Friday, May 06, 2011

College aid for illegal immigrants?

The California Assembly recently passed a bill providing for aid to California students who are illegal immigrants. The complete article is here. This bill doesn't seem either fair or constitutional to me. If the federal government wants to legalize illegal immigrants it can do so, but the state of California has no right to provide for the education of teenagers who are not legal residents. Until the federal government legalizes them, these students should not be eligible for any financial aid. The proposed law is not only legally dubious, it is morally unfair. Students applying for aid who are citizens or legal residents should not have to compete for scholarships with illegal immigrants.

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There's another aspect to this story. As opponents of the bill point out (correctly), federal law does not allow illegal immigrants to work here. Many businesses proudly display their allegiance to the e-verify program, which (in theory, at least) prevents illegal immigrants from obtaining employment. The result may be that we are educating people who won't be allowed to work here! This doesn't make any sense.

For what's it worth, I have no objection to legalizing illegal immigrants presently here, but that needs to be done at the federal level. While these students remain illegal under federal law, the states have no right, morally or legally, to award any sort of financial assistance to them.

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