Illegal Immigrant: 'Why Would the United States Kick Me Out?'
The illegal immigrant DREAMer who warned celebrity illegal immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas that he could be detained during his stay in McAllen, Texas, defiantly wondered why the United States would want to kick her out of the country.
Vargas, who was detained and released Tuesday in Texas, had written that Tania Chavez informed him of McAllen's border checkpoints.
In an appearance on CNN with host Don Lemon before Vargas was released, Chavez said the United States should welcome the illegal immigrant children who are flooding across the border "with open arms."
"Why would the United States kick me out? Do they really want me to go share my wealth of knowledge that they have given me with another country?" she said. "Is that what they want?"
Chavez said that because she was not in debt, she did not owe the country anything.
When Lemon said it was hard for him to believe that Vargas, a former Pulitzer-winning journalist and filmmaker, really was oblivious to the McAllen checkpoints and was not visiting to gin up publicity, Chavez said the visit "was not done on purpose" as a stunt.
Chavez said she has two advanced degrees but cannot find good jobs because she cannot leave the McAllen area. When Lemon suggested that she could use her degrees to get a better or more desirable job in Mexico, Chavez asked, "Am I going to take the education that the United States paid for... are they going to kick me back to Mexico?"
"This has become my home," she said. "My value system has been developed here."
Chavez said she has lived in the Rio Grande Valley for 14 years and she wanted to support illegal immigrant children who came to the country, like she did, through no fault of their own. She said she is "caged" in the region because she cannot go "anywhere above the 100-mile radius" without being detained.
"If I'm going to do anything, I am going to do something for my people who have become my family in the Rio Grande Valley," Chavez said. "I want liberation for them."
Chavez also said she wanted Obama to "provide administrative relief" to all of the country's illegal immigrants and said it was "a shame" that illegal immigrants like her "can't get beyond the checkpoints to see our families."
At least 57,000 illegal immigrant children have unlawfully entered the country since October of last year, and federal officials expect at least 150,000 more to do so in the next fiscal year. However, Chavez said if the United States can pay for wars abroad, it can take care of all of the illegal immigrant children.
"I think if we can afford money to go have a war in another side of the world... then we can afford being able to have the children here," she continued.