Monday, January 21, 2008

Illegal Immigrants and Higher Education

Phi Beta Cons discuss a Washington Post article about the children of illegal immigrants and higher education.
For illegal immigrants, public school is a rare refuge. There's no requirement to prove legal immigration status to enroll in school. But the transition into the adult world can be abrupt. About 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate from U.S. high schools every year, unable to work legally and often unable to afford college without access to in-state tuition or government-backed financial aid, according to the Urban Institute.
PBC's asked an important question when examining this issue. Assuming that most illegal immigrants come to this country to seek a better life for themselves and their family,
As noble a goal as that may be, for government to help them realize it only encourages more illegal immigration.
The problem is not applying or even being accepted into college, the problem is paying for it. While illegal immigrants tend to be on the lowest levels of the socio-economic ladder, most poor people end up taking out student loans to pay for college. But illegals cannot obtain those loans because of their status. What some people are looking to do is to bypass the status requirement and allow illegals to obtain student loans via govnerment programs.

There is no doubt that these young people would contribute to society with a higher education. However, we as a nation cannot incentivize illegal behavior by allowing an exception to the status rule. Like one of the students profiled in the Post article, go back, get legal and then we will do all we can as a nation to help you fulfill your academic dreams. Until then, tough luck on the higher education front.

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