By Joe Guzzardi
November 1, 2013
In August, the University of Notre Dame announced that it would enroll illegal immigrants as undergraduates. Claiming that illegal immigrants’ presence on the South Bend campus would “strengthen” the student body, the university also said it would generously subsidize their $57,000 annual tuition from its cash reserves. Since illegal immigrants aren’t citizens or naturalized residents, they don’t qualify for federal financial aid.
Notre Dame had previously accepted illegal immigrants but always under the radar. In the past, they were referred to as international students. Now, however, the university boasts about its new policy. Don Bishop, Notre Dame’s associate vice president for enrollment, said that the university wants to “give deserving young people the chance for a Notre Dame education.”
Bishop’s disingenuous statement could lead the unaware to think that there aren’t tens of thousands of “deserving” American high school students that Notre Dame rejects every year. But according to Notre Dame’s internally generated statistics, for the class of 2016 more than 2,500 applicants with academic performances in the nation’s top 1 percent were denied, over 65 percent who ranked in their high school’s top 2 percent or had SAT and/or ACT scores of 1400-1490/32-33 respectively were also rejected. In total, Notre Dame accepted only 44 percent of those who finished at the top of their class. Even placement on the wait list does little to improve applicants’ chances; 1,200 listed, 90 accepted.
Deserving American high school kids yearning to matriculate at Notre Dame not only have to compete with their qualified peers and illegal immigrants, they also go head to head against a growing number of international students. Nationwide, for the academic year 2011-2012 foreign-born students reached an all-time high, 765,000 or 6 percent of total enrollment.
Notre Dame has created its own quasi-DREAM Act, the much criticized, often introduced but never passed failed federal legislation that allows aliens to attend state universities and to pay the lower instate tuition fee. Twelve states, Texas, California, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maryland, have passed their own versions of the DREAM Act.
Although the odds against admission at major universities grow longer each year for Americans, the House of Representatives is drafting what will be known as the KIDS Act, Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s and Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s pet project.
KIDS would give citizenship to 1 million young illegal immigrant adults. Cantor’s thinking goes like this: even House Republicans who adamantly oppose amnesty would be hard pressed to deny an opportunity to those brought unknowingly to the U.S. as children. What’s at stake, says Cantor, is “basic fairness” that should not “hold kids liable for deeds, misdeeds, commitment of crime by parents.” Unless they become citizens, Cantor claims, “they are kids without a country.” On Capitol Hill, Cantor’s sentimental strategy is known as “do it for the kids” which advocates hope resonates with immigration reform skeptics.
Of course, illegal immigrant children are not “without a country.” They’re citizens of their birthplace. But more important, American kids deserve “basic fairness,” too. That includes not being denied a precious freshman class seat in favor of an illegal immigrant.
College diplomas whether they’re earned at Notre Dame or State U. are vital to a productive future. With the labor market shrinking and the economy producing more part time than full time jobs, Americans deserve the first chance opportunity for success.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. Contact him at [email protected]