Invest in legal status before college education

March 09, 2011

Regarding your editorial on lowering college tuition rates for undocumented immigrants ("A flawed compromise," March 8), investing in our youth makes good sense, in particular where education is concerned.

If our legislators truly recognized the value of education and how it results in increased productivity that, in turn, leads to increased revenue for the state down the road, they would be funding free tuition to all of our residents. However, cultivating our local "human capital," as you phrase it, will only result in rewards for the state if that capital stays here.

Like it or not, our undocumented residents have the least likelihood of remaining in Maryland and letting the state reap the benefits of the education that it helped provide. Even if our state chooses to ignore what the federal government has also chosen to ignore so far, the fact remains that as long as they are undocumented, their status is at best temporary. Our "investment" could be deported at any time.

If you are basing your support of in-state tuition on its potential benefit to the state, then any such tuition investment should be coupled with the recipient's promise to obtain legal citizenship or at least some similar guarantee. You state in your opinion that, "there's absolutely nothing to be gained from denying a shot at college to any kid who wants to improve his or her life through education — whether they're in the country legally or not." The message I get here though is that you think education is so important that it supersedes the law.

If the state has enough money to fund immigrants education in hope of future returns then why not fund their citizenship, promote their growing real roots and make it all legal?

Scott Richardson, Westminster

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