or posted under a false name may be removed at the discretion of The Collegian. Comments may be used in the print edition of the newspaper.

61 Responses to ASI president an undocumented immigrant, serves without pay

  1. Concerned Alum says:

    “President Pedro Ramirez was serving without pay because of his undocumented status. Ramirez confirmed this information.” Is a flat out lie. ASI changed the way it compensated because they cannot legally pay Pedro, an ILLEGAL (the PC term of undocumented is misleading) immigrant. Instead, they are now compensating ASI executives with “scholarships.” Seems like a convenient way of avoiding e-verify and paying taxes. This is completely and totally unfair to past ASI executives who were first of all, not criminals, and second of all, paid taxes on their compensation.

    “A lot of people I got to class with think I am a regular student.” – Pedro is here illegally, he violated state and federal law. In addition, Pedro has been linked, by the Fresno Police department, to making death threats against another student. If the collegian wants to do a real investigation, it should look into that. But given the fact that the collegian has no journalistic integrity, they won’t.

    • Xuxo Mendoza says:

      It is quite pathetic to see how an anonymous individual so called “concerned alum” is attempting to defame the ASI president by taking cheap shots at him. Why do you not illuminate us with a complete and un biased version of this “death threat” incident, so that we may make our own conclusions; it will probably demonstrate to the Collegian how to develop a good journalistic integrity. As far as Mr. Ramirez being here “illegally,” please get over it…it is a broken system. Instead of attacking hardworking individuals, provide realistic solutions to the issue. Perhaps you might have missed the Bee’s special report on Immigration and the predicament in which conservative employers find themselves with this issue. Let’s be critical and limit our wishful thinking on this issue, make that Fresno State education pay off.

    • Gydanw says:

      I’ve reported this posting to the moderators, because of the potentially libelous statements regarding alleged death threats you claim Pedro made. Unless you’re willing to name your sources and provide proof supporting your statements, you have libelled him and expose the Collegian and yourself to a rather hefty court judgement (and he can sue, regardless of his immigration status).

      • Concerned Alum says:

        Pedro knows it’s true, and truth is an affirmative defense against libel.

        • Gydanw says:

          Since I’m a member of the local media, I have calls in to the Fresno PD and campus police PIOs to confirm there’s been an investigation as you claim. If neither confirm your statements, you’ll be up a creek without a paddle.

          • Anonymous says:

            Whatever “local media” you’re a member of must not be English-speaking; you’ve misspelled “libeled” as well as “judgment.”

            Concerned Alum is right; truth is an affirmative defense against libel. Look up John Peter Zenger, 1735.

          • Gydanw says:

            So far, law enforcement is saying there’ve been NO such investigation as “Concerned Alum” claims there’s been.

    • Deport Him says:

      Whether he’s a good guy or a stand up citizen has no bearing on his criminal behavior. Since it is illegal to cross the boarder without permission or documentation, then it is obvious he committed a crime, whether willingly or not. Ignorance of the law is not a valid claim against ignoring it. But, since he knew he was illegal when he applied to Fresno State he knew at some point before now that his status was criminal. Thus by applying for and attending, on our dime no less, he was involved in a conspiracy to defraud the state of California if he received any financial aid. Additionally, has ASI and any faculty been involved with aiding and abetting a criminal if they knew and did nothing.
      The most important thing in this entire story is that someone admitted they are illegal, and as far as I can tell, he has not been picked up for deportation. The reason we are continually invaded is that we do nothing about it. I say punish criminal behavior, regardless of how it occurs.

      • H M says:

        As long as he’s an upstanding member of the community I couldn’t care less if he’s documented or not. If the criteria for being declared a criminal is only having broken a law (makes sense) then we are all criminals. Hell, every single one of our presidents was probably a criminal. So if it’s good enough for our politicians It should be okay for Ramirez.

  2. Concerned Alum says:

    Also, it is illegal for CEO’s to work for free. Just to strengthen my previous point (that the collegian probably won’t post).

    • Legal Californian says:

      The collegian will also neglect to ask questions like;

      How can he be a voice for lower tuition when the legal citizens of California pay for him to not only live here but attend our university?

      Since Pedro can’t legally obtain a job in this state what would he like to share with the taxpayers of California who are supporting him and his future? Any goals you want to share about our investment toward your life?

      How did you keep the collegian in your bed, and ASI mute to prevent this information from breaking out earlier?

      Pedro, answer these questions and the many more coming your way from the outraged student body who was mislead.

    • Xuxo Mendoza says:

      Recommend looking at some business law, and see for yourself that there are different types of CEO’s for different organizations; requirements vary.

    • Renaissancestudent says:

      wow its amazing how you can talk so authIt’s people like you that annoy the hell out of me, Pedro Ramirez is a good student and has served the student body well. With a past ASI president that was forced out because he bought alcohol for students that were underage, how dare you act like Pedro is some sort of criminal. He’s going to school and contributing to his community, further more he’s not getting any sort of financial aide. Honestly what right do you have to talk about someone you don’t even know like that? And as far as these alleged death threats go, what one individual can say they don’t have something in their past that probably makes them look bad? I’m not saying your accusation is true or false, I personally know nothing about it but your picking on a good student who has done nothing more than try and be an asset to his community and it’s shame because I bet you don’t have one decent person in your life like him. If you want a cause to fight for, fight against student fee increases, don’t pick on someone who has probably has contributed more to his community in one semester then you have to in your whole life.

      • Concerned Alum says:

        What has pedro done that is so aw-inspiring? I’m curious, because I haven’t seen a single thing.

    • neutral says:

      Concerned Alum, you have a lot of issues against the Collegian that needs some verification. First of all, the newspaper’s goal is to write factual current events that concern the students in an objective manner and that’s exactly what they’re doing. As for the questions and concerns that you want the Collegian to discuss, I want to point out that those comments are biased and based on your personal opinions regarding Pedro and other illegal immigrants. You obviously are entitled to your opinions but please don’t demean hard working individuals who do their best to report news to service the students of Fresno State.

  3. Angry American Student says:

    i knew it. geez. fresno state: please kick out all of the illegal students. they suck all of the financial aid bone dry and steal all of the benefits from us that are here LEGALLY.

    • Salvador Malta (in solidarity) says:

      Just so you know, the only financial aid that undocumented students can recieve are private scholarships that people give them, they receive no federal or state government aid, and in some cases even pay full out-of-state fees. Know what you’re going to complain about before you open your mouth.

  4. Gydanw says:

    Concerned Alum–before making accusations involving death threats, bear in mind that, unless you’re willing to name your sources and back up your claims, you have committed libel. Pedro can sue you and the Collegian, and collect. I would urge the moderator to delete this posting for legal reasons.

    • Anonymous says:

      Pedro cannot sue the Collegian. I can remove it if Pedro requests it though.

      Comments Disclaimer:
      Views expressed in the comments section are not representative of The Collegian unless so specified. Comments must be approved by a moderator before they are published. Comments that are inflammatory, profane, libelous and/or posted under a false name may be removed at the discretion of The Collegian. Comments may be used in the print edition of the newspaper. Be sure to pick up next Friday’s issue of The Collegian for featured comments.

      • Gydanw says:

        Better check with your attorney. Campus newspapers enjoy no immunity from lawsuits. The Collegian is as liable for libel as Insight was after that J-Department lab paper aired allegations of corruption on the Tule River rez. Fresno State quietly settled the lawsuit out of court.

        • Adam S says:

          Newspapers may not enjoy immunity, but websites and web hosts allowing users to post content generally do. (I am not a lawyer).

          • Gydanw says:

            Adam, actually they don’t. Federal law does not protect websites from slander or libel claims, as the former mayor of Hollister found out several years ago. He posted anonymous attacks upon the editor of one of the local newspapers on-line, thinking he wouldn’t be outed. The editor filed suit against the internet provider, obtained a discovery order from the federal court, and the malicious poster was identified. He was then added to the lawsuit, which was settled out of court in favor of the editor. And, Duh–check the dictionary cuz there are two ways to correctly spell judgment (judgement) and libelled (libeled).

  5. Cw says:

    Is it against the rules for an illegal citizen to run for
    office at that level? If Pedro is paying his school fees as he said
    he was during the campaign, where is that money coming from??
    It’s a sad state of affairs when an illegal student takes precedence over legal tax paying students. The whole situation reeks of duplicity.

    • Eduardo C. says:

      there are plenty of scholarships aimed at AB 540 student to pay tuition through community service. There are no California law that deny undocumented students to enter the CSU system. There are no rules in the ASI Bi laws that deny undocumented student to participate in Student government.

    • Gydanw says:

      Dr. Welty, in his statement today makes it clear Pedro didn’t violate any rules in running for ASI office. He is a student, who pays the same ASI fee every other student pays. This is a no-brainer, but…..

  6. Ggomez says:

    Why does Pedro have to justify his citizenship? Like he said he is a normal guy trying to get an education> So why are people getting into his personal life its nobodies business?? He is paying for his education and trying to reach his dream… So I am Happy for Pedro for all of his accomplishments .He must be a very smart dude to have gotten as far as he has ASI President WOW!!!! VIVA LA RAZA!!!!!!

  7. Graduate Student says:

    Pedro, thank you for being honest about your legal status. There are many students in your same situation that could benefit greatly by passage of the Dream Act. Anyone who cannot see beyond someone’s legal status should evaluate how their own ansestors arrived into this country. Most likely, the only requirement they had to meet to become “legal” was to simply get here and register at a port of entry. If that was still the case, we wouldn’t have students like yourself. I will be at the rally on Friday to show my support for you and many other college mates like you!

    • Rob A. says:

      Not coming clean until you get caught isn’t being honest. If he was an honest man, he would have come clean before the election.

      He needs to resign immediately, not only for his dishonesty, but for his direct violation of Section 2 of the ASI Code of Conduct.

      • graduate student says:

        The reality is that he did not have to reveal his status either way. It would have been much easier for him if he denied the allegation. If he had denied it we all would have simply moved on without giving it a second thought. Rob A., you’ll just have to show up to the rally on Friday and show your support for the Dream Act so that students like Pedro are not placed in these predicaments. It is not illegal to attend a university if you are undocumented nor it it illegal to be president of a student body. What is your real issue?

        • Rob A. says:

          Is it too much to ask that our ASI President comply with the Code of Conduct se3t forth in the ASI bylaws? In the last few years we have run officers out for lesser violations.

          I also think that in these tough financial times, allowing illegal residents to utilize our limited higher education resources at the expense of legal residents and citizens is wrong. It’s also slap in the face to those who wait years and jump through numerous hoops to enter this country legally as many in my own family have done.

  8. StrugglingStudent says:

    what about career services hiring an undocumented worker? they used funds in the form of scholarships to get around paying wages. while me and other students struggle to find an on campus job!! they should be investigated by the Collegian. we have hypocrites working on campus!

  9. Eduardo C. says:

    The CSU system has taken and obvious stance in support of immigration by having an admissions policy that allows undocumented students to apply. If they have made accommodation to pay Pedro, it is inline with the view of the CSU system and I do not think it devalues the work of previous administrations, its probably the same work they all attempt to do (but all fail at [A topic for another time]) . That is promote the interest of the student body. Undocumented citizens pay taxes when they pay rent or any other consumption tax like sales tax or excise tax(which by the way, hurt lower income earners more that higher income). The Income taxes impact is progressive and impacts the higher income individual more. It is difficult to believe that any ASI officials made more than $25,000 to step out of poverty for an individual. In other word, they have almost have paid the same taxes except for the fact that a undocumented student more than likely doesn’t file and does not not receive a reimbursement at the end of the year.

    Scholarships are not a crime. What bout the legal students who has never held a job and live off of scholarships?’

    Concerned Alumni: how do you know Pedro Ramirez is being paid in this manner? Were you student that was threatened? Do you know the circumstance if not?

    Just to clarify: I’m not a big fan of ASI but, I do not think it proper to degrade People who are an integral part of California. Men and Women that have a goal to educate themselves and contribute to our local and state economy. Its should not be forgotten that some didn’t have choice children when they came, but grew to love this country, said they were going to educate themselves, and be a part of the work force. It will never be as simple as to tell them to leave and wait in line because that is the response of someone who helped create the problem and doesn’t want to take responsibility.

    • Concerned Alum says:

      Why does it matter how I know? I think the more important question is whether or not it is true. I know for a fact that it is, and I feel like the Collegian should do an investigation, because it is a flat out lie to say that they aren’t being compensated. That’s all I was pointing out.

      I wasn’t necessarily talking about income tax, but since you brought it up, I know that some executives DID NOT get a refund, and in fact had to pay money to the state at the end of the year. Pedro, by getting a “scholarship,” conveniently avoids doing that.

  10. Mathew Gomes says:

    i’m not sure why the collegian continues to allow discussion on this topic. inevitably, what you end up with is a flood of effectively racist comments, even if some attempt to mask their racism in “neutrality” or “objectivity” (here, someone says “hey, i’m not talking about race, i’m just talking about the law…which just happens to sustain racially-based material inequalities!”) basically, this is an open invitation for racism, justified in the name of “conversation.” you do this because “everybody has a right to an opinion.” of course i know how it goes; i worked there for a few years.

    but i say this scenario inevitable because the very logic that sustains the notion of “legal citizenship” is racially-predicated — it is a logic that suggests that the qualities of “legality” and “criminality” are transmitted by blood, and written on the body.

    • Concerned Alum says:

      According to your logic, any conversation about illegal immigration will be effectively racist. The difference between being legal and illegal isn’t based on blood, or written on the body, it’s based on statute.

  11. Concerned Alum says:

    How is it racist to say that a person who lives here without documentation, is a criminal? Are they not committing a crime?
    And actually, I have worked in the fields. My entire life. I have no problem with them working. I don’t care. I’m simply tired of this “woe was me” argument. I’m not upset that Pedro is an illegal, I’m upset that this newpaper tries to spin it like it’s no big deal. It is illegal to hire an undocumented worker, and I’m extremely upset that ASI is flaunting their illegal practices in everybody’s face. I’m even more upset that Pedro lies about not being paid. He is paid, with a scholarship from ASI, as are all the executives. Why did they switch to the scholarship? Because Pedro couldn’t be legally paid.

  12. C.B. says:

    I do not think everyone understand the what Mr. Ramirez as well as many other illegal immigrants have to endure in order to make it in this country. Many illegal students do not come here by choice, they are brought to this country by their parents as children and grow up here. The United States becomes their home, the country they love and are loyal to. Everyone who is willing to leave their own country is running away from something it may not be communism or war but poverty and the need to sustain their families in a country that has failed their citizens.
    Yes we all know that there are many undocumented immigrants locked up in jail but there are also many U.S. citizens locked up. I feel is unfair for those who are trying to make it here and to give something back to this country by getting educated, working and PAYING TAXES (yes! undocumented workers pay taxes) to be classified as criminals.
    The issue needs to be fixed, the system is broken. Instead of pointing fingers people should be trying to find a way to help those who deserve to be helped.
    Mr. Ramirez has my full support, and so does any student who shows the will to make something better of themselves.
    Concerned Alum, you should become more educated on the issue. As for Mr. Ramirez’s faults, let the FPD do their job.

  13. agold30 says:

    You have all my support Pedro Ramirez.

  14. Anonymous says:

    JC, pick up today’s Fresno Bee and turn to page A6. California and local governments will spend $21.8 million on illegal aliens and their anchor baby children. These same illegals will have $11 billion taken out in Social Security taxes. Do the math.

    I – not surprisingly – noticed that you found it necessary to call Concerned Alum a “racist.” More often than not, a “racist” is any Caucasian that tells the painful truth about a minority. Those who find it necessary to call someone names in situations like this one do so because they lack the ability to put up a cogent argument.

    Just what “race” is an illegal alien, anyway? The first U.S. residents deported as “undesirable aliens” were members of Irish gangs in the 1850s. Of course, their being white doesn’t fit into your victimologist outlook on life, does it?

  15. Michael Kincheloe says:

    Anti-immigrant is one thing; anti-illegal alien is another. Illegals are not immigrants – they are the equivalent of someone who moves into an empty house without permission, and refuses to sign any paperwork or pay any rent. The far left uses the word “immigrant” in an attempt to blur the line between legitimate immigrants and illegitimate illegal aliens.

    I also believe this to be a stunt. The DREAM Act will never become law, and the actions of a nobody like Pedro Ramirez won’t amount to a hill of beans to the U.S. Congress.

    • Graduate Student says:

      Why are you calling Pedro a nobody? Is it because he is undocumented, Latino, or a student? If you knew anything about history you would know that members of all these groups contribute/have contributed greatly to our nation. Don’t let conservative retorice confuse the truth. If everyone thought like you we would never have passed the Bill of Rights. Pedro will become “legal” by simply changing laws. After all, isn’t that what we all want (including you)?

  16. plsi student says:

    Why is illegal immigration such a big deal? Part of it is because illegal immigrants are taking jobs and opportunities away from LEGAL AMERICAN CITIZENS, which Pedro has done. His opponent, Cole Rojewsky, lost the Student Body election to Pedro. How many educated students would have voted for Pedro knowing he was illegal? I sure wouldn’t have.

    • Robert says:

      I have no problem where students with better grades take the place of those with lower grades. Seeing many of my peers enter the system as freshmen, use up thousands of dollars in financial aid just to drop out one or two years later breaks my heart. Let merit be metric students are measured with.

    • Twmustang says:

      wat do you mena he took a job away from his opponent? HE GOT ELECTED TO THE POSITION! obviously he deserved and was better qualified to be ASI president, his legal status should not have anything to do with that.

  17. I wonder who the American citizen is that didn’t get to go to college because of this guy.

    • Robert says:

      probably someone who’s grades were lower and would probably consume more federal aid (Pedro gets none btw).

    • Robert says:

      Someone with a low GPA who would eat up federal aid and drop out in the first year.

    • Twmustang says:

      what are you talking about david? ALL citizens have the option to attend a college, pedro is not replacing anyone..he deserves to be in college and has done so by hard work and paying with his own money…citizens get much help with financial aid, student loans, so if they choose not to take advantage of that and make something of themselves like pedro, thats their own damn fault

    • Twmustang says:

      what are you talking about david? ALL citizens have the option to attend a college, pedro is not replacing anyone..he deserves to be in college and has done so by hard work and paying with his own money…citizens get much help with financial aid, student loans, so if they choose not to take advantage of that and make something of themselves like pedro, thats their own damn fault

  18. Robert says:

    pedro you brave soul! I commend your bravery for coming out like that and standing up for your rights.

  19. fm says:

    hey david schmidt, ALL citizens have the option to go to college if they choose to …pedro didnt take any ones place, he deserved it for his achievements…besides that citizens, (unlike undocumented students) ALSO have opportunity to get financial aid, student loans for their education, so whats stopping them from coming to college? nothing! they have no excuse, but laziness

    • Concerned Human Being says:

      “Every American who ever lived, with the exception of one group, was either an immigrant himself or a descendant of immigrants”

      John F. Kennedy
      A Nation of Immigrants (1958)

  20. WTF says:

    So Pedro admits he’s a criminal, but neither the university nor ICE will take any action against him.

    Pathetic.

  21. dareisay says:

    If he is illegal, then he has broken our laws, just by being here!

    Now he is out drumming for the DREAM act? What makes these illegals so bold when it comes to the USA, always marching in our streets demanding we change our laws to suit them?

    They need to go home and demand their leaders change and reform to help their own people!

    Just yesterday a story came out that US businesses are spending their money in Mexico, China, India,etc….for investment…not in the USA! That means less jobs here for citizens!

    I’m quite fed up with the pandering to illegals!

  22. C.B. says:

    I really think most people against Mr. Ramirez are speaking out of ignorance. In reality Mr. Ramirez has accomplished more than many of them, including those who call him a “nobody” It is amazing that at this point near the end of the year 2010 people who are supposed to be educated still come up with stupid racist remarks about someone who has proven to be more valuable to society than many US born citizens who have become a burden to the system by not working or getting locked up.
    Since so many of you think that the law was broken and that Mr. Ramirez should have come clean about his situation why don’t we ask everyone to come public about their issues. Go ahead! Make D.U.I. charges public (its a fact that many students here have those) Admit to illegally downloading music. Even better, lets make your private life public.
    Mr. Ramirez’s life is a public matter and I give him my full support for not only showing that he is deserving of being where he is but also of legal status in the United States, and for having the courage to admit to his legal status when questioned.
    As for the person who sent the email questioning his legal status. Way to go! Had not seen an act like it in a while, you should really be ashamed of yourself.

  23. Krivera583 says:

    The newspaper should be ashamed of publishing such a story that will not only disrupt Mr. Ramirez’s life but also his family!

  24. Why would the Fresno State Collegian even publish this anonymous letter?I would want to know what the Collegian staffs opinion on the matter is because obviously they published it without Pedro’s interest in mind.To expose their fellow peer and their own Student Body President like that is shameful!All it has done is call for some unwanted attention.His citizenship doesn’t even matter.I voted for Pedro Ramirez last school year and I still support him now no matter his citizenship status.

  25. Why would the Fresno State Collegian even publish this anonymous letter?I would want to know what the Collegian staffs opinion on the matter is because obviously they published it without Pedro’s interest in mind.To expose their fellow peer and their own Student Body President like that is shameful!All it has done is call for some unwanted attention.His citizenship doesn’t even matter.I voted for Pedro Ramirez last school year and I still support him now no matter his citizenship status.

  26. Luis Huerta says:

    Some people are arguing that, because of Pedro, one American citizen did not get accepted to Fresno State. First of all, if you get denied admission to Fresno State, then it’s for a reason: you’re not the brightest bulb in the bunch, plain and simple. Second, why would we, tax-paying citizens, want to fund a lost cause? Who in their right mind would want to fund someone to go to school for 1 or 2 years just so they can drop out and be a free-loader living under their parents’ roof at the age of 35? I wouldn’t. Third, university is for scholars, regardless of status. If Pedro wants to get an education (which he has the right to as ruled in Plyler v. Doe, 1982), then let him. I would rather have an informed, educated, positively-contributing, undocumented immigrant in society than some loser still living under their parents’ house, after a number of years, complaining about how their parents don’t get of his/her back. But that’s just me. If you want some loser in your society, then more power to you because you’ll have to deal with their foolishness.

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