Protect and Defend

Welcome to my blog, Protect and Defend. You don’t have to understand me. You only have to agree with me. I can live with losing the good fight, but I can not live with not fighting that good fight at all. - Publius

Friday, February 17, 2006

Daily Rant

Let’s just look at schools and illegal immigration for a second.
First, when a child is registered for K-12 school, schools are not allowed to ask if the child is a legal resident of this country. Schools are not permitted to require proof of citizenship when a child is registered, but because of school boundary issues, they do ask for proof of address because the more kids in the school the more funds the school receives, even though the tax money that these schools receive does not come from illegal immigrants who obviously do not pay taxes. Schools can ask where the children live, just not if they are legally allowed to love there. Additionally, these children of illegal immigrants, who are often here illegally too, frequently do not speak English and additional funds must be allocated for ESL programs (English as a Second Language). One of this country’s great strengths is a “free” public school system, but in reality it is our tax dollars that pay for these school systems. Illegal immigrants and their children get the benefit of a free education without having to support the system and the already stretched thin budgets of these schools get stretched further to provide space and ESL support to these children. Our classrooms are getting more and more crowded and our math and science scores keep getting lower and lower when compared to other nations while money that could be spent to provide additional resources to boost these scores get allocated for those who are not paying into the system.
Second, at the university and college level, states legislatures around the country right now are debating as to whether illegal immigrants who reside in a state should be allowed to pay in-state tuition to public colleges and universities. Right now nine states allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition if they currently, and illegally, reside in that state. Once again, they are getting the benefit without paying into the system. Thankfully, some states are taking the opposite measure, and in Virginia a bill recently proposed in the Virginia legislature would prohibit illegal immigrants from even attending state colleges. In-state tuition is often at least half of the cost of out-of-state tuition and is used to not only keep the state’s residents in-state and attending state schools but also because the parent’s of that student are already paying state taxes which are allocated towards state colleges and universities to supplement the income lost from providing a more affordable education to the children of the state. But, this is not the case in nine states and that number will most likely only grow if nothing is done. Think for a second how these laws could conceivably be manipulated. If you live in Oklahoma and decide you want to attend the University of Michigan, out-of-state tuition is $13,660 per semester for an undergraduate but only $4,466 in-state, what is to stop a citizen from Oklahoma from denouncing his citizenship, moving to Michigan thus becoming a Michigan resident, and then paying in-state tuition? I am sure there are safeguards in place to prevent this and denouncing one’s citizenship would also lead to additional problems that would far outweigh the benefits of paying less tuition, but the slippery slop is there.
Our education system is on the decline and there is no one silver bullet that is going to stop this decline, but as long as illegal immigration is allowed to continue the problems caused by it are going to affect more than just the economy, but every other facet of American life. So, next time someone talks about the benefits to this country provided by “undocumented workers,” you remind them of just one more of the problems.
-Publius

2 Comments:

Blogger Oncorhynchus Mykiss said...

I understand your point, get to the root of the problem (illegal immigration). But I hope you are not insinuating that these children should be removed from schools. Migrant workers who permit their children to attend American schools do so out of the desire for a better life for their children through education. Those who have no respect for the system and are opportnuists do not send their offspring to schools, they put them to work as soon as they are able. These parents (and espescially their children) WANT to learn, and they face the uphill battle of all uphill battles. They attend school in the less-than-compassionate rural areas of the country, where not only is there a language barrier but where ESL programs to try to help them often range from seriously lacking to complete inadequate. To me, facing the inevitable insecurities, embarrassment, and roadblocks to a decent education that come with being an illegal immigrant trying to do well is a most admirable action. Again, I get your point, and the parents need to pitch in with tax support, but leave the kids in the schools while the problem is being addressed

Sun Feb 19, 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Publius said...

You make an excellent point. No, these children should not suffer for the sins of their fathers as the saying goes, but you are also missing the point. Illegal immigrants are not all migrant workers. There are high concentrations of illegal immigrants in major cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, and the DC Metro area; none of which are known as agricultural areas. These illegal immigrants do not work as “migrant workers,” and instead work in construction and the service industry. They do not travel with the crop seasons to where the work is and instead make permanent residence where they find work and there raise a family. It is in these areas, where children of illegal immigrants attend school that I speak about and not the children of migrant workers. Also, I don’t propose that the schools where these children attend are the finest educational institutions, that is an issue that relates to our public school system and not illegal immigrants as each school has its own geographic boundary and often poor kids all attend one school while rich kids attend another and the school with the higher concentrations of more affluent children and parents are often the better schools. But, ineffective and expensive ESL programs exacerbate the problem.
In addition, having seen first hand illegal migrant workers, I can also attest to the fact that as per the nature of their job they often do not have families that live with them, and are often males who send a portion of their wages home to their families. Migrant workers are forced to travel with the work and the corresponding picking season, this does not allow them to establish a more permanent residence anywhere nor does it allow for them to raise children.
But, you are correct, there are many illegal immigrants in these rural areas, but these rural areas are not only agricultural areas, but also livestock areas where there are high concentrations of slaughter houses and meat packing industries. One of the largest crackdowns on illegal immigrants in Virginia was made at a Tyson chicken plant near Harrisonburg, and these illegals were not “migrant workers,” but they did have children who did attend the local rural schools that you speak about.
Believe me, as I don’t see these children being forced to leave this country for being here illegally, I find it much better that they become educated members of society by having the opportunity to attend school and learn, but when you examine the issue of problems with our public school system the sheer number of illegal immigrant children needs to be part of the discussion.

Mon Feb 20, 12:39:00 AM  

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