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Citizenship measured by contribution

Undocumented immigrants contribute to every aspect of life in the United States. They are janitors, domestic maids, dishwashers and farm workers that anonymously make the daily routines of others function; they are individuals such as Jose Antonio Vargas, who write Pulitzer Prize-winning articles that help us better understand our society. Undocumented immigrants prove that a person’s citizenship should not amount to a bureaucratic requirement — rather, it should be measured by the contributions an individual provides to society, both materially and in furthering our collective conscience.

On both counts, Tania Chairez is fulfilling her role as a citizen to the United States, both as an undergraduate student at one of the country’s most prestigious universities and by being willing to speak up on behalf of those who are marginalized in the place they call home. In a country that has historically upheld the tenets of freedom and the pursuit of happiness, it is inconsistent that Tania and all undocumented immigrants should not have full rights. Thank you, Tania, for helping make Penn and the United States a more open place for all. There are many of us who support you.

Ana María Gómez López
C’03, GAS ‘04
Visiting Scholar, Latin American and Latino Studies Program



@chrissydomenico, Christina Domenico, 2009 College graduate
Well, this is bold. Took guts to publish

@PennUMC, United Minorities Council
great new article in @dailypenn about undocumented students. read it. they deserve to be here as much as anyone else.

@wvaneaton, Will Van Eaton, 2011 College graduate
An inspiring student voice for undocumented immigrants


“[You’re] breaking the law Tania, plain and simple. I think its egregious that UPenn allows law breakers to live among the tax-paying citizens admitted.”
— Michael Gomez


Your life has been made possible by my and my parent’s contributions and hard work. Our taxes have funded the public school system you likely attended and the roads you drive on, and therefore all the opportunities that come with these public goods. Will you remain unapologetic for your free riding use of them?

I agree that immigration should be made easier and on a humanitarian level I am glad to celebrate the better life you have here than in Mexico, but I am irked by your proud assertion of being “unapologetic.” I think you should think that over a bit more and be apologetic to those rightfully in a country that really is not your own. Perhaps the culture has become yours, but one shouldn’t get the two confused.”
— Nancy

“Tania, you’ve done something amazing that takes courage that I haven’t been able to summon as an undocumented student at Yale. It’s tough keeping your situation a secret.”
— A Fellow DREAMer

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