Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Going to college? DREAM on

Here is another great article about our failing (and increasingly ridiculous) immigration system, this time from the Boston Globe. A 18-year undocumented immigrant from Massachusetts was awarded a four-year scholarship at any state university because of her high test scores, but this was later rescinded once state officials found out about her immigration status. As the author of the article so rightly says,

"So much for celebrating the building blocks for success and the American dream. Romney says, tough luck if you are smart, hardworking, and the child of illegal immigrants."

It's beyond me why anyone wants to keep smart, high-achieving kids like this one out of college. Does anybody really think that denying in-state tuition and scholarships to undocumented immigrants will make any potential immigrants think twice about coming here to work? Or are policies like these motivated by fear? Despite the increasingly widespread movement in favor of the DREAM Act and state laws (see this previous post) to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition, it seems like the power of fear is growing.

It's interesting that Mass. Gov. Romney is bashing undocumented immigrants now - this article in the Economist shows how his campaign to end gay marriage in Massachusetts is closely linked to his anticipated run for the presidency in 2008. Here in New York, presumed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has gone to the right on immigration, claiming that she is "adamantly against illegal immigrants." It's unfortunate that the way to get ahead in politics (particularly in the red states) is to blame immigrants for our problems. It will be interesting to see if an increased Latino turnout in places like the Southwest will prove Hillary wrong.


Superdestroyer said...

Maybe people do not want illegal aliens to get scholarhips for the following reasons:

1. Their parents violated the law to enter the country.
2. Their parents had to steal someone's identity to work in this country.
3. Their parents have to cheat on their income taxes (and other taxes) to stay here.
4. Their parents had to lie to get their children admitted.
5. their parents lied on applications for things like free lunch.

Now, why should the middle class pay them for that?

Zach said...

"it's unfortunate that the way to get ahead in politics (particularly in the red states) is to blame immigrants for our problems. "

Nobody is blaming immigrants: they are blaming people who break the law, specifically illegal aliens. A legitimate part of what government does is to enforce the law.

chris said...

In response to superdestroyer's comments:

First, the Supreme Court ruled in 1982 that all children have the right to public education regardless of immigration status. Schools are prohibited from asking about a child's immigration status, meaning that undocumented parents do not have to "lie" to get their kids free lunch.

Second, many immigrants do not have to use another identity or cheat on income taxes in order to work here -- many employers knowingly hire undocumented immigrants (this has been happening for some time - the 1986 Imm. Reform and Control Act's attempted to deal with it, and many anti-immigrant advocates argue that employer sanctions need to be strengthened today) and quite a few immigrants pay income taxes and other taxes that they never end up receiving the benefits of (the New York Times reported that illegal immigrants provide social security with a subsidy of $7 billion a year).

Finally, if the biggest problem with undocumented immigrants is that they are breaking the law by being here, should that same standard be applied to businesses that knowingly hire them (which, by the way, is also against the law even though it is rarely enforced)? Should the kids of these businesspeople be denied the same opportunities because their parents broke the law? Could we extend this argument to the children of everyone who has ever broken the law in this country?

Whatever you think about illegal immigration, the point is that the kids should not be punished for their parents' decisions to come here. Especially when these bright and hardworking undocumented students have the potential to contribute so much to our society.