Jessica Colotl: 'I'm just trying to be like any other American'

6:58 AM, May 10, 2012   |    comments
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Jessica Colotl

ATLANTA -- For nearly two years, Jessica Colotl has found herself at the center of Georgia's heated debate over illegal immigration.

In March of 2010, she was pulled over for a traffic stop and found to be in the country illegally. At the time, she was a student at Kennesaw State University. Colotl was granted a one-year deportation deferment so she could finish school.

She just learned Monday that she will be allowed to stay in the United States for another year.

Her original deferment expired when she graduated. Last year, she applied for a second one, and says she will do so again next year.

Under current immigration laws, Colotl says she cannot apply for permanent citizenship because she entered the country illegally. Her parents brought her to the United States from Mexico when she was 11 years old.

If her deferment is denied, Colotl faces deportation. She says her status affects everything she does.

"Not being able to have complete control over my life, just thinking that what I could plan for next year might not actually go through," she said. "It's frustrating to think about it every day and what could happen in a few months from today."

Colotl graduated from KSU in May of 2011 and currently works as a paralegal assistant for Charles Kuck, her immigration attorney. She plans to attend law school and become an immigration lawyer herself.

"I'm contributing to this society just like anybody else," she said. "I have a job, I pay taxes. I'm not a burden on society. I'm just trying to be like any other American."

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