Tuition proposal encourages lawbreaking

December 30, 2010

I continue to be amazed at some lawmakers' efforts to introduce and support legislation that appears to undermine and make a mockery of existing immigration law. Case in point, the proposed "in-state tuition for illegal immigrants." Is it logical to propose or support legislation that would knowingly grant a person the right to attend a university or college at a discount for living in a state in which they are not legally allowed to be? The proposal appears to simplistically ignore existing immigration law as if it didn't exist, and even worse encourages violation of the law. Instead of properly dealing directly with any perceived need to revise existing immigration law, such legislation brazenly attempts to legalize and legitimize looking the other way. That sets a bad precedent and a poor example.

While perhaps well intended, because it would benefit innocent children, the proposal if adopted would inadvertently promote illegal immigration by declaring that if one comes to this country illegally and is clever enough, devious enough, or lucky enough to avoid deportation and "successfully" break immigration law for a prescribed amount of time, the government would then not only overlook the ongoing violation of the law, but reward it as well.

Ironically, as a consequence, those that desire to be in this country just as much, but are attempting to obtain citizenship through proper channels — the obedient, law-abiding candidates that respect our rules (the preferable additions to our country) — they are unfairly placed at a disadvantage for being honest.

Regardless of one's position on the issue of immigration, if reform is the goal, the wrong approach is being taken, and the wrong message is being sent.

Scott Richardson, Westminster

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