The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was the treaty which ended the war between the United States and Mexico in 1848. Though this war ended over a hundred years ago, it seems like some of the issues never went away.

The United States and Mexico have always been neck and neck with each other fighting over something.

What does a 160-year-old treaty have to do with today?

In the treaty, Mexico gave most of the states of California, Texas, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico to the United States. But many citizens of Mexico stayed in the United States after the treaty was signed. They kept their houses, their language, their culture and their religious beliefs, which were not the same as most citizens of the United States.

The treaty gave citizenship to those who stayed in the United States, keeping their land and religious beliefs without any restrictions as said in Article XI. All prisoners, monies, and merchandise were to be paid and collected directly after the signing.

A majority of the people living in the southwest United States are of Mexican descent, which brings me to what is happening today.

In Arizona and other southern states, the fight to keep "illegal" immigrants out has grown greater everyday. It almost seems like the government is preparing for "war" by sending National Guard troops in to monitor the borders.

I guess in some ways it is necessary due to all the drug violence and murders that have been happening on the border, and more and more immigrants who try to cross the border illegally.

I believe all of this contributes to the bill HB 2281 that was passed last year. This bill went into effect on December 31, 2010, which eliminates ethnic studies classes in Tucson. This affects me because I happen to be a student in one of those classes, and affects a lot of people I know as well because they take these classes too.

I've heard some students say, "Since there is a law against these classes, is coming to them illegal?" I say "no" because you're still getting an education like everyone else and getting an education is not illegal.

Lucas Nichols es alumno en Tucson High Magnet School, de la profesora María Federico Brummer en su clase de American Government Social Justice Education Project. Los estudiantes del curso escribieron ensayos en inglés sobre el Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo que está en exhibición este mes en el museo del estado en University of Arizona, 1013 E. University Blvd.