This is eighteen-year-old Karla Fernandez:
She’s a senior at Ben Davis High School. She’s in the top 5% of her class academically, with a GPA in the A+ range. She’s also the the president of her class, a volunteer for numerous organizations, and holds down a part-time job. She’s been accepted to Ball State University to major in telecommunications.
So what’s the problem, you ask?
In 2011 the Indiana General Assembly passed a vicious and punitive law that prohibits the children of illegal immigrants from receiving in-state tuition rates. Karla was brought to the United States by her mother when she was three years old. Her parents wanted a better life for their daughter. In Mexico, they lived in a partly roofless shack. They came to the United States pursuing the same American Dream that nearly all our ancestors did: to build a better life for themselves and their children through hard work. Isn’t that what every decent parent wants, a better life for their children? Karla has lived that dream, putting in the hours, days, years of hard work to put herself in position to achieve her dream of becoming a broadcast journalist. She’s exactly the kind of person we need more of in Indiana and the United States.
But instead of a barely manageable $17,000 per year, Karla is faced with a bill of $40,000 per year to attend Ball State. Most federal assistance is closed to her as well. We’ve told her that she can’t be considered a resident of Indiana or the United States, despite the fact that this is where she’s lived for nearly all her life, and the fact that she had nothing to do with her parents’ decision to bring her across the border from Mexico. You can read more about her here.
This is not the America I believe in. The America I believe in rewards hard work and sacrifice. The America I believe in is big enough to welcome, “your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The America I believe in doesn’t punish children for the sins of their parents.
What can you do? Two things:
1) Donate to Karla’s Go Fund Me campaign. I’ll even sweeten the pot for you. If you give any amount of money at all to her campaign, and forward your receipt to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your physical address (Go Fund Me will send you a receipt without any personal info on it), then I’ll send you a signed ASHFALL trilogy bookmark:
If you donate at least $50, I’ll throw in a signed manuscript of DARLA’S STORY (plus a bookmark).
If you donate at least $100, you’ll also get a rare, signed ASHFALL poster (I only have eight or nine of these left, so the offer is good only until they’re gone).
If you donate at least $250, you’ll also get a complete set of signed and personalized (if desired) first printings of the ASHFALL trilogy in hardback. These are not available anymore except through rare book dealers. I have about 20 sets stashed, offer good until they’re gone.
If you donate at least $500, you’ll also get the name of your choice (within reason) included in my next published book. There’s more information about what I’m working on here. I reserve the right to limit this to the first five or so donations.
2) Contact the Indiana General Assembly and tell them to repeal the anti-American law that hampers Karla and 1.4 million others like her from achieving their American Dreams.
Here’s the Speaker of the Indiana House, Brian Bosma:
He was born in the United States due to no fault or virtue of his own, just as Karla Fernandez was born in Mexico due to no fault or virtue of her own. His ancestors probably emigrated from the Netherlands, just as Karla’s emigrated from Mexico. He’s worked hard to achieve his American Dream, just as Karla has. You can contact him here. Tell him to stop stomping on the dreams of people like Karla. It’s fundamentally un-American.
Here’s the President Pro Tempore of the Indiana State Senate, David Long:
He was born in the United States due to no fault or virtue of his own, just as Karla Fernandez was born in Mexico due to no fault or virtue of her own. His ancestors probably emigrated from England, just as Karla’s emigrated from Mexico. He’s worked hard to achieve his American Dream, just as Karla has. His contact information is in the left-hand sidebar here. Tell him to stop stomping on the dreams of people like Karla. It’s fundamentally un-American.
Thank you for your support!