11/30/07 — Why buy milk ... If they get it anyway, why should immigrants do it right?

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Why buy milk ... If they get it anyway, why should immigrants do it right?

There are a myriad of arguments about why requiring community colleges in North Carolina to admit illegal immigrants is a good idea.

Most of them center on compassion and self-interest. Allowing them to get an advanced education and more skills will allow these families to build lives and to become productive and functioning citizens.

Hard to argue with that, right?

After all, who benefits if we do not have to fund more social and educational programs — the taxpayers.

But just a minute. There’s more.

There is a much greater principle involved when it comes to illegal immigrants and the requirements that will be associated with their stay here.

We want to discourage illegal immigration — and we want to push people who come to this country to do so correctly by following our laws and applying for citizenship.

So, why would we adopt a policy — as well-meaning as it is — that gives these men and women even one of the benefits that are offered to citizens?

Why should they buy the milk of citizenship and becoming a contributing member of this nation if we are going to give one of the benefits away for free?

Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

There are other consequences to a community college policy like this — more funding directed to this program and away from others that benefit all students, fewer tax dollars to go around. And let’s not forget: Who is going to decide what protection a government-funded institution owes those who are in effect, breaking the law?

But most of all, it sends a mixed message at a time when that is the last thing this nation needs when it comes to immigration.

A better one would be: Pursue citizenship, follow the rules and work hard — and see what opportunities you can receive.

It is a novel approach, earning benefits and the right to call yourself an American, but it just might work.

Published in Editorials on November 30, 2007 11:09 AM