Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Is Pedro Ramirez really THAT bad of a dude?

Student Leader Immigration.JPG

At this point, the story of Pedro Ramirez — the student body president at Fresno State who admitted this week that he’s an undocumented immigrant– has probably been debated each which way.

Commenters, not surprisingly, have caused a ruckus on The national press has picked it up — with much chatter on MSNBC, The Huffington Post and The L.A. Times.

As you might expect, the response has been polarizing. Some think he should be allowed to be student body president. Some don’t. For one, school president John Welty commended Ramirez in a statement released Wednesday. This much is for sure: No internet troll is going to decide Ramirez’s fate as student body president.

But what people have done a good job of — from their Facebook pages all the way to the national media site — is demonizing this kid. The venom being spewed about this is almost laughable, if not for the fact that some people believe it. I’ve seen people call Ramirez disgusting, a disgrace and an embarrassment. To that, I only have to ask: REALLY?

Perhaps he should have been more forthcoming about his immigration status with voters. Perhaps he shouldn’t have run in the first place. Perhaps he should have become a legal citizen before pursuing any political ambitions.

But to act as if he’s some type of degenerate is a sad commentary on how divided and hate-fueled our country has become.

Immigration is a very heated issue — proven also by The Bee’s ambitious “In Denial” series that’s running this week. However you feel about our country’s immigration laws and the enforcement of them, you have to admit that Ramirez is doing a whole lot better than many of the stereotypes people often associate with immigrants. He’s a college student. He had enough leadership skills to get elected student body president. He’s taking this controversy head on.

And when we compare this to the numerous headline-making transgressions that have happened at Fresno State over the years, does this even register that high? We’re talking about a school that saw one of its basketball players murder someone.

When student-athletes make mistakes — threatening people with Samurai swords, not writing their own term papers — there are people lining up to make apologies for them. Yet Pedro Ramirez and his overflowing ambition is some huge embarrassment?

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy that.

Responses to "Is Pedro Ramirez really THAT bad of a dude?"

adam says:

“Yet Pedro Ramirez and his overflowing ambition is some huge embarrassment?”


Bradley J. Rogers says:

He’s obviously a talented guy, hats off to him for what he has achieved. I agree that undocumented workers contribute to our society and I’m sensitive to their struggle. But after 52 years of living in this country and 22 years as a department head at my company I just had to produce my drivers license to prove to the US government that I have the right to work in this country. Should this legislation apply to all?

floydy says:

i think one thing you’ve completely discounted here is how badass it feels to be white and stand up for immigration laws in posts on the internet.

Michael Medrano says:

Pedro Ramirez is extremely brave to stand up in the face of injustice. I admire and stand behind him to the fullest. Viva Pedro!

Ramon says:

Hey, wasn’t he born in NIGERIA…
Obama/Ramirez birds of a feather…
Educated, intellegent, natural leaders…
Hey, wasn’t Columbus also from NIGERIA…


curiously unaware says:

Interesting debate. I’m going to assume that most people commenting on this issue are like me, not informed enough to understand the laws as they are written and/or enforced.

With that said, this issue has actually risen more questions than answers for me.

1. How does an undocumented immigrant register for school in the U.S. without proper documentation if there is a law that says they cannot?

2. Is enforcement the issue or are there descrepancies in the law that need to be sorted out?

3. Is it possible that the law states you cannot reside in the U.S. but you can enroll in school?

Either there are descrepancies in the laws or a huge disparity in enforcing said laws. Which is it? And who really has time to sort all of this out to form a valid opinion? Not me.

On a side note, I did find suspiciously odd is that he didn’t know he was an “undocumented immigrant” until he was a senior in high school. How is that possible? Was he lied to his whole life? Didn’t he ever ask where he was born? Does he even know his true family history? Strange indeed.

AttyKendall says:

I agree that we should not demonize him. But I also don’t think we should put him on a pedestal, any higher than someone in the same immigration situation, only who has been laboring in the fields for the past 10 years. In fact, I’d guess it would be harder to find someone “legal” to replace the farm laborer than to replace a student body president.

Citizen Kate says:

Here is a guy who has been in this country since he was 3 years old. He didn’t make the choice to come over here illegally, HIS PARENTS made it for him. He didn’t know about his status until he was in high school when he found out that he couldn’t get a job or apply for financial aid. The public shouldn’t knock this guy for wanting to better himself. I think it is great that he is trying to make the best out of a situation that he got put in to by other people. Am I upset that they came over illegally? Yes, I am. Most illegals don’t pay taxes and cost taxpayers a lot of money. If I have to pay taxes than everyone else who is in the United States should too. At least he was straight-forward with his status and not trying to hide it.

Abby says:

Agreed! It seems like people are forgetting that Ramirez’s PARENTS brought him here. A three-year-old can’t make that decision on his own!

bradley says:

Read the Fresno Bee special report on the topic “In Denial,” and educate yourself:

Bradley J. Rogers says:

Michael I must say the Pedro was brave to stand up and face the “justice” not “injustice”. His parents are the ones who broke the law not him. And their motive was to create a better life for their son. He knew that coming out would risk him being deported. The only solution is to offer him the option of going through the process of obtaining his citizenship. I’ll stand beside him if he agrees to complete the citizenship process. We need citizens who are this talented and brave. He is obviously a intelligent popular young man.

Chrisitna F. says:

amen AttyKendall

Thanks Mike, I agree with your opinion, great article.

Maggie says:

Great article, Mike.

I am involved in a number of student organizations at Fresno State, I voted for Pedro for President, and I know students in his exact same position. I applaud Welty’s response, and I just couldn’t believe how people were vilifying him in the comments on the Fresno Bee’s article. It saddens me to know I share a community with such ignorant people.

pk says:

Yes, he was brought here as a child by the parents….BUT, if he is smart enough to go to college and do what it takes to get through school and then become student body president, WHY didn’t he bother to become a legal immigrant HIMSELF after he became an adult at age 18…..
I have not heard an answer to that question

b2burns says:

Pedro appears to be a good human being with a good mind and preparing for a successful career. the problem here should not be personalized, however, because that’s leads us to start making exceptions and weaking the overall system. If we cannot more efficiently process cases like his from the outset, then we need to replace our government with a more effective one, one that reasonably discusses, adopts, and enforces fair immigration laws. This situation has stirred much irrelevant discussion. Let’s keep our eyes on the driving principle at stake.

kasper says:

I see a lot of people talking about how he didn’t know about his status until he was in high-school…in which case, his parents are liars. Ok, I can accept that, but that’s still long before his college ‘career’ and enrollment in the political arena.

Then there’s also the fact that he was able to get this far in our education system, which shows a flaw in the enforcement of citizenship status that is absolutely staggering. So we’re offering college level education to people who don’t even belong in this country but legitimate citizens can be denied financial aid all day long?

People can try and defend him with comments about “He didn’t know.” and “He was only 3, he couldn’t make the decision.” but then why bother even having a legal immigration system? So anyone who can skip over the fence and squeeze out a larvae gets to bypass the entire immigration system and all the people who actually studied our country and went to the trouble to immigrate legally? If it was an Iraqi kid he’d’ve never made it past elementary school without being deported…why is he somehow special?

Mathew says:

comment of the year? i think maybe

Xmarshal says:

What part of illegal dont U understand????

Adam says:

My thoughts after digesting this for a few days are along the lines of PK—Why has he CHOSEN to NOT become a U.S. citizen?

I think 540B is a shame. How is it not included that part of what it has to offer is allowing an individual that opportunity to become naturalized?

Given the current state of California’s economy, the scrutiny FSU has been under for use of funds and between hiring freezes, furlow days and deferred enrollment–why should CA tax payers or Cal State students turn a blind eye without asking more questions?

Diddly says:

Such highbrow psudo-intellectualism, has me staggering. I agree, he should not be forced to resign his position as ASU President. But if he is indeed illegally, he should be deported.

Dave says:

If the government doesn’t enforce our laws we will enforce them and that will probably end up being far worse than ridding our nation of these criminal leeches. This illegal is such a stand up guy knowing he is illegal that he lies about it and hides it, Ya, a dude to be proud of.

Hope Harry and that broad from SF pass the dream act. That will wake a few more citizens up and eventually—not soon enough for me, those who have looked the other way and not enforced our laws will pay a penalty as well as those who have broken our laws. A big serving of final justice and a return to our Constitution. Welty proves once again he is the dumbest a** in California!

Heather says:

How are “we” offering him education, first of all? Did you even read the article? He’s not dependent on public dollars for his education.

Second, he’s doing more than I did with my education, and I was born here. And I used up U.S. dollars for my education. So good for him.

I’d like to know how model of a citizen you, Kasper, and people of your ilk, truly are. Pedro’s working for it. He deserves what he’s achieved. I though that was the American dream — come here, make yourself a better person. Isn’t that what my and your grandparents did?

Heather says:

And I’d like to live in a Fresno — an America, even — without people like you. I was born here, so do I get a say in that?

Heather says:

I don’t think people who can’t grasp basic spelling and punctuation should get a say. Get better at life and maybe your fellow Americans will take you seriously.

JJJJ says:

The problem with the “debate” is the the majority of the people talking have no idea what they’re saying. I’ve seen ridiculous assumptions, stuff like he stole someones SS number (which is not needed to enroll), that he’s “stealing” public money (he’s paying for it via private scholarships and mowing the lawn) and that he’s guilty of a crime.

Let’s put a few things in order:

In state tuition. If he and his family have lived here for 18 or so years, they’ve been paying income tax, property tax, sales tax, gas tax etc etc. In state tuition is lower because he’s paid his “fees” via 18 years of taxes, something someone from Nevada has not.

He did not commit a crime. If a mother and father rob a bank and have their 3 year old in the car, does the 3 year old get sent to jail as an accomplice?

He knew about his status his whole life. Really? How many 5 year olds ask mommy if their papers are in order? He probably learnt of his status when planning a trip to Cancun for spring break or something and his parents had to tell him that couldn’t happen.

“Illegal is illegal”. Sodomy was illegal for decades, does it mean sending gay people to prison was correct? Never mind gay people, how about a straight married couple doing things in private? Illegal is illegal. Perhaps Rosa Parks should not be praised, she broke the law. Illegal is illegal.

Can someone explain to me why if person a was born in texas, but at age 6 moved to england and lived their for 18 years before coming back for a month is more american than someone who moved here at age 3 and spent their entire life in america?

JJJ says:

Dave, what did you do to earn your citizenship?

I’m pretty sure you were going 40 in a 35 last week. We need to rid this country of criminal leeches like you. Illegal is illegal.

pk says:

California State University system is subsidized by the State and the tax dollars that are paid into it….All state and local schools are paid for by taxes…If they are not tax-paying citizens then they are receiving the education (K-12 free, and college at tuition cost)and the tax-paying citizens are subsidizing their education.

Private education is much more expensive.

floydy says:

the moral of the story is that dave is really tough.

peter robertson says:

‎”Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


On a bronze plaque affixed to the base of The Statue of Liberty (1886).

Mallory says:

Mike Oz! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! As a Fresno State student I can say that as a University, we have had our fair share of events that put a dark cloud over our institution. As far as I can tell, Mr. Ramirez has upheld his campaign promises and is doing an outstanding job carrying out his duties as ASI President. Yes, “Perhaps he should have been more forthcoming about his immigration status with voters. Perhaps he shouldn’t have run in the first place. Perhaps he should have become a legal citizen before pursuing any political ambitions.” But lets also remember he turned down the $9,000 stipend the ASI President receives. Thank you, Mike, for saying the words some of us want to say but know we would be ridiculed to hell for it:

“Yet Pedro Ramirez and his overflowing ambition is some huge embarrassment? I DON’T BUY IT.”

kaser says:

My grandparents immigrated legally. That’s the difference.

kasper says:

This isn’t 1886 any more. We are overpopulated as it is. The last thing we need is another leech, paying $0 in taxes leeching off money that should be given to citizens.

Leo says:

That’s one seven layer burrito and one grilled stuffed chicken burrito, correct?


Your total comes to 6.08 at the first window please.

Hang on there sister, I’m illegal, I don’t pay tax, here’s your 5.58, and like it.

Claire L says:

So “Diddly” ( perfect name by the way)…
You are all for sending a young man to a country that is a foreign country to him as much as it is to you, where he possibly has no one, and will have nothing?

You wish to take this intelligent, important, ambitious, hard working young man and ruin his life?

Shame on you.

How small is your life that you are ready to stand up and cry out for the destruction of other human beings.

Boetica says:

Do you not understand that the poem that you presented has nothing to do with US law? Some of the other comments on this board show a profound lack of understanding on how to form an argument. Let me guess, you’re Fresno State students?

Boetica says:


Boetica says:

Another comment that makes no sense. Too many of those on this board.

Boetica says:

WHAT injustice?

Boetica says:

Pedro stated in an article that he didn’t know his immigration status until he was in highschool, and in the same article stated that he has kept this inside for most of his life. This “brilliant” person tripped himself up in his own lies. Must have learned that from his parents.

ramiro says:

I can’t believe the cockiness of some of these responses.

Chloe says:

Poor Pedro didn’t know he was illegal until he was a senior but in the same breath, he states that he is relieved that he is no longer having to live a lie which he said he had been for more than half his life. If he was 17 or 18 when he found out, how old is this guy, anyway? Must be at least 34! But, whats another lie to a guy like Pedro!

Domingo the Gringo says:

Mr. Rameriz is distroying his future, his credibility is being destroyed. ” Are you lying now or were you lying back then. The immigration issue can be solved. This is America don’t tell me it can’t be solved. But the greedy part of capitalism won’t let us. The day I see a Home Depot parking lot full of Americans looking for work is the day I know the real recovery has started. The USA is back.

dante madali says:

wutt are yuhh saying kidd??
kill urself kidd yuhh bk randy!!`
im done yurr garbage kidd get good!!!