On Thursday, May 21st, Lucas Pillman from Wild Wisconsin wrote a piece entitled “Help the Legal not Illegal.” His article laid out an argument that in-state tuition for illegal immigrants essentially punishes law abiders while rewarding law violators. Pillman concludes that Governor Doyle, by promoting instate tuition for illegals, is destroying the bedrock principle that we are a nation undergirded by the rule of law.
I do not agree with my conservative brethren that the children of immigrants should be punished because their parents elected to flee from a land of oppression. And yes, I use the word “punish” because it most accurately reflects Pillman’s position. Pillman’s argument misses its mark because it assumes that children are guilty of breaking the law vicariously through their parents. Thus, according to Pillman, they are rendered ineligible for receipt of equal educational privileges enjoyed by non-immigrants known as in-state tuition.
Let’s apply this principle to other scenarios. Your father was imprisoned because he stole someone’s car. Does this mean that employers can hold his criminal act against you during a hiring process? This is exactly what Pillman suggests.
During an interpersonal dialogue on a public forum, Pillman had an opportunity to clarify his position. He said,
Pillman’s analogy is problematic in several ways. First, my argument promotes equality between groups, not special benefits for a particular group. His example of the child receiving free medical attention due to parental negligence is an instance of “special benefits.” So my answer to him is this: "currently no child has a right to free health care due to parental negligence, and by inference therefore, neither does the illegal immigrant’s child." My point is that all groups should be on equal footing. A true conservative follows the principle that the government should not be in the business of promoting the success of one group over the other. Therefore, in-state tuition for the children of illegals should be within the purview of conservatism
Second, Pillman’s analogy gives us an example of a child getting “free” health care due to parental negligence. However, instate tuition is not free. My argument is not for free tuition, but for reduced tuition as long as other groups are recipients. In-state tuition is not a free ride.
And third, my analogy of the employer holding the child responsible for the malfeasance of his father is a better fit for Pillman's argument. Employers ought not to withhold certain privileges from an individual, currently shared by others, due to the sins of his father. Likewise, the government should not withhold the privilege of in-state tuition on the basis of the parents' illegal entry into the country.
Furthermore, Pillman’s article argues that instate tuition for illegals is tantamount to discrimination against the lawful. Does he provide evidence that denying children who successfully graduate from high-school and qualify for college placement are filling the would-be university slots of other immigrants? No, not exactly.
Pillman further asks,
And my question to Pillman is, “why do we reward children of parents who uphold the law?” We don't provide in-state tuition because parents uphold the law, but because we believe a higher education is worth having and in-state tuition provides more opportunity to attain it. Pillman’s question implies that children are rewarded with in-state tuition because their parents are upstanding citizens, and I’m not exactly sure how he comes to this conclusion.
I also want Doyle to uphold the law. But when laws are unequally yoked upon different groups with no rational justification, then they must be changed lest they benefit one group at the expense of another. If the problem is that law abiding immigrants are punished because illegal immigrants will not wait their turn, then instead of punishing both groups by depriving them privileges, we need to address the root problem of a vulnerable border. As it stands, the U.S. has been largely incapable of stopping an influx of illegals from crossing our southern border. So, instead of meeting them where they enter like any defensive-minded government should, some are suggesting we ensure the divestment of those who are already here. That’s brilliantly stupid. By breeding racial contempt and reinforcing a disadvantaged subculture, it hurts everyone.
Views like Pillman’s underlie a serious problem with the GOP. The problem is this – they are confusing themselves by thinking like liberals. Yes, I said liberals. Liberals like to focus pedantically on the rules or idealistic principles irrespective of the ramifications on the society as a whole.
For instance, Obama’s position that water-boarding a terrorist is wrong because it deprives him of his human rights and decency is one such example of idealism not grounded in reality. Never mind that water-boarding isn’t torture because we do it to our own troops or that it’s reasonably justified since it protects thousands of American lives, but hey – let’s hold up our heads high for the onlookers of an apathetic international community while thousands of American lives are at risk. When it comes to lofty principles or saving lives, liberals generally choose the former.
Like it or not, the children of illegals are here, and they are already going to our high-schools. If they graduate and are accepted into college, this means they have the will and the aptitude to succeed. Are we really going to make it more difficult for them when they had already proved capable of a solid contribution to society? Do not the very ramifications of this philosophy guarantee of a less successful subculture? Refusing to provide equality of privileges on the basis of an event that was out of the child's control makes no sense - it chooses principle over reality.
The GOP is slow to learn. The Hispanic population is growing three times faster than other groups, and they are already predisposed to have a leftward lean toward the Democrat party. Is it really smart to wage political battles against a coveted political group when there is nothing to win?
If the GOP would just come to the realization that the Hispanic community is already socially conservative and fervently religious, then we could avoid situations like electing an inexperienced president caught up appeasing the wacko left with ideas like closing Gitmo, releasing classified information to our enemies, and pissing on the U.S. every times he goes abroad. Like Ronald Reagan once said, “Hispanics are Republican; they just don’t know it yet.” And yet, it’s ultimately up to the GOP leadership if they want to have a sustainable relationship with the Hispanic community.