A 17-year-old student who wrote an anti-illegal immigration column in his school newspaper was targeted by a radical Hispanic group that sponsored a protest where students marched through campus behind a Mexican flag.
Trent Demarest of Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Ore., tells WND he decided to make his last column of the school year about what he considers one of the most important public-policy issues facing the U.S.: illegal immigration.
“It wasn’t the first time I’ve written a controversial opinion piece,” Demarest said, “because I’m the only conservative on the high-school newspaper staff in a very liberal town.”
Demarest said he was taken aside by his faculty adviser the day after the column was published in the High-O-Scope newspaper.
“She told me: ‘There are a lot of people really upset about your article. I’ve gotten outraged e-mails from teachers and there are kids who want to beat you up,'” Demarest explained.
In his column, Demarest takes President Bush to task for his immigration policies.
“I can’t support anything President Bush has been doing regarding our borders lately, because in reality, it’s pathetic,” wrote Demarest. “And as September 11 taught us, pathetic policy today inevitably leads to tragedy tomorrow. I am sick and tired of watching him fiddle while America burns. He has done nothing about the single greatest problem facing our country today: open borders and the resultant unchecked human tide that surges from Mexico every day.”
Demarest said the first on-campus protest was organized by students, the leader of whom claimed the column included “racial slurs.” Many of those who protested, up to two-thirds, had not read the piece, Demarest says.
In the column, Demarest said those coming to the U.S. illegally from Mexico are “not all happy little Hispanic agricultural workers” – a phrase he admits was “a poor choice of words” and for which he submitted an apology in this week’s edition of the school paper.
Demarest said those participating in the first protest of his column were not necessarily Hispanics, but rather “the uppity-ups in the English Department.”
The second protest, held on Thursday, was more about “brown pride,” Demarest said, and was sponsored by the MEChA chapter at Oregon State University, which is also located in Coravallis.
MEChA is a radical pro-Mexico student group that says it is committed to “the physical liberation of Occupied America” and a separate Hispanic nation in the Southwest U.S. It’s motto is “Por La Raza Todo, Fuera de La Raza Nada: for the race, everything; outside the race, nothing.”
The protest consisted of about 50 people marching around the campus in silence behind a Mexican flag.
According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, about 10 percent of Corvallis High’s 1,400 students are Latino, many of whom refer to themselves as Mexicanos.
Demarest says the school paper has received many letters about the column, some from people “almost proud to be illegals.” He says he personally received letters from teachers who demanded he retract everything he wrote.
The teen, who plans to continue writing and editing for the paper next year as a senior, says he has had some anonymous threats, but nothing he is too worried about.
“Some have threatened to beat me up to the vice principal,” he told WND. “I don’t really care; it’s not like I’m scared or anything.”