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The rewards of breaking the law

Massachusetts has a rather odd dichotomy when it comes to illegal aliens and education. They give free schooling to children up through high school, and admit them to colleges without restraint. They also offer college scholarships to students who score the best on the MCAS test, the state-wide assessment exams all students have to take.

That policy -- a truly laudable one -- ran into a problem recently, when Lt. Governor Kerry Murphy Healey attended a high school ceremony and personally handed out certificates to 148 seniors recognizing their achievements and offering them the scholarships. The complication was that four of those students are illegal aliens -- and federal law forbids granting any financial aid to illegal aliens.

The students are a bit miffed. To them, the government is giving with one hand and taking with another. (This is nothing new to those of us who pay taxes.) They want their scholarships, and their argument seems to boil down to they earned it, they were given it, they want to keep it.

What caused this little embarassment is simple. Massachusetts schools are forbidden from inquiring about students' immigration status (the polite way of saying "are you here legally or illegally?"), and the officials who process the scholarships simply couldn't ask -- they just picked the top scorers and passed them along.

I have a simple solution. All they have to do is get the students or their parents involved at some step in the process. Just a simple form that says "do you wish to be considered for this?" and an explanation of how illegal aliens don't qualify, along with other considerations.

Of course, the simplest solution is to simply deport them as discovered, but this is Massachusetts. Simple, common-sense solutions are apparently a violation of the commonwealth's Constitution or something.


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Comments (6)

Well, our colleges and univ... (Below threshold)
Dave:

Well, our colleges and universities do not turn away foreign students and so these young people of obvious academic merit can still apply to their institution of choice. Perhaps if money is an issue there are other scholarships and grants that might be helpful. Unfortunately the Adams Scholarships are for American Citizens and it is appropriate, therefore, to deny the scholarships to these particular individuals. Maybe even their home country has grants and scholarships that these kids could tap into. Colleges and Universities also have work study and those programs are not restricted to American citizens I think. These kids and their familes will just have to be a little more creative and if they are that smart then they can do it.

I am assuming Framingham Hi... (Below threshold)
langtry:

I am assuming Framingham High School is a public school, correct? In that sense, these seniors have already received a "scholarship": that is, a public school education paid for by the homeowners in Framingham's tax district.

It's unfortunate that these otherwise industrious and hard-working students must now pay the price for their parent's illegal activities, but pay they must. Making an example of them, while unfair, must be done so that parents (who wish to remain undocumented while reaping the benefits of living in the U.S.) have yet another incentive to respect the immigration laws of this country.

& how about the article's headline: "Aid they won not for them, undocumented students learn" ??? No bias there, hmmm?

I wonder if we have gone to... (Below threshold)
kbiel:

I wonder if we have gone to far down the path with illegal immigration. Look at how we are discussing this: We are talking about whether these students should get their scholarship instead of if they should be allowed to apply for a student visa after their deportation is finalized.

Dave, you're correct that o... (Below threshold)
Sean:

Dave, you're correct that our colleges and universities allow foreign students to apply. Do you know what that entails? Getting a student visa (not the charge card) and entering this country legally. Something these students and their parents chose not to do.

In addition to revoking their scholarships, I think they should be charged the cost of their public education before being deported.

A few random thoughts: The ... (Below threshold)
KB:

A few random thoughts: The US has already lived up to its end of the bargain by providing them their Supreme Court-guaranteed high school education. End of the free ride, kids - now thank your parents.

Life ain't fair - and I imagine there are a few American kids who are slightly more deserving of those scholarships or college slots. Lots of good students from around the world or in various economic situations want to come here for whatever reason, like to attend college.

But just because you managed to sneak in and successfully avoided deportation, that does not entitle one to the benefits or privileges of citizens or legal residents, no matter how good a student you may be.

If they really want to go to college, there are a few choices - they can do like I, an American citizen, had to do and actually work and pay for college. I am sure that the fine example their parents taught them means that they will have no problem working illegally.

Or, they can do like all the foreign students do - the ones who did not illegally sneak in and get the benefit of a free highs chool education - and apply for a foreign student visa and attend school as a foreign student. of course, they would have to pay out of state tution - like foreign students do. And the fact that they came illegally - thank your parents, kids - means they probably won't qualify for the visa now.

Or finally, I am sure that colleges in their home countries would be most happy to accept some bright students, where legal status and visas won't be an issue, and htey can use their talents to good use in their home countries.

Congress can simply remedy ... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

Congress can simply remedy this by withholding federal aid to Massachusetts until they comply with federal law.




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