Learning the wrong things at school

This morning’s Boston Glob has a sob story about the valedictorian of Assabet Valley Regional Vocational High School in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Juliano Foleiss is a stellar student, loved by his teachers, but will be returning home to attend college because he can’t afford to go to school in Massachusetts.

You see, even though he’s lived in the state for five years, he doesn’t qualify for in-state tuition because he’s an illegal alien.

The story spells it out: five years ago, the family came to the United States to get their kids the best education they could. So they got six-month tourist visas, then never left.

The Glob story makes this seem like a great tragedy, but refuses to point the finger of blame squarely where it belongs: on the Foleisses. They chose to come here under false pretenses, lying about their intention and filing false documents with the government. They broke the law even before they came to the United States, and have been breaking it on a day-by-day basis ever since.

Juliano, I’m sorry that you feel you’re being punished for nothing — or for your parent’s actions. But every day since you turned 18 (the article doesn’t specify his age, but I’m presuming he’s 18 now) that you haven’t turned yourself in as an illegal alien, you’ve perpetuated their initial crime.

The United States has some of the most liberal policies about immigration in the world. If your parents were too lazy or too nervous to attempt to do it legally, perhaps you should take it up with them.

And one more question, Juliano: let’s presume that you did qualify for in-state tuition and went to a Massachusetts college. Once you get your degree, what will you do with it? As an illegal alien, you can’t work legally in the United States. Do you want the US to forgive you your illegal status, or are you asking the taxpayers of Massachusetts to subsidize your education so you can go back home to Brazil and work there?

Ideally, I’d like to see Juliano and his whole family put on the next flight back to Brazil, preferably before he gets his diploma. But I think I can predict what will happen: he’ll give his valedictorian speech, take his degree, and go back to his family’s Marlborough home until his flight back to Brazil, at which point his remaining family will fade back into obscurity.

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