In-state tuition bill: What happened to the melting pot?

March 11, 2011

The Dream Act debate that has recently arrived in Maryland has provoked such discriminatory xenophobia that you would think the commentary was from indigenous Americans, not from citizens of the nation known as the "melting pot of the world" whose very ancestors were immigrants themselves.

"Well, they were legal immigrants," you say. That's because the U.S. had little to no immigration restrictions in those times and our ancestors were lucky enough to get in by the proverbial skin of their teeth. Ask yourself what you would do if you could not provide for your family because there were no jobs in your country and you knew that just over a man-made border there were. What limits would you go to in order to survive or for your family to do the same?

Addressing immigration reform is long overdue now, but directing hatred toward the "victims" instead of the "victimizers," while instigating prejudice towards foreigners, is counterproductive. How soon we forget that our nation was initially created as a refuge for persecuted immigrants, including many of our founding fathers.

Regarding the Dream Act children: They are being blamed for a crime that they did not commit. The mere subject of in-state tuition being denied to any student who is in-state, period, is absurd. I, myself a descendant of (amongst various others) Ellis Island immigrants, have been attempting to acquire my degree since 1994 due to the economy, so I am a witness that college tuition rates are unreasonable as it is. I can't even imagine having to pay out-of-state rates and while being a struggling, hardworking immigrant. It is shameful that this is even being debated especially when the outcome will be better educated people contributing to our nation's economy.

Angela Teresi, Upper Marlboro

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