Naturally I was drawn to Cynthia Tucker and her column “So . . . illegals can work but can’t learn?”
Since 2000, Georgia’s colleges have employed a sensible policy that recognizes the academic potential of some illegal immigrants without swamping the state treasury. The Board of Regents voted to allow public colleges and universities to admit them if they pay out-of-state tuition rates. But the regents also gave each college president the latitude to waive that higher tuition for a limited number of students. That policy has worked well.
When I took a public finance class (around 1995 or so) at UGA I remember hearing that tuition covered about 20% of the actual cost of college for the average student. Out of state tuition was about two and a half times that of in-state tuition, so even if illegals are paying the out of state rate taxpayers are still picking up part of the bill. They are also displacing legal students who would otherwise be accepted. Also note how government acceptance of illegal activity doesn’t faze her at all.
She closes with
But Johnson has described employers who hire undocumented workers as only “part of the problem. If they [illegal immigrants] are here working and not using taxpayer funds, that’s not as much of a burden.” So, he said, he and his colleagues will take a close look at any proposal to crack down on hiring practices, making sure new laws don’t “impose an undue burden” on employers. After all, business executives are a reliable GOP constituency, and they fight any move to curb their access to cheap labor.
Apparently, Georgia’s official policy is this: We like illegal immigrants just fine, as long as they work for dirt and stay out of sight. They’re welcome to pay state income tax and local sales taxes, but that’s where the welcome ends.
Well, yes. You try to maximize the benefits while minimizing the price. How revolutionary. One thing to note, is that the current situation is entirely dependent upon the voluntary behavior of the illegal immigrants. Under the reign of cruel business they still don’t have to come here.
About 9 years ago I attended a Future of Freedom Foundation seminar on illegal immigration led by Jacob Hornberger (who, if memory serves was a really nice guy and a class act in general) who suggested that we let them come over to work but deny them all health, social and educational benefits. His prediction was that our kids would work for their kids.
I think that’s worth a shot. It’s certainly better than the look the other way policy we have now. It would also keep the self selection going in the right direction.