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Latino Daily News

Friday May 4, 2012

Faces of the DREAM Act: Jose Luis Zelaya Denied Admittance to Texas A&M Student Gov’t

Faces of the DREAM Act: Jose Luis Zelaya Denied Admittance to Texas A&M Student Gov’t

Photo: Faces of the DREAM Act: Jose Luis Zelaya Denied Admittance to Texas A&M Student Gov't

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An undocumented student at Texas A&M has been denied a student government position once again due to his citizenship status.

Earlier this year, HS-News shared the story of Jose Luis Zelaya, a Texas resident born in Honduras. When he was 14 he fled Honduras after being injured by gang violence. He entered the U.S. legally and applied for politica; asylum. When he was denied, he chose to stay in the country without legal documentation.

Despite his early life, Zelaya went on to become an Aggie at Texas A&M and earned his bachelor’s degree. Looking to continue both his and his sister’s college education, Zelaya began making crocheted items to sell on the online site known as Etsy. In February, he ran for Student Body President, and drew national attention by being an undocumented student running for a position in student office. Sadly, he did not receive enough votes, but he continued his fight to serve his peers in the Texas A&M Student Senate.

However, though many believed him qualified to serve as the Senate’s new Vice President of Diversity, a Senate vote earlier this week came back not in his favor. Needing a 2/3 majority vote, Zelaya supporters were not enough to admit him to the Student Government Executive Cabinet. The anonymous vote came back 30 for and 26 against after Senator Cary Chesire spoke out against him calling him a “liability” to their university.

Texas A&M Bryce Buchmann, in a piece for Huffington Post’s “Uloop” wrote:

The Texas A&M Student Senate missed an opportunity to have a great candidate appointed to the Student Government Executive Cabinet and a chance to steal the public spotlight in a positive way. It should be noted that just as many students stood up to speak for Zelaya as against him, and the majority of students in the senate voted in his favor. Newly elected Student Body President John Claybrook has also represented A&M well on the issue as he was the one who nominated Zelaya and continues to be a supporter of the A&M grad student. But misunderstanding and intolerance on the part of a few have left a black spot on Texas A&M’s reputation for now.

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