America is not about shutting the door on the hard work of children who want a college education

When the only two states doing something are Georgia and South Carolina, we are in poor company and have likely enacted poor policy.

And that is the case with the decision just reached today by the Regents — under pressure from an irrational anti-immigrant fervor sweeping the state — to bar illegal immigrants from attending the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and other academically competitively public colleges, starting next fall.

In its vote, the Regents have allied Georgia with South Carolina as the only states banning illegal immigrants from public colleges. South Carolina bans these students from all public colleges, while Georgia’s rules will apply to some campuses.

I have a simple rule in my own life: Look to successful people for road maps on how to do it right. If we look at the most successful states in education, they’re the ones educating everyone who lives there because no one is served by keeping people uneducated.

No one.

Not the children of illegal immigrants, who should not be punished for their parents’ choices and who have no route to becoming US citizens under current immigration policies. Nor is the state of Georgia served since we already have too few educated residents in this state.

I think this is a mean-spirited policy that hurts kids who worked hard to qualify academically for Georgia Tech and UGA. Many of these children came here as babies. They went to school; they studied, they excelled and now we are telling them that there is no recognition of their effort, no reward for their struggles, no hope for their futures.

That is un-American.

According to the AJC:

Before the meeting, about 20 people organized a protest and urged the regents to vote against the ban. The group included students, professors and representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union. They called the ban “un-American” and carried signs that read: “Education not deportation!” and “Board of Regents, do the right thing, please don’t ban me!”

The regents also ordered all 35 campuses in the University System of Georgia to verify the legal presence in the U.S. for any admitted student seeking in-state tuition rates. Illegal immigrants are required to pay the higher out-of-state tuition rates.

There was little discussion over the new rules. Regents Felton Jenkins and Richard Tucker voted against the two items.

305 comments Add your comment

Belinda

October 13th, 2010
12:23 pm

I agree with you, Maureen.

Burroughston Broch

October 13th, 2010
12:32 pm

Maureen, in my view your heart is overuling your head. The taxpayers of Georgia subsidize the University System to provide benefits for the citizens of Georgia, not non-residents or non-citizens. If students who are non-citizens attend the University System and pay out-of-state tuition, I assume that they are paying their own way and am fine with it. If the University System allows non-citizens to pay in-state tuition, then the next court suit is from non-residents wanting to pay in-state tuition. We cannot expect the taxpayers of this state to subsidize everyone wanting a reduced price ride.

I can assure you that you or your children could not pay in-state tuition or its equivalent at a Mexican university until you became Mexican citizens. Why should we be otherwise?

New School

October 13th, 2010
12:35 pm

Excellent work by the Board of Regents!! If you want to encourage people to enter the country illegally then provide incentives for them to do so… like education. If you want to discourage prople from entering the country illegally than take away those incentives. Personally, I would like to see more punishment to go along with the removed incentives.

td

October 13th, 2010
12:38 pm

I think I agree with Burroughston Broch on this issue. To add one more point, I think since we have limited spots at our top research universities, then the children of citizens should receive those spots before illegal or even out of state students. I have no problem with these children paying out of state tuition at our other universities and going to those schools.

Shan

October 13th, 2010
12:44 pm

Enter your comments here

oldtimer

October 13th, 2010
12:50 pm

What country in the world would subsidze illegals like some propose we do?? The key word i illegal. That being said, for those who have spent most of their life in the US and graduated HS, there needs to be a system in place for those to become legal.

Shan

October 13th, 2010
12:50 pm

I agree with the Board of Regents’ decision. We need to encourage that immigration laws be enforced in every aspect of our lives, including the education of our youth. We must cease the incentivization of illegal immigration. We owe it to students lawfully residing in the United States to provide them with fair access and equal to education. USG in-state tuition is subsidized by Georgia taxpayers, and as such these students should be legal residents of Georgia. Moreover, what part of illegal is so hard to comprehend? Violation of federal immigration law, no matter how much it pulls your hearstrings, should not be tolerated.

Real Reformer

October 13th, 2010
12:50 pm

I am generally a “bleeding heart liberal”, especially when it comes to the needs of children. However, how can I teach my child that honesty pays off, when someone is here illegally, has lied about their status, and gets into UGA and pays instate tuition? I feel badly for these children, who did not choose this path….but just like my child, who has to learn from me that honesty is a necessary trait, these kids have to learn it too. From their parents, just like I try to teach mine!

MB

October 13th, 2010
12:50 pm

Glad to see this. Our tax dollars should not go toward education for illegals. If an American went to another country and demanded in-state tuition, there’s no way they’d get it. Time for America to stop pampering these lawbreakers. I understand that it’s no fault of the children, but it is time to end the ridiculous benefits for illegals in this country. Last I checked, the word “illegal” meant “against the law”. Why should lawbreakers get more benefits than non-lawbreakers?

Atlanta Mom

October 13th, 2010
12:51 pm

What makes anyone think that illegal aliens are not paying taxes????? Do you think they shop in Georgia? Do you think they don’t pay property taxes? If you think they aren’t paying income taxes–look to the employers, not the employees.
As long as we are checking legal residences, lets make sure that out of state “legal” students are paying out of state tuition.

dear new school

October 13th, 2010
12:53 pm

okay – clearly illegal entrants should be punished. But what about kids who have been brought here illegally by their parents? they grew up in the US, attended US schools, and speak english as a first language. some of them are smart, talented and loyal to the US. what is your solution for them? Deportation? We’ve already invested 12 years of $$$ teaching them and building them into productive adults. Do you really want to throw that away?

bkinkennesaw

October 13th, 2010
12:53 pm

Short sighted decision in my mind. It also continues to set up an “us versus them” mentality among the state’s schools. You are telling Kennesaw, West Georgia, Valdosta, etc. they can take “illegals” becasue they are not as important as Tech, UGA, etc. Maureen is right on the mark by saying that NO ONE benefits by keeping people uneducated.
The governor should come out as strongly against this as he is against UGA expanding its engineering programs.

UGA Student

October 13th, 2010
12:54 pm

You know what is un-American? Doing or being illegal.

V for Vendetta

October 13th, 2010
12:54 pm

Perhaps we’re going about it the wrong way:

I say open up the borders, do away with welfare, and let the chips fall where they may. I don’t care WHERE someone comes from if he or she is willing to work hard a make a difference. You’re all so quick to kick people out of our country; why don’t you start with the AMERICANS who are mooching off of the system right now. Surely, you find more fault with what they are doing than with what immigrants are doing.

If we open the borders and do away with welfare (and socialism), we’ll find out who REALLY wants to be American. It’s how this country started, and it’s how this country should continue.

Georgian

October 13th, 2010
12:55 pm

Thank you for a great opinion editorial. The Board of Regents betrayed the mission they serve and bent to xenophobic anti-immigrant political pressure. Shame on the Board of Regents and it is a shame that we become only the second state in the nation with a BAN of ACCESS to higher education.

GSU Eagle 91

October 13th, 2010
12:56 pm

Maureen…Your cause is a worthy one, but the word “Illegal” stymies your case…
If they want to attend US colleges, they MUST follow the path laid out for them by our government, and become “legal”….No more handouts and freebies to illegals…Send them home until they can conform to OUR way of doing business….
And BTW. I have a child in college right now…a Freshman at Piedmont College, and she was “Legal” when she applied and was accepted..What is so difficult about that thought process?

Shan

October 13th, 2010
12:56 pm

This rule should be applied across the board to EVERY USG school. We should strive to educate children, but at what point do we enforce the law? Why must we have a slippery slope with regards to adherence of our immigration laws?

dear new school

October 13th, 2010
1:00 pm

to preface my comments – I work in marketing research for a living. I study the population for my clients, helping them identify trends to prepare their companies for the future.

One thing that cannot be disputed – the US is turning latino, whether we like it or not. Latino childbirths in the past 5 years out number white births 8 to 1! This will change the culture of the entire country… some for the better, some for the worse.

Another point to ponder – the population is aging rapidly. When the boomers retire, there will be fewer people to replace them in the workplace. The demographics from the census and dept of labor, point to big shortages for management and skilled labor positions in the future. Without talented workers, business cannot expand. Is your business ready for a shortage of talent?

I prefer to prepare for the future rather than try to recapture the past… so perhaps I’m actually new school?

BehindEnemyLines

October 13th, 2010
1:01 pm

Your left-wing is showing and frankly it’s a nauseating sight. The only place these criminals belong is the next bus, plane, or boat out of the country. The point isn’t to keep them here uneducated, the point is to remove as many motivations to stay here illegally another second as possible.

MB

October 13th, 2010
1:02 pm

Don’t even bother arguing with the pro-illegal immigrant stance. I’ve found that you will never win an argument with the bleeding-heart liberals who supports the illegals because it’s politically correct. Likewise with the greedy conservatives who want illegals in the country so their business cronies can pay them $3.50 an hour for hard labor. I’m fed up with both political parties in this country. And for the record, I do NOT consider the Teabaggers a viable alternative. A lot of them are just plain nuts.

AngryRedMarsWoman

October 13th, 2010
1:03 pm

“They called the ban “un-American” and carried signs that read: “Education not deportation!” and “Board of Regents, do the right thing, please don’t ban me!”

How funny is that? An illegal alien holding up a sign accusing an American governmental agency of being un-American. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity. I just wish we weren’t so darn scared of being un-PC that we would have ICE agents at these meetings checking the IDs of people who have signs stating “don’t deport me” and doing just that…deport them. I hate to sound so cold, because I am normally such a caring person, but I am really just sick and tired of all of this crap.

Sally

October 13th, 2010
1:03 pm

Take note that this is only certain Georgia colleges – the ones that are highly competitive and are mostly funded through the Hope scholarship program. South Carolina has the same type of funding structure as the Hope while almost all other states do not offer this type of college tuition assistance. 99% of in-state college freshmen at UGA receive the Hope including my own son who has cerabral palsy. He barely got in with only a 3.6 overall from the “best HS” in Georgia. We are a law abiding family and it would be a slap in the face if “illegals” took his spot!

AngryRedMarsWoman

October 13th, 2010
1:05 pm

“why don’t you start with the AMERICANS who are mooching off of the system right now”

We should propose a trade with Mexico…for every hard-working illegal we find here, we can send one lazy American over to Mexico. Works for me.

MB

October 13th, 2010
1:05 pm

Blog ate my post, so I’ll try again.

Don’t even bother arguing with the pro-illegal immigrant stance. I’ve found that you will never win an argument with the bleeding-heart liberals who support the illegals because it’s “politically correct”. Likewise with the greedy conservatives who want them in the country so their business cronies can hire them and pay them s*** wages for hard labor. I’m fed up with the political parties in this country. And for the record, I do NOT consider the Tea Party a viable alternative. Some of those people are just plain nuts.

Arnie West

October 13th, 2010
1:05 pm

Great decision by the regents. I agree with MB, why is it that we allow “illegals” access to our educational system when they contribute nothing to fund it through taxes? We are generous enough by letting them rape our health care system (and all tax paying Americans) and drive up doctor and hospital fees by me having to pay inflated prices to compensate for their lack of funds or insurance.

This is a prime example of give an inch, they want a foot. Give a foot, they want a yard. Give a yard they want a mile, and so on…. The government is generous enough to let them illegally enter, work illegally, send huge %’s of the money they earn back to their home country and invest nothing in America, while giving them a life that’s exponentially better than that in their home country and they still complain and ask for more? Schooling at the expense of Americans that have followed the rules?
The regents did the right thing. I hope other states follow.

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
1:11 pm

just pay out of state fees and no scholarships. No taxpayer money or school booster money unless there is a specific scholarship for the illegal students.

Kevin

October 13th, 2010
1:12 pm

Maureen-

What an utterly disparaging, elitist article.

In one blog post, you slam Georgia residents’ intelligence twice– first in slam about comparing us to SC, and the second in bemoaning too few educated residents in the state. I admire the Regents for showing some recognition of financial reality in these times. I don’t want to support, in any way, people that are here illegally and not paying into the system. And, even if they pay out of state tuition, it doesn’t cover the full cost.

You don’t convert people by calling us stupid.

If you hate the people of Georgia so badly, we’re lucky to have a hometown airline that can take you to any one of hundreds of destinations. One way.

Aquagirl

October 13th, 2010
1:14 pm

It’s a good compromise. Many kids are brought here by their parents, they can receive a good education and be productive citizens wherever they end up. Demanding a spot at a highly competitive place like GA Tech is what’s mean-spirited. Once you are 18 you are legally an adult, and simply planning to squat here the rest of your life with no regard to your citizenship is inappropriate.

Maureen Downey

October 13th, 2010
1:15 pm

@Kevin, I don’t think I called anyone stupid, but I will admit to saying that this decision was political pandering, shortsighted and ultimately self-defeating.
One of the issues last night at the superintendent’s panel was whether Georgia has a culture that encourages and believes in the power of education.
How is it “elitist” to call for more educated Georgians? If it is, then we are in real trouble.
Maureen

Nathan

October 13th, 2010
1:17 pm

It’s very interesting that all you “law abiding” citizens who believe these student are such criminals have not invested much time in fighting your lawmakers to pay their income taxes, or raided all the law abiding business people and high society folks in Georgia to remove illegal immigrants working on their farms and around their homes. What hypocrites you are.

Richard Hamilton

October 13th, 2010
1:17 pm

Look I agree that it is a mean spirited policy, but the fact remains that illegal immigrants are breaking the law! I got a speeding ticket the other day, I think it’s a complete joke, but I have three choices: pay the ticket, go to court and contest the ticket, or go to jail for ignoring the first two options. Let’s just throw every law out because there is an unpleasant circumstance attached to each one of them.

There is a way to come here legally, and no I don’t think it is my fault that companies in Mexico only want to pay their workers a tiny fraction of what they make here. If you stole money from a bank and died leaving the money to your children, it is still illegal, stolen money and it doesn’t belong to those children.

I’m all for immigration, but we cannot continue to overlook and ignore the problem that it has become. Why is it that no one ever blames Mexico for the way they treat their citizens? America is generally the first country on the scene to help all over the world, yet everyone wants to criticize us.

I don’t have any interest in being “politically correct”. There are people hurting all over the world, not just in Mexico. I wish we could help everyone. How about we ship all the lazy, welfare citizens of this country and replace them with the hardworking “illegals” that come here seeking a better life through hard work.

V for Vendetta

October 13th, 2010
1:18 pm

Kevin,

I’m a born and raised Georgian, and I am often shocked by the level of stupidity in this state. Don’t act so put out.

AngrayWoman,

I agree. I bet it would work better than NAFTA. :-)

lala

October 13th, 2010
1:18 pm

Wait, doesn’t Mexico have universities? Don’t South and Central American countries have universities? These kids can apply to attend college in their home country (where they are LEGAL CITIZENS), right? Their home countries need their education and talents too.

Nobody is saying that these kids can’t get a college education. They are just saying that these illegal kids can’t displace an equally qualified kid who is here legally.

chuck

October 13th, 2010
1:19 pm

The fact is that we should not be educating them in our k-12 public schools either. Gwinnett County citizens are paying through the nose to build enough schools to handle the influx of illegal aliens into the county. Illegals are hurting our test scores and driving up education costs while at the same time the are driving down wages.

ANYBODY that thinks we should be educating the children of OTHER COUNTRIES is insane. This is not an issue of “compassion”, it is an issue of LAW. It is decidedly UNAMERICAN to base our treatment of CRIMINALS based on compassion rather than the law.

New School

October 13th, 2010
1:20 pm

@ dear new school, you seem to be implying that if we take away incentives (specifically the education incentive) from ILLEGAL aliens the we will not be able to properly staff our workforce in the future. I’m not buying it. Do you realize how long the waiting list for LEGAL aliens to get in here is? Well, do ya punk? (Sorry, I thought that’d be funny.)

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
1:20 pm

Maureen if it means so much to you that illegals be educated all you have to do is pay the out of state fees yourself. Problem solved. I don’t have kids but I have had to pay my taxes to educate these illegal through high school and that is too damn much already.

Richard Hamilton

October 13th, 2010
1:22 pm

Nathan,

I pay my taxes to the cent every year. I don’t own a business of any kind and I still think it’s a major problem that our government simply doesn’t want to deal with. If you don’t like this policy why don’t you get out there and fight for “illegal immigrants” instead of calling people like me a hypocrite because I don’t share your point of view.

Ultraliberal

October 13th, 2010
1:22 pm

Why would anyone want to BAN a child from higher education? Another reason GA is on the list of stupid states. This state ranks so low on education and then for the group of idiots who voted for this to BAN a child from any institution of HIGHER Learning…reason Georgia will continue to be on the top fo the list of STUPID STATES and bottom of any list of places to put jobs!

JRHD

October 13th, 2010
1:22 pm

First of all, if a person is here illegally why should we support them at all? Why should that person be allowed access to our taxpayer supported services (with the exception of medical services which they should be billed for). The comments posted make it seem like K-12 education is a forgone conclusion and a right for illegals. If you are here illegally you should not be allowed access to ANY educational system PERIOD! Think of the burden that would be lifted from our school systems if we did not have to teach illegals’ children in our county school systems. Our tax dollars could be spent educating the children of the people that pay property tax to fund those schools. If you are here illegally you have broken the law. Go home! Come back legally and reap the benefits of this land of plenty.

lala

October 13th, 2010
1:23 pm

@Maureen “How is it “elitist” to call for more educated Georgians?”

I agree with you completely. Illegal immigrants aren’t Georgians though. They aren’t even Americans. Mexicans, Colombians, Venezuelans maybe, but not Georgians.

Buckhead Writer

October 13th, 2010
1:23 pm

I agree with you, Maureeen. 100% No one serves from keeping people uneducated.

Plus, all you people griping about taxpayer dollars for Georgia citizens to go to school…what is the retention rate for the freshmen classes at these schools? Slightly above 50% I’m sure.How many privledged Georgia kids go to these schools each fall only to drop out after partying too much and not taking college seroiusly? A LOT! Instead of wasting our money on kids who don’t give a damn, let’s give it to people who want to actually better their situation in life by getting an education and moving up. Not just binge drinking the semester away then running back to mom and dad.

Pat H

October 13th, 2010
1:24 pm

@Atlanta Mom, please look at your pay check. If you are legal, take a look at all the deductions for federal and state income taxes, medicare tax, and FICA. Illegals work and live in an underground economy, and the few taxes they pay, and most of their purchases are within the Spanish grocery stores that do not take out sales taxes even, are minuscule. They live several families to an apartment or house, so the costs of schooling their many children is far higher proportionately to any property taxes paid. They get free health care because they have no documents, or a way for our heath care to badger them for every dime like they do to citizens. They get welfare and food stamps and Section 8 benefits for any children born here. They seem to be able to find all the welfare offices and county health departments although they cannot speak any English.

Some activist judge determined that we must provide schooling to high school, even if they are here illegally. Another activist judge forced US citizens to provide “emergency” health care to illegals, yet here they are demanding continued free dialysis although it is not really emergency care.

We have had enough, we are at the tipping point. We are sick of the gangs, the trashed neighborhoods, the negative impact children who speak no English in the home have on our children’s education, drunken driving without a license or insurance and our bankrupt hospitals and health care system.

The home countries for these illegal students have universities, and they can attend them and then work at fixing the problems within that caused them to come here illegally. Don’t use the weak excuse that they don’t “know” their home countries – most still have relatives there and our American children have studied abroad for years without problems.

dumb as a rock

October 13th, 2010
1:24 pm

Way to go Regents!! I didn’t think they would have the cajones to do this!!
These illegals are not Americans – they only claim to be when they are about to get deported or lose a free-bee. The rest of the time, they wave their Mexican flags and demand we give them more rights as illegals. They will soon be pushing Cinco de Mayo as a national holiday!
Our Social Security system is about to go broke now. We can’t afford to add another 10 – 12 million to it. If we grant an easy path to citizenship without securing the boarder, we are going to be over-run by 60 – 70 year old Mexicans crossing the boarder for free retirement that they never paid a penny in to. This will collapse our system.

MaryT

October 13th, 2010
1:25 pm

They are illegal (breaking the law). What about that don’t people understand? Once they are legal, I’d be glad for them to go to GA colleges. The illegal immigrants already get free K-12 education, free breakfast,and free lunch at my expense. In a few years I’ll have to pay for my twins to go to college. I’ll barely be able to afford their tuition, so why should I pay tuition for a bunch of people who I don’t even know and are here illegally.

chuck

October 13th, 2010
1:26 pm

Maureen, you are NOT CALLING FOR MORE EDUCATED GEORGIANS. You are calling for more educated Guatemalans, Mexicans, Venezuelans, etc. At my daughter’s college they have had to cut classes out because they couldn’t afford to fund them. Illegals are a BURDEN on ALL of OUR INFRASTRUCTURE.

Nathan, you presume an awful lot. You have no idea what I have or have not done, so do us all a favor and keep your personal comments to yourself.

lala

October 13th, 2010
1:26 pm

@Ultraliberal, they aren’t banned from any institution of higher learning. They are just not allowed to displace a qualified LEGAL student. They can attend any college in GA so long as that college has not turned away qualified applicants.

They can also attend college in their home country.

Atlanta Mom

October 13th, 2010
1:29 pm

I agree with Nathan. You want this problem fixed? You want illegal aliens gone? Enforce the current laws on the books. Employers can be fined $10,000 per illegal that they hire. Seems to me that you start enforcing that law, there would be no work for illegals and they would be gone quickly. The current economy has sent many back to Mexico already.

Still@theBAR

October 13th, 2010
1:32 pm

Atlanta Mom
Go one better and don’t sell them cars, homes, or allow to rent places to live. Take thoes away and they will not be here to get hired by companies either.

Reality Bites

October 13th, 2010
1:33 pm

Maureen, you and your liberal ilk are about to take it in the pants in several weeks. And until the owners of the AJC realise that its READERS are conservative middle class lawabiding suburbanites, their subscription rates will continue to dwindle. I dont eve use the hard copy of this half arse liberal rag as fire starter anymore. Someone plz buy this paper and “throw the bums out” bums = socialist, liberal Obamaites.

[...] 11:43 a.m. Big news out of the State Board of Regents meetings sure to spark debate: Illegal immigrants can no longer attend the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and other academically competitively public colleges, starting next fall. Story. Get Schooled blog. [...]