Catch-22, Massachusetts style

Recently, I discussed the push in Massachusetts to grant in-state tuition to illegal aliens who live in the state. Now, the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune has more details on the proposal, including the thoughts (if I may use the term loosely) of one of its proponents.

State Representative William Lantigua (D-Lawrence) is one of the bill’s backers, but he wants to put a condition on the tuition break for illegal aliens: they have to agree to work in Massachusetts for three years after they graduate.

Mr. Lantigua explains his sympathies; he himself is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, and has been a citizen for over 20 years.

But I have just a few questions for Representative Lantigua, and I might call his office and ask them.

1) The requirement that the illegal aliens “repay” the state by working in the state for three years is interesting. But under current law, illegal aliens can NOT work legally. Any employer that hires them risks substantial fines. How do you plan on getting around this?

2) A lot of people currently live in New Hampshire, but work in Massachusetts. Since they are already contributing to the Massachusetts economy, why couldn’t they get the “in-state” tuition breaks, too?

3) When a college is making admission decisions, should they give any extra weight to legal residents over illegal ones? And just how would you explain to those legal residents that they have been denied admission in favor of those who are here illegally?

Now, Representative Lantigua’s amendment was defeated, but the measure did pass on a voice vote. That was despite testimony from the state’s Lieutenant Governor, who pointed out a few facts. The biggest one was that there is a federal law that prohibits states from offering any kind of educational benefits to illegal aliens that are not available to any American citizen, regardless of their residency.

Massachusetts’ Republican governor, Mitt Romney, has pledged to veto the bill should it reach his desk. But the Massachusetts legislature is so overwhelmingly Democratic (137 of 160 Representatives, 34 of 40 Senators) that overriding his vetoes is a simple matter of marshalling enough of their troops.

My long history of observing Massachusetts politics has led me to a simple rule: when given a choice between doing the smart and responsible thing or the politically correct and stupid thing, bet on them doing the latter. With that in mind, I predict that it will pass.

(Update: two screamingly stupid grammatical errors corrected, courtesy of perpetual pain in the ass Sortapundit. I shouldn’t post on less than 4 hours sleep.)

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