The Immigration Fight

It’s going to be huge.

Foreshadowing what’s expected to be one of the Legislature’s hottest debates, Democrats from the state Senate on Thursday said a Republican bid to prevent the children of illegal immigrants from attending Georgia colleges and universities is poorly thought-out and could have unintended consequences.

Sen. Tim Golden, chairman of the chamber’s Democratic caucus, announced plans to introduce his own bill, which would ensure that the Board of Regents of Georgia’s university system – not the Legislature – has the final say on admissions policies.

“We feel that children should not be penalized for the activities of their parents,” said Golden, of Valdosta. “It’s a good investment for the future to educate these undocumented children.”


  1. Chris says:

    Humm. If they are citizens I would think that would violate equal protection. If they are not, then they should pay out-of-state rates.

    The problem as I see it is that we can’t cut-off the flow of illegals. Draconian policies might reduce the flow, but people desperate for economic opportunities to feed their family have a powerful motivation to get here.

    The question before us, as a Country, State and party is how do we best cope with this fact. As we have seen recently in France, immigrants who remain culturally and politically isolated pose problems.

  2. Melb says:

    I am just excited Eric Johnson said this, “We will continue to provide K-12 education and emergency services for every citizen,” the GOP leader said in a prepared statement.” This means that the Senate is not seriously considering HR 256.

    Some illegal immigrants do pay out of state tuition, under the law now, if a college board feels that the immigrant does not have to pay out of state, for reasons such as living here his whole life, not choosing to come here, etc. then they can wave that and allow them in state tuition, but all illegal immigrant’s children do not get in state tuition, it is done case by case.

  3. Ben King says:

    Melb, I’m not sure it does. Emphasis on ‘every _citizen_’.

    Chris, I think the GOP bill(s) would _deny_ elementary and higher education to illegal immigrants, not just make them pay out-of-state tuition. My reading of this release is that it would keep the admissions process in the hands of the Regents, where it supposedly would be less political.

    All the anti-immigrant bills will do is keep a good portion of the population that is already here uneducated and poor. There are many children who have been in this country (not by their choice, but by the choice of their parents) for years, and who are culturally more American than anything else. Wouldn’t it be a better policy to help these children become productive contributors to society? I think that Senator Chambliss has said much the same thing.

  4. Ben King says:

    actually, the AJC article has a little more information. among other things:

    The two measures are a response to several illegal immigration bills filed earlier this year by Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock). One of those bills sought to bar illegal immigrants from enrolling in state universities. Rogers said that bill is off the table, but he is pursuing Senate Bill 170, a measure that would require persons to prove they are legal residents of Georgia to receive state services, such as in-state tuition benefits.

    Rogers said the bill simply states that people receiving state benefits must prove U.S. citizenship. He cited a federal statute, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, that says persons who are not legally in the United States are not eligible for any postsecondary education benefit given by their state unless all American citizens also can receive it.

    It certainly isn’t as pejorative as I characterized it earlier (when I was talking about his other bills), but I still find the bill to be mean-spirited and not really helping anything. It isn’t a solution, it just punishes people who are here contributing.

  5. Melb says:

    UGA — Have you ever sped? What part of illegal don’t you and most of the people in the United States understand?

  6. Melb says:

    Ben, You’re right I don’t know why I thought that. I think I was thinking that every citizen meant every citizen regardless of legal or illegal, but I doubt that is the case. Well nevermind then I have just as much respect for Johnson now as I did when he sponsored SB 5.

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