Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Entre los individuos como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz.

(Among individuals, as among nations, peace is the respect of others’ rights.)

-- Benito Juarez, Mexican statesman (1806-1872)

America may be the land of opportunity, but that doesn’t mean you get to take “cuts” in line and elbow others out of your way to get your chance at The Big Lick.

It’s ridiculous and unconscionable that the Nebraska Legislature would even consider letting illegal aliens pay in-state tuition to attend our colleges. But that’s what LB 239 would allow – and it’s a priority bill of State Sen. DiAnna Schimek of Lincoln, so it’ll definitely come up.

Read it for yourself at

Now, it’s clear that Sen. Schimek and her co-sponsors are just trying to be kind. But we have to draw the line somewhere. Noncitizens, especially those who mock our immigration laws, do not have a “right” to a free education, and that’s final. And there is no way, Jose, that we should ever be for “enabling” illegals or their children to get the benefits of citizenship without the responsibilities, and take classroom seats that rightfully belong to law-abiding Americans.

It’s bad enough that our K-12 schools can’t rat them out, by federal law, and so we are forced to provide free educations to willful felons in a mockery of the American system of mutual trust and support among citizens.

I know, I know, the kids aren’t the ones deciding to skirt the law, and shouldn’t have to pay the price. But that’s not our fault: it’s their parents’ fault. We shouldn’t be rewarding felons by granting their kids the same privileges as bona fide citizens get. That’s “enabling” law-breaking, the same way you “enable” someone to remain an alcoholic by buying more booze.

It’s not only unfair and immoral. It would also by definition “dumb down” college course work because of the language barrier and lower expectations posed by an increase in students whose native language isn’t English. It’s bad enough that it’s that way with so many teaching assistants these days.

So as a public-policy question, it’s an obvious no-go. But on a personal level, it’s even more of a bad idea. These three things in my own life are examples of why it would be repulsive:

1. Our daughter made it into a prestigious East Coast law school last year. It is a public university’s law school, subsidized by tax dollars. But it’s still very expensive. And out-of-state tuition is $15,000 a year extra, on top of the already-steep three years of tuition. She’s pretty sure she’s going to make her home and career in that state, so it’s important that her legal contacts be made there. Therefore, we had no choice but to make her move there officially and completely, take a year off, work at a job, put down roots, and establish residency to save our family $45,000. We could have broken the law and cheated, setting up a fake mailbox or doing some of the other crooked things people do to pretend to be residents. But we took the high road, and it has been difficult and costly for her in many ways. Now imagine how it feels to see our state senators willing to allow felons – illegal aliens who flout our country’s laws – who are tax evaders – haven’t obtained citizenship or otherwise demonstrated respect for their neighbors and our system of government -- getting to pay in-state tuition to Nebraska colleges and universities without jumping through any of the hoops that we did. It also means my family would be subsidizing their child’s education with OUR tax dollars.

2. We have a young family friend who is gifted with creative, hands-on intelligence, but for a variety of reasons, didn’t score well on his college admissions tests. His family is low-income and does not know how to “work the system,” so he did not receive any scholarships or financial aid. He’s having to go to a community college, and work long hours at two jobs to come up with the tuition and to help support his family as well. Now he has had to drop out because he can’t make ends meet, although he desperately wants to return. Imagine how it feels to know that some of the taxes he’s paying on his two jobs, though not providing enough salary to keep him in college, would now go to subsidize an illegal alien, whose parents don’t pay taxes, to sit in the classroom seat that should have been his.

3. Another young friend of our family is very bright, but her father died suddenly a couple of years ago, and her mother is unemployed. There is little extra money for college, so she is going into the Marines. She’ll be the fourth generation in her family to have served in our country’s military, including service in a couple of our wars. When I think of illegal aliens being allowed to enroll in tax-subsidized Nebraska colleges and universities when a girl from a patriotic, taxpaying family like this can’t, it literally makes my blood boil.

So what’s the answer?

Easy. Contact your senator via
http://www.unicam.state.ne.us/senators/senators.htm and insist that LB 239 has to go, because granting special privileges for lawbreakers is . . . ALIEN . . . to the American way of life.

The other step we really should take: call your Congressional representatives and insist that we start making American citizenship a prerequisite for enrollment in American public schools. We’re so busying respecting everybody else’s “rights” and that’s nice . . . but it’s high time we respected our own.

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