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Orrin Hatch, The Dream Act, And One Dubious "Poster Child"
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January 19, 2005, 04:00 AM
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Ok I admit it, I`m confused.

Back in my day (ugh, I`m 33 and I already say back in my day) politics was a relatively simple game.

The Democrats could be counted on to promote the Marxist scam of the month. The Republicans could be counted on to resist.

The predictability of party-line politics is a fundamental resource for legislative aides—I was Chief of Staff for a California Assemblyman—because you need to know who you can count on for legislative support. (Umm, preferably before session convenes.)

Illegal immigration was generally a delineating issue, a no-brainer:


So I begin my rant today with a few simple questions:

  1. Is there still a Republican Party? I mean, really a GOP…you know, with conservative principles and things of that nature.
  2. For whom is this DREAM Act actually a dream?
  3. When did Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) switch sides?

My Exhibit A: Senator Orrin Hatch, his DREAM Act and its dubious poster child.

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM—S.545) is not just an amnesty program, it`s a taxpayer-subsidized amnesty program that would displace American students from college. It would legalize illegal aliens in unlimited numbers as they complete U.S. high school and also compel states to make these illegals eligible for subsidized in-state college tuition rates.

(Ummm, whatever happened to federalism?)

In November 2004, Senator Hatch also introduced S.2999, a senate bill "for the relief of Heilit Martinez."

A private relief bill is customarily introduced when all administrative and legal remedies have been exhausted. Most relief bills deal with immigration and citizenship.

So who is Heilit Martinez and why would Senator Hatch seek immigration relief on her behalf?

Heilit Martinez describes herself as "the poster child" for the DREAM Act.

In an illuminating op-ed Suddenly, I was An Illegal Alien she explains. [Salt Lake Tribune 12/18/2004]

On a trip with school chums, Martinez, then a student at Utah State University, traveled into Juarez, Mexico through El Paso Texas. She offered these details of her re-entry debacle:

"[At the border]…When they asked if we were citizens, I was honest and said no. I had no passport (my father told me it had been delayed for the past 1 1/2 years in San Francisco) and had been told my green card was lost."

Important note: She said she knew she was not a U.S. citizen.

Just to challenge your knowledge of the law, see how many crimes you can identify in her explanation of the confusion:

"I had been living in the United States since I was 2 years old and my parents came for a temporary stay and ended up living here."

Crime number one…being an illegal alien.

"I went through public school in Utah and graduated from Kearns High School (Utah) in June 2003."

Not a crime (thanks to Plyler vs. Doe) but an interesting tax burden.

"I was registered throughout my school years with a falsely notarized birth certificate that my parents had given me. The false notary gave my birth date as Oct. 16, 1984. I found out later I was actually born Oct. 16, 1986."

Crime number two…using false documents.

Heilit Martinez` friends, along with Utah State faculty, contacted the mayor of Salt Lake City who in turn contacted Senator Hatch`s office.

She continues:

"I was granted humanitarian parole. I am currently waiting for a bill to go out in my name in Washington. Sen. Hatch had previously tried to pass a bill called the DREAM Act in 2003."

She describes Hatch`s DREAM Act as a bill that would:

"…help illegal immigrants who were brought here as children by their parents and have graduated from a U.S. high school who now want to further their education by either attending college or serving in the military."

And, to cap it all off, she said:

"I am to be, in a sense, the poster child for this [DREAM Act]."

Isn`t that nice? When I was in Sacramento, the phrase poster child had a slightly different connotation. Poster child was an idiom used to identify an enemy…or patsy.

Good luck with that, Heilit!

However, that does explain the relief bill: Senator Hatch found a poster child for his DREAM Act.

But Martinez` rendition of events, as well as her personal history, does not pass what my colleagues in opposition research used to call the Stink Test.

She says was two when she arrived in the United States and was technically born in 1986, which means she arrived in 1988.

She graduated from Kearns High School in 2003. Therefore, if she participated in every grade level, she began kindergarten in 1990.

Her birthday, whatever the correct year, is in October. Virtually all public schools commence in September. Which means by her account she started school at the age of three, going on four.

With her year of birth recorded as 1984, school officials would have registered her Kindergarten age as 5 going on 6.

Unless she was a wunderkind or freakishly large, how did a 3 year-old convince anybody she was almost 6?

And what about that birth certificate?

  • She told Border Patrol she was not a U.S. citizen.

  • For 15 years she used an American birth certificate.


  • She claims ignorance of its inauthenticity.

If you are confused—because Martinez also says she was born in Mexico—that`s because her story is confusing. But if she thought she was born in the U.S.—and hence had a U.S. birth certificate—why didn`t she tell the Border Patrol agents that she was an American citizen?

And—Martinez also lost her job as a resident assistant at Utah State University when her illegal status became known to campus faculty.

This means at some point she must have provided fraudulent identification for the purpose of obtaining employment.

My guess: she provided a driver`s license. All resident assistants have to drive, after all.

For those keeping score, that would be crime number three.

She adds:

"I`m currently struggling for money, not only for myself but my parents, too. I was their support, now I have lost the ability to work legally."

How fascinating that she does not acknowledge that she never was employed legally.

So what gives?

My guess: Martinez made the whole thing up.

If Martinez knowingly used a fraudulent birth certificate in order to



  • Obtain a passport.


…well, she would be in a little bit of trouble.

But by claiming a different birth year, one that makes her two years younger, she can declare herself a minor at the time the crimes were committed. She can paint herself the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Some poster child.

What gets me: the Heilit Martinez fraud was perpetuated by an allegedly conservative alleged Republican.

We need a milk carton with a picture of an elephant on the back and the words "Have You Seen the GOP??"

Please let me know if you find it.

Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.