As the ferocity of the responses here on the blog illustrate, many people believe illegal immigrants are overrunning Georgia’s colleges and universities and stealing seats and resources from legal citizens of the state. I think the greater problem is that Georgia still doesn’t have enough people graduating high school, enrolling in its colleges and universities and finishing them, but that isn’t as easily distilled to a political slogan.
So, now we have a bill from Georgia gubernatorial candidate Eric Johnson. Here is Johnson’s answer to what apparently everybody but me thinks is a huge problem, owing to the recent revelations that a young woman from Mexico who has lived here since she was 10 attends Kennesaw State:
Sen. Eric Johnson, Republican candidate for governor, today unveiled draft legislation that would ensure only legal residents are admitted to Georgia’s institutions of higher learning.
“Citizenship verification isn’t complicated or expensive, and by changing just a few sentences in existing law we can ensure that only legal residents are enrolled in our taxpayer subsidized colleges and universities,” said Johnson. “While I am offering commonsense solutions to fix the problem, the bureaucracy has retreated to their usual delay tactics, fear mongering, and excuses. Well, let me be clear- it is unacceptable to ignore the law. If our public college and universities won’t voluntarily address this issue, I will as governor.”
The Citizenship Verification for Higher Education Act would require that students applying to Georgia’s colleges, universities, and technical schools complete an affidavit swearing to their lawful presence in the United States. That information would be verified using the Department of Homeland Security’s SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement) program.
According to published reports, education bureaucrats are claiming that, by asking students to simply check a box self-identifying their immigration status and never verifying those claims, “the University System is doing everything within its power”. They also claim that they “don’t know” how illegal immigrants are getting around the existing law which prohibits those in this country illegally from receiving any public benefit- including postsecondary education.
“By asking students to simply check a box on a form, it is absurd for college officials to claim they are doing everything they can to verify citizenship. I think to anyone with even a slight bit of common sense it’s crystal clear how illegal immigrants are so easily gaming the system,” continued Johnson. “It is my hope that our college and university administrators will come to their senses and do the right thing. But if not, I look forward to including the Citizenship Verification for Higher Education Act in my first legislative package as governor.”