It’s dumb to block smart kids from going to college, even if they’re here illegally

WASHINGTON — With Americans furious over illegal immigration — Democrats, independents, Republicans and tea partiers — there is little hope for comprehensive immigration reform this year. Incredibly, a majority supports Arizona’s ugly new law, which — no matter what its proponents say — begs for racial profiling.

The harsh political climate may begin to look a bit sunnier as the recession recedes and hiring picks up. In fact, there is room even now for leadership on the issue of illegal immigration.

While 58 percent of Americans support Arizona’s approach, 57 percent of the nation favors allowing undocumented workers a path to citizenship. Voters could probably be persuaded to support comprehensive immigration reform if Democratic leaders made a sustained push for it.

Until that happens, Congress ought to concentrate on a few small bills that would represent a modest improvement over the current reality for millions of those without papers — a life of living in the shadows, without legal protections, with continual fear of deportation and little chance for improved circumstances.

One of the best opportunities lies in the DREAM Act, which would allow promising undocumented students to start a path toward citizenship if they meet certain standards. The proposal — pushed for years by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) — is intended to boost illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, have finished high school and want to attend college or join the U.S. Armed Forces. The bill is a win not only for those students, but also for the country as a whole.

Much of the fury directed at illegal immigrants feeds off the notion that many of them are unfairly taking advantage of benefits that should be restricted to American citizens. However, that’s not the case with college; undocumented students are not displacing bona fide citizens who have been denied a seat in Calculus II.

In fact, the United States doesn’t have nearly enough students attending college. President Obama has talked again and again about the country’s decline in educational attainment: the U.S. used to the lead the world in the number of people with college degrees, but we’ve fallen behind.

Our declining educational attainment comes as a structural change in the labor force has made post-secondary education more necessary for middle-class wages. According to Georgetown University researchers, there will be more positions demanding a two-year degree than qualified applicants to fill them by the year 2018.

In that climate, we can hardly afford to obstruct ambitious, hardworking young people who want to attend college and join the great American mainstream. According to some estimates, 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools each year. Why not let them attend college or join the military and then attain permanent legal status?

The DREAM Act doesn’t attempt to determine whether students here illegally should be charged in-state tuition. State legislatures would still be free to charge them the higher out-of-state rate, if they chose.

Nor would the DREAM Act attract a steady stream of illegal border-crossers. It is narrowly tailored for students who entered the country before the age of 15 and have lived here continuously for at least five years.

The act, would, however stop cold the kind of narrow-minded natavism that has gripped Georgia Republicans. According to Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jim Galloway, 14 GOP state senators have demanded that Georgia colleges and universities refuse to accept students without papers.

Georgia has prospered because it has imported college graduates from other states, and it still needs a better eductated workforce. It’s shameful that so many of its elected officials believe it’s critical to deprive students of the opportunity to get a degree just because they entered the country illegally years ago.

It is a sensible proposal that deals with a small part of the problem of illegal immigration. Neverthless, Sen. Durbin seems willing to allow the bill to languish until the Senate takes up comprehensive immigration reform, which seems unlikely this year.

That leaves undocumented achievers such as Jessica Colotl, a student at metro Atlanta’s Kennesaw State University, and Eric Balderas, who attends Harvard, to live with fear and uncertainty. It’s in their best interests to pass the DREAM Act soon — and in the country’s best interests, as well.

416 comments Add your comment

Redneck

June 20th, 2010
9:32 am

Anyone else find it funny that two black columnists both support protecting them illegals? Now don’t get me started on JJ and other black leaders.

I gotta’ wonder whut they’re gettin out of it.

Shirley Q Liquor

June 20th, 2010
9:46 am

Cynthia – at what point do you say we have to follow the letter of this law, but not that law (rule or regulation). The whole point behind democracy is to have a citizen base that is subject to, and held accountable for, acting within these parameters. If the parameters become obsolete, or in need of modification, that is what the legislature is for. Society becomes unraveled when individuals begin to make decisions for their own personal gain knowingly thumbing their nose at the law. When the next guy watches this happen time and time again, eventually you say screw it I’ll do this and wait for the law to stop me.

Your mindset perpetuates and condones “cheating” the system.

TommyJack

June 20th, 2010
10:04 am

Cynthia. Why don’t you just come out and say it? You’re for open borders. Was that so hard?

Let's All Go Live At Cythia's For FREE!!!

June 20th, 2010
10:10 am

Cynthia, Put your money where your mouth is. If you want to pay the full 4-year college tuition for some illegal aliens, be my guest. If you want to emmulate Brad & Angelina Jolie and adopt and raise a dozen third world kids, then you can foot the bill.

However, no American citizens should not be excluded from a college education because the enrollment quota has been filled with any illegals, what so ever. Nor should Americans be forced to pay for the tuition of illegals to attend free, while struggling to cover the cost of their own family’s college education.

THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH. period. So, why don’t YOU SPONSOR THE $100,000 / education for your chosen `smart` illegal aliens.

TW

June 20th, 2010
10:20 am

The rightwing war on the intellect continues.

A dad

June 20th, 2010
10:20 am

Once again, what part of illegal does everyone in favor of allowing illegals to go to school, obtain benefits, get jobs, etc. understand? Or should we be allowed to pick and choose what laws to obey? If that’s the case, since I’m bigger and stronger than about 95% of the adult population, I’ll take your wallet and your car. After all, simply cause it’s illegal doesn’t matter right. Or is it only because it’s that you disagree with the law. Laws are laws folk. Break tham at your own risk. Colotl broke the law, got caught (and don’t forget about giving a wrong address probably to try and throw off the “scent”) and there are tons of examples of illegals breaking more laws than simply the one being here illegally in the first place. Perhpas if one of your loved ones is hit by an illegal driving drunk, or looses a job, or even perhaps os the victim of a crime, at worse murdered, by an illegal, THEN the law against illegal immigration will be one you’ll support. But that’s because then it affects you now. Hypocrites.

TW

June 20th, 2010
10:23 am

My Pastor says it’s our duty as Christians to welcome the Christian immigrants with open arms. They are God’s children as well, and to demean them is to offend Him.

WWJD?

Gwinnett Mom

June 20th, 2010
10:32 am

The too big problems with our country is mexicans and queers.

Jane

June 20th, 2010
10:35 am

When a black kid does not get a good education because a white kids gets better funding for his school, the liberals get upset. But when a black kid cannot go to college because an illegal resident takes their slot, their chance for a better life, racists say nothing.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
11:24 am

I will give you credit, however for not merely repeating “Bush’s fault.” You blame all presidents since 1981–with the exception of Mr. Obama. Funny how the one who could do something now gets a free pass.

And you get no credit at all for closing the barn door long after this gored ox has been flogged to death. You say that I have no idea what you or others did or did not do for the past 24 years—well that is partially true. I have no idea what you did, but what I did not see were letters to the editors of major newspapers expressing concern about this issue. It was only after faux populists like Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck exhorted the masses did this issue of illegal immigration start to even register a blip on the radar.

So what do I expect Obama to do? I dunno. Rounding up 20-30 million people is gonna take mega bucks, man power and bureaucracy. So what do you suggest? Another cabinet level position? Czar? Maybe that is exactly what you want since it would give you yet something else to bitch about. Maybe this is only what you want—Obama does something, you bitch—Obama does nothing, you bitch. Maybe that’s all you really are—a bitch.

POAD

June 20th, 2010
11:30 am

TW: WWJD? Jesus would say to the Illegals, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” In other words for the illegals to pay their FREAKING taxes and fees to the US government and not wire your illegally obtained money back to Mexico.

POAD

June 20th, 2010
11:37 am

KAMCHAK you don’t have to round up all illegals. Stop the wire transfers to Mexico. Don’t let children in schools. Don’t give medical help to illegals. Don’t rent homes or apartments to illegals. We will not have to pay to send them back they will go on their own just like they got here. Stop paying americans to not work and force them to do the jobs the illegals are doing when the illegals are run out of this country.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
11:41 am

We will not have to pay to send them back they will go on their own just like they got here.

Do you consciously try to be this ignorant, or is it a natural talent?

POAD

June 20th, 2010
11:44 am

Illegals go back and forth all the time. If there is no benefit to stay here they will go HOME.

neo-Carlinist

June 20th, 2010
11:48 am

let’s all step away from the computer and enjoy Father’s Day. let’s look at the politi-speak name of the topic de la dia (that’s Spanish for du jour): illegal immigration. conservative or liberal, tea partier, libertarian or John Birch disciple; Americans must concede that ALL laws exist to protect wealth. Immigration was not “illegal” until a law was passed making it “illegal” (ever hear the joke about Native Americans and their very lax immigration laws?). the only way to “secure” the borders is to go after the business owners who hire undocumented workers. In our effort to win the war on drugs we go after dealers, but not users. In states where prostitution is illegal, we go after pimps and prostitutes, but no Johns. Businesses hire these people because they’re cheap. They can pay pennies on the dollar (compared to “legal” employee) and they don’t have to pay payroll taxes, Social Security, unemployment insurance, etc., and it’s not local contractors, mom and pop painting companies and landscapers doing the hiring; it’s huge corporations who are saving millions of dollars (hotels, agri-business, etc.). And of course, the faux populist gadflies and politicos see “value” in this issue as well, but it will never be resolved because it is to valuble (public sector and private sector) unresolved.

Gator Joe

June 20th, 2010
11:52 am

Cynthia,
It’s goes along with the territory for you to be the recipient of most of the comments here, good or, unfortunately bad. I don’t mean bad in the sense the viewpoints are in opposition, but rather because they are insulting (I could use other adjectives). I don’t know how you could convince your readers that insults are not a form of debate or argument.

For My Fellow Contributors:
I will consider opposing points of view if they are presented in a reasonable, non insulting manner, without epithets or name-calling. When I see these in a post I immediately proceed to the next post.
Finally, my opinion doesn’t matter any more, or less, than anyone else’s, but if I insult anyone then what I say matters even less.

PS
No one’s mind can be changed, without consent of the owner, and my beliefs will not be changed by insults, epithets, threats or violence-I don’t believe yours will either.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
12:07 pm

Here is an excerpt from a piece that our hostess wrote in 2007:

…here’s some counterintuitive advice for the Democratic ranks: Don’t hedge. Lead. Do the right thing. Come out clearly and forcefully for putting illegal immigrants already in the country on a path to citizenship. This is no time to trim or triangulate. Show some spine. America is ready for reasoned leadership on this issue.

…So let the GOP be the party of fear and division. Democrats ought to stand for something else. The modern Democratic Party also made its choice in the 1960s, choosing hope over fear, tolerance over division and the beloved community over bigotry.

…This is no time for Democrats to turn their backs on that heritage. America is too generous and compassionate to expel millions of productive and otherwise law-abiding people. The nation has taken advantage of their labor for decades, and it would be inhumane (and outrageously expensive) to round them up and send them back.

But Americans also want to be assured that this is the last time a broad legalization option is offered to illegal immigrants. Democrats ought to make it clear that they’ll enforce the borders and crack down on employers who hire illegally, a cheaper and more effective strategy for addressing the problem than building fences. After a few CEOs have done the perp walk for illegal hiring, they’ll stop offering jobs to those without proper documents. And when word gets across the border that U.S. companies have stopped hiring, those laborers will stop coming. They come for jobs, after all, not jihad.

This is a win-win platform. Not only is it wise and honorable, calling on the highest ideals of a nation of immigrants, it can also produce victories at the ballot box. Last week, Virginia Democrats made gains in state and local elections even though the state has been embroiled in fiery debate over illegal immigration. As an analysis by the Washington Post concluded, voting trends didn’t benefit “those who campaigned the loudest for tough sanctions against illegal immigrants.”

Let Republicans take the low road. It doesn’t end in a place the rest of the country wants to go.

TW

June 20th, 2010
12:36 pm

“TW: WWJD? Jesus would say to the Illegals, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” In other words for the illegals to pay their FREAKING taxes and fees to the US government and not wire your illegally obtained money back to Mexico.”

I agree – give them a social security card and let’s play ball :)

drew

June 20th, 2010
1:08 pm

This is why Cynthia Tucker and the AJC will always be a joke. If it weren’t for Mark Bradley, no one would read this paper anyway.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 20th, 2010
1:10 pm

With any luck at all, Republicans will win a majority in one or both houses of Congress.

Call it a down payment on letting America be America again.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
1:19 pm

With any luck at all, Republicans will win a majority in one or both houses of Congress.

Gonna take more than luck.

They seem to be out of money.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 20th, 2010
1:26 pm

But the Democrats are out of ideas. Their only solution is higher taxes, bigger government, and power grabs.

Americans have had enough. Sure, it was cool to elect a black guy, but the novelty has worn off now that they see what a pathetic incompetent the Idiot Messiah turned out to be.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
1:29 pm

Americans have had enough. Sure, it was cool to elect a black guy, but the novelty has worn off now that they see what a pathetic incompetent the Idiot Messiah turned out to be.

Who granted you the authority to be spokesman for Americans?

POAD

June 20th, 2010
1:34 pm

The whole freaking country is out of money.

TW no social security card, no benefits, but a immirgant worker card that allows their children benefits. No Social Security benefits paid out to Illegals. When their children are educated and they get the chance to live here that is the illegals benefit.

Jim

June 20th, 2010
1:43 pm

Cynthia is an idiot! If ANYONE is in this country and they should not be here, i.e. being legal, then they should not have a “right” to attend our colleges and universities. For one thing space in most universitites is limited so why give space to an illegal when it could take that space for someone who has followed the rules and is in this country legally?

Bernie

June 20th, 2010
1:47 pm

There is already a path to citizenship in our country. It is not respected.And, our counrty can NO longer afford to take care of the number of illigal immigrants that are here already. These resources need to go to americans.

Rosita

June 20th, 2010
1:52 pm

Cynthia, when I got around to reading what you said it made sense but the headline was a real firestarter, imo. The Durbin legislation with the constraints you described makes sense to me because these people did not actually enter the country illegally, but via the cabbage patch. Your opinions will always attract the usual nuts but a tamer headline might have attracted more support for what seems a reasonable position. On the other hand, a tamer headline might not have brought us in, eh? Hang in there!

South GA Teacher

June 20th, 2010
2:04 pm

Illegal is illegal…get the hell out.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
2:11 pm

Illegal is illegal…

Repetition is repetition, and tautology is saying the same thing with different words.

Gerald West

June 20th, 2010
2:14 pm

Good article, Cynthia! You really stirred up the rabble!

Children who were brought to this country by their parents have broken no laws. Why not give them a path to citizenship? We need new blood; our country is stagnating under the same old black/white Republican/Democrat agenda of the last 50 years.

People from Mexico and Central American are, for the most part, mestizos of native American and Spanish descent. Native Americans were the original owners of the land, and Spaniards were the first European settlers of our country. It’s only right that their descendents come to live, study, and work here. What harm can it do?

gary

June 20th, 2010
2:34 pm

Cynthia, could you please publish your address, so anyone, legal or not, can come over to your home and help themselves to whatever they’d like. As you seem to be advocating that for our entire country, I’m presumming you won’t mind doing it on a more personal level.

Americans

June 20th, 2010
3:03 pm

We hereby grant Lil’ Barry Bailout authority to speak on our behalf.

Americans

June 20th, 2010
3:07 pm

Correction: We hereby demand that Lil’ Barry Bailout to STFU.

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:10 pm

Kamchak,

Its really very simple. You simply fine the heck out of businesses that hire illegal aliens. They will quit hiring them and the illegals will then find their own way home of their own accord. No buses, no roundups, none of that nonsense. They will just go. Why do you liberals try to make things so much harder than they need to be?

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:13 pm

Cynthia,

You call that new law in Arizona “ugly”. Specifically what does the Arizone law do that Federal law doesn’t already do? Can’t answer that one can you? Why? Because you’re being dishonest. All the Arizona law does is require that Arizona enforce the laws that are already on the Federal books. That’s all. People like yourself and other liberals are simply distorting the truth because you don’t want the existing laws on the books enforced. End of story.

POAD

June 20th, 2010
3:13 pm

The kids didn’t have a choice, but they do know that they are Illegal by the time they wish to attend college right? Well, they need to prepare to play non-residant tuition for college. The Asians that go to USC, UCLA, Stanford pay the proper tuition as should the illegals. Maybe not Foreign Tuition, but Out of State Tuition for sure. If I break a law there are issues I have to accept and the same should apply for the children of Border Jumpers. If parents are drug addicts it is not the childs fault, but that doesn’t stop the child from being place as a ward of the state.

Americans

June 20th, 2010
3:24 pm

Excellent grammar, fake Americans. Observant readers will notice your error and realize that you’re an imposter.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
3:26 pm

Its really very simple. You simply fine the heck out of businesses that hire illegal aliens.

Well—being that it has been the only punishment meted out for the past 24 years or so, maybe it is time to try something else, because it hasn’t worked.

They will quit hiring them and the illegals will then find their own way home of their own accord.

Nope. Again—that is a failed strategy.

They will just go.

How did you arrive at that conclusion? Crystal ball? Ouija board? Tarot cards? Magic 8 ball?

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:29 pm

Kamchak,

Lets make a simple agreement. You want the illegals here? You pay a 10% surcharge in your taxes in a national voter referendum if you vote not the enforce the immigration laws and keep them here.

I spoke with a guy who worked at a south Georgia saw mill yesterday who told me that all the illegals that his saw mill hires all claim crazy numbers of dependents like 9,10,15. In other words they’re not paying any taxes. Talk to someone in Dalton where all the carpet mills are or Gainesville with the poultry plants and you’ll hear the same thing. They all claim absurd numbers of dependents so that they won’t pay any taxes.

My proposal to you is this. Why don’t we have a national referendum on enforcing laws against these companies and the illegals they hire. The people like yourself that don’t want existing immigration laws enforced can vote not to enforce the law.

Consequently you should then be amenable to paying an extr 10% tax surcharge if you voted this way to make up for the lack of taxes these illegals pay and all their associated costs such as, educating all their children, the enormous costs they impose on our judicial system not to mention our health care system(several hospitals in Southern Cal are on the verge of collapse from treating illegals), all the food stamps, subsidized section 8 housing, medicaid(oh yes, they get all these benefits in georgia).

Kamchak, just put your money where your mouth is and help with the tax burden. Oh wait. You probably don’t pay taxes yourself. Since you’re on here all day long every day and on weekends I can only assume you don’t freaking work. Are you laid off and on the unemployment gravy train? Permanent welfare citizen with kids from different fathers? Independently wealthy? A commuity organizer fighting for the rights of the oppressed?

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 20th, 2010
3:30 pm

Kamchak is only on week 54 of the current 99 weeks of unemployment benefits provided by Americans who work for a living.

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:32 pm

Kamchak,

Sorry ma’am but it really is that simple. Fine the heck out of the carpet mills, the saw mills, poultry plants, building contractors. Hire a 100 man force to go around work sites statewide, check ids at job sites, fine the employer $1,000 first offense, $5,000 2nd offense, $10,000 or more 3rd offense. The businesses will fire every one of them and you can rest assured they will then find their own way home. If they can’t find work they’ll go. Its that simple and you know it. You just want your communist worker’s paradise is all. Maybe you and your illegals should break into North Korea and truly live in a workers paradise.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
3:34 pm

Lets make a simple agreement. You want the illegals here?

You seem to laboring under the misapprehension that I do.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kamchak is only on week 54 of the current 99 weeks of unemployment benefits provided by Americans who work for a living.

Kamchak is self employed and unable to draw unemployment benefits, sport.

Rosita

June 20th, 2010
3:34 pm

Genghis Khan: Immigrants aside, please learn the correct spelling of your name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
3:36 pm

Sorry ma’am but it really is that simple. Fine the heck out of the carpet mills, the saw mills, poultry plants, building contractors.

No sport, those laws will never be written.

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:37 pm

“Let Republicans take the low road. It doesn’t end in a place the rest of the country wants to go.”

Kamchak, ma’am lets just invite the whole world to come live with us on our taxpayer dime. Doesn’t matter if the anointed one has already quadrupled the national debt and driven us into bankruptcy. We’ll just print more money like those really smart folks over in Zimbabwe. You know, the ones that pay for a loaf of bread with a wheel barrow full of money. Or we’ll just stick with my idea and let the ones like yourselves who don’t mind the illegals pay an extra tax surcharge to keep them here. Have you agreed to that yet?

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:37 pm

Rosita,

I’ve actually seen it spelled a couple of different ways.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
3:38 pm

Genghis Khan: Immigrants aside, please learn the correct spelling of your name!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Genghis Kahn is a title, not a name. That individual’s name was Temujin.

Ghengis kahn

June 20th, 2010
3:39 pm

Gotta go, I got a life to live.

Kamchak, You need to go also. I assume you have a lot of Mexican guests in your living room and that like a good liberal you are helping to house and feed them on your dime. I’m certain you are putting your money where your mouth is.

Kamchak

June 20th, 2010
3:40 pm

Or we’ll just stick with my idea and let the ones like yourselves who don’t mind the illegals pay an extra tax surcharge to keep them here. Have you agreed to that yet?

Again—you seem to be laboring under the misapprehension that I want them here.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 20th, 2010
3:52 pm

Kamchak sounds like a moderate. Those idiots NEVER know what they think.