Fresno State leaders support undocumented ASI president

FRESNO, Calif.

In one day's time, Pedro Ramirez' immigration status has gone from a secret known by only a select few to a story that's being reported by the national media. And while Fresno State leaders are supporting him, some classmates feel deceived.

News of Pedro Ramirez' story spread quickly through the Fresno State campus Wednesday. School officials revealed they knew about his immigration status the moment Ramirez was elected ASI president.

"There were no bi-laws violated. There's nothing that says an AB 540 student can't run for office. Be a same and member of the campus as anyone else." said VP Student Affairs Paul Oliaro.

AB 540 is a state law that allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition if they meet certain requirements. But students like Neil O'Brien say the high honor of being student body president should be reserved only for U.S. citizens.

"How can we allow somebody an elected position that shouldn't be in this country at all." said senior Neil O'Brien.

O'Brien spoke out against Pedro Ramirez at ASI's student senate meeting Wednesday. He's the son of Argentinean immigrants and says Ramirez needs to go through the process of being a citizen just like everyone else.

"He should actually go through proper measures and the procedures to actually become a student. What does it say about a country that allows somebody to be the president with illegal status?" added O'Brien.

Ramirez says he's tried the legal process -- but it hasn't worked.

Thousands just like him are also waiting in line -- leaving Pedro little chance of getting through. Whether his new found fame will help or hurt his case remains to be seen.

"I hope I won't get deported. I'm hoping that some, from the grace of god that a miracle will happen and I'll be able to stay here and finish my degree and work something out." said Ramirez.

Ramirez' best hope may be the Dream Act, which would give undocumented college graduates an opportunity to earn permanent residency status. But that bill is currently stalled in congress.

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