Illegal immigrants should not be rewarded for ignoring laws — Counterpoint

Eric Balderas, an illegal immigrant studying at Harvard University, faced deportation one year ago. University of Texas at Brownsville alumnus José Arturo Guerra faced deportation last month while in his last year of school. In both cases, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement decided not to pursue deportation.

Rather than allowing ICE to selectively prosecute undocumented students, it’s time for the United States to implement legislation to resolve the country’s problem with illegal immigration and higher education.

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, which has been reintroduced to Congress after failing to pass in December, is not the answer. The DREAM Act would provide a pathway to certain qualified young undocumented individuals toward legal residency, and potentially citizenship, by either enlisting in the military or going to college.

Legislation like the DREAM Act encourages illegal immigration. Parents bring their children to the United States with the intention of taking advantage of the rights given to the country’s citizens and legal residents. Provisions provided by bills like the DREAM Act reward people for not following the law. Rewards aren’t usually given to those who choose to ignore laws.

An increase in illegal immigration could occur after citizens of other countries see that illegal aliens are given privileges.

Currently, 12 states, including California, allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition. In terms of aiding those students in college, this is as far as the government should go. Undocumented students should not receive state and federal aid.

According to USC’s financial aid website, international students at USC receive aid only through merit scholarships. If international students who go through legal processes to receive a student visa cannot receive federal aid, then certainly neither should people who do not go through legal channels.

Still, to extend aid to undocumented immigrant students, AB 131 has been introduced to the California Senate Education Committee. If passed, it would allow those students to become eligible for state financial aid, such as Cal Grants and University of California grants.

Like parents of other college students, the parents of undocumented immigrant students should assume the responsibility of getting their children through college. Illegal immigrant parents knew it would not be easy to live in another country without going through legal means. These are the consequences of those actions.

Even if the student graduates before being deported, he or she will face challenges in obtaining employment. They would be in a worse position than a graduated international student. Illegal immigration must stop being encouraged. Deportation needs to begin. But deporting top students, such as Balderas, might mean losing students who could benefit the United States. To solve this, illegal immigrant students could be allowed to apply for a student visa without having first to go back to his or her country of citizenship. They would be granted the same status as other international students and receive the same benefits.

Undocumented students are suffering because of the actions of their parents. But the DREAM Act, and legislation like it, is not the solution to the effects of illegal immigration on students. They should not receive state and federal aid unless it is also given to international students. They should not be rewarded for laws broken when others abide by the law. Thus, the best solution is for undocumented students to be granted student visas.

Giovanni Osorio is a senior majoring in English and international relations, and he is editor-in-chief of the Summer Trojan.

For a different opinion on this issue, click here.

15 replies
  1. Rich Salas
    Rich Salas says:

    WE all pay for the choices oof our parents, these kids need to do the same. I as a tax payer and fatehr of 3 kids do not want to pay for anything other then emergency medical for any illegal immigrant that enters our country in violation of our laws. Most are not here to be americans…most are here to work, save money, then take it back to Mexico. How do i know this you ask..because i am the son of an illegal immigrant, and i know how thinking. And no, most DONT pay taxes of any kind. Lucky for me, my mother is an American. You want to know why California is broke?…Illegal immigrants who dont pay taxes are using services of all kinds. Heck, the fact that Mexicans refuse to assimulate to american culture forces the govt to spend billions in printing everything in both english, and spanish. Everything costs money, and millions are not paying their portion. If this keeps up, the US will be broke. We need to stop spending money like we are, and part of that solution is stopping illegal immigration, and cutting off all services for illegals. Sounds terrible, but welcome to reality.

  2. ssg
    ssg says:

    Finally a rational take on the issue. The Daily Trojan needs more of this. If you follow American laws, you will get American benefits. It is ridiculous for anyone, especially the government, to insinuate that breaking the law will result in some sort of gain for the lawbreakers. The DREAM Act is just the beginning of a slippery slope leading to an even less effective and more dangerous American immigration system, or lack thereof. Keep it up Giovanni!

  3. Human
    Human says:

    Every human being has the right to freedom of movement and of residencewithin the confines of his own country; and, where there are just reasons forit, the right to emigrate to other countries and take up residence there”(Pacem in Terris, 25)

    The willingness for one country to accept persons across the borders and offerthem a home is emblematic of the unity of the human family and an act of human solidarity

    more significant factor in the environmental crises has been therise of consumerism and over-consumption: “In many parts of the worldsociety is given to instant gratification and consumerism while remainingindifferent to the damage which these cause. Simplicity, moderation anddiscipline, as well as a spirit of sacrifice, must become a part of everyday life,lest all suffer the negative consequences of the careless habits of a few”(Pope John Paul II, The Ecological Crisis, III.13) The Church teaches that our desire for material goods, shaped from theworld’s natural resources, should never surpass our concern for the commongood. Yet affluent nations, the chief perpetrators, have been slow to changetheir excessive consumerism.One prime example of this reluctance is the West’s continued dependence onoil. More than thirty years after the gas shortages of the 1970s, governmentleaders are still discussing incentives and strategies to move to alternativeenergy sources. Although numerous automotive technologies have beendeveloped to lower the U.S. consumption of oil, auto manufacturers and thebuying public have been slow to adapt.”

    why? because it is a life style. No one wants to give up luxury for necessity
    Capitalism is your culprit if you just must have one

    Also keep in mind the undocumented are not in any way treated like the international students. Ask how USC makes most of it’s money. It mostly comes from the international community. They not only pay the tuition but that are the most to donate. They have that money. Some of which not even half the USC student population can afford, let alone donate

  4. Christopher Ganiere
    Christopher Ganiere says:

    All this talk is well and good, but we are bankrupt and must cut SOMETHING. Education is the biggest expenditure in the CA budget. Reducing class sizes by asking non-citizens (legal and illegal) to pay could help reduce the cuts. Since education is truly valuable, then we should ask participants to make a down payment on their future reward.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Absolutely, which is why I’d like to see a quicker, more accessible system. Without the hope of legal immigration, these folks are going to be hiding and obviously not paying taxes (directly; they’d provide sales tax revenue regardless, I guess). I’d love to make them pay their way and contribute, but that requires an immigration system that can acknowledge immigrants and hold them accountable. If we continue with the current policy, which is basically pursuit of deportation without a realistic path to a green card or citizenship, none of us are winning here.

  5. H O
    H O says:

    If thirty to forty years ago. Individuals were allowed to enlist into the armed services
    In return for a visa/ legal residency status. Many individuals took advantage of this law…with that said . If. A student who does not have. ” A legal right / documentation ” to reside in the U .S. A. Whether it was a choice of Parents or the individual……enlisting into the armed forces. Under the college fund options , would be a small price to pay ….serving your. ” Country ” and receiving an education. Is that not the AMERICAN DREAM. A great article. GIOVANNI

  6. m.d.
    m.d. says:

    And don’t act like legal immigration is an option. It’s not. If you think it is, then you do not understand the situation whatsoever.

  7. m.d.
    m.d. says:

    While I understand the desire to not “reward” them for ignoring the law, and the desire to not encourage additional illegal immigration, illegal immigration will continue. And the kids who benefit from the DREAM Act aren’t the ones at fault for immigrating illegally.

    Education what fights back against poverty/social decay. Denying access to education worsens the problem. And it doesn’t stop illegal immigration.

    I really understand where you’re coming from. I really do. But it’s just really socially shortsighted.

      • usc alum
        usc alum says:

        “Education what fights back against poverty/social decay. Denying access to education worsens the problem.”

        But education costs money — and if it’s provided by a public institution, then the taxpayers are ‘footing the bill’ for it. Why should taxpayers be forced to pay for the education of those who were not welcomed here through legal channels?

  8. Chris
    Chris says:

    Oh wow. Way to pull out the stops with every reflexive argument against illegal immigration.

    There are people that will be far better than I at refuting all this, but just a couple thoughts:
    — First of all, your insistence that immigrants follow the law makes a lot of sense, provided we have an immigration system that can process them in something UNDER 8 years. If this whole thing was a choice between “pay visa processing fees” and “pay a random guy thousands of dollars to smuggle you across the desert,” I bet they’d make exactly the same choice you or I might. The fact of the matter is the legal immigration that many of our ancestors enjoyed doesn’t exist today for these folks.

    — Second, the children benefiting from the DREAM act are not, in my mind, culpable. They have to have been here since age 16, which basically means they would have to have been brought here while they were kids/not adults. If these kids feel like fighting and dying for their adopted country, or getting the education to learn a skilled trade and make a better life for themselves, then they far-and-away embody that American spirit we’re so damn proud of.

    I think there are other bits in here folks might have issue with, but that’s why the DREAM Act makes a lot of sense to me. At its core, if I was someone brought into another country at the risk of life and limb, if I could prove myself and live up to that country’s standards and values, I hope they would find a way to accept me.

    (and then there’s all sorts of less American-exceptionalist arguments, but surely, we should be flattered)

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      …and I realized that the first line will probably reduce the chance of you reading the rest of the post. Ignore that, that was my own reflexiveness.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Last follow-up, I promise: I’m pretty sure the DREAM Act rewards you with a green card after your college or military time, in which case they would be in a FAR better position than our international friends. I’ve got a friend from the UK who now has to basically find work over there, because they have nowhere near the privileges that come with a full right-to-residence.

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