This article is being republished with permission of Chris Freind
By Chris Freind
“College is becoming a pipe dream for too many children, not because
they aren’t talented or willing to work hard, but because they can’t
That’s a true statement, as tuition costs have far outpaced
inflation. So the elected official who said this must have a clue,
right? Not a chance.
In an act that simply defies comprehension, State Representative Tony
Payton (D-179) of Philadelphia has just unveiled a bill that “would allow
undocumented immigrant students to pay in-state tuition at any
Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education school, community college
or state-related university.” (This is similar to the proposed federal
law known as the DREAM Act).
Hey Tony, nice to stick it to all the law-abiding Pennsylvania
residents who want to attend college. And who says good constituent
service is hard to find?
Why the handout to those who least deserve it? Because, as Tony
explains, “undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial
aid, (so) college is often extremely expensive and simply out of reach
for many of these students.”
Oh, the tragedy.
Of course, there is something that apparently hasn’t occurred to Tony
as to why federal financial aid — political codespeak for American
taxpayer dollars — is not available to these folks. They’re ILLEGAL. As
in, they have broken the law to get here and are breaking the law being
here. Every single thing they do hurts American citizens and throws
our nation deeper into the red.
Yet not only are we supposed to feel guilty, but if Tony has his way,
we should compensate them for their plight by sacrificing our children —
so that theirs can have an education courtesy of the taxpayers.
Let’s set the record straight with facts — not rhetoric. Illegal
immigrants depress wages and take American jobs (and please, spare us
the tired argument that “they only take the jobs Americans don’t want” —
completely false). They cost taxpayers hundreds of billions (thousands
directly out of each American family’s pocket) through healthcare costs,
education expenditures (in Pennsylvania, every illegal in our public
schools costs $15,000 per year, and that’s not including the extra money
needed for additional teachers and classrooms), prison expenses, and
yes, government services.
In the case of higher education, as addressed in Payton’s bill, it’s
important to remember that just because we are talking about state
universities, space is not unlimited. So one of two things is true: with
illegals in attendance, the college will either 1) close its doors to
new applicants after a given class is filled, thereby denying the RIGHT
of a legitimate Pennsylvania resident to attend that school, or 2) once a
classroom hits capacity, the need to hire additional professors and
expand school facilities is triggered — both expensive propositions
borne by the forgotten taxpayer.
The only saving grace is that, with Republicans in control of
Harrisburg, Payton’s bill should have no shot at passage. But that’s not
the point. The real question is how such a bill could even be
considered in the first place, and how 11 other states already passed
And quite frankly, this author doesn’t know what’s worse: the fact
that a bill was introduced that empowers people to break the law, or the
almost complete silence of Payton’s colleagues and the media on such a
When you cut right down to it, Tony Payton’s bill advocates the
commission of a crime, and there isn’t any way to spin that to the
contrary. (Federal law explicitly states that aiding an illegal
immigrant is a crime.) Among other things, it would aid and abet known
lawbreakers. Period. The fact that the feds do this on a regular basis,
along with states (such as issuing driver’s licenses to known illegals)
and municipalities just rubs salt in the wound. The government should
not be above the law.
But if this debate is to advance, it is important to focus on the
core issue. And that is not whether a wall should be built (or if it is
a racist barrier), or whether amnesty is a godsend (or a sell-out deal
to the pro-illegal immigration forces).
While these are important side discussions, the only relevant point
is that when individuals attempt to circumvent a law because they don’t
like it, the entire American system of justice — the very rule of law
that keeps us civilized — breaks down. Once elected officials start
picking and choosing what laws they will follow (setting the example for
their followers to do the same), we all take a hit.
There’s no getting around the fact that Payton’s legislation overtly
mocks the law. Under his bill, eligible students would have to attend a
public or nonpublic secondary school in Pennsylvania for at least three
years (an admission that we the people have already forked over at least
$50,000 in education costs), pay state income taxes for at least three
years prior to enrollment in college (how can you pay income taxes if
you are here illegally, and how can the state abdicate its
responsibility to apprehends these known lawbreakers), and provide an
affidavit to the institution of higher education that the student will
file an application to a become a permanent resident (giving a sworn
legal document to a state entity that attests that one is here
illegally, without fear of repercussion, is just insane).
Since the illegal immigration debate lends itself to easily getting
off track, here’s the bottom line: For those who believe illegals should
have rights, change the law to accommodate them — don’t break it.
Lobby for amnesty and fight to change the definition of “illegal
immigrant,” but do not cavalierly pick and choose what laws you want to
follow because you happen to disagree with some.
That’s what they do in places like Iraq. It is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
On behalf of Rep. Payton’s real constituents, shame on you, Tony.