Sense and Sensibility

Last fall, soon after I had taken on the role of NYCCT campus coordinator for the CUNY-BA program, a young woman came to talk with me about it. I wanted to pull her record up on the computer and asked for her Social Security Number.

“I don’t have one,” she said, in perfect American English. “I was born in Mexico and was brought here before I was two, but I have never had legal status.”

She made a point of it. Soon, once I was able to see her record, I understood why. Her grade-point average was above 3.5. Many of the classes she had taken were in math and the sciences where she clearly excelled.

“I want to go to medical school, but I don’t know if I would be able to, given my situation.”

I didn’t know if she could, or not.

“What about financial aid?” I asked her.

“I get none,” she answered. “I work, illegally of course, as well as going to school.”

This young woman will now get the chance to contribute to the American society she is a part of (her legal status is an irrelevancy–she is an American).

She should have always had it.

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