Hey, remember the DREAM Act? That proposed bill to give certain illegal aliens access to discounted tuition at state colleges? According to its backers, illegal aliens who met specific criteria — came to the US as children, graduated from US schools, and were of “good moral character” (i.e., no criminal record) could go to state schools at the in-state tuition rate, enlist in the military, and work their way towards legal status.
At least, that’s the way it was explained. The actual language of the various DREAM Acts had loopholes big enough to drive tractor trailers of illegal aliens through. Anyway, pretty much every time it’s come up — either at the federal or state level — it’s been defeated. My own personal argument was to simply repeat the standard liberal talking point whenever any immigration enforcement measure is brought up: “it should only be done as a part of a ‘comprehensive immigration reform.'” They didn’t like that, but they didn’t have a good answer for it.
Well, the bill is turning out to be like a weed — or Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th movies. You just can’t kill it, it won’t stay dead.
Currently, it’s being pushed in California and Massachusetts, and — naturally — the Boston Globe is fully behind the Bay State initiative. And at the federal level, the Obama administration — even though the law hasn’t been passed — is following parts of it anyway.
I have several objections to this particular craziness. First up, my tactical objection cited above still stands. Further, we have the Arizona principle — the left argues that states have no business making their own immigration policy. (I happen to agree with that one — the flaw on the left’s side is that Arizona isn’t “making” its own immigration policy, but simply enforcing the federal policies that the federal government doesn’t feel like enforcing. But the principle is sound — setting immigration policy is a federal prerogative, and the federal government is failing miserably, as it has laws that it simply doesn’t enforce.)
There’s another principle here that needs to be considered: I believe that it should never be more advantageous to be an illegal alien than an American citizen.
My favorite example: there are a lot of people who live here in New Hampshire and work in Massachusetts. They pay Massachusetts income taxes, along with whatever taxes they incur while in the Bay State. Take a hypothetical family that lives in Nashua, New Hampshire (right on the state line) and both parents work about 20 miles south, in Lowell, Massachusetts. They have a child who wishes to attend the University of Massachusetts at Lowell (the University of New Hampshire has no significant campuses near Nashua). Her parents have paid taxes to support the school for years, yet she would be charged the “out of state” tuition rate. Meanwhile, an illegal alien (say, from Ireland) who just graduated from Lowell High School and wants to pursue a degree would get the discounted rate.
Even more ironic, without the federal DREAM Act and its “path to citizenship,” after graduation that illegal alien would still not be legally able to put that degree to work. No one can hire an illegal alien — even one with a college degree.
One final point: everything has its costs. If these bills pass, California and Massachusetts will likely be taking in less revenue as these students take advantage of the discounted rate — and both states have some seriously hefty budget issues of their own right now.
And even if the total number of in-state students stays the same and there is no net loss in tuition payments, then they will be taking the place of actual residents and legal aliens in their states. Imagine how those would-be students would feel to know that they were denied admission in favor of an illegal alien.
I repeat: there should never be a law or policy put forth that actually makes it more advantageous to be an illegal alien than a legal alien — or a citizen. That is one of the grossest insults I can imagine.