The Real Point of Education for Undocumented Students

It's not really about racism. Nor is it really about breaking federal law. The point of whether or not Utah provides "in-state tuition" for the education of undocumented students is that these students meet a tested legal requirement. Current legislation trying to repeal this benefit, as well as cries of racism against those that are trying to do so, simply cast a cloudy pall over the issue.

Those who recently attended a committee meeting of the Utah legislature where the topic was in-state tuition for undocumented students were greeted with signs implying that certain Utah legislators are racist for not wanting undocumented students who meet established legal criteria to receive in-state tuition benefits. There is no need for such licentious pouring of gasoline on the fire of an already passionate debate. Utah legislators are not racists. There are already hundreds of documented minorities who receive in-state tuition in Utah.

The legislators who voted for the repeal of the 2002 in-state tuition law claim that they are simply worried about violating federal law, for which the State could be sued. This fear may be logical and even respectable, but according to the Utah Attorney General, there is no need to have such fear. A similar case in Kansas has been overturned, but is currently in appeal. Not only that, the Attorney General actually says that Utah is in compliance with Federal Law the way the Utah law reads.

Previously, I wrote on this issue: Utah's case, alien students can only be considered for in-state tuition if they have attended a Utah high school for 3 years and have graduated (or equivalent) from a Utah high school.

To tighten up matters even more, the student's family must be in the process of applying for legal US residency to be considered for the in-state tuition benefit.

The United States can absorb a large influx of immigrants. Many of the problems thought to lie at the feet of illegal immigration actually are the blame of government programs. Students who are furthering their education while at the same time attempting to become American citizens should be considered potential Utahns.

I'm with the Democrats on this one, it seems (at least as regards the House Education Committee). I support the continuance of in-state tuition for those undocumented Utahns who are attempting to become American citizens.


  1. Here is the problem with providing in-state tuition for illegals, or the children of illegal immigrants.

    A child of an illegal immigrant, who is 18 years old, can leave the country, and enter through legal channels.

    One year later, at 19, anyone who had once entered illegally with their parents, will be barred from obtaining a Visa for 10 years.

    So, in the period of time in which the student, obtains their college education, and tries to enter the workforce, they are no longer employable by any legal standard. They can't obtain a job, for which they were educated, except by fraud (i.e. ID theft, or forgery).

    Giving in-state tuition provides incentives for criminal activity.

  2. Tyler,

    I'm not too familiar with that perspective. Does this apply to those who have been in Utah for several years? (i.e. current state law says you have to have gone to high school here for three years).

    Also, from my limited understanding, it seems like at least some of these families have been here for much longer than that, and have applied for citizenship, but for whatever reason (I wish I knew more about the 'whatever reason') have not been granted it yet.

    Thanks for your comments and I look forward to learning more from you about this issue.

  3. I know a number of people that are legal immigrants. My father is one of them. These people come from different sides of the political aisle. But they are all united on this issue. They are opposed to illegals gaining any benefit in this country. These people went through the process to live and work here legally, and they think others that come here ought to do so as well. They think that government sends the wrong message with programs of this nature.

  4. The part that I still don't understand is how someone could be unsuccessful for so long at becoming legal? Is it because they aren't trying? I guess I have made the assumption that the fault is inefficient bureaucracy...

    I know 2 cases where they claimed they were trying and were just getting the runaround, but I don't know details.

    That would be immensely enlightening if I knew (the answer to my question) where the real problem lies.

  5. I know one who lived here for years--including high school. He wasn't even aware that he was illegal. He went to College, but on a trip back to Mexico, found that he was forbidden from coming back in.

    Too bad he'd just gotten married to an American.

    Their life, and that of their two new, Mexican, children is different than they had planned.

    We can't have contradictory laws in this country. It's unfair.


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