June 07, 2011 6:11 pm ET - by Salvatore Colleluori
Earlier today, Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA) gave his reaction to the recent Supreme Court decision not to hear arguments in a case revolving around a law that allows non-citizens to pay in-state tuition in California if they attended a California high school for three years and graduated. During the interview, Bilbray became infuriated and claimed that there is "a whole system" of "discrimination against those who are perceived to be legally in the county as opposed to those who are admittedly illegal."
BILBRAY: It's a good example of the fact that there are special lobbyists, there are special lawyers for people who are illegally in the country. But the average American citizen, like my children, when they return to Washington to come back and get their education in California, American citizens, born and raised in California, were told sorry, you don't get in-state tuition unless you're willing to show your tax return to document it. But if somebody is illegal, only has to show a utility bill. Actually, a whole system of separation and discrimination, but discrimination against those who are perceived to be legally in the county as opposed to those who are admittedly illegal.
Watch the whole interview:
There is no proof that California is putting illegal immigrants "first in line" ahead of U.S. citizens or legal immigrants — that's a claim from the likes of the anti-immigrant activists who challenged the California law in the first place. In fact, California education officials have said that "many of those who took advantage of its in-state tuition policy were U.S. citizens who hailed from other states," and the state of California has estimated that only about 6,500 of the 41,000 students who took advantage of the special in-state tuition rule were believed to be illegal immigrants. According to the California Postsecondary Education Commission, students enrolled in public postsecondary education in the state (as of 2008) number almost 2.5 million — making the estimated 6,500 undocumented students benefiting from the rule a mere drop in California's public education bucket.
Bilbray finished his attack on a different note. "Remember, Alisyn," he said, "what are we training them for? To go to work illegally in this country."
Bilbray's complaint that all we are doing is training more people to work illegally looks a lot like an argument for the adoption of the DREAM Act — the bill that would offer undocumented immigrants brought to America as young children a path to citizenship if they complete two years of college or serve in the military. Perhaps the next time the DREAM Act is introduced in Congress he should vote to give young undocumented immigrants who have grown up in America a way to achieve their goals legally instead of continuing to use fear tactics to push falsehoods.
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