Monday, November 23, 2009

In-State Tuition for Illegals?

My son sent me this article this morning.  It is an editorial from the Boston Globe entitled "Where Conservatives Have It Wrong".  It expresses an opinion in favor of offering in state tuition rates to illegal immigrants residing in Massachusetts.  Here is the response I sent him:

Dear Will:

Wow!! That was a close one.  For a minute there, I thought we were about to agree on something.  Well close, but no cigar.  I saw the title of this article and thought it might say something I'd agree with.  Nope.  Didn't happen.  There was a little bit of common ground, but not much.  I believe that most illegal immigrants are here to work and make a better life for themselves and their families.   That part I agree with, and I have no problem with just live and let live.  They are to be admired for that.  I don't think they should be hunted down and deported or harassed.  I don't believe that their employers should be harassed.  But neither do I believe they should be offered legal status, or citizenship, or a path to citizenship, or any privileges of citizenship such as in state tuition rates.  I'm an American citizen, and I pay out of state tuition for my daughter in Pennsylvania.  Should an illegal immigrant get better treatment than I do in my own country?  Not on your life.  I believe the proper approach to immigration should be strict control at the borders, by a fence if necessary;  reasoned decisions on who should be  allowed to come here and for what reasons.  If allowing them in is to our advantage, then welcome to America.  If not, then better not cross that line amigo.  If they're here already and not breaking the law, then just ignore them.  Let them stay in limbo legally speaking.  If they don't like that, then they should go home.  And what a clever way the author of this article framed his argument.  The illegal in question was eighteen years old and had been in this country since just after she was born outside the USA.  Completely assimilated in every way.  What about the eighteen year old who has been here for one year?  How about five years?  Ten years?  Is the policy different in those cases?  If not, then maybe the author's real agenda is to push for all illegals to receive all rights and privileges no matter what, and this is just a sleazy way to make a disingenuous argument.  If he does support a time limit, then what kind of limit?  Not such an easy decision now is it?  Maybe they should all be entitled to attend school, but get no special treatment as per tuition rates.  Is that really so unfair? If so, do I have the same argument to make with the state of Pennsylvania.  And let's not kid ourselves that illegals pose no cost to America, or that they all pay their taxes and social security assessments.  I don't know the statistics on this, nor would I necessarily believe anyone who told me that they did.  But how many illegals are on welfare, collect food stamps, or burden our schools and emergency rooms with extra costs?  How many actually pay their taxes as opposed to working under the table in the gray economy.  I'm not advocating denying them critical health care or vital services.  But I'm not willing to ignore the costs they impose on me and my fellow taxpayers either.  This article does not convince me that I'm just a mean, nasty, xenophobic, racist, white Republican.  But I'm pretty sure that was the intention of the author.  All I've got to say to him is, "Nice try pal.  Better luck next time."   There was a time when I might have been more receptive to the argument.  But that was a year ago before every politician on earth started pissin' on my shoes and tellin' me it was raining.  Someone once said that a liberal was someone who was so open minded that he wouldn't take his own side in an argument.  If I ever was that guy, I'm sure as hell not that guy now.  I'm happy to exchange opinions with anybody and consider the other guy's point of view.  But I'm way past the point where I'm willing to suffer a fool gladly.  I've read the argument, considered its merits, and found it wanting. 

Nice to hear from you. Let's do this more often.



citizenslave said...

In fairness to myself, I didn't send it because I supported everything the author said, I sent it because of his comments about the hard working nature of many illegals, which you yourself have commented on. I also thought that his distinction between people who come to this country to break the law and people who broke the law to come to this country was an important distinction.

I also think that his comments about the state of our legal immigration process were right on point, and therefore the demand that illegals "go home and get in line" is an unfair and unrealistic one. If our immigration process is flawed and is forcing would-be legal immigrants to come illegally, then there needs to be a process for determining whether or not "illegal" residents are illegal because we never would have wanted them here in the first place, or are illegal because we, or at least our political process, had been too stupid, petty, xenophobic, and paranoid to have let them in the way we should have.

This "process" under the current debate would immediately be thrown out and derided as a "path to citizenship" and "amnesty for law breakers". These simplistic sound bites do little to capture the scope of the problem or of the solution required, and therefore do nothing to advance the debate about immigration whatsoever.

Moderate this comment :P