Last week the immigration debate hit front and center in Arizona as nearly 600 students and their supporters marched on the University of Phoenix Stadium where the BCS National Championship game was being played. The crowd, estimated to number about 600 and chanting “We are students, not criminals,” were stopped about a mile short of the stadium by police. Maybe they haven’t committed a robbery, but crossing the border illegally is a crime.
The students ire centered around Proposition 300, a referendum that the voters passed in November limiting in-state tuition to legal residents of the U.S. According to the Arizona Republic none of the protesting students they spoke to would give their last name since they weren’t in the country legally. But that didn’t stop them from complaining that they would have to drop out of school since they couldn’t afford the higher tuition costs. The students felt that because they had spent most of their life in Arizona or the U.S. as a whole that they deserved the in-state tuition break.
Of course there was no mention of the free public education these students had received at taxpayer expense nor how much the tuition break was costing the taxpaying citizens of Arizona.
These students make it appear that if they don’t receive the tuition break that they will be deprived of a college education. Well for an illegal alien education is not a right. Also since this law affects only publicly funded schools in Arizona the students have alternatives in either private institutions or attending school in another state. For example Utah Valley State College in Orem, Utah not only accepts illegal aliens as in state residents but gives them scholarships to boot.
It is unlikely Arizona will be the last state to enact such a law. The surge in enrollment across the U.S. fueled in part by a rising tide of illegal immigrants has begun to tax the ability of the education system to accommodate them while holding down costs. If illegal immigrants are helping to push up costs why shouldn’t they help foot the bill?