Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Taxpayer to Taxpayer

Supposedly we live in a land where we are ruled by consent of the governed. We elect representatives to make decisions for us so we don't have to vote on every decision that needs to be made. It's called a representative democracy - sorry, that was the history teacher in me coming out. You'd be surprised at the number of people who don't get how our government works, but that's a post for another time. I bring this point up because I'm stuck on the current issue of in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants. In this case, lawmakers seem to be doing the opposite of what most people seem to want. Without getting into the details of who my sample is and all that crap, suffice it to say that I've yet to come across a person who supports this bill and I live in a state and county that are ordinarily on the same side of the aisle as the lawmakers who are pushing this legislation along.

If you're unfamiliar, here is a news article that explains.

Similar legislation is being considered in several states, all with slightly varying conditions I would imagine. Unfortunately for me, my state is one of them. As a taxpayer, I'm having a really difficult time trying to make sense out of this bill. Supporters make the following points:
1. Many students who are illegal immigrants were brought here by their parents when they were only small children and shouldn't be held responsible/punished for their parents' wrong-doing
2. Better to have educated illegal immigrants than uneducated illegal immigrants who will just drain our system
3. This will be financially advantageous for universities as it makes education affordable for more students

Call me whatever you want, but that just doesn't cut it for me. Not so long ago I was a kid facing high school graduation. I didn't have any money for college. I'd been raised by a single mother who worked full time to make ends meet. I also worked from the time I was 15 to help support myself. When it was time for college, my mom said she could pay for community college and after that we were on our own. I couldn't fulfill my life-long dream of being a teacher with an AA degree, so I had to figure something out. I was able to get a merit-based scholarship* that paid for most of my 4-year degree. I covered the rest myself (not my mom), including books, supplies, a car, gas, insurance, etc. At one point I even had to purchase health insurance out-right. If not for my hard work and good grades, I couldn't have afforded my in-state public education. I had to earn it, not by status, but by busting my a--. I continued to have to work almost full time the entire time I was in college. And I know that my story is one of millions.

So to see people who are in our country illegally being given a "break" so they can go to college is just sickening to me. As an educator, I of course believe strongly that education is the answer to a lot of social problems. Trust me. But this bill just doesn't make sense to me. Let's just call it what it is, a reward for those who have broken our laws? Where were these ideas on the campaign trail? Would anyone have voted for a representative that promised to do more for illegals and less for citizens? It just seems so senseless to me and I can't figure how any taxpayer would disagree. What taxpaying citizen would be in favor of allowing non-taxpaying illegal immigrants to fill up classrooms when we have so many of our own citizens who are trying so hard to get there.

So, taxpayer to taxpayer... what do you think of this legislation?  If you happen to think it's a good idea, I'd love to hear the explanation (aside from what's stated above, because I've already said those things aren't enough to justify it).

*While I was still in college, my merit-based scholarship was done away with and became a scholarship based on financial need only, which despite being unable to afford college, I would not have qualified for.


  1. Simply put, we're going to hell in a hand basket. There are so many many things our government are doing that the majority of us do NOT agree with. Ugh, I could write a whole post on your post about how angry this makes me! I think what it comes down to is laziness. Most Americans are too content with how things are to put up a fight.GREAT post!

  2. I too am against this legislation, but for argument's sake... I think that one important point that helps people to justify it is the fact that the parents have to be state taxpayers in order for the student to qualify. So, while they are illegal immigrants, they ARE paying taxes to the state, which leads some people to the conclusion that they should be given the same in-state tuition break as any other taxpaying citizen of the state. I can see that it would seem "unfair" to deny that state-subsidized benefit to one taxpayer and offer it to another - if they pay into the system they think that they should reap the benefits. And I sort of get that. I'd be pissed if I had taxes coming out of my paycheck week in and week out and then was told that I don't qualify for any of the benefit programs that those taxes support, more or less "on a technicality" (though I live and work here and pay taxes here and raised my family here, I don't have the paperwork to support my status so I don't count). I can certainly sympathize with that side of the argument.


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