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Who says "to live outside the law, you must be honest?"

Thanks to David Schraub over at The Moderate Voice, I found this piece that seems to endorse giving tuition breaks to illegal aliens, allowing them to pay the same in-state rate as residents of that state.

It's a tough argument to refute. It's hard not to feel compassionate for these people, who came to the United States illegally as children and now wish to continue their lives like their peers, going to college and furthering their education.

But it doesn't change the fact that it is wrong.

I'm going to use the specifics of the defeated Massachusetts proposal, but I believe the general principles hold universally.

The advocates say that the measure will merely "level the playing field" and give students who have attended Massachusetts schools the same breaks as their classmates. The question is not about admission, as they can already attend schools without fear of their illegal status being exposed. The question is whether they should pay the full rate, or the half-price rate residents pay.

First, let's look at the "punishing the children for the sins of their parents" argument. This is quite easily demolished by pointing out that these "children" are, in nearly all cases, at least 18 years old -- legal adults and responsible for themselves and their actions and decisions. They can try to make right their status, or not -- but either way, they are liable for it.

Second, almost no college student these days pays their own way. It is the parents that scrape, save, and borrow up the skyrocketing costs of college. By giving the students access to the lower rate, that is a de facto benefit to the parents in many of those cases.

Now, for other reasons.

One Massachusetts legislator (and I'm ashamed to say I don't recall her name) brought up another excellent point. During the debate last week, she looked up at the gallery, filled with self-confessed illegal aliens who wanted the benefit. She pointed out that under federal law, to receive any sort of college assistance, including lowered tuition breaks, the student has to register for selective service. How many of them had done so? And how many requirements placed upon American citizens and legal aliens, legitimate immigrants, were they exempt from following?

Secondly, it is discriminatory. It would grant illegal aliens rights not available to American citizens. For example, contrast a Brazilian living illegally in Lowell, Massachusetts with a student of the same age who lives in Nashua, New Hampshire. Both wish to attend UMass-Lowell. The Brazilian would pay about half the tuition as the American, who (for the sake of argument) not only has a part-time job in Massachusetts, but whose father commutes into Boston for his job. So the Brazilian, who cannot legally work and pay taxes, would gain benefits inaccessible to the New Hampshirite who (along with his father) pays Massachusetts income taxes.

Thirdly, college enrollments are finite resources. Schools can only admit so many students each year. Each slot taken by an illegal alien represents an American or legal alien that has been denied admission.

Fourth, college budgets are also finite resources. An illegal alien who gets the in-state tuition represents a hunk of money the college will not get. In Massachusetts' case, the difference is about $9,000. Taking the proponents at their word (and I don't) and saying that the measure would only affect 400 students a year, that's $360,000 a year taken from the college's coffers.

Fifth, the rationale behind granting in-state students a tuition break is based on two principles. The first is that residents already pay for part of the school's costs through their taxes. The second is that they anticipate that the graduates will remain in the state, earning their living and paying taxes -- in a sense, the tuition break is an investment in the student earning more -- and, ultimately, paying more taxes.

In the Massachusetts example, there is no requirement that the student legalize their status. It only requires that they "pursue" it. If they fail before they graduate, then they are a degreed illegal alien. Which means that they cannot legally work in the United States, and therefore cannot pay income taxes.

Sixth, it's an insult to those who actually follow the rules and obey the laws and come to the United States legally. Every year, we take in literally thousands of students from all around the world and give them some of the finest educations in the world. Where is the incentive for them to follow the rules, if they find themselves countrymen who not only didn't bother jumping through all the hoops, but are paying half the tuition?


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Comments (23)

My hometown was in South Je... (Below threshold)
Eric:

My hometown was in South Jersey, and I went to Temple U (20 minutes away). Since I was "out of state," I had to pay higher rates (almost double) what some kids that lived three hours from Temple in PA had to pay.

Where's my free ride? Is that fair? I work in PA and pay taxes - how about a break? Didn't think so.

I say no help here, then no help there. That is fair treatment to both parties.

:-)

Eric- It seems like an easy... (Below threshold)
echibby:

Eric- It seems like an easy solution to your problem would have been to become a resident of PA. Then you could have paid in state tuition. As Jay has pointed out, in state tuition rates are for residents of that state only (i.e. those who paid into the tax system of that system).

Regardless of your current status as an employee in and taxpayer of PA, when you attended Temple, you, as a resident of New Jersey, were not contributing anything to the PA tax system.

I don't think it is that si... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

I don't think it is that simple.

I'm no fan of illegal immigration but you have to take into account the practical issues.

A college education (a REAL college education, not nonsense like ethnic studies or English) is one of the best investments we can make. It pays back over and over again in terms of economic activity, higher taxes paid, and lower use of social services not just for the person getting an education but for his whole family.

If you want to save money look at ways to prevent the state from paying for nonsense degrees for everyone, citizen or not.

The selective service issue is real but it can easily be handled - treat in state tuition as an educational benefit and require all recipients to demonstrate that they signed up.

Using the educational system to deter illegal immigration is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Mike, you apparently missed... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Mike, you apparently missed the point about how that they need not ever achieve citizenship, or even legal status -- which means that they can NOT legally contribute economically in the manner you suggest.

Further, currently we are using the educational system as an incentive to encourage more illegal immigration. Personally, I find that more offensive than using it to deter it.

And it comes across as you are sacrificing principle for pragmatism -- and in this case, the principles being sacrificed are damned important ones.

J.

echibby,Being famili... (Below threshold)

echibby,
Being familiar with how PA works, they actually require that you have been a PA resident for at least a year, and that you prove it, to get the in-state break.
For the most part, the people who can afford to pull up stakes and move to another state like you suggest, don't need tuition discounts.

Jay,Let's get real... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

Jay,

Let's get real. These people want to stay in the US. Most of them grew up in the US and would be lost in their native countries.

Legally or illegally, they're going to work to put food on their tables. They'll work legally if we let them and illegally if we don't and they are not going to leave unless we force them to. And forcing people who are smart enough and directed enough to go to college and pay even the in state tuition to leave is just stupid - we need more people like that in the United States, not fewer.

Our whole immigration system is so screwed up that it's hard to know where to begin in fixing it. We let in people who make little or no contribution while making it extremely for high value contributors to come to the United States and make a living. It's easier to come to the US and make a living as a dish washer than as a computer programmer. That's just plain stupid - we need more computer programmers far more than we need more dish washers.

I agree that going and allowing illegal aliens to pay in state tuition is ridiculous. But making it harder for these people to go to school and get the skills they need to be net contributors to our country is even more ridiculous.

You can't solve the problems with bandaid fixes like preventing illegal aliens from getting in state tuition. We need to tear down our whole immigration system and build a new and more rational one from scratch.

Hmmm.It's a violat... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

It's a violation of Federal law for any college to offer illegal aliens lower tuition than ANY American citizen regardless of residency.

Right now California is on the hook for a few billion dollars in civil lawsuits, like nearly every other college in America, because of this. If you paid non-resident tuition and your college allowed illegal aliens to pay resident fees then I'd suggest contacting a lawyer or one of the ever increasing number of class-action lawsuits.

These bills take discounted... (Below threshold)

These bills take discounted college educations from U.S. citizens and give them to citizens of other countries. Under no circumstances should we give illegal aliens a better deal than our own citizens.

Doing so cheapens U.S. citizenship and is explicitly anti-American.

I would suggest visiting campaign stops by those who support such bills and asking them why they support taking discounts away from U.S. citizens and giving them to those who are here illegally. I believe that in a public forum that would be a very devastating question to ask, assuming you can ask it.

The linked article is what I refer to as a "pro-illegal immigration puff piece". Click the link to see several examples of very similar articles. I believe - but can't prove - that these articles are planted or at least promoted by supporters of illegal immigration or the Mexican government. Ask yourself: how do these papers find all these sympathetic students?

Try our situation sometime.... (Below threshold)
Kyle:

Try our situation sometime. I live and work outside the US and have done so for a number of years. I can't get in-state tuition in any state at all for my kids.

Mike,You need to g... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Mike,

You need to get real.

I'm not sure where you live, but it would appear that you reside in an area that does not suffer from the cost of illegal immigration.

I'm from California, a state that continues down the road of turning a semi-blind eye to the illegal immigration problem. This while the continued costs associated with illegal immigration forces the closer of emergency rooms at hospitals. Because the illegals, without insurance use, the emergency room as their doctor of choice and the hospital is forced to accept this, without compensation from the government, or any oher source.

How about the cost of schooling in this state that continues to climb, as does class size, because of the influx of illegals. Many who do not speak the language, so they require additional schooling, or special classes taught in spanish so that they can advance in school. Additional burden on the system without a consumate contribution from those who are using it.

How about the smog issue in the So Cal basin? Many of the illegals drive older cars because that is all they can afford. These cars give off more pollutants and need repairs. But because they are low income, they get a pass. But if I drive a 1974 BMW 2002tii, I have to have all of the smog crap intact and functioning.

I could go on and on.

Most of those who come here illegally are not the cream of the crop. They come here to earn a higher wage and send the majority of their income home. Tell me this Mike, what is the one of Mexico's largest imports?

An friend of mine from my younger days was from an illegal family. Great person and he has since become naturalized, but his father never did. His father never learned the language, yet worked here for almost 40 years. What did he do when he retired? He went back to Mexico, where he had sent a large portion of his cash and is retired like a king. No problem with that, be he never really was an immigrant, look up the definition. He was really an illegal alien, and we have moved away from the term in this country because of the "negative connotations" associated with it.

Those that advocate illegal immigration don't want us to separate the legal from the illegal, they want the whole immigration issue treated the same.

We have laws on the books now, that if they were enforced, would go along way to fixing the immigration problem. The system needs to be fixed to do what is supposed to do, limit immigration into this country so that the infrastructure that is in place can support it. Not overwhelm it, and other services, with illegals.

Mike, you're way off base i... (Below threshold)
Jim Price:

Mike, you're way off base in so many ways. Even if your main point could be agreeable, it's based on totally flawed thinking.

Let's start with your first one: They'll work legally if we let them and illegally if we don't News flash: Murderers will murder legally if we let them, and illegally if we don't. Should we just allow that too?

Number two: And forcing people who are smart enough and directed enough to go to college and pay even the in state tuition to leave is just stupid Wrong again. They're forcing themselves to leave by not obeying immigration laws. That's like calling me a jerk for taking away my son's video game priveledges, when he was the one that got into trouble, thereby necessitating the punishment in the first place.

Number three: Our whole immigration system is so screwed up that it's hard to know where to begin in fixing it No disagreement there. But would you suggest we just pansy out and let the tide rush in because its too hard to fix?

Number four: we need more computer programmers far more than we need more dish washers. That's probably the silliest thing you said. If you were an IT professional like me, you'd be as tense as I am about all those jobs making a mass exodus overseas everyday. Programers needed? Yeah. Maybe in India.

Number five: making it harder for these people to go to school and get the skills they need to be net contributors to our country is even more ridiculous. What's ridiculous is that for some odd reason you seem to view immigration laws (and most, if not all, are heartily accepted by US citizens) as a mean spirited campaign that exists "just to make things hard". Did you have a problem with authority when you were younger? Do you still?


If they are illegal aliens,... (Below threshold)
superdestroyer:

If they are illegal aliens, there parents never got SSN for their children. Thus, whose SSN are the illegal aliens are using when applying to college and apply for financial aid. Who pays after the students skip out of all of the college loans?

When will people that a huge cause of stolen identities are illegal aliens?

SCSIwuzzy-The one ... (Below threshold)
echibby:

SCSIwuzzy-

The one year residency requirement for PA sounds fair enough- it's a simple matter to work for a year before matriculating at a university. After all, the rules are in place to prevent abuse from out of state students.

The alternative, of course, is to go to a public school in your home state. I don't know why Eric went to Temple when he could have gone to any in state NJ school and paid in state tuition.

Hmmmm.The... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

The alternative, of course, is to go to a public school in your home state. I don't know why Eric went to Temple when he could have gone to any in state NJ school and paid in state tuition.

I live in New Jersey and even here I don't know of anyone who aspires to graduate from the State College in Trenton.

When I see comments like th... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

When I see comments like the ones above I fear for America's future.

Let me start with Jim Price...

Did you have a problem with authority when you were younger? Do you still?

Yes, Jim, I do have a problem with authority. I'm an American. Do you even know what that is?

I come from a country that was founded by a bunch people who had problems with authority. They went and told King George III to get his fat ass and his Red Coat soldiers the heck out of the US because they had no respect for his authority.

My country is the country that invented Bugs Bunny and South Park. You bet you tight ass I have problems with authority! Problems with authority is America's greatest strenght. Today I live in China and I'm taking my Chinese fiance through South Park on VCDs. They blow her mind. She can't believe that stuff that rude and disrespectful is allowed on television in the US. For me it's quite simple... that kind of stuff is what makes us the US! If we weren't a South Park nation we'd be more like the Europeans or the Canadians.

So Colonel Jim Klink, let me suggest that you move somewhere where you would feel more comfortable. Canada, say, with its smug "social consensus", or better yet Germany where you can jack boot around to your heart's content yelling "Das ist verboten!!"

Leave America for the Americans and the immigrants (legal or otherwise) who can help America grow, develop, and stay the best country in the world. They're worth far more to us than you are.

Now, after reading my comme... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

Now, after reading my comment above you may think I'm done with Jim. Well, sorry, but no such luck. He's a dumbass who keeps on giving.

Number four: we need more computer programmers far more than we need more dish washers. That's probably the silliest thing you said. If you were an IT professional like me, you'd be as tense as I am about all those jobs making a mass exodus overseas everyday. Programers needed? Yeah. Maybe in India.

Yo, Bumblebore, I am an IT professional.

Now with that out of the way, first off, get your head out of your butt and wake up and smell the coffee. Foreign computer programmers are going to get work whatever you do. The real question is whether they're going to do that work in the US or in other countries. Look at Microsoft and Oracle. They are investing billions in moving software jobs to India and China. HELLO!!!

Right now I manage a team of 20 programmers in China. Since I'm spending most of my time running the company most of the management gets done by the number 2 techie in the company, who is a local Chinese. I had to learn Chinese to be useful in this position, but it was worth it because I can deliver far more value for less money this way and I get compensated accordingly.

If the US made it easier to import workers then a lot of my staff would probably be in the US being managed and trained by Americans and buying stuff made in America. Instead almost all of that economic activity is staying in China.

But your attitude isn't just stupid. It's downright unAmerican.

Do you think that the rest of us owe you a living just because you're an American? Is being an American just a ticket to ride the welfare train? Frankly, you disgust me.

Being an American is an obligation as much as it is a right. As an American you have an obligation to be better than any foreigner or FOB immigrant. If you're such a pathetic excuse for an American that an Indian in Bangalore can do your job better than you can and you can't find replacement work where you add more value then I frankly hope that you'll find somewhere to curl up and die and that that guy in Bangalore will immigrate to the US because he'll make a better American than you. Heck, he might even be someone I'd be proud to call a compatriot, something that you'll clearly never be.

Finally, DavidB says:... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

Finally, DavidB says:

We have laws on the books now, that if they were enforced, would go along way to fixing the immigration problem. The system needs to be fixed to do what is supposed to do, limit immigration into this country so that the infrastructure that is in place can support it. Not overwhelm it, and other services, with illegals.

Hilarious.

If the laws now on the books were enforced we would have an economic catastrophe.

For example, are you aware that a significan portion of US agricultural production depends on illegals? It's not just farm workers either. It's also people like the ones working in meat packing plants.

Now, you can certainly say that we should either raise the wages for those kinds of jobs so Americans will do them or let them be done overseas but have you considered the knock on effects of that?

For example, if meatpacking costs increase then so will the price of US beef. If that happens consumers will switch to foreign beef. Now what happens to the American farmers and ranchers who raise cattle? They certainly aren't going to ship whole carcasses overseas to be packed and then shipped back to the US for us to eat!!!

For another example, look at California. How many janitors in California are legal? Not many from what I can see. You could raise the salaries and bring in more Americans... but which Americans? Americans who I would trust to go into my office when I'm not there almost all already have jobs. You would need to take people away from other useful work. Is that good for our economy?

Also, if you raise janitorial costs too high you are just adding to the costs of running a company in the US. How hard do you think it is to export jobs to India or China if the cost differential gets too high? Hint... I'm in China right now running a development team.

Enforcing the immigration laws on the books today would definitely cut down on illegal immigration. It would also cut down on legal immigration because no one wants to move to a country in the middle of an idiotic self inflicted depression!!!

Mike,The only thin... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Mike,

The only thing Hilarious, is your simplistic response.

What did we do 25, 30, 40, hey even 50 years ago with out all of this supposedly cheap labor? Damn! Those darned veggies must of just jumped right out of the ground in to the boxes. Those stupid animals must of slaughtered themselves, and then done the carving themselves.

This country was doing rather well back then with the labor force in place. Were there no illegals at the time? Of course there was, but the percentage of illegals in the lower skill level jobs was small by comparison to today. So, your seeming justification and prediction of economic doom from enforcing the law on the books is just plain ill-informed.

Do you really think that these supposed low paying jobs aren't costing this country in other ways? If you don't pay the cost through increases in the wage, you will pay with increases in the taxes to compensate for the increase in the use of public services. The only problem with this is that you transfer the cost of the higher wage from those that use the service (car wash, gardening, e.g.) to the entire tax paying population, many of who may not use the services.

Your last paragraph is the most hilarious of all.

Enforcing the immigration laws on the books today would definitely cut down on illegal immigration. It would also cut down on legal immigration because no one wants to move to a country in the middle of an idiotic self inflicted depression!!!

Oh? Is that why, even when this country was in the throes of a depression, people were still legally immigrating to it?. Is that why, for years after, the established quotas for legal immigration were always reached?

Please!

Oh, and by the way, the off shore dreams of quite a few US companies are not panning out like they thought they would. Don't get your hopes up to much that the great exodus of skilled jobs to foreign nations will continue. Some just can't be exported, and others end up costing you in other ways. You see, I read the trade papers as well Skippy, it ain't all glowing over the horizon. But enjoy your stay.

Oh, and while I'm at it, Mi... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Oh, and while I'm at it, Mike read up a little more on the Revolutionary War period and the causes. Statements like this;

I come from a country that was founded by a bunch people who had problems with authority. They went and told King George III to get his fat ass and his Red Coat soldiers the heck out of the US because they had no respect for his authority.

show you are, once again, ill-informed, tend to the overly simplistic point of view, or

He's a dumbass who keeps on giving.
I know it's rude to bring i... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

I know it's rude to bring in facts to disprove the inanities of the reality challenged, but what the hey... I've already been rude.

DavidB claims:

Oh? Is that why, even when this country was in the throes of a depression, people were still legally immigrating to it?.

See the immigration graph. Note the way it craters in the 30s and then climbs up. You're a maroon, DavidB.

BTW, also note that we had more immigrants in 1900 than we do now and on a much smaller population base. That is what built America into the country it is today.

David's other arguments are similarly inane:

What did we do 25, 30, 40, hey even 50 years ago with out all of this supposedly cheap labor?
Well, 25 and 30 years ago we already had that cheap illegal labor. Read up on Cesar Chavez and his attempts to limit illegal immigration to keep agricultural wages up.

Going back further is kind of silly - our economy today is totally different from 40 or 50 years ago. We've urbanized tremendously, moved out of low value added industries (ie. garment manufacturing) and transitioned a high percentage of native born workers to higher paying service industry jobs.

If you go back to the economy of 40 years ago the decline in the average standard of living will be far worse than any depression as Americans are forced to make their own clothes, pick their own lettuce, clean their own houses, and work as orderlies in their own hospitals. See the Census Bureau for details. (And BTW, those are household figures. Remember, houshold sizes have decreased.)

Do you really think that these supposed low paying jobs aren't costing this country in other ways? If you don't pay the cost through increases in the wage, you will pay with increases in the taxes to compensate for the increase in the use of public services.

Well, that's why it's important to have more high income immigrants and to help the children of current low income immigrants move up the wage ladder if they have the smarts to do it.

There's an obvious concern that at a certain level this happens but I don't know how you prevent this from happening without doing something like raising taxes on low wage job holders or employers resulting in more off the books work and lower employment for low skilled Americans. I think that's an externality we just have to live with.

There are ways to reduce it for illegals though.

For example, what about a greatly expanded legal worker program that requires a deposit... less than the cost of using a coyote but enough to cover repatriation for those who can't succeed in America?

Mike, you simpleton, trying... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Mike, you simpleton, trying working on your reading comprehension.

Did I say that great numbers were coming to this country? No, read it again moron, it says people were still legally immigrating. Did I provide any number for you to refute? No, yet you stuck your stupid neck out and now I will swing the proverbial axe, the number never went to zero moron, never! People were still coming to this nation in the throes of a depression.

Attention to detail Skippy, try it.

As far as high income immigrants, again, please! Most "high income immigrants" as you like to call them come to this country temporarily. They don't come to stay and build this society, they come to earn and send their money home, then leave to live a better lifestyle at their home country.

Your arguments for subsidizing illegal alien education have so far been unconvincing.

Mike, Mike, Mike,C... (Below threshold)
DavidB:

Mike, Mike, Mike,

Calling you a moron would be an insult to morons.

Try working on your reading comprehension skills. You may notice in the passage you quote that I did not mention numbers. I did state that people kept legally immigrating to this nation, despite the fact that we were in the throes of the worst depression in memory. Thanks for the graph that supports that contention. Did less people come, sure, but then travel and movement on a whole worldwide went down because of the depression, not a surprising statistic. You will notice that your supplied graph did not hit zero, merely fell to a low number during the initial phase of the depression and continued climbing from that point. Hardly surprising when you understand the conditions and circumstances associated with the depression. Also, a not too difficult extension to make from this, and your graph, is even when there has been tough economic times, people still came here, and in ever increasing numbers. Sort of steps on your theory.

So far you have not provided a single convincing argument to allow subsidizing the education of illegal aliens. Not one.

Not that's hilarious . . .

David, you're a maroon.... (Below threshold)
Mike Friedman:

David, you're a maroon.

First off, when people resort to straw man arguments you know that even they realize that they've lost the argument.

I never claimed that immigration dropped to 0 during the Depression.

Your attempt to refute that claim is an even more pathetic straw man than most.

Secondly,

As far as high income immigrants, again, please! Most "high income immigrants" as you like to call them come to this country temporarily. They don't come to stay and build this society, they come to earn and send their money home, then leave to live a better lifestyle at their home country.

And, of course, they live that lifestyle by taking the dollars they earned in the US, pulping them with flour and water, and using them to make high quality paper mache to build their new houses with.

Err.... no. So what do they do with those dollars?

Hint... for a dollar to be valuable eventually it has to come back to the US to buy US goods and services. If it never comes back even better - we got that person's services essentially for free.




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