Sergio Ramirez is a double major in environmental studies and political science at Long Beach State. In March, Ramirez and a friend attended a meeting of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform for one of their classes. The two signed in, talked to some folks and took some pamplets back to their professor. They were the only Latinos.
Last week, that Long Beach State professor called Ramirez and asked if he was the Sergio who signed the infamous Tan Nguyen “immigrants can't vote” letter that used fake CCIR letterhead. He wasn't, but Ramirez can't help but to think that the people behind the letter stole/borrowed his name from the CCIR sign-in sheet he signed this March.
“I don't know how many Sergio Ramirezes there are in Orange County, but I don't think it's a coincidence that I went to that meeting and then my name shows up on a letter with CCIR letterhead,” Ramirez says. “I really do think that's what happened. When [my professor] called me, she sent me the letter. I was shocked. It makes sense that Nguyen's people would grab my name from a CCIR list of people who signed in to their meeting. They probably picked up the most Latino name and used it. Maybe it's a far-fetched idea, but it's just too crazy a coincidence for it not to be true.”
Ramirez's professor, Leah Fraser, confirmed that he did attend a March CCIR meeting for a class project and brought her pamphlets as proof. Ramirez also faxed the Weekly the agenda for CCIR's March meeting.
CCIR chair Barbara Coe has repeatedly denied her group's involvement with the Nguyen letter, but there's a definite connection between the two besides the faked letterhead. Last December, Nguyen was a featured speaker at a CCIR meeting. A press release for the meeting gushed that Nguyen, “believes in America as a 'nation of law', has made a commitment to uphold and defend our Constitutional rights and freedoms, has courageously publicly praised the Minuteman Project and publicly opposed any illegal alien 'guest-worker' program or amnesty.” And now the possible Ramirez connection.
And what does Sergio Ramirez think of the Sergio Ramirez-authored letter? “It's ridiculous, it's not good,” he says. “It's scaring people. It's nuts.”