04/12/05 — Illegal aliens: In-state tuition would be inducement

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Illegal aliens: In-state tuition would be inducement

Some touching stories have been written about the plight of the children of illegal immigrants. Some are about Latino youngsters who were slipped across the border and are growing up in Eastern North Carolina where their parents are engaged in largely agricultural jobs.

Most of the parents have made outstanding workers, albeit many are confined to lower-paying jobs. And many of the youngsters are proving to be excellent students in our public schools.

But some people feel the illegal immigrants are not getting a fair shake in our state.

A Latino Day rally was held recently in front of the Legislative Building in Raleigh. Among demands was one to change laws that prevent illegal residents from enjoying in-state tuition rates for attending North Carolina’s universities.

While the illegal immigrants now are accepted in the system, they do not qualify for in-state tuition, which is about one-third of what is charged out-of-state residents.

Proponents of the change say this would enable some 1,300 more illegals to enroll in the system.

These young people should not be penalized because their parents secreted them across the border in search of better jobs, argue proponents of the change.

It is an argument not without validity, and certainly one with appeal.

But other considerations should be cranked into the debate. The difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition revenues for 1,300 students comes to $17.5 million a year.

Also, the federal government, in its efforts to stem the flow of illegal aliens into this country, has a law requiring states to offer in-state tuition to all students if it gives it those who are “undocumented.”

Try cranking that loss of revenue into the equation!

One opponent observed: “For every illegal student allowed into the university system, that’s one less legitimate North Carolinian who can attend.”

If the nation and our state are seriously concerned over the flow of illegal aliens across our borders, the idea of enhancing the benefits for them and their children demands careful, critical scrutiny.

Assurance of massive financial supplements for their children’s college education would appear to be an inducement rather than a deterrent to those considering stealing across our borders.

Published in Editorials on April 12, 2005 12:06 PM