Why we need the Dream Act: Jonathan Chavez | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why we need the Dream Act: Jonathan Chavez

Posted By on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 5:56 PM

  • Chavez

Just one more thing before we head home tonight:

Jonathan Chavez is a popular student in the Honors College at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Or at least he should be.

At the moment, the senior is being held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and faces deportation to Peru.

Chavez was born in Peru but was brought as a youngster to Rogers, where his parents had work tourist visas. He graduated from high school there with a 4.0 GPA, friends say. He is only two semesters away from graduating from the U of A. He began a naturalization process at 17, but he turned 18 before it could be complete.

Chavez was detained by ICE agents when he got off a bus in Florida, where he had traveled at Christmas to visit his mother. He was asked for his papers and taken to a facility in Fort Lauderdale. ICE round-ups are going on in areas with high Hispanic populations on the East Coast.

That was four weeks ago, says Elaine Edwards, who gave Chavez voice lessons when he was a high school senior and has advocated for him since, helping him with college applications and now providing moral support through the Facebook page “Praying for Jonathan Chavez." The page provides his address and was used to generate a letter-writing campaign to halt his deportation. Chavez’ lawyer, Sandy Lambert, told U of A assistant general counsel Scott Varady that she received “glowing” letters about him that were “unparalleled in her experience,” Varady said. To date, the U of A has had no formal comment on Chavez. Varady said the university did not know he was undocumented.

Chavez has a deportation hearing on Thursday. Edwards said his lawyer will ask for “deferred action,” to allow Chavez to graduate.

Raised and educated in Rogers. A student in the university’s honors college. A young man who would be a credit to Arkansas. And here’s the kicker: Chavez' parents are currently living legally in the U.S. His father is Both parents are married to an American. Send their son to Peru?

Had the Dream Act passed, Chavez would have been eligible to apply for citizenship after graduating from high school and Arkansas would have another high-achieving citizen to brag about.

Edwards said Chavez is not complaining. He said, in fact, that his was the best Christmas he’s ever had, because he was able to hold Bible study classes with others incarcerated there, even translating Bible passages. Chavez is a member of Christ on Campus at Fayetteville.

Chavez has a plan if he is deported, Edwards said. He wants to continue his singing; his voice is “magnificent,” she said. She’d like it to be heard in America.

Tags: ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (47)

Showing 1-47 of 47

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-47 of 47

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • It's 3rd Friday Art Walk in Argenta ...

    It's Third Friday Art Walk in Argenta, and it's beautiful outdoors. So go.
    • Mar 16, 2018
  • Dream comes true: Dreamland Ballroom gets big restoration grant

    The U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service will award a $499,668 improvement grant to Dreamland Ballroom in the historic Taborian Hall building at Ninth and State streets, now the home of Little Rock Flag and Banner.
    • Mar 15, 2018
  • Write your congressmen to support history

    When you're busy cutting the federal budget to the bone so that folks wealthier than God don't have to contribute to the Treasury, no program is too small to ax, right?
    • Mar 15, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Deputy killed, police chief wounded in Sebastian County. Suspect in custody

    40/29 TV reports that two law officers were shot about 7 a.m. today near Hackett in Sebastian County and at mid-afternoon came word that one of them had died. Later in the day a suspect was taken into custody in the shooting.
    • Aug 10, 2016
  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Satanic Temple: Make Rapert pay for Ten Commandments monument

    A petition drive has begun to encourage a demand that Sen. Jason Rapert pay for the legal fees in defending his Ten Commandments monument proposed for the state Capitol grounds. It's more work by the Satanic Temple, which has fought church-state entanglement around the country.
    • Aug 28, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments


© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation