A California appellate court made a sensible ruling

As a California tax payer, my taxes have, for years, been paying for college educations for illegal immigrants.  I certainly admire anyone who is able to work hard and get into college, but I have a fundamental objection to paying my hard earned money so that someone who is in America illegally can get a college education.  That means that someone who is in America legally is not getting that same money or the opportunity to get that quality education.  It also means that my taxes are higher so that I have less money for my own family and their education.

That may all be about to change, thanks to a sensible ruling from a California Appellate Court:

A state appellate court has put a financial cloud over the future of tens of thousands of undocumented California college students, saying a state law that grants them the same heavily subsidized tuition rate that is given to resident students is in conflict with federal law.

In a ruling reached Monday, the state Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s decision that there were no substantial legal issues and sent the case back to the Yolo County Superior Court for trial.

“It has a huge impact,” said Kris Kobach, an attorney for the plaintiffs and a law professor at the University Missouri at Kansas City. “This is going to bring a halt to the law that has been giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.”

He said it is a big win for California taxpayers who have been subsidizing education for undocumented immigrants.

This is no small victory.  When you read the rest of the news article from which I quoted, you’ll appreciate how California taxpayers have been forced to pay huge dollar amounts for illegal immigrants, even as out of state students who are legal American residents have been prevented from attending California colleges, while legal American students who live out of state have been charged huge premiums to attend school in California, even while the illegal aliens get a discount.

Even with the Appellate ruling, things still aren’t great.  The Federal law, rather than saying that people who are here illegally shouldn’t be using my money for their benefit, simply says that, when it comes to higher education, illegal aliens have to be subject to the same treatment as any other American citizen — which either means charging illegal aliens the premium price, or dropping the tuition price for all students, whether in state or out of state.  Nevertheless, it’s a start, because it’s going to force Californians to confront the true price of illegal aliens on our education system.

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  • Mike Devx

    Respect for the law from a court in California! I never thought I’d see the day.

    I have empathy for the poor and struggling illegal immigrants, and I recognize that this puts in-state college eduction out of reach. Certainly in 1991 when I was accepted into Stanford, I had to decline it once I investigated the out of state costs.

    Similarly, I am empathic towards the illegal immigrants when they are detected and arrested for deportation when this splits up an illegal immigrant family, creating great hardship especially for the children. But I have empathy for the families of anyone arrested and put into jail; they all suffer the same hardship and potential financial calamity.

    Respect for the law has to require punishment for breaking the law, even where hardship for the lawbreaker’s family is one distressing result. (And we should also recognize that usually the entire family is here illegally.) Being empathetic toward their situation does not mean abandoning respect for the law. I am therefore heartened by this decision.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    You triggered a memory there, Mike. I remember bursting into tears when I got accepted to Yale Law School and realized I couldn’t attend because I couldn’t possibly afford it, even with financial aid. On the other hand, I adored the law school I did attend (amongst the happiest three years of my life), and got a wonderful education.

  • suek

    >>Similarly, I am empathic towards the illegal immigrants when they are detected and arrested for deportation when this splits up an illegal immigrant family, creating great hardship especially for the children.>>

    Or suppose they’re not? How about the kids of illegals who are brought here at age 2,3,or 5, or 10…and never return to Mexico? They think the USA is home. They may not even speak Spanish particularly well – though that’s probably a bit of a stretch. Now they graduate from HS, and want to attend the local community college, but can’t…because they’re not legal. Now _those_ kids, I feel sorry for. They’re here and had no choice in the matter.

    Still, I guess it’s in the category of someone whose parents are filthy rich and somehow manage to fritter away all of their fortune, leaving nothing for their kids.

    No one ever said life was going to be fair…

  • Mike Devx

    Suek, I thought that, at least in California, the point was that illegal immigrants could not be treated more preferentially than out of staters. That they can enroll at college, but at the standard cost that applies to all Americans who are not legal residents of California.

    Is it true that they would not even be allowed to enroll at California’s community colleges?

  • suek

    I don’t know, Mike. I was just generalizing. I think you’re right. California pretty much treats illegals as citizens.

    I live in So. Calif. We’re pretty overwhelmed with immigrants of all sorts. Illegals don’t come stamped on the forehead, unfortunately. We’re also in a rural area…most of those here are hard working people who just want a better life than they can have in Mexico. I’m sympathetic towards them. On the other hand…there are all those illegals who just want the benefits of our social system and don’t want to be _Americans_ – they want to be Mexicans, living in the USA. On the ‘nother hand, the problems of immigrating legally are enormous, expensive and lengthy. What’s more, field hand types are unlikely to be on the top of the list of desireable immigrants – highly educated types are. Again – I’m sympathetic.

    On yet another hand – you can see that I’m now beginning to feel like that 8 armed Indian goddess – whatever her name is. We need a complete rework of the immigration policies…no doubt. But if we ignore the reality of the illegals swarming over the borders while we work on a comprehensive plan, I fear the ship will sink before the job gets done! At least a part of the financial problems we’re having at this moment is due to loans to unqualified immigrants – legal or illegal…it doesn’t make much difference. Nevertheless, it does seem unfair to the kids who have lived here all their lives should not have the same benefits as their schoolmates – but the blame for the unfairness should be directed where it belongs – on their parents, not on our laws.


    You know…!

  • JamesSoCal

    As a long time resident of Southern California & native born citizen with a LEGAL immigrant wife & 2 LEGAL immigrant children I have no problem separating sympathy from a respect for the law. In the early 60’s we had to have $4,000 in the back to prove my family would not become a burden to the state when we moved to California. This, a complete medical check, criminal background check, be a minimum high school graduate, etc. were all part of the package to obtain LEGAL immigration status for my family. Because I was a citizen we were only required to have the $4,000 while a similar family with no legal American citizen family member would have been required to have $12,000 for the same LEGAL entry. While I understand their reasons, which were really no different from ours, I do question our governments failure to protect our borders. I also question the logic in allowing people here illegally to remain when we know nothing of their background. They could, and at times are, be very violent criminals or they could, and at times do, have very communicable diseases. Like some of the other posters in this thread, we were not able to afford college in the 60’s while many here illegally since that time have been provided all the resources needed to get a full college education.

    BTW I think you will find that in the 60’s the largest number of illegal aliens in California were from Canada the very same country my family emigrated from. The problem from the Southern border did not begin until Cesar Chavez organized the farm workers & brought about an end to the Bracero program that had, previously, allowed the workers from the South to enter legally. This was done to protect the jobs of the new members of his Farm Workers Union. A noble cause that has brought us grief ever since.

    I think that from the above you will have no problem determining my position on this ruling but just in case – it is worthy of a high five.

    Just a few notes from the past.