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Fresno State student body president no longer quiet about status as illegal immigrant

November 18, 2010 |  8:23 am

Pedroramirez The parents of popular Cal State Fresno Student Body President Pedro Ramirez always talked a lot about el sueño Americano — the American Dream.

He was to study hard, get good grades and claim the prize, but it wasn't until that night in their kitchen when the high school valedictorian was filling out university applications that they told him a missing detail — he wasn't a United States citizen. He was born in Mexico. He came to this country when he was 3 years old.

Now, an anonymous tip to the college newspaper has forced Ramirez to publicly expose his secret and has put this son of a maid and a restaurant worker into the thick of a debate on immigration and education that has reached a boiling point in recent weeks. Some have called for his resignation while others have rallied to his defense.

"In a way, I'm relieved," said Ramirez, a 22-year-old political science major from Tulare, Calif. "I don't want to be a liability or cost the school donations. I never really thought this was going to happen. But now that it's out there, I finally feel ready to say, 'Yes, it's me. I'm one of the thousands.' "

Ramirez's critics say he wasn't honest with the student body about his immigration status when he ran for president and should resign.

"He misled the students … he should step down," Cole Rojewski, president of the campus' College Republicans and one of Ramirez's opponents in the race for president, said in a television interview.

Read the full story here.

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