I’ve been thinking a lot about this immigration problem Rick Perry seems to have. It has come to the forefront again because the people of South Carolina are starting to take a second look at him and the comments seem to be, “Gosh, I would like to vote for him, but he supports in-state tuition for illegals.” Their focus always narrows to the issue of subsidizing illegal immigrants by making them pay in-state tuition versus out-of-state tuition.
It is oddly off topic. Isn’t the greater question, why are illegal immigrants allowed to attend our public institutions? The rest is simply the Texas taxpayer’s response to the federal government failing its duty to protect its citizens by protecting its border. By passing their in-state tuition law, Texas is demanding the federal government commit to obey its own law and deport those who have entered the country illegally.
Here is my interpretation of the Texas response to Texas’ illegal immigration problem. And, instead of leaning on fiction to make my point, I will use facts.
Fact: No federal law exists exempting illegal immigrants from attending any public or private, primary, secondary or higher institution of learning. And, when states have tried to “block” a federal law that does NOT exist (i.e., Alabama, Louisiana), the Department of Justice sues them.
Fact: The Texas legislature passed the bill regarding in-state tuition overwhelmingly with only four objections.
Fact: The child of an illegal immigrant must pay FULL in-state tuition. Continuing their education at the higher level is NOT free for them. Given the expense of attending a university and the average earnings of an illegal immigrant, they will choose to apply to a junior college, not the exponentially expensive university.
Fact: No Texas college or university is required to provide in-state tuition to an illegal immigrant accepted to its institution. It is at the discretion of the policy makers, taxpayers, and donors.
- Currently, Texas taxpayers pay less than 50% of any public college or university’s annual expenses. That percentage drops yearly.
- The remaining expenses are paid for by donations to the school by benefactors who have complete control over the outlay of those funds.
- It can be concluded that since the tax payers voted for it and the school’s donors can choose not to support a school with this policy, any “subsidizing” is with the full blessing of the citizens of the state of Texas who fund the school.
An illegal immigrant requesting in-state tuition from a Texas college or university must sign under oath (or notary public) an “Affidavit of Intent to become a Permanent Resident.” Further, they are required to complete the following four steps:
- Graduate from a Texas high school or receive a GED certificate in Texas.
- Reside in Texas for three years leading up to graduation from high school or receiving a GED certificate.
- Reside or will reside in Texas for the 12 months prior to the census date of the semester enrolled.
- Filed or will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States at the earliest opportunity eligible to do so.
The Texas in-state tuition law does not violate or attempt to trump federal law. The Heritage Foundation vehemently objects to granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants referencing on their website federal law deeming the practice unconstitutional; this is why constitutionalists and thereby many Republicans oppose the Federal Dream Act.
Here is why the Texas law does not violate the federal law thus distinguishing itself from other territory’s in-state tuition allowance. Texas’ law does not give permission to an institution based solely on residency within the state but mandates the eligible recipient pursue US citizenship. The remaining three requirements adhere to state residency.
Here’s an example: I imagine myself a 17-year-old teenager of an illegal immigrant sitting down at the dinner table with my illegal immigrant parents beginning to fill out a Texas A & M application for in-state tuition. Remember, if I don’t want in-state tuition, no problem, smooth sailing IN ANY STATE since it is not a crime to attend a public or private institution nor is it a crime to accept a student who is not a legal citizen.
If, as the child of an illegal immigrant, I want to apply for in-state tuition, the residency form must be filled out. I go online to the residency form and begin to answer the Core Residency questions. A series of inquiries include, am I a US citizen, or permanent resident or foreign national, or is a parent in the military? (Federal law does not prohibit illegal immigrants from joining the military.)
Here I am, a kid sitting at the dinner table with my in-the-shadows illegal immigrant parents and I’m thinking if I lie and the school thoroughly checks my answers, my family could be deported. So, I decide to move further down the application to the last page.
The last page is not just an affidavit of residency for in-state tuition in Texas. It is a signed under oath admission that I am here illegally. Uh, so do they have a lot of law breaking foreigners filling out that form for in-state tuition? A primary objection to illegal immigration is that their simple presence in the US is a violation of our residency laws.
The moment that agreement is signed and passed on to the school that child and the child’s family are no longer in the shadows. If they agree to the commitment, follow through with obtaining an education, they will become a contributing member of society (i.e., paying income taxes, independent of state and federal programs).
Furthermore, the federal government is not just derelict in its obligation to deport illegal immigrants; they are punishing those who try to expel them.
A side note: Rick Perry was recently condemned by Liberals for, by emergency session, passing a law which declares that a student id is not an acceptable form of identification to vote. See why? If only a student id can be used to vote, as some states are trying to pass, potentially an illegal immigrant could vote. Not good.
Seemed like a smart and prudent move to me given that illegal immigrants, by Federal mandate, are protected from state’s effort to block their attendance at state funded colleges.