Tuition break for illegal immigrants not a principled stand

July 02, 2011

Dan Rodricks' recent column ("Immigrants: We detest them — and need them," June 30) against the effort to put the law giving in-state college tuition rates to illegal aliens on the ballot for the voters to decide is misguided. He is obviously very touched that without illegal immigrants, the rest of us may have to pay more for our vegetables and fruits, pay more for our lawn care and pay more for household servants. This is not a very principled stand.

He also obviously does not care that these illegal immigrants depress wages and enable employers to pay less than a decent American wage. He does not care that many legal Americans are out of work. He does not care that these illegal immigrants are selfishly jumping the line by breaking our immigration laws and thus give disadvantage to all who patiently wait in their home country for permission to enter. And he does not care that the message this misguided bill sends is that breaking our laws is rewarded.

As for the "safeguards" in this bill, the only thing really required to be eligible for this benefit is to have been breaking the law for at least three years. The requirement that they sign an affidavit pledging to apply for permanent residency is meaningless unless we grant another amnesty. We've tried amnesties before and all they do is encourage even more people to enter our country illegally and await the next amnesty.

Perhaps Mr. Rodricks should reset his moral compass.

Russ Swatek, Columbia

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