As I’ve said before, one of Boston’s great strengths is it’s one of the few two-newspaper cities left in this country. With the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald continuing to compete with each other, neither can afford to get too lazy or too complacent. And both have staked out their turfs. The Globe is the “boring broadsheet,” the mainstream liberal paper (owned by the New York Times) that manages to put its own “spin” on news whenever it thinks it can get away with it. Meanwhile, the Herald is the scrappy tabloid, always willing to go for the fun, the lurid, the eye-catching (this morning, they wrote about some undercover cops who busted a woman who stole tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of merchandise from Victoria’s Secret as “the thong arm of the law”). And politically, they tend to be conservative — a real trick in the bluest of blue states.
Which is why I was so horrified to see rampant Political Correctness all over this story this morning.
Yesterday, a large number of Brazilian immigrants held a rally at the state house, calling for a change in the law that would let them pay in-state tuition to attend state colleges in Massachusetts. I was puzzled at first, because if they live in Massachusetts, then they ought to be able to do so already — as far as I know, there’s no citizenship requirement for the tuition break, purely residency.
Then I read further. These are “undocumented” aliens.
That’s right. We have a whole bunch of illegal aliens who are going to show up in Boston today and publicly demand that their illegal status be ignored and they be granted some of the privileges given to those who obey the law.
My first instinct is to blow off work, go down to the “rally,” and impersonate an Immigration official to see if I could start a panic. But that, while a tremendously tempting fantasy, would be wrong. My next thought would be to call in a tip to ICE, telling them that a whole group of illegal aliens will be in the Massachusetts state house today, freely confessing to their illegal status. But that would be futile.
(Oh, what the hell. I just did. I called 1-866-DHS-2-ICE and told them that a whole bunch of illegal aliens will be in Boston today, at the state house, and if they wanted more details, they could check out the Boston Herald. There’s two minutes of my life I won’t ever get back.)
Let me get this straight: these people are ILLEGAL ALIENS. They specifically do NOT want government attention — unless they want something for free. They want all the benefits of being legal residents, but don’t want to be bothered with any of the obligations of playing by the rules, nor taking the time to actually do things legally.
A lot of people often call those of us who get seriously bent out of shape over illegal aliens “racist” or “anti-immigrant” or “xenophobic” or a whole host of other, similar charges. To head them off, let me spell out just why I personally get so angry:
1) Nobody likes people who cut in line. We have a clearly-established procedure for people who want to come to the United States, and every year millions of people follow it. If we don’t establish that that way is the best way, the only way, then we are in essence punishing all those people who are following the rules, obeying the laws, and doing the right thing. We owe it to all our legal immigrants to honor their efforts and commitment.
2) In this particular case — the in-state tuition — it’s fundamentally unfair. States essentially subsidize the residential students to attend the state colleges, because the lion’s share of the college’s money comes directly from the state. Non-residential students pay a lot more, and that “lot more” is usually based on the actual cost of the education provided.
But that state money comes from taxes. And let me give you a hypothetical example. Suppose I lived in New Hampshire, but worked in Massachusetts. And say I wanted to attend a Massachusetts state college, while remaining in New Hampshire but keeping my Massachusetts job. I would be paying taxes to Massachusetts, which in part would fund that college, but I couldn’t receive the tuition break that in-state students get. In other words, I, an American citizen and a taxpayer to the state of Massachusetts, would have fewer rights than an illegal alien.
3) This one escaped my notice for a while, until I heard someone point it out on a talk show. The article quotes one of the organizers, Fausto De Rocha, director of the Brazilian Immigration Center in Randolph, MA, as saying “The government is creating a subclass by not allowing Brazilian children to go to college to become professionals.”
(Mr. De Rocha, by the way, is previously on record as saying that as many as 70% of all Brazilians in Massachusetts are here illegally.)
I have a very simple question for Mr. De Rocha: professional WHAT? They’re ILLEGAL ALIENS. They CAN’T WORK HERE LEGALLY. Just what are they going to do with those degrees? The only thing they could do LEGALLY would be to return to Brazil and take up their professions there — which means that the taxpayers of Massachusetts are essentially subsidizing the development of Brazil.
A while ago, I had a friend who was a bit on the neurotic side. She was feeling miserable once (as was her wont), and she started thumping her head against the wall. I asked her why she was doing that, and she answered “because it feels so good when I stop.”
Every time I find myself writing about the illegal alien situation, a little more of the humor of that situation slips away, and the more reasonable a response it seems.