Aid for Illegals Harmful
On Aug. 29 the California Assembly agreed to Senate Bill SB 160, which would permit students who came to the United States illegally to apply for state financial aid. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has until the end of this month to decide whether to veto or approve the measure.
Schwarzenegger, who earlier this year unsuccessfully attempted to enhance health care programs for illegal immigrants, implied that children cannot control where they live and therefore cannot be held accountable. While I realize that many illegal immigrants cross the border as children with their families and cannot be blamed for the actions of their parents, providing a free college education in the Golden State only rewards illegal immigration.
Meanwhile residents and citizens in California schools who already face stiff competition in applying for and receiving financial aid are being penalized.
Republican Assemblyman Jay La Suer of La Mesa suggested that ‘when we have people who are members of the armed forces, and they have to pay out-of-state tuition if they’re not from California, yet we’ll let an illegal alien go to college basically free, I think there’s something wrong.’
Taxpayers should not be forced to finance education for individuals who come into the state illegally. Lawmakers need to consider the already precarious California budget situation and the needy legal residents and citizens who pay taxes before they hand out free education to illegal immigrants.
Assemblyman Hector De La Torre of South Gate suggested that the bill ‘is one small measure to help these kids that are working their butts off to live the American dream.’ It seems that supporters of the bill are conveniently forgetting that many residents and citizens are also sacrificing for the sake of living the American dream.
State laws enacted prior to SB 160 already give students the opportunity to qualify for in-state tuition at California public schools based on school attendance and encourage illegal students to apply for legal status if they become eligible for financial aid. Governor Davis made tuition more reasonable for illegal immigrants than for legal residents of other states in 2001 when he signed a measure to allow illegal immigrants to pay resident tuition at state public colleges and universities.
While it is wonderful that many measures have been enacted to help illegal students attain the American dream and better their lives, it is still unreasonable for them to pursue their dreams at the expense of legal immigrants and citizens.
California schools used to be ranked 29th in the nation in 2001, but dropped to 46th by 2005, a change that is partially attributed to overcrowded classes. SB 160 will make matters a whole lot worse for California schools, which are already suffering, and for the students who compete for acceptance into state schools.
Like many of my tax-paying peers, I have had to work very hard to pay for my college education. I immigrated to the United States legally with my family and worked hard to achieve a permanent status. I believe that financial aid should be afforded only to immigrant students and families who comply with federal and state laws to attain legal status.
It is illogical and unwarranted to help those who crossed borders illegally to once again cut to the front of the line. It is unfair to those people who have continually sacrificed to secure better lives legally to be shoved aside in a time where California cannot afford to provide legal students with the financial aid they rightfully deserve.
The new bill is far too idealistic and unreasonable, and is successful only in offering more enticement and rewards for individuals who break the law to cross into the Golden State.