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“Cowardly” To Reverse Illegal Immigrant Tuition Break
One County College of Morris trustee mentioned the prospect of being sued and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills. Others said legal considerations played a part in their deliberations over tuition rates for illegal immigrants.
In the weeks leading up to their vote on Wednesday night, CCM's trustees had received letters from freeholders and a national conservative group called Judicial Watch saying they were violating federal laws. Concerns about those laws, and the possibility of lawsuits, seemed to spur a 9-2 vote to charge higher, out-of-state rates to undocumented students even if they live in the county.
The vote came at the end of a meeting in front of more than 200 people that lasted almost four hours and included emotional testimony from dozens of people on both sides of the issue.
Elaine Johnson, chairwoman of the trustees, voted with the minority and said she believed the trustees had been bullied, although she did not specify who was doing the bullying. She said the February vote to charge in-county tuition to undocumented students, many of whom have lived in the U.S. most of their lives, seemed simple at the time.
"I still believe there's no law that prohibits the actions (that the board) previously took," Yaw said. "We felt all along the potential was there to be sued by one side or the other."
"If you think encouraging people to follow the law is bullying, then we are bullying," he said after being told Johnson had used the term "bullying" to describe some of the reaction to CCM's February policy change.
Alina Das, a professor with the New York University Law School Immigrant Rights Clinic, said the federal law does not "specifically prohibit" lower tuition rates. The NYU clinic has been giving legal direction to Wind of the Spirit, a local immigrant rights group.
Yaw said CCM might revisit the issue if additional court cases clarify related federal laws.
A related federal statute prohibits providing postsecondary benefits to illegal immigrants based on state residency if the same benefit isn’t available to legal residents. County freeholders have argued that means CCM would have been required to charge in-county rates to students from other states.
However, the California State Supreme Court recently ruled that the federal law didn’t preempt a state law allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students who graduate from California high schools. Judges said in their ruling that the state law is based on where students go to school and not on “residence,” as specified in the federal law. The case is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
CCM’s admissions policy allows admitting undocumented students only if they have graduated from New Jersey high schools. Yaw said a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the California case might offer some guidance and be “a trigger” for additional discussions about offering in-county rates for some illegal immigrants who live in the county.
Posted 12/07/2010 06:59 PM ET
Immigration: Congress is expected to vote on the Dream Act on Wednesday, providing a path to citizenship to millions of illegal immigrant youth. It's a bad precedent that uses kids, costs taxpayers and invites new amnesties.
After years of failing to sell mass amnesty to voters, the open-borders lobby has turned to tugging at Americans' heartstrings, presenting treacly stories of illegal immigrants brought here as children who then bettered themselves here.
Somehow legalizing this group ahead of all the other people awaiting immigration visas legally is supposed to specially benefit all of us, even though the most obvious beneficiaries are the individuals themselves. But out of guilt, or because we "owe" them "justice," the case is being made for passing the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
That act provides a path to citizenship for some 2.1 million illegals who have lived here continuously for five years, avoided felony convictions, came to the U.S. before they turned 16 and completed two years of college or U.S. military service within six years.
Now, in the lame-duck session of Congress, the open-borders lobby has lawmakers right where it wants them. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has filed Senate cloture to bring the Dream Act to a vote as soon as Wednesday, and the House may vote even sooner.
It's a scam, using children unethically to achieve an open-borders political agenda that opens the door to perverse incentives.
The Dream Act is an effort to mimic the benefits illegals derive from having anchor babies in the U.S., a tactic used by millions as an "insurance policy" to avoid deportation and achieve legal status.
The awfulness of that incentive can be seen in the case of Edgar Jimenez Lugo, the 14-year-old U.S. "citizen" who was arrested in Mexico after a rather spectacular career beheading rivals and innocent people for $2,500 each on behalf of a Mexican cartel enforcer.
Cronica, a Mexican newspaper, reported that the throwaway kid was born in San Diego and then spent his life with Mexican parents who took him back to Morelos, Mexico, and "wandered around." Apparently the child's birth in San Diego was the same gambit millions of other immigrants use to game the system for U.S. entry. And he's only facing three years in jail in Mexico, so he'll soon become our problem — not Mexico's.
The Dream Act makes every baby an anchor baby, commodifying children, as young Jimenez seems to have been. It extends the incentive for parents to use their kids to beat immigration laws.
Under the Dream Act it may take 10 years for an illegal to achieve full U.S. citizenship, but there's little doubt he will. And as soon as he does achieve citizenship, he will sponsor the parents who brought him into the country illegally — thus achieving the original intention of the law-breaking parents.
This bill is really an amnesty bill. The 1986 amnesty signed by President Reagan provided amnesty to 2.7 million illegals. Now, 24 years on, we have 12 million illegals to amnesty.
Columnist Michelle Malkin points to six successive amnesties since the 1986 act. Each has raised anticipation of new ones for illegals. For them, no need to hurry for the amnesty train — the next one will be along in just a moment.
Worse, the Dream Act will cost a lot. By some estimates it's a $6.2 billion bill for taxpayers, but it may be even more. Judges over the years have already ruled that children of illegals are entitled to "free" U.S. public education through the 12th grade, plus "free" medical care, bankrupting hospital emergency rooms.
The Dream Act will give them even more.
With a treasured U.S. green card as motivation, all they have to do is clog up community college enrollments with no minimum performance standards, crowding out legitimate students who are interested in learning, or else sign up for diploma-mill trade schools with government loans they aren't under any obligation to repay.
For every Harvard valedictorian the illegal immigration lobby presents as a poster boy, there will be thousands of gang members who will qualify because the cops haven't caught them yet.
Worst of all is the entitlement mentality this bill creates.
Suddenly the U.S. taxpayer "owes" all this, as the brazen illegal students parading around in graduation robes for cameras without fear of apprehension make clear. This entitlement mentality is no success ethic. And it won't stop at the Dream Act.
It just underscores the disgusting ethic of special interests playing grievance and identity politics by using children as pawns.
The only good answer to this is no.
The DREAM and the Nightmare
In California, students are better off being illegal immigrants than legal.
30 March 2012