Friday, June 08, 2007

Illegal, but educated

I make it a habit to skim through any local media articles regarding higher ed, just to keep up with what is happening outside our particular ivory towers. In the midst of an article relating to a bump up state in funding for the UW system was this gem (emphasis mine):

In other action Tuesday, the committee:
• Left intact Doyle's plan to allow illegal immigrants who graduate from a Wisconsin high school to receive in-state tuition. The eight Republicans objected to the plan, but they came one vote short of pulling it from the budget.

In other words, if you can hide from La Migra long enough to graduate high school, you pay resident tuition at any of the state colleges rather than the rates charged to foreigners. Because you're not foreign (not a citizen of this country); you're just illegal.

If you read a few lines down in the article, you will see this:

• Allowed UW-La Crosse to increase its tuition $1,320 over three years to improve diversity and increase enrollment. The plan would add more minority and low-income students and improve graduation and retention rates.

The phrasing is a little strange, but basically the tuition increase would subsidize the tuition discounts given to students who fit the "diversity" model. One can assume an illegal alien high school graduate may fit both criteria. If you are a student at UW-X, part of your tuition dollars will be supporting the illegals.

If your parents are paying part of your tuition, they have the privilege of supporting the illegals twice: the UW system receives substantial funding (25% of annual spending) from the state, which receives its funding through taxes. From me. And you, if you pay taxes in the Dairy State.

Implicit in this all is an acknowledgement by the state that we have an illegal immigrant population, and the state does not intend to do anything about it. Well, other than offer them the same benefits as citizens. Actually, oftentimes better benefits than citizens.


Please note that I have no bones with legal immigration: had both sets of my grandparents not seen better opportunities in America, I could just as easily be wearing a dirndl and serving beer in Stuttgart, or living as a pampered a mob princess in Palermo. But they worked hard, jumped through the paperwork hoops and came here legally. They worked hard to learn the language, to assimilate with the culture, to become "American".

God bless anyone willing to do the same.

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