Immigrant students who achieve are heroes, not scofflaws

April 12, 2011

The House of Delegates is to be commended for its display of political courage in extending in-state tuition to children of illegal immigrants. The proof of this courage is that they did so in the midst of an incessant barrage of mean-spirited vitriol written to this newspaper on the subject. I don't know how many times I saw a letter posted on these pages beginning with "what part of 'illegal' do you not understand" and then degenerating into some predictable harangue.

Note that their faux-concern for "lawbreakers" never implicates employers who made similarly illegal decisions to hire the parents of these students. I strongly suspect employers were willing to look the other way about one's immigration status because illegal immigrants are docile and productive employees. Also, an employer can save a lot of money not having to worry about things like minimum wage, workers compensation, health insurance and unionizing.

If people were truly serious about stemming the tide of illegal immigration, they would go after these employers first instead of academically gifted children of immigrants who, in the midst of their tenuous non-citizen status, have managed to achieve the skills to succeed in higher education and in the process likely had to learn two languages to do so. These young people are heroes, not scofflaws

They and the House of Delegates represent the best of American ideals and I congratulate them wholeheartedly and ask Governor O'Malley to sign this bill.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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