Mar 082009
Authors: Ian Bezek, Sean Reed

Editor’s note: Point-Counterpoint is a new feature that you can expect biweekly on the Opinion Monday page of the Collegian. Face-off, the regular Monday feature, will return the Monday following spring break and will run biweekly in subsequent weeks.

Pro In-State

By Sean Reed

The issue of whether illegal immigrants should be entitled to the same in-state tuition rates as other permanent Colorado residents can be boiled down to one simple argument: whether you think the children of people who come into our country illegally should be punished for their parents’ choices.

The general argument against any rights for migrant workers focuses on the act of traveling into the country without the proper legal documentation. If people are willfully breaking the law, granting rights and privileges like in-state tuition is only rewarding that illegal behavior.

Where this logic fails, however, is with children.

When parents choose to move, children do not have the luxury of veto power, and, as their survival is utterly dependant on parental support, they don’t really have the choice to remain behind.

These same children, even if they do come voluntarily, cannot be categorized as willful lawbreakers.

Most children aren’t even aware of the laws governing their behavior in their own country, let alone foreign laws regarding abstract ideas like citizenship.

In this manner, it just seems cruel to punish them for breaking a law that they likely did not know existed and would not have had a choice but to break it even if they did. And that’s what the bill working through the Colorado legislature is really about.

The children of migrant workers who illegally entered the country cannot and should not be treated the same as adults entering the country illegally. Punish the parents, not the kids.

Against In-State

By Ian Bezek

While it would be compassionate to give in-state tuition benefits to illegal immigrants, we must take a broader look.

What sort of standard does this sort of law create? It will, in fact, promote the immigration of more illegal aliens into the nation. As the saying goes, what the government subsidizes, it creates more of. By granting unearned benefits to illegal immigrants, it promotes further immigration among illegal aliens.

We already have too many illegal immigrants in America. We need to fix our immigration system to allow more workers into America.

That said, the answer is not telling immigrants that the back door is open. We cannot with a straight face argue that most immigrants should follow the law and wait in line, while some should get special privileges. It takes, in many cases, more than a decade to legally immigrate to America – should we give the cheaters and their children free access to our government benefits at a time when Colorado faces severe budget shortfalls?

Speaking of budget deficits, one must consider the fact that illegal immigrants are not paying many taxes into our state’s coffers. Giving them benefits from our treasury is irresponsible.

Just as a student from Minnesota or Malaysia should pay more for our schools because her parents haven’t been paying taxes to Denver, so too should a student from Mexico who is here illegally.

Paying in-state tuition benefits would subsidize illegal immigration with our tax dollars – and that, frankly, just isn’t right.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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