Ten years ago, California passed the Immigrant Higher Education Act that gives in-state tuition rates at public colleges to students who complete three years at a local high school and earn a diploma or the equivalent, even though they may be illegal immigrants.
Last year the California Supreme Court upheld the state’s right to allow illegal immigrants access to higher education and to pay the out-of-state tuition fee. [California Court Backs in-state tuition for Illegal Immigrants, by Daniel Wood, Christian Science Monitor, November 10, 2010]
Since then, the battle over whether aliens should be permitted to attend California universities and if so what fees they should pay has escalated. Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Dream Act, AB 130, which authorizes private financial aid to illegal immigrants. AB 130 has a companion bill, AB 131, which would provide public financial aid including Cal Grants, institutional aid at the University of California and California State University campuses, fee waivers at community colleges, and other state aid programs. AB 131 is still under consideration.
Beyond the fact that Californians are still suffering from the effects of a prolonged multi-billion dollar deficit and that K-12 and community college programs have been cut to the bone, the state is forcing taxpayers to fund financial aid for illegal aliens!
The irony is that for decades California’s legal residents, like my parents and grandparents, paid into the state’s advanced education system to help make it one of the nation’s most outstanding. For the California state legislature to enable illegal alien students to not only take up competitive university seats but also at the same time pay a preferred rate is unjust and insulting.
The illegal alien students have other choices—and good ones.
Last month, the New York Times published a story that Mexico’s economy is stronger than at any time in recent history. [Better Lives for Mexicans Cut Allure of Going North, by Damien Cave, New York Times, July 6, 2011]
Pew Hispanic Center demographer Jeffrey S. Passel pointed out in the story that for young students, “if you have a college degree you’re much more likely to stay in Mexico because that is surely more valuable in Mexico [than in the United States.”
If, therefore, Mexico’s economy is growing while California’s is among the weakest in the United States and if college degrees earned in Mexico are “more valuable [in Mexico]” the question then becomes why wouldn’t Mexican nationals now living here attend the University of Mexico, an acclaimed public university that houses many of the country’s premier research institutions?
Among the answers, as I was witness to this during my 25-year public school teaching career, is that throughout their K-12 educations the young students (as well as their parents and advocates) have had a sense of entitlement drilled into them. After having their elementary, primary and secondary educations paid for by taxpayers, it’s only logical for them to assume that college should be no different.
If illegal immigration is ever to be controlled, then benefits made easily available to them must end immediately.
Read the CAPS Action Alert here on AB 131 here and contact your state Senator to tell him to vote no.