Civitas posted about us, again. We’re starting to get the feeling that they don’t like us over there. Then again, this time they at least bothered to refer to Loida by name. Last time they referred to the hunger strike as a “siesta on state property” (in an obvious appeal to xenophobia) and videotaped us without informing us of their actions.

Where credit is not due is in the research done by Civitas Policy Analyst Karen Duquette. After not one, two but now three posts about us, we thought they were paying attention. The writer’s intent here is to illicit feelings of being taken advantage of by immigrants when in fact the opposite is true. These are folks, after all, that are paying seven billion dollars a year into Social Security that they’ll never get back, being barred from federal services.

To answer the question directly, as Loida answered weeks ago to the Independent Weekly, she does not have to have health insurance while attending UNC-Asheville because, for now, she is not enrolled in more than six credit hours, which is clearly stated by the very same link that Duquette uses. Once she finds more gainful employment and some more scholarship money, all of that will change. She is paying out-of-state tuition and has not received any financial aid from the school.

I’m sure the folks over at Civitas are discerning people—why didn’t that option occur to them when it is in the very first sentence of the policy? Probably because it wasn’t the narrative they were trying to create.

The whole point of posting the bill on the blog was to show that Loida was not receiving some mythic government handout. Even if she were, she would have paid her fair share of it as a tax-paying resident of this state.

Failing to overcome our argument, they made a new one up: Loida was somehow defrauding the UNC-Asheville administration, our incredibly warm-hearted donors, or both. The money raised at the dinner will go to its stated purpose: to pay for her trip to the emergency room.

Loida is not a criminal. She is a young person who is making the best of a difficult situation. She is a young person who—having assimilated to our culture and believing in the American dream—has set out to get an education and better her lot in life. She wants to do it here, in her home. She risked deportation and even her health simply for the opportunity to fix her situation herself.

Other students like Loida are being told that at eighteen, you should deport yourself to somewhere you hardly remember, fend for yourself for at least ten years and then wait for the visa roulette game to turn out your way. Hopefully we can make a change in current law that allows these young people to stay and contribute to our society.

We have to ask for help for gas money to go back and forth across the state—so Loida as an individual or the DREAM Team as a whole would ever think to saddle ourselves with a $4135.78 hospital bill just to make a point. Not only that, but to do what Duquette and Civitas are suggesting here, we would have had to have been so manipulative while our friend was lying in the emergency room.

I am disgusted by the insinuation. It’s shameful, but Civitas seems shameless enough. I’m sure there’s more to come.

Justin Valas has kept up on the Civitas Review for us. A special thanks for his vigilance.

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