Should the doors open to illegal immigrant students?

At Willamette Week, they've got a gripping and personal tale about "Carlos" - a young man whose parents illegally entered the United States, bringing him along as a young child. Carlos is an honor student, and hopes to go to college. His story is a common one.

The University of Oregon says all applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or international students with appropriate visas. A student who does not fall into any of those categories will not have his application processed, according to Phil Weiler, a university spokesman.

On a recent trip to Western Oregon University, Carlos was admitted on the spot because his GPA is so high. But the public university's letter of conditional acceptance notes that Carlos' application is incomplete until he supplies his Social Security number, which he does not have.

It's not his fault that he's here, but state law prevents him from either earning his way to a legal status - nor achieving what his teachers say is his full potential.

Aníbal Rivera, a social studies teacher at Franklin, has witnessed many undocumented students like Carlos pass through his classroom. All of them struggle to figure out what they will do after they leave the safety of high school. Some drop out before graduation. Others graduate and then chose to work.

'As a teacher, there is no other issue that causes me as much pain,' Rivera says. '[Carlos] would make a great doctor or engineer. He has the potential to be a great asset to our society, but he might not be able to accomplish that.'

Will legislation be proposed to allow Carlos and others like him to attend Oregon's public universities?

Last week, American voters elected a Democratic U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, where efforts to grant amnesty to undocumented children who graduate from American high schools have been stalled for several years but may now have better chances. Referred to as the DREAM Act, the legislation would also pave the way for public universities to offer undocumented students in-state college tuition.

Similar efforts are under way at the state level in Oregon, too. With the help of newly elected state Rep. Ben Cannon, a Democrat who represents the Franklin High area, the Oregon Students of Color Coalition plans to introduce legislation in the next session that, if approved, would grant undocumented immigrants eligibility for enrollment at public universities and in-state tuition rates.

House Speaker-to-be Jeff Merkley says, 'There's a great case to be made for this legislation because we all benefit if each individual succeeds to their full potential.'

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    This is a very difficult question to answer. When one considers the anecdotal story about 'Carlos', it seem logical to allow him to attend a public college and become a productive citzen with good earning potential. The follow-up question is this: Where do we draw the line on allowing non-citizens without paperwork to attend public universities?

  • (Show?)

    Welp, I think that State Dem leadership is on to something here.

    It's pretty much the same something that was introduced by the hated Bill Dalto in a recent session.

    I supported Dalto's bill, and I'll support this one too.

    I'm still a big fan of enforcing the law against employers who hire illegals, but as just about everyone with a brain has pointed out, punishing children for the sins of their parents is.......pre-medieval, and has no place in the 21st century.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    I commented there, here's the gist, certainly any feeling person would have sympathy for "Carlos." What's missing in the article is sympathy for the American blue collar worker whose wages are depressed by the flood of competitors, whose chances of acquiring a college education for their children fade as their income fades, not to mention things taken for granted by the writer's class, home ownership, health care without bankruptsy, reliable transportation ...

    Oh sure, the author gets to save $10,000 on the price of her $1/4 million house and $.025 on her strawberries while workers get to have a 50% cut in wages so she can scribble heartwringing tales. I have a great idea, let's frame this issue in terms of prejudice because there are legal consequences for illegal activities. Maybe you should try using some fake documents to get things you aren't supposed to.

    Mexico, for example, might not be the shit-hole it is if people like Carlos were there and voting, or, fighting in the streets. I think it's a great idea to crush our own workers so we can prop up regimes like that. The plutocrats in those countries love these writers, they are their best allies.

    Speaking of voting, let's make sure blue collar never votes Democratic or "progressive."

  • PID (unverified)

    This part, in particular, struck me:

    The irony embedded in America's immigration policy is that most Americans would turn a blind eye if Carlos decided he wanted to go straight to work, resigning himself to a life of low wages as a landscaper, a waiter or a construction worker.
    Under the current system, Carlos will be living here regardless of his legal status. Society would benefit more by allowing him to reach his full potential.

    I think we should at least cut slack to people who were brought here illegally as children. I think it would be unfair to require Carlos to leave the place he grew up and to return to a country he hardly knows. It's not his fault that he is in this situation. He should be allowed to become naturalized.

    Chuck, it's not a zero-sum game. Carlos being allowed to attend college won't prevent native-born children of working-class people from doing the same. In fact, if Carlos gets a good education, he will help grow the economy, which helps everyone out. Nobody will be served by Carlos working in construction instead of going to college.

    As far as there being consequences for illegal activities, I don't think Carlos should have to suffer them. He didn't make a choice to be brought to this country.

    I have a lot of sympathy for working class people whose wages are depressed by illegal immigration. But cracking down on people like Carlos isn't going to help. Corporations like illegal immigration because they can treat undocumented workers like crap and the workers are afraid to go to the authorities. Cracking down on the undocumented workers only heightens their fear, which makes them more attractive to unscrupulous corporations.

    Chuck, you might think the answer is to not vote Democrat, but the Republicans are just trying to fool you here. Republicans' anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric is designed to trick people like you to vote for them. If the Republicans gave a damn about this issue, they would crack down on the businesses who employ undocumented workers. But they won't, because they are in the pocket of big corporations. Even their candidate for governor in the last election "can't remember" if he employed undocumented workers on his farm; it shows he really doesn't give a damn about this issue.

    It is a mistake to frame this issue in terms of "illegal immigrants vs. blue collar people". Both are being exploited by unscrupulous corporations, and set against each other by the rhetoric of conservative politicians.

  • howard (unverified)

    What I want to know is how "Carlos" came to the U. S. as an eight year old, learned a second language, and pursued as well as mastered his K-12 studies.

    His is an example to be learned from and emulated.

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)

    "Should the doors open to illegal immigrant students?"

    Of course not. Next question.

  • sean cruz (unverified)

    The bill was introduced as Senate Bill 10 in the 2003 legistlature. SB10 passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support but was stopped in the House.

    In the 2005 session, Rep. Dalto was working with a much-watered-down version of the bill, which went nowhere.

    Mexico would be in a lot better shape today if there was a way to reverse the 500-plus years of foreign exploitation the nation and its people have suffered.

    The European nations could return the loot they began stealing in 1492.

    The U.S. could return the stolen lands.

    The wealth taken by foreign-owned corporations and at gunpoint by stronger nations could be repatriated.

    That might work.

  • Jesse B. (unverified)

    Yeah OSCC and OSA.

    I'm a member of the Associated Students of Portland State University. We and other student governments around the state have been meeting with legislators and candidates for the legislature since the Summer talking about Tuition Equity.

    It's a no-brainer.

    If a student can show that they 1. are working toward US citizenship 2. have attended an Oregon High School for the past three years 3. have graduated from an Oregon high school or received their GED equivilent 4. have been accepted to an Oregon University

    Why wouldn't you give them in-state tuition rates. Why wouldn't you let them go to a public University? Why wouldn't you increase diversity and stability in this state for generations to come?

    Again, this is a no-brainer.

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    One thing you have to remember is that these kids can't even become citizens until they're 18 (unless the rules have changed since I was in h.s.). So at 18 they can start working on the process of becoming citizens, but that can take a long time.

    In the mean time, they're stuck. They can't go to college where they could continue their learning and prepare for a well paying job that contributes to society.

    I think the list above from Jesse B. is great. It gives those students whose parents brought them in, and have attended school, the opportunity to do better. To educate themselves. To better themselves. And to become citizens.

  • Troix (unverified)

    Actually, I think the point was that this is what is driving blue collar workers to vote Repub. Not that he advocates it.

    Mexico would be in a lot better shape today if there was a way to reverse the 500-plus years of foreign exploitation the nation and its people have suffered.

    It'd be a whole lot easier to rescind NAFTA. Thats truly the main obstacle to improving the lot of Mexican workers in Mexico. And there are plenty of the wealthy in Mexico who have sold out their own people, as well.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    For pete's sake, the Republican's answer is to play the race card, the Democrat's answer is be nice, all the nice out of the affected class "progressives" are oooh so sympathetic.

    You want to be nice, to one Carlos? All Carlos? Their parents? Anybody from anyplace they don't like? What is your stopping point? I don't blame these people, they are breaking several laws, some serious, but I don't blame them.

    I blame the cheating rat bastards that hire them, I blame the plutocratic pols that let this go on and on. And I blame you namby pamby pat the poor down trodden foreigners' heads "progressives." Which part of ALREADY DEPRESSED wages is it that evades you? It's real easy to be nice and accomodating with somebody else's wages, isn't it? How big of a sign to you want to put on our borders, "Get here however you can, and we'll take good care of you." Keeripes, a job isn't enough incentive to cross the borders, let's start handing out in-state tuitions along with anything else my feel good progressive friends can think of.

    You do not get it. Somebody is going to suffer, and suffer badly, and it isn't going to be the people who've made hay off this. You refuse to pick who gets hurt, so by default it is the blue collar American worker that gets screwed. And BTW, I've been a lonely voice on this for a dozen years, I've been paying attention and I've watched it get worse and worse until NOW the Lou Dobbs start paying attention.

    You'll start to get a measure of the problem when these people start getting beaten and worse when they show on a job and you'll cry racism and be partly right because it's the only obvious measuring stick. Backlash is a horrid thing and it will come, how far over the edge do you think you can push working people? And why should they tolerate it? The real problem is that the people responsible will get to walk away, richer than ever.

    Ah well, I might as well spit into the wind, the real world consequences don't count.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Regarding zero sum games, guess what, it's a negative sum game. -50% is not zero. Carlos on a construction site is a non-argument, he won't be on mine. I hire legally and he belongs on and has a right to NO JOB. He belongs in whatever country he is a citizen of. Framing the argument in legal worker vs illegal worker??? What the F***? How exactly do you not frame an issue of illegal job and wage competition as involving both parties?

    What exactly do you propose to do with all these people when the illegal hiring ceases and they have no jobs? Oh, no we can't put them out of work, so what do you propose to do with the people who make 1/2 what the job paid 25 yrs ago? I know, let's emigrate them. Nah, you've already go the knife in their back, let's twist it around a little before we stick it in again.

  • PID (unverified)

    I'm not sure whom you are addressing, Chuck, but it certainly wasn't my intent to call you racist, nor do I want to depress blue-collar wages.

    You say:

    You do not get it. Somebody is going to suffer, and suffer badly, and it isn't going to be the people who've made hay off this. You refuse to pick who gets hurt, so by default it is the blue collar American worker that gets screwed.
    I don't refuse to pick who gets hurt. I think the companies that hire undocumented workers should get hurt. My point is that if you tighten the screws on illegal immigrants, and don't tighten the screws on the corporations that hire them, then it will only further encourage corporations to exploit undocumented workers. The unscrupulous corporations' exploitive strategy depends on undocumented workers being afraid to go to the government when they are mistreated. If you start putting illegal immigrants in jail, as some people have proposed, you are only going to increase these corporations' power, and make employing undocumented workers a more attractive business model. Then all working-class people, legal or illegal, get screwed.

    (By the way, I'm not trying to imply all businesses and corporations engage in this behavior. But some clearly do.)

    How big of a sign to you want to put on our borders, "Get here however you can, and we'll take good care of you." Keeripes, a job isn't enough incentive to cross the borders, let's start handing out in-state tuitions along with anything else my feel good progressive friends can think of.

    It's about being pragmatic. Carlos is not going back to Mexico. (And while Carlos might not be on your construction site, he will be able to find one.) He's going to be here whether we like it or not. We essentially lost that choice when his family crossed the border. Given that, what's the best way to deal with this reality? If we let him go to college, get a good education, and become a citizen, then everyone will benefit.

  • Joe12Pack (unverified)

    Chuck speaks the truth, though I gotta disagree with the race card reference. Seems to me that one is played far more often by Democrats while they attempt to blur the obvious line between "illegal alien" and "immigrant".

    You must also recognize that there is a vast divide on immigration reform between house Republicans and the current administration and I don't happen to believe that racism is a key motivation on either side. The guest worker/amnesty folks on the right are primarilly motivated by greed- an endless supply of cheap, easily exploitable labor and perhaps a few million R votes in the ballot box.

    I'd rattle on further, but supper beckons.

  • Calhoun (unverified)

    Geez, what a con game. The whole "Carlos" story. Typical of the con games being run by illegal aliens and their advocates.

    Carlos can go to college. He gets great grades, is fluent in English and Spanish, and he's a citizen of Mexico.

    <u>So he can go to Mexico and attend college there</u>. And living and studying in Mexico will probably be cheaper, and more affordable for his family.

    "The University of Oregon says all applicants must be U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents or international students with appropriate visas." So why doesn't "Carlos" go get himself a student visa?

    Many Americans have struggled to go to college, it wasn't completely easy for lots of people. If "Carlos" has to quit whining, get off his butt, and get busy overcoming some obstacles -- that would NOT be some terrible injustice.

  • anon (unverified)

    He's a star anchor baby who has been taught to not show respect for our laws. What a gift his parents have given him.

    A homeless uneducated man without a degree with strong principal has much over Carlos any day. At least the homeless guy will look you in the eye with nothing to hide.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    The idea of prosecuting illegal aliens without haveing gotten a handle on the illegal hiring that draws them is ludicrous. That's the Republican race card, prosecute those who gain a little and let the big cats walk.

    Pragmatism is a trap when it comes to people's livelihood, if they get pragamtic, people are going to get hurt, because the pragmatic response to being harmed is to hit back. Like I said, the wrong target will get hit, but the hitting will occur. Yes, if you got hiring & employment in order you'd have a bunch of displaced illegal workers, that's not a huge incentive to stay. Yes, it would be difficult but not impossible to remove those who didn't remove themselves. You see, I really don't give a rat's patoot how difficult it is, the people who've followed the rules of a system that's built to take advantage of them and worked hard and loyally don't deserve to be spit on. They don't deserve to have their throats cut for the advantage of plutocrats in and out of this nation and they don't deserve to have misplaced sympathy replace respect for their humanity and their contributions.

    I get a lot of shit for my stand on this, well, I'm real close to the problem, I employ blue collar skilled labor and work shoulder to shoulder with them. I know exactly how much is paid for the product and how much the labor gets and how much management (me) gets. It stinks across the board, and I cannot do anything about it, I'm in direct competition with illegal hires, they determine the pricing. I write the checks, sometimes they're my friends, but they're always my responsibility. I visit their homes, I know their wives and kids, and I know what a struggle they have. And I have it also.

  • Joseph L. (unverified)

    Chuck believes that illegal immigration has lowered wages, especially for blue collar workers. This is a reasonable hypothesis, and one that has been studied intensively by economists. While scholars disagree about the exact effect, an April 16, 2006 NY Times review of the research concluded that illegal immigration has had little impact on the wages of low-income Americans. The article is subscription only, but here are some excerpts:

    “Even economists striving hardest to find evidence of immigration's effect on domestic workers are finding that, at most, the surge of illegal immigrants probably had only a small impact on wages of the least-educated Americans.”

    Non-high school graduates have seen their wages drop – at least 20% over the last 25 years, according to researchers. However, illegal immigration’s contribution to that change has been “swamped by all the other things that hit the economy, from the revolution in technology to the erosion of the minimum wage's buying power.”

    Let’s increase the minimum wage, require employers to follow the law, and demand an immigration overhaul from Congress, not penalize hard-working kids whose parents took them here years ago.

  • Joseph L. (unverified)

    Sorry, that link should be


  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    The construction industry, for example, has faced increased legal competition for jobs as factory jobs dried up. That's one thing. The flood of others is another thing altogether. Construction is not minimum wage work, except for the unfortunate illegal hires with no recourse, and even there the wages generally exceed min wage (in low min states). Statistics show that around 35% of illegal hires are in construction, guess what, market forces are in effect.

    The NYT can spread the harm sufficiently to say, "it's small potatoes." So, the one job that can't be sent overseas - outsourced - gets insourced. An outsourced worker adds tremendously to the statistical hit and has nothing to do with illegal hires - in total income loss, the degradation of our manufacturing is a bigger hit, so what? Let's think about just exactly whose interests the NYT serves, then follow the income slide of construction over time and set it beside illegal hires and historical events. You also will find plenty of studies that are shockingly different, also economists.

    And by the way, exactly when did RR's amnesty occur?

  • (Show?)

    According to the Pew Hispanic Center:

    "About 7.2 million unauthorized migrants were employed in March 2005, accounting for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force. They made up a large share of all workers in a few more detailed occupational categories, including 24% of all workers employed in farming occupations, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction and 12% in food preparation."

    I must say that 14% is nowhere close to being the majority of workers, as is often said about undocumented workers.

    But this isn't about undocumented workers supposedly taking your jobs.

    This is about allowing students whose parents brought them over, and who have gone to school here, to enter college. At the same time they'd be working on becoming citizens.

    That would allow them to continue their education here while they become citizens. The alternative would be making them wait, which means they'd likely end up working illegally and like many who don't go to college right away - not end up going at all.

    People need to stop going off on side rants about adults "stealing jobs," racist remarks, etc. and get back on topic.

    This is about students, many of which haven't even turned 18 yet -- a good number of students graduate at age 17 (or lower!). Those who have turned 18 have just hit the age to begin the process of becoming citizens. They want to become productive members of society. They want to get a good education. They want to become citizens. They're willing to go through the process, if we'll let them.

    Why don't we let them? This has nothing to do with them "stealing jobs."

  • Trent (unverified)

    Fuck no. And illegals shouldn't be allowed to attend public elementary and high schools, either.

  • Dickey45 (unverified)

    Thank goodness I got my citizenship back in the 90's because if you allow a huge influx of folks from Mexico, that may just lower the number that can apply for citizenship or resident alien status from other countries.

    My family may not have gained permanent residence. 3 out of 3 children in my family may not have served in the US military and been tax payers and workers. I would not have been able to serve in the military as they started requiring more positions to have citizenship.

    I agree my argument is a strawman but it is certainly a concern. In allowing more of one culture in, do we squeeze out others?

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Trent: "Fuck no. And illegals shouldn't be allowed to attend public elementary and high schools, either."

    May I suggest that expletive aside, using the word "illegals" as a noun sends a pretty clear message. However, I wonder whether Trent's opinion is a function of the melanin concentration in one's epidermis. Or or one's social class. Or of one's native language. I also wonder how Trent feels how being required to produce proof of citizenship for his own children (and sorry, a garden-variety birth certificate can be faked, Trent, so that will definitely not do; at the minimum, you will need to pay a bureaucrat(!) in your child's birth county to produce for you an official, certified copy).

  • Marvin McConoughey (unverified)

    PID opines "He's going to be here whether we like it or not. We essentially lost that choice when his family crossed the border." Absolutey wrong. He did not lose his choice when his parents brought him illegally to our country. He has the power and the right to return to his native land and attend one of the world's lower cost higher education systems.

    Other voices imply that because we cannot simultaneously solve all facets of the illegal immigration problem, that we should therefore not take action to send home those who are here illegally. That failed vision is a flaccid excuse for tolerating a very serious invasion of our country. The correct national and state approach is to act now, using every avenue available to us, to halt and reverse illegal immigration and, while so doing, continue to eliminate our internal weaknesses of law that enable illegal hiring.

  • John Napolitano (unverified)

    We already have many students from other states and other countries who attend universities in Oregon. If you qualify and are accepted to a university, you can get a student visa fairly easily. There is no reason why "Carlos" can't already do that. The problem is not so much having people who are citizens of other countries being admitted to our state universities, since there are already ways to do that now. It is the in-state tuition level. Because as a community we want to support our own local students, the state subsidizes a very amall part of the tuition. Most of the rest of the reduction in the tuition for the in-state students is actually paid by the student from out of state paying full price. I was talking with people at OHSU a few month ago, and the message I got was that they were admitting only a relatively small number of in-state students to some of the programs (nursing was one, if I remember correctly), because they needed the out of state students' money to pay the difference.

    Should students who don't have the visa status to stay in our country for the long term be treated any differently than their peers who study in their country? If we do, someone else may not be able to attend because there are only a limited number of spots available for in-state tuition students.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    When I attended Michigan Technological University I paid out-of-state tuition. It amounted to 3x in-state. I was born in Michigan but raised in Ohio. Since it was the best Bachelor of Science Mechanical Engineering school going, I PAID for it. I want, I pay. It's really simple. If you want to be an American, and all the things that go with it, including some sucky stuff like taxes and... you pay by doing what it takes. It's not real difficult to understand, unless you want to take the position that America is the world and anybody in the world is a citizen. If this is a nation, we have a say about who comes across our borders and why. There are legal avenues and there are illegal avenues. That's about being an American.

    About being an employer, there are I-9s to be filled out, these state that you have verified eligibility for employment. If you screw that up, you are liable to fines & etc. SS# are unique. SS contributions come from EIN#s and these are unique to the employer. SS knows or could know if a number is valid, SS knows or could know if the EINs don't match - ie one in Ohio (valid) and one in North Carolina (stolen) The system is not THAT game-able. SS could provide employers with match-no match info for SS# & name with valid EIN# for ID. The system is only broken because it's supposed to be broken, SS gets invalid/uncollectable contributions and cheats get by. A 4 person construction crew paying no taxes on the crew has a 33% wage advantage on the same wage rate (legal hires are 150% cost of wage), and in reality, it's not the same rate-much lower. All construction materials are within a few percent for any buyer so the only give is in labor rates. What happens is the cheat offers a rate 20% lower in labor cost and cuts a fat hog. So, why does your legal crew get hired? Either it far out-performs or it charges the same rate. That's the under-table problem. the over table problem occurs with labor competition, desperate people take less. Isn't that a nice concept, you work for me because you're desperate. 14% of the workers in construction are illegal, that's a lot of people. That means only 86% of the Americans wanting a construction job get one and what it really means is a lot of money is taken off the table by competition from low wage workers. If you were to yank 10% of all the employees in Baker City out of the market, there'd be a rather large labor shortage in all sectors. You don't minimize the effects by talking about 14% of a labor force, you make clear just how large a problem it is. Further, those numbers do not take in to account localized effects, in parts of NC the percentage is huge, in Baker City it's almost non-existent, but right across the ID border it's large. sheetrock hangers drive 150 miles out of ID's hot building market to come to Baker because we pay more - legal crews - and they're losing their butts in ID against the illegal crews. We're a motel room cost from getting buried in illegal crews, well, there's no tolerance for it, either. (no, I don't mean law tolerance) So my rates are frozen by competition with ID crews and that gets passed down to my employees.

    And by the way, Pew's numbers are lower than most, one reason they get quoted in the "be nice" vein.

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    This isn't as much about out-of-state vs. in-state tuition as it is about the students not being able to go to college because they don't have SSNs.

    Changes to the system would allow them to go to college while they are in the process of becoming citizens.

    People in prison get to go to college. People who will never see the outside of a prison again get to earn degrees. So the rationale that they've broken the law and shouldn't be able to go to college is just another excuse people like to use to cover themselves.


    This topic is about allowing students who meet certain criteria to go to college. This isn't about allowing them to work illegally. Or employers hiring undocumented workers. This is about high school students whose parents brought them into this country illegally being allowed to go back to college.

  • sean cruz (unverified)

    Oregon colleges and universities have consistently testified in committee hearings that they have ample capacity for undocumented students, and that enrolling them will not prevent the enrollment of US-born students.

    Furthermore, a student's immigration status does not add to the institution's fixed costs; the universities welcome tuition-paying students.

    The statement that foreign-born students are competing for "limited" in-state tuition slots is simply false.

  • Calhoun (unverified)

    Jenni Simonis, you've scolded people twice now for being off topic -- so may I direct your attention to my post above, and a post from "John Napolitano"? Our posts were 100% on topic! Can you respond to any of the points we made?

    I pointed out a couple of ways that Carlos can go to college, as long as he doesn't just sit there whining, like some people want him to.

  • m.davies (unverified)

    To reward illegal aliens and their families the benefit of in-state tuition discounts and admission to any college/university in the United States is an affront to reward them for violating our laws. Most of these students have already benefitted from free public h.s education in the U.S., free lunch programs, free medical care, free vaccinations, and a host of other public benefits/services accessed by their parents (some through fraudulent documents/applications). They are lucky they were here long enough not to be deported and take advantage of all these freebies already.

    It matters not how academically talented they are, there are plenty of foreign students who go through a long process to obtain a valid student visa, they have to take the TOEFL test, and cannot qualify for any public scholarships/financial aid. Why should we reward those that are here illegally with benefits not given to those who play by the rules? These kids can go back to their country of origin and go to school there, it's a lot cheaper. We have no obligation to reward them or their families for breaking the law. It's an insult to all law-abiding legal immigrants and U.S. citizens who willingly complied with the laws.

  • Steve (unverified)

    "the surge of illegal immigrants probably had only a small impact on wages of the least-educated Americans.”

    You should ask all of the union roofers, sheetrockers, framers and painters who are losing jobs to guys who are here illegally and working for less than min wage.

    Unions not pressing this issue are really killing their members' future.

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    That's right I keep harping about getting back on topic. Anytime something about illegal imiigrants comes up, the topic always heads right towards "they're stealing our jobs" and a bunch of bigoted comments. This is about students and their ability to go to college.

    And I've already hit on some of the topics already. I didn't know of any rule saying that anyone who wants something to be on topic has to answer everything asked by those who were on topic. But anyway...

    Student visas are not typically available to students who are already living in the United States. Were he to go back to Mexico, then apply, he'd have to show where he went to high school. And that would show he was in the U.S. when he went to h.s.

    Why wouldn't he just go back to Mexico? He hasn't lived there since he was a child. He was a year older than my husband was when he came to this country. I wouldn't send Carlos back to Mexico anymore than I would send my husband back to his native country. Carlos has lived in the U.S. longer than he lived in Mexico. He deserves the ability to go to college in the country he grew up in.

    Nobody's telling him to sit there and whine. He's already doing a lot in appealing to the school and going through the process of becoming a citizen.

    Becoming a citizen isn't an easy process and it takes quite a bit of time. It can often take more than a year. In the meantime, why can't he go to college?

    And like I said-- this isn't as much about the in-state vs. out-of-state tuition question. Right now he can't go to college even if he paid out-of-state tuition-- they want a SSN, which he does not have.


    And since this comes up every time...

    It is not easy to get any kind of social service unless you are here legally. As someone who has received services from the government back when I was ill and out of work, I can assure you it's a lengthy process and there are many documents that are needed. Documents that are verified before you can get services. Probably the only thing their kids get is an education, which is protected by the U.S. Supreme Court. I get so tired of this argument being used over and over again.



    Check out my comment above with the quote from the Pew Hispanic Center. The numbers of people "taking" jobs from citizens is highly exaggerated.

  • (Show?)


    I agree with all of your points except the last. I've spent some time on this and am clear that Pew has an ax to grind here.

    If you look at construction only, (which Pew does not) you'll see that in boom construction areas, up to 30% of the workforce is illegal. These are not fruit pickers "doing the jobs that Americans won't do". They are construction workers who are hired by unethical contractors to increase their profit margins while underbidding contractors like Chuck Butcher who play by the rules.


    When Dalto introduced this idea a few years back, the numbers showed that it would cost the state under $300,000 in a state budget of $12 billion. Not a significant amount of money to take care of people who are here illegally through no effort of their own.

    A much smaller and much different dilemma than that presented in the larger debate.

  • Steve (unverified)

    "This topic is about allowing students who meet certain criteria to go to college."

    OK, Carlos can go, but pay an international student tuition. I think after giving him 12 free years of education maybe that is enough. It would be different if there were unlimited buckets of money to give to college student - but there aren't.

    We need to decide who should pay less and more and ideally people who are here legally and paying taxes legally (yes FICA is a tax) should pay the lowest price for college. Otherwise, we raise everyone's tuition cost.

  • (Show?)

    In college, my sociology teacher spent years following and studying a large group of illegal immigrants who were working in the U.S. Her research showed that taxes were indeed taken out of many of the workers' pay. So don't say they don't pay taxes. Not only have they often times paid taxes, but they don't get the same benefit the rest of us do-- can't get a refund, don't get SSI when they get older, etc.

    The question is-- are the employers actually paying the taxes, or are they pocketing it?

    I don't think they should have to pay in any more than out-of-state tuition. Especially since they'll likely be citizens by the time they finish their sophomore year.


    On the construction topic...

    My dad owned a construction business for years -- in Texas. He never once used illegal labor, and his business wasn't affected by illegal labor. The problem he ran into was other contractors paying bribes to general contractors or the cement company to get preferential treatment. Since so much work now is done through general contractors, instead of direct hires, that cut back business substantially. Add in the fact that you'd get bumped for your concrete because someone who had paid the cement company a kick-back needed the concrete, it made it hard to get work.

  • Steve (unverified)

    "So don't say they don't pay taxes."

    OK< so when a painting contractor goes down to MLK and Burnside picks up a truck full of painters and then pays them cash, he is witholding or they are paying taxes?

    You are being naive, I know a lot of people in the construction trades (more than just one person) who are getting their butts kicked when they use legal labor. If we don't enforce illegal aliens not working, the labor pool is there and legitimate employers paying family wages get squeezed out of business, if you want to be pragmatic.

    Then again, I guess this discussion is only about taking a slot out of college for an illegal immigrant.

  • (Show?)

    I never said we shouldn't enforce illegal immigrants not working. I just said not to use the comment that they don't pay taxes. Some do, some don't. Some surely have employers who "withhold" and then pocket the money. But the blanket statement that they don't pay taxes is entirely false.

    Like I said, my dad's worked in construction for longer than I've been alive. For most of that time he owned his own business. In a state that has many, many more illegal immigrants and "day workers" than Oregon. The problem he had wasn't in competing with those using illegal immigrants. It was other bad business practices (payoffs, mostly). But that's not to say it isn't a problem. I'm just saying that in many cases it's not as bad as we make it out to be.

  • PID (unverified)
    PID opines "He's going to be here whether we like it or not. We essentially lost that choice when his family crossed the border." Absolutey wrong. He did not lose his choice when his parents brought him illegally to our country. He has the power and the right to return to his native land and attend one of the world's lower cost higher education systems.

    I said "we", not "he". He probably could go back to Mexico if he wanted to, although it would be hard. (He didn't grow up there, so he would have to adjust to a new culture at a young age. Doable, sure--many people make that adjustment when they immigrate to the U.S.)

    But I don't see how we, as a society, can force him to go back, even if we decided we wanted to. Are we going to go door to door and ask everyone to provide proof of legal residence? I don't believe that, as a U.S. citizen, I am required to show proof of legal residence except in situations like applying for a job (to show work eligibility), re-entering the country, and applying to a college. And even those requirements apparently aren't enough to stop people from living in the U.S. illegally.

    (And even if you think Carlos should be deported pronto, you should still recognize that if anyone is to blame for his situation, it's his parents and not him. You should direct your ire at them and not him.)

    As Jenni keeps pointing out, the question at hand is whether to (1) allow people like Carlos to attend state universities as Oregon residents, or (2) don't allow this. My point is that if we choose (2), that probably means that Carlos will stay here anyway and just work illegally, given how easy it is to obtain a fraudulent SSN. Allowing Carlos to attend college and work toward citizenship is preferable to him continuing to work and live here illegally.

  • Steve (unverified)

    "But the blanket statement that they don't pay taxes is entirely false."

    Just like the blanket statement they pay taxes is false also. In addition, once the kids go to school here and they use the public health clinc they consume far more than taxes they pay.

    "Allowing Carlos to attend college and work toward citizenship is preferable to him continuing to work and live here illegally."

    Again, he can attend college, just pay what any other international student would pay. If he wanted to work toward citizenship, why not do it now? WHat diff would going to college make if he hasnt tried to be a citizen until now?

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Apparently "a poor paying construction job" is enough inducement to cross the borders illegally, so the proposition is to increase the inducement? Which part of "you can have even more if you can get here" is it that misses people?

    OK, I give up. Obviously the bottom half of our legal population is not worthy of the attention regarded people who have absolutely no right to be here. I suppose I have to go camp with the race baiting Republicans to get traction on this issue. That's a shitty deal. I don't like that kind of people.

  • (Show?)

    Just like the blanket statement they pay taxes is false also.

    I never made such a blanket statement. I said that when my sociology teacher was following a large group of illegal immigrants, she found that taxes were taken out of MANY of their checks. I never said all-- I clearly used the words "many" and "often." That in no way is a blanket statement.

    WHat diff would going to college make if he hasnt tried to be a citizen until now?

    Unless something has changed, he can't start the process until he turns 18. Which is typically during one's senior year (or potentially after if you're born in June-August or skip years). That process takes quite some time to go through. While working in a Congressional office in Texas, I saw some people who had spent several years going through the process of becoming citizens. Some of the 18 year-olds didn't gain SSNs until they were almost 21.

    To get into college, he has to show:

    • International Student: transcripts and such from a school outside the U.S. and all the other documents that go along with registering as an international student; or

    • In-state/Out-of-state Student: transcripts and such from a school inside the U.S.and all the other documents that go along with registering as a student from the United States, PLUS a SSN.

    Since he went to school in the United States, he can't provide the needed documents to register as an international student. But because he doesn't have a SSN yet, he can't apply as a U.S. student either. He's stuck in the middle.


    Also, as someone who regularly is in that "bottom half of our legal population," I take offense at anyone who tries to say I don't care about people in similar (or worse) circumstances than my family. This idea that those of us who disagree with you must be rich yuppies needs to stop.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Let me see if I can make my position clear, the lower half of the legal economic population has been under consistent debilitating attack for 6 years, and the bottom quarter under assault for nearly 20yrs, this is a very bad situation. Any proposal to worsen their plight is just another stake driven into the heart of those who've built this country. Class warfare IS being waged. If you choose to ally yourself with the policies of the plutocrats by creating additional inducements to add to ONE of the signicant parts of the problems faced by that economic class, that is your choice. You have chosen which side of the issue you wish to stand on, you seem to think everybody gets to be happy. Economics, even in our modified version of capitalism, is a cold hard game and the losses are signicant and harsh for the losers. Whether you mean to or not, you've chosen who loses and they're your fellow citizens. If you're real worried that the sympathy side of the argument will lose, you needn't be, reason will be trumped by it, the losers are damn near invisible in this society. I hope that ten years from now you'll be able to live with your win. There is a point beyond which issues spin out of our ability to address them, many state that with 12-20 million illegals we've already passed it, it's unaddressable. I advocate that we're getting very close to that point, this may be the last opportunity to get a handle on it, peacefully. No matter, sympathy and the will to inaction will triumph, what is going to follow is going to be very sad and very bad.

    No, I won't go hang with the R's, I know where they want to go and I don't like that, either. Take out the sympathy portion, and add in the desires of the elite and the will to inaction and they'll end in the same place or worse.

  • Marvin McConoughey (unverified)

    Sean cruz writes "Oregon colleges and universities have consistently testified in committee hearings that they have ample capacity for undocumented students, and that enrolling them will not prevent the enrollment of US-born students." That may be their testimony in committee hearings. In other venues, universities speak of their need for capital construction projects and need for funding to pay for a large accumulation of deferred maintenance. But to return to Carlos...

    Carlos might live another 60 years. If he returns to his native land now, he will have a long, long time to readjust, plus a relatively low cost national education system. If he stays here, the added cost of paying full tuition will be recovered during his lifetime.

    But Carlos is not just an individual, he is part of a much larger argument: that we should tolerate the presence of illegal immigrants. Like many laws, immigration laws encounter difficult issues on the margins. If Carlos' supporters wish to write narrowly targeted statutory exceptions for Carlos and others in identical positions, that could be evaluated on its merits and demerits. But I think that such proposed legislation would swiftly spiral out of control to the end that much of our ability to cope with illegal immigrants and their imported children would dissipate.

    Granting in-state tuition to Carlos' also creates a precedent and an incite to further illegal immigration. If Carlos' parents can successfully bring him here illegally, and then see him gain preferential tuition, then so can other Mexican parents who want the best for their children. Overall, we shall have made illegal immigration more attractive and compliance with our laws less attractive. I'm sorry about Carlos and if his supporters so wish, they can ensure that he has ample funding to pay full tuition at the university of his choice.

  • Donna Bryan (unverified)

    All arguments aside about whether or not Carlos should be able to attend college in the U.S., I'm perplexed by this opinion that a minor child has the ability and responsibility to detach themselves from their parents and return to the country of their birth. Exactly how do people propose children just emotionally detach themselves from their families and leave? I'm no expert in child psychology, but I don't see how anyone could expect a normal, healthy kid to do this.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)

    Donna, they don't have to, if they all go home...

    You see, Carlos supporters don't admit that what they actually have to do is just make being here all it takes.

    Look at this, people are getting badly screwed by this situation (that's generic people), curing it is going to involve some party getting badly screwed. That's the part that offends, that's the part nobody will deal with, and that's why it's only going to get worse. The racists don't have a problem with brown people getting it, for their reasons, but then, they also don't want the overwhelmingly white employers to get it. If you think I'm in that camp, I'll point out that blacks and legal Hispanics are the primary losers as matters sit.

    You folks that think I'm so damn hard hearted need to file this, because here's a prediction: There is going to be an amnesty, my labor pool will be legally flooded killing those wages, rather than depressing them, in a few years the same situation will exist and another amnesty. Violent racism against those of Hispanic descent will rise. The numbers of working poor will skyrocket, both numbers and percentile of workers. The general quality of construction and other affected trades will plumet.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Trent | Nov 20, 2006 12:59:08 AM

    Seems you have a case to sue the public school system for short-changing you in your education, which has nothing to do with any "Carlos's" in the system either, but rather the lack of neural capacity in the PIQ.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Chuck Butcher | Nov 26, 2006 12:19:23 PM

    How is amnesty and allowing Carlos to pursue higher education going to screw anyone badly?

  • Marvin McConoughey (unverified)

    Donna writes "I'm perplexed by this opinion that a minor child has the ability and responsibility to detach themselves from their parents and return to the country of their birth." I'm not sure that the real person behind the newspaper story is able to detach himself from his parents, even though millions of American students do so each fall. Carlos should not have to detach himself from his parents. He and his parents have a common bond: all are here illegally. All should return to Mexico, where a benevolent government provides low cost higher education at zero cost to American taxpayers. Carlos may enjoy a richer and happier life among his fellow country men and women than he will here, given his present difficulties with the English language, as depicted in the newspaper report. If he remains here illegally, he is not being having to pay non-citizen tuition fees is not mistreatment. The immigration debate is sometimes presented as a liberal versus conservative issue. That is not the situation. Major economic, demographic, and public policy issues exist with illegal immigration that far transcend mundane political outlooks.

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