Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Undocumented Students

Last week The New York Times devoted an article in their Education Life section to one Princeton alum's experience on campus. No, he hadn't been nominated to the Supreme Court. Rather, he did something completely alien to most Princetonian's experience. He attend the school while an illegal immigrant.

Harold Fernandez '89, who was originally from Colombia and traveled to the US on a wooden boat, attended Princeton with a fake Social Security number and green card. The story explores this future Molecular Biology major's journey through the University.The article is well worth reading for an interesting look into how the University handled the discovery that Fernandez was breaking both the federal law and the honor code.

The article notes:
"First, he had broken Princeton’s honor code, which essentially affirms that students will not cheat or lie. Moreover, he had improperly received government money intended for American citizens or permanent residents.

“Just as I was feeling crushed by the gravity of these issues,” he remembers, “she went on to say: ‘But, Harold, both problems have solutions.’ "

Despite the unlikeliness of Fernandez's story, he is not the only Princeton student to have attended Princeton while an illegal immigrant. The 2006 Latin salutatorian, Dan-el Padilla '06, announced that he was an illegal immigrant in a story in the Wall Street Journal. He would later receive a H1-B visa to return to the US to work on a project with his former thesis adviser.


Sam said...

LOL I heard this story on PrincetonFML like 3 days ago... way to be on top of the news.

Anonymous said...

"...Princeton’s honor code, which essentially affirms that students will not cheat or lie..."

Does the Times fire its entire fact-checking staff? The Honor Code, for its hundred-year history, has dealt with -- and *only* with -- in class examinations. It has no bearing whatsoever on illegal immigration and Pell Grant fraud. Epic journalism fail.