Who Paid for Astrid Silva to Go to College?

 

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
— John F. Kennedy

It is common for politicians in speeches to use a very unscientific method to prove a point. Out of millions of people, they pick one personal story of someone who may tug on some heartstrings. These anecdotal undertakings of course prove nothing about the policy being presented and don’t really serve as a proper exemplar for the group being represented. It’s simply a distraction; a ploy to obfuscate thought.

If a politician is pressing for a new early-parole law, he will highlight one inmate who turned his life around, even if most don’t. It’s a feel-good thing, and if you disagree with the policy, well then you are just being mean to the fellow who turned his life around, you uncaring privileged American. Sadly, this nonsense is effective in American political persuasion and lawmaking.

In his immigration speech last night, President Obama told us of a girl named Astrid Silva:

Tomorrow, I’ll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on.

When she started school, she didn’t speak any English. She caught up to the other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mother cleaned other people’s homes. They wouldn’t let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school for fear the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant – so she applied behind their back and got in.

Still, she mostly lived in the shadows – until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn’t travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree.

Astrid wasn’t picked out of obscurity by the President. Her story has been used repeatedly in Nevada by Senator Harry Reid. She is an activist for a group called the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, committed to such leftist dog whistles as anti-fracking and “social justice.” The President didn’t find her toiling through life as an underground immigrant working in a car wash. By mentioning Astrid, he was rewarding a good liberal soldier, who attends the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.

Since the President and Astrid herself have thrust her story into the public light, I certainly can’t be seen as an uncaring, racist xenophobe (but I will) if I inquire about her story a little further. She is helping to steer an extremely important public policy. That gives the rest of us the right to know more about her.

So we’d like to know — who paid for Astrid, 26 years old, to stay in college long enough to earn three degrees? There are several reasons why we would like to know.

First, doesn’t it belie the President’s point that the lives of people who come to America illegally are so tough that he simply had to take immediate executive action to cure all that ails them? Attending an American University studying for a third degree, working as a political activist and being pen pals with the Senate Majority Leader doesn’t conjure up the same vision as a Syrian refugee looking for food. Where was the emergency here?

If Astrid Silva is the reason to help illegal immigrants, then there appears to be little if any reason to help illegal immigrants. She is living as good or better a life than most American women her age.

Second, there is a more important issue to discuss about how Astrid Silva is paying for college: Many middle-class American citizens can’t go to college because they can’t afford it.

There is a donut hole that many Americans fall into when it comes to sending their children to college. The parents make too much money to qualify for any government tuition assistance, but not enough money to qualify for bank loans. This situation exists while we make government-backed loans to foreign students.

Do you know what happens to those young Americans in that donut hole, Mr. President? They don’t get to go to college. Their parents honorably make enough money to stay off the public dole and stay out of their neighbor’s pockets, but fall short of qualifying for enough bank loans to pay for school, particularly when they have multiple college-aged children in the household.

When my own daughter went to her first year at college, she met a boy from Afghanistan. He described to her that he was on a program that not only gave him tuition to an American school, but also money to send home to his family to help support them while he was here. He further described that he wanted to get out of his dorm because his roommate, an Afghan going to college on the same deal, absolutely despised America and voiced that opinion all the time. (Aren’t anecdotal proofs helpful, President Obama?)

So what are the possibilities for Astrid to have paid for college? There are several answers, but each comes with additional questions. For instance, is the government already helping her go to school, which would even lessen the reason for seemingly urgent action by the President?

I understand she attends UNLV, and 27.2% of their revenue comes from the State of Nevada. So she, like all students there, is subsidized by the government. While that lessens her cost, it doesn’t pay for Astrid to go to school. How did she pay for the rest of her tuition? Let’s examine some possibilities.

1. She won scholarships. If she did, congratulations. Were they based on need? If so that’s even more help she received and less reason for her to complain about her situation. Some also might argue there are plenty of needy American kids in the middle class who could have used that money.

2. She and her parents paid for it. Congratulations if they did. That’s quite a bit of money to save. However, we have the right to know whether they were able to save that money by not having social security numbers and failing to pay income tax. Normally this would be none of our business, but she’s making herself the story here, not us.

3. She applied for and received a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, which allowed her to get a Social Security number, fill out a FASFA form and receive state aid for her tuition. If this is the case, good for her. However, again we have a situation of an illegal immigrant being wholly taken care of by the rest of us, while claiming to be left out in the cold by us.

I don’t feel good about inquiring of her about this. My usual libertarian philosophy is “leave your neighbor alone.” However this neighbor may be reaping the benefits America provides while at the same time shaming us into giving her more.

If that’s the case, then we have the right to know how Astrid Silva paid for her college. In fact, this may be a teachable moment. Perhaps Astrid can enlighten all those middle-class American kids who fall into the donut hole how they too can pay for college.

Finally, she should follow President Kennedy’s urging toward gratitude and publicly thank America for a life situation that allows her to earn three degrees, illegal immigrant or not.

There are 42 comments.

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  1. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Thanks for this post on Astrid Silva. I almost completely forgot to take my heartburn medicine today.

    • #1
  2. das_motorhead Inactive
    das_motorhead
    @dasmotorhead

    She has made herself a public figure, so she is now fair game. If the media could go after Joe the Plumber, I don’t see why you, Tommy, can’t at least ask questions.

    That said, I won’t be commenting on this thread any further, since I assume (especially after listening to yesterday’s podcast) it is already being investigated by the feds. Good luck, Tommy, been nice knowing you.

    • #2
  3. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    Great introductory paragraph, great post.

    • #3
  4. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    das_motorhead:She has made herself a public figure, so she is now fair game. If the media could go after Joe the Plumber, I don’t see why you, Tommy, can’t at least ask questions.

    That said, I won’t be commenting on this thread any further, since I assume (especially after listening to yesterday’s podcast) it is already being investigated by the feds. Good luck, Tommy, been nice knowing you.

    Don’t scare me man! I mean that!

    • #4
  5. Steve in Richmond Member
    Steve in Richmond
    @SteveinRichmond

    Have to wonder if she has three degrees if she is capable of doing anything productive. Or is this training to be a community organizer?

    • #5
  6. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Deport her.

    • #6
  7. Elephas Americanus Member
    Elephas Americanus
    @ElephasAmericanus

    More tragically, Astrid Silva – a citizen of a foreign nation with no residency rights in any U.S. state – was almost certainly charged less than what an American citizen from another state would be to attend a public university.  I went to a public university in another state for one year and was offered nothing but crippling loans for financial aid to help pay for my tuition, which was more than four times what the state charged illegal immigrants.

    Obama trotted out the Democrats’ favorite word – “unfair” – last night.  Well, Mr. President, how is charging a legal, law-abiding U.S. citizen 300%+ more for a public service than foreign citizens who broke our laws fair?

    • #7
  8. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Stad:Deport her.

    Seconded.

    This is yet another case of foreign criminals being privileged over law-abiding American citizens.

    • #8
  9. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Someone on my Facebook page just said my column was mean.

    Good grief.

    • #9
  10. douglaswatt25@yahoo.com Moderator
    douglaswatt25@yahoo.com
    @DougWatt

    Unbelievable, it’s not like we have a shortage of homegrown leftists in college, but now we’re importing them.

    • #10
  11. oleneo65 Coolidge
    oleneo65
    @oleneo65

    Thanks for addressing this issue. What are the odds that a citizen could actually find the answer to your question? Perhaps, Dr. Gruber mentioned her in one of his many presentations!

    • #11
  12. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    I need to say this. Here in Ireland this is a huge good news story. Tens of thousands of our people have been living in broad daylight but still in the shade, waiting for the tap on the shoulder or the boot on the door. I completely get that this is an outrageous power grab by the President and that there needs to be a reckoning. But I can’t forget the 80s when so many of my contemporaries, many my friends, took that chance and gave up so much, especially the right to return home for funerals, weddings and other family events. I remember deportees, one guy who got caught coming back from seeing the Mets vs Expos in Montreal. It was no more than the toss of a coin that kept me out of that mix. I also recall that the greatest objectors to “donkeys” as the illegal Irish were called,were the legal Irish in Queens and the Bronx.

    • #12
  13. George Savage Contributor
    George Savage
    @GeorgeSavage

    Here’s my question for President Obama:  How can my family and I get into the shadows?

    • #13
  14. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    In a Google search of her name it took until the last hit on the second page to find something critical of her, this blog post asking, among other questions, the same thing Tommy is:  http://silencedogood2010.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/a-frauds-fraud-the-astrid-silva-story/

    Also, is it just me, or has anybody else wondered why she has a Scandinavian first name? Has a name like Astrid made its way to the poor villages of Mexico?

    • #14
  15. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Elephas Americanus:More tragically, Astrid Silva – a citizen of a foreign nation with no residency rights in any U.S. state – was almost certainly charged less than what an American citizen from another state would be to attend a public university. I went to a public university in another state for one year and was offered nothing but crippling loans for financial aid to help pay for my tuition, which was more than four times what the state charged illegal immigrants.

    Obama trotted out the Democrats’ favorite word – “unfair” – last night. Well, Mr. President, how is charging a legal, law-abiding U.S. citizen 300%+ more for a public service than foreign citizens who broke our laws fair?

    Here in California that is now the case. Illegals get discounts, which is absurd for many reasons, not least of which is how do you prove you are “undocumented?” Don’t bring documents? Anybody could do that.

    • #15
  16. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    Steve in Richmond:Have to wonder if she has three degrees if she is capable of doing anything productive. Or is this training to be a community organizer?

    Future first Latino female president?

    • #16
  17. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    that picture makes me sick…  sorry.  It does.

    • #17
  18. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Ryan M:that picture makes me sick… sorry. It does.

    Astrid Silva does have that effect on some people.

    • #18
  19. Sandy Member
    Sandy
    @Sandy

    Casey:

    Ryan M:that picture makes me sick… sorry. It does.

    Astrid Silva does have that effect on some people.

    I gotta say, Casey, Thank God for you and your avatar.  Otherwise I’d be crying.

    • #19
  20. Indaba Member
    Indaba
    @

    Same situation in canada.

    • #20
  21. joseph.f.oneill@gmail.com Member
    joseph.f.oneill@gmail.com
    @DeepStateDoc

    Agree entirely w this essay. Additionally are any of those three degrees in a field that would equip her to become an independent contributor to society or are they in useless politically correct areas that prepare her to be on the public dole forever? Women’s and ethnic studies come to mind but there so many more…

    • #21
  22. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I paid for my degree. Where do I apply for my free ones?

    • #22
  23. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    If someone were to publicly call her a leech, they would be called ”mean’.

    As we know there are many problems with liberalism, one is they never see the effect thier ‘compassionate’ policies have on the people who don’t whine to the government about everything, another is that the have no limits, no ‘enough’ until you wind up with a spectacle like this of punishing legal residents by charging them more than law breakers. Liberalism is a mental disease.

    • #23
  24. user_645 Editor
    user_645
    @Claire

    Hey, someone help me out. I’m having one of those word-is-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue moments, and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t remember. There’s a name for doing this among Beltway-insider types:

    Out of millions of people, they pick one personal story of someone who may tug on some heartstrings.

    And it derives from a specific case in which it was done by Clinton. Can anyone remember what it was?

    • #24
  25. PsychLynne Inactive
    PsychLynne
    @PsychLynne

    I googled Astrid’s name and scholarship and came up with the following:

    2014 – $2000 scholarship – Women’s Democratic Club of Clark County

    Astrid’s editorial in USAToday mentions that she attended community college with money she earned from 5 years of babysitting.  She went to community college because she felt her immigration status would be less likely to a problem there.  She earned Associate’s degrees in “arts and political science.”  The five years of baby-sitting money also helped her family move into a bigger house.

    From the Democratic Future Leaders conference in 2013, she had completed an Associate of Arts in political science and was working full-time on immigration issues but hoped to go to UNLV.

    In April 2014 she wont the American Immigration Council Youth Achievement award, which included presentation of the awards in D.C.  This comes with a $1000 award (not scholarship).  The article also mentions she graduated from the magnet technology high school in her area.

    So, best I can tell, she has an A.A. in poli sci, works as a community organizer and has one a 2014 scholarship – and wants to go to UNLV.

    Nice to know the level of fact-checking that goes on in inspirational stories.

    • #25
  26. user_199279 Coolidge
    user_199279
    @ChrisCampion

    So let me get this straight.  Being “In the shadows” means:

    1.  Don’t pay income taxes.

    2.  Get the benefit of everyone else’s paying taxes, like roads, etc.

    3.  Get benefits for tuition unheard of for the average American citizen – so much so that 3 degrees is no sweat off your back if you want to sit through all those hours of Contemporary Swedish Political Systems coursework.

    4.  Get celebrated by political hacks like Reid who fails to do even the basic core of his job so he can score political points by shielding his flock from tough votes on the basic building blocks of any organization – the budget – and pose for pictures with the aging oligarch.

    This “shadows” thing looks pretty tasty.  Too bad I’m a US citizen, have worked all my life, got my 2nd degree by getting a job at a college so they would cover the tuition, and held down a 2nd job while going to school part-time – and kept my full-time job while doing so.  Oh, and ran my first half-marathon while doing so.

    But Harry won’t put his withered and pasty arm around me for a photo op, will he?  Is it because my last name isn’t recognizably minority enough?  Or is it because of my Micmac heritage, and Harry wouldn’t want to be perceived as a race hustler?

    So many questions I have for Harry.

    • #26
  27. kylez Member
    kylez
    @kylez

    This “shadows” thing looks pretty tasty.  Too bad I’m a US citizen, have worked all my life, got my 2nd degree by getting a job at a college so they would cover the tuition, and held down a 2nd job while going to school part-time – and kept my full-time job while doing so.  Oh, and ran my first half-marathon while doing so.

    Sucker.

    Actually this right here is the moral argument against illegal immigration/amnesty in one simple paragraph.

    • #27
  28. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Mike LaRoche:

    Stad:Deport her.

    Seconded.

    This is yet another case of foreign criminals being privileged over law-abiding American citizens.

    Tommy, I am all over your point #2. Thanks for posting this.

    • #28
  29. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    Tommy De Seno:Someone on my Facebook page just said my column was mean.

    Good grief.

    That’s not right! The proper knee-jerk reaction from the Left should be “racist”, not “mean”.

    • #29
  30. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Claire Berlinski:Hey, someone help me out. I’m having one of those word-is-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue moments, and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t remember. There’s a name for doing this among Beltway-insider types:

    And it derives from a specific case in which it was done by Clinton. Can anyone remember what it was?

    GERD?

    • #30

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