Assume that a popularly-elected government enacts a law. The law has the backing of an overwhelming majority of the people. Yet government officials decide they don’t like the law and choose to ignore it.
The above describes a clear violation of the single most important foundation of a free society: rule of law. It also describes the actions of many decision makers in our federal and state governments regarding illegal immigration. Federal law clearly states that foreign citizens of any age who enter our country outside of legal channels are to be deported. And yet the powers-that-be find endless logic-defying means to cloud the issue, against the law and the will of the people.
The issue rose to the forefront recently in North Carolina because the community college system decided that illegal aliens should be officially admitted as students, pending a legislative review.
UNC president Erskine Bowles then suggested that the university system should explore charging illegal aliens residing in North Carolina in-state tuition. Many people are arguing against this. Why should U.S. citizens outside of North Carolina be forced to pay more than non-citizens who have broken the law to get here? Indeed, there is a federal law that specifically prohibits doing this, IRIRA 505.
But both systems have long admitted illegal immigrants as out-of state students. There are no federal laws governing this. Proponents of this practice suggest that Plyler vs. Doe, which says that states must educate minor illegals in primary and secondary schools, offers a precedent for enrolling college students.
Yet, if there is something wrong with charging illegal immigrants living in North Carolina in-state tuition because of their illegal status, why isn’t there something wrong enrolling them at all? How can it be that somebody is permitted to legally attend a UNC school when they are not legally supposed to be in North Carolina? And if a university or class has a limited number of students, how can an illegal resident legitimately displace a legal resident?
And what is the point of educating them, since federal law states that anybody hiring an illegal be penalized?
The real reason for educating them is that our government officials do not want to enforce the laws against employment of illegals in the future. It is one more way to incrementally integrate them into our nation so that it will be easier to grant them full legal rights (amnesty). Businesses want cheap, docile labor, the Democratic Party wants future voters to offset the higher birthrate of Republicans, and the rule of law be damned. Amnesty advocates push such incremental advances as enrollment because they realize they cannot openly accomplish their true goal all at once.
Some claim that compassion dictates we educate the adult children of illegal immigrants, that they should not be forced to suffer from their parents’ decision to come to the United States. Yet parents, legal residents or otherwise, frequently make foolish choices for their children; it is not the business of our government to correct them all. The solution is simple: If you wish your children to receive an American college education, then come here legally or let them apply from your home country.
Others cite economic reasons for educating illegals. Yet there is also much evidence that illegal immigration hurts an economy, and even the ultimate open borders advocate, the late economist Julian Simon, realized that a welfare state like ours cannot have unlimited immigration. A study by Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation discovered that if the illegal immigrants were given full benefits through amnesty, they would annually consume $20,000 more in benefits than they pay in taxes. Already, in many parts of the country, hospitals and prisons are swelling with their ranks, and school districts are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.
Bowles suggested that we have to make it easier for illegal immigrants to become educated in order to avoid them turning into a permanent underclass. Yet the Central American underclass is already here. They are coming in such numbers they have no need to assimilate. In-state tuition is not going to stop this. It has not changed anything for our native underclasses, and it will have almost no effect on the illegal population.
Mankind has three basic choices for organizing society: rule by law, rule by decree (the arbitrary whims of a dictator or monarch) and anarchy. History suggests that people thrive greatly under the first system, thrive less under the second, and thrive not at all under the third. Our founding fathers wisely selected the first, and our country has prospered largely because of that choice.
North Carolina’s governing elite is essentially ruling by decree by enrolling illegals. They focus their arguments on specific points of compassion and economics, but great, large principles are at stake. If our government officials can choose to ignore immigration laws, then what other laws and rights can they brush aside for political expediency? Property rights, another major cornerstone of a free society, are also under assault nationally with the recent Kelo v. City of New London decision that permits municipalities to take property from private owners for private economic development in the same manner they do for public infrastructure projects.
And of what value is U.S. citizenship, if anybody can walk across the border and claim the same rights and privileges as a citizen?
For another view, see Jane Shaw’s article, Americans Want to Help Immigrants, Up to a Point.