Federal amnesty initiatives like the DREAM Act are dead for now, but states desperate for dollars have taken up the cause of illegal immigrant rights. Utah has passed its own version of immigration reform with a bill that lures illegals to the state with a guest worker provision. Colorado is now contemplating SB 126, the ASSET bill (Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow), which grants resident tuition rates to illegal immigrants.
The vast number of illegal immigrants within our borders provides enormous potential for using these individuals as a funding mechanism, including acquiring revenue for needy post-secondary school systems. Proponents of granting resident tuition to illegal immigrants claim that taxpayer funds are not used to pay tuition for these individuals, but the argument rings false because public colleges and universities are by definition taxpayer-funded institutions. Even students who pay non-resident rates are attending schools that are supported by tax dollars. Favoring illegal immigrants by charging them resident tuition simply compounds the insult.
The Recovery Act handed out billions in state education funding. Colorado benefited from this assistance, receiving over $1.2 billion in aid, including dollars for work study and renovation of its public colleges.  The ASSET bill will repay that generosity by making Colorado the twelfth state to allow illegal immigrants the benefit of resident college tuition. If ASSET passes, Colorado will find itself in the company of some of the most fiscally irresponsible and financially challenged states in the nation, including California and Illinois, who have already made the decision that illegal immigrants deserve benefits not available to out-of-state taxpayers.
Federal handouts to states are extracted from the tax dollar melting pot, so every taxpayer in the country pays for misguided legislation like ASSET. Education spending promoted by the president would further spread federal tax dollars across the nation’s school systems, ensuring that your tax dollars will benefit illegal immigrants in other states.
The DREAM Act was soundly rejected last December, but there is more than one way to hand out taxpayer money to illegals, and to guarantee that they have affordable access to public institutions of higher learning. Granting a right to higher education to illegal immigrants during a time of financial scarcity drives up costs, and closes the door to opportunity for citizens while encouraging illegal immigration. Given the president’s backing of the DREAM Act, and the complicity of congressional Democrats, there will be little interference with states that pass legislation favoring their illegal residents, even though that legislation spreads gross injustice to taxpayers in every state.
Note: for an example of a state proposing a responsible solution to this problem, see Georgia’s HB 59 Is the Immigration Bill Taxpayers Deserve.
1..U.S. Department of Education. Colorado to Receive More Than $205 Million in Additional Recovery Funds. April 21, 2010. http://www.ed.gov.