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Immigrant students give blood to show citizenship

Associated Press | 12/7/2010, 8:42 p.m.

In addition to donating blood, student immigrants are volunteering at homeless shelters and donating turkeys at holiday food drives. Orozco said one group in Kentucky held a food drive outside a congressman’s office and then went to donate blood next door.

“This is not the first time I’m donating,” said Elizabeth Ponce, 20, who gave blood at Harvard. “It probably won’t be the last.”

U.S. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said the students “are reminding everyone what it really means to be an American.”

“Only three in a hundred Americans will ever donate blood despite the need, but these kids are living out the real full measure of citizenship,” he said. “They’re living, breathing testimony of the importance of passing the DREAM Act.”

Marie Parente, a former Massachusetts state representative who opposed efforts to give the state’s illegal immigrants in-state tuition, said the blood donation drive did little to change her opinion that the DREAM Act was wrong. She compared illegal immigrants donating blood to win sympathy with serial killers donating blood to get off death row.

“What if a guy on death row says ‘I’ll give you a pint of blood for the rest of my life ... just get me out of here’?” said Parente, 82, of Milford. “It’s baseless.”

Orozco said illegal immigrant students have nothing in common with criminals and the immigrants are just seeking to go to college or join the military.

“Our blood is just as good as other people’s blood,” said Orozco.

Associated Press