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Governor Doyle Correct, Undocumented Immigrants Should Be Able To Attend UW

March 22, 2009

I understand that I am about to jump, again, into the hot political frying pan.  But at least I have company, this time with Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, and other concerned state residents over the matter of allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition, and therefore be able to attend the University of Wisconsin System.  I understand there is vocal outrage over this matter, and the heated rhetorical divide makes it hard to have a calm and reasoned debate about this matter.  I too am not immune from having very sincere and point-blank views.

But the issue seems to have a very clear and moral argument that has not ever been able to be countered to my satisfaction.

Why should a bright and capable young person, who has successfully completed high school, and possesses the ability to attend a state university be denied that opportunity simply  because they came to Wisconsin from another country with their parents, having no ability as a child to make life decisions?  Why should anyone wish to force these capable young and keen minds into a permanent economic underclass that will be their fate unless they find the education to meet the requirements of the ever-changing economy?

Governor Doyle is once again trying to insure that these young minds that are college ready have the opportunity to meet the challenges of the early part of the 21st century by allowing them access to the UW system.  With a Democratic majority in each house there is no sound reason this should not pass.  Having said that, there is a long and tricky path through the budget process to see this measure enacted.

Those who complain about social services being needed to meet the needs of the undocumented workers should applaud the proposal by Doyle.  To create a class of educated immigrants with the potential to be future business people, doctors, designers, and everything in between that will all add to the tax base through self-sufficiency should be applauded by everyone.

Sadly there are many who will fight this measure, but for the most sad of reasons.  But make no mistake about the opposition.  To deny an education for an undocumented immigrant is not a political statement.  It is a moral failing.

I find it hard to believe that anyone who argues against this proposal would do so as strenuously if that same student we were talking about were white and from Canada.  I think the fact that we are dealing with brown-skinned kids is the reason that this bill has any opposition at all.  And that is pathetic.

We all talk about the need to have better schools, and ways to make our children better prepared for the future.  Why shouldn’t the child of a hard working mother who came from Mexico and now toils in the laundry operation of a big hotel not have the same dreams as the white kid in Wautoma who just happened to have two parents who already were citizens of this state?

There is no justifiable argument for working against the Doyle proposal. 

The question is how much backbone and moral fiber do our elected officials in the state legislature possess?

17 Comments
  1. Ali permalink
    March 23, 2009 3:19 PM

    Now, why has no one answered my question about requiring foreign students to pay foreign student tuition while illegal aliens get in-state tuition? Could it be that there is no justification for such blatant unfairness?

  2. Ali permalink
    March 23, 2009 3:15 PM

    “Ali is wrong about the Wisconsin proposal. As the WSJ noted yesterday the problem cited by Ali might be moot.

    Linton Joaquin, an NILC attorney, said he thinks language in the legislation should render the problem moot, because students must be graduates of a Wisconsin high school to be eligible.

    In addition, the bill requires the student to:

    • Live in Wisconsin for three years prior to high school graduation;

    • Enroll at a UW System institution and provide an affidavit stating he or she will file an application for permanent residency as soon as he or she is able to do so.

    The bill also allows such students to pay resident tuition at technical colleges.”

    That’s what California thought as well and its law is very similar based on what you just said. Their law is now in the State Courts. But regardless, you can bet that Wisconsin will run the risk of a challenge to its law and have to spend the time and money to defend it. And if it loses, it could end up having to reimburse ALL OUT-OF-STATE students for the difference in tuition.

    By the way, you might note that illegal aliens who have graduated from colleges and universities in States where they got in-state tuition are STILL INELIGIBLE TO WORK LEGALLY in their professions.

  3. Lee permalink
    March 23, 2009 3:13 PM

    Nine states already allow for this and Wisconsin, given our progressive history, should follow the others.

  4. Thomas J Canton permalink
    March 23, 2009 3:00 PM

    Question: Doesn’t Wisconsin have a reciprocal agreement with the state of Minnesota? So if Governor Doyle goes through, does that mean that an “Undocumented Immigrant” would be eligible to go to Minnesota state schools as well?

  5. number44 permalink
    March 23, 2009 2:49 PM

    You are an idiot. What part of “illegal alien” don’t you understand. Anyone who doesn’t have a green card should be sent back to where they came from. Stupid.

  6. Randy permalink
    March 23, 2009 1:37 PM

    Ali is wrong about the Wisconsin proposal. As the WSJ noted yesterday the problem cited by Ali might be moot.

    Linton Joaquin, an NILC attorney, said he thinks language in the legislation should render the problem moot, because students must be graduates of a Wisconsin high school to be eligible.

    In addition, the bill requires the student to:

    • Live in Wisconsin for three years prior to high school graduation;

    • Enroll at a UW System institution and provide an affidavit stating he or she will file an application for permanent residency as soon as he or she is able to do so.

    The bill also allows such students to pay resident tuition at technical colleges.

  7. Ali permalink
    March 23, 2009 12:44 PM

    Now, I’ve got one for you. I’ve taught overseas in the Middle East for several years and have had fine, bright young students who would like to come here to live and work. Why should THEY have to follow the immigration laws to come here? Why should THEY have to pay foreign student rates to come to a school here? Just why should illegal alien “children” get a pass on following the law because of what their parents chose for them, while my students have to follow it? Or are you saying that the U.S. should provide college educations for anyone who can get here, no matter how they get here, even when we can’t afford to provide them for all of our own?

  8. Ali permalink
    March 23, 2009 10:23 AM

    “Why should a bright and capable young person, who has successfully completed high school, and possesses the ability to attend a state university be denied that opportunity simply because they came to Wisconsin from another country with their parents, having no ability as a child to make life decisions? Why should anyone wish to force these capable young and keen minds into a permanent economic underclass that will be their fate unless they find the education to meet the requirements of the ever-changing economy?”

    Because these “keen young minds” can return to their homeland before age 18 and apply to come here legally on an F-1 (student) visa. At 18, these are ADULTS whose status is in their own hands. Because rewarding these “keen young minds” also reward the parents who broke the law to bring them here (their kids can sponsor them for legal status after they get it themselves). Because there are a limited number of resources (seats, funding) and plenty of keen young American minds who would displaced by illegal aliens. Because federal law says that if a state offers educational benefits to illegal aliens it needs to provide the same benefits to U.S. citizens from other states REGARDLESS OF RESIDENCY. Because federal law prohibits even illegal aliens with doctoral degrees from legal employment.

  9. March 22, 2009 11:15 PM

    And……..?

  10. March 22, 2009 10:58 PM

    Let me finish this for you:

    “Why should a bright and capable young person, who has successfully completed high school, and possesses the ability to attend a state university be denied that opportunity” because their education was taken away by an illegal alien?

    Because college discounts/slots are zero sum; any discount/slot going to an illegal alien is one that was taken from a U.S. citizen.

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