Today’s Boston Globe has yet another heart-tugging opinion piece about the plight of illegal aliens. The issue this time is “tuition parity,” which means that illegal aliens can access the same in-state tuition rate as legal residents.
The piece hits all the standard talking points — the “children of immigrants;” the comparison to hospitals, which help all who ask; the appeals to fairness. But, as usual, it’s when you read between the lines that you see the truth.
First up, let’s look at the “children of immigrants” tag. It’s a remarkable phrase — two lies in three words. If we’re discussing college tuition, then the “children” involved are almost certainly legal adults. Also, the restrictions are not on the “children of immigrants.” It isn’t even on the children of illegal aliens. It’s on illegal aliens themselves, regardless of age or the immigration status of their parents.
Next, let’s look at Mr. Connors’ comparison of emergency health care with a college education. It’s laughable on its face. The notion that access to reduced college tuition is comparable to life-saving treatment in the face of imminent death is ludicrous.
But perhaps we should take a closer look at the comparison for a moment. In the American southwest, border-area hospitals are under severe financial burdens from caring for illegal aliens. Many have had to close their emergency rooms in order to stay solvent. Perhaps Mr. Connors would like to see Massachusetts’ state colleges suffer similarly?
One issue Mr. Connors does not address is a certain federal law. Washington cannot forbid the states from offering such tuition breaks to illegal aliens, but it can make it far more expensive. Currently, any state that offers in-state tuition to illegal aliens must make the same rate to any American citizen, regardless of residency. Since state colleges make a heap of money off of out-of-state students, that has proven a rather remarkable check on the idea.
But back to Mr. Connors’ column: I have a hypothetical situation I would like to put forth.
Let’s presume that there is a man who lives in Nashua, New Hampshire — which sits right on the Massachusetts border. Mr. Travis works in Lowell, Massachusetts, about a dozen miles south. He has a son who is looking to go to college. Young Bill Junior considers New Hampshire’s state colleges, but the University of Massachusetts in Lowell is much closer to home and offers just the degree program he wants to pursue. Now, Mr. Travis has worked in Lowell for well over a decade, paid Massachusetts income taxes, sales taxes, gas taxes — in general, he’s paid quite a tidy sum to the Bay State.
Mr. Travis is not a legal resident of Massachusetts, yet he’s been a taxpayer for years and years. Why should he not get back some benefit from his contributions, and why shouldn’t his son be eligible to the same rate of tuition as an illegal alien?
In this case, it seems that it would actually be beneficial for young Bill Junior to renounce his citizenship and establish a fake address in Lowell, instead of being proud of his citizenship.
When I can so easily construct a scenario where it’s actually better to be an illegal alien than a citizen or legal resident in the United States, there is something seriously wrong.