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Illegal Immigration (Edited 4/12/06)*

11 April 2006

“Sandra, 19, an undocumented immigrant from Waterloo, feels like her life is on hold. Her family moved to Waterloo from the Mexican state of Michoacan when she was a young child…Growing up, she went to Waterloo schools. She earned good grades and ran track at West High School, where she graduated in 2005. She dreamed of going to college and becoming a doctor…Her life is on hold because her immigration status disqualifies her for federal student loans, grants and scholarships.”

You can read the entire story here. The way the immigration debate has been framed the past few weeks has really left me fuming. And this article is just another example.

Now, the Consort and I are probably so leftist we scare many Democrats. And we consider that a good thing. In regards to illegal immigrants, here is what I believe:

  • 1. Illegal immigrants should be treated like people, they are not criminals.
  • 2. Those damned Minutemen should be forcibly removed from the borders and shot told not to come back.
  • 3. Building a wall is not going to work. (Here in the US or anywhere else in the world, for that matter.)
  • 4. I’m not sure the whole “give them drivers licenses” thing would work, but I am willing to give it a try.
  • 5. Most importantly, we need to figure out a way to get these people integrated into society.

    Why? Because of stories like Sandra’s. Stories like Sandra’s do not elicit sympathy from me. Darn it, she went to public schools (great) and was able to participate in track (wonderful). And now, we’re supposed to feel sorry for her that she has to put her college hopes on hold—and they are on hold not because she can’t get in (she can) but because she can’t take advantage of federal student loans? (Something funded by federal tax money.)

    Some communities are struggling to meet the special needs (English as a Second Language) of a large influx of immigrant kids in their schools. And they have to do that with an already strapped budget, which, yet again, I remind you is partially paid for with federal money and federal grants, a tax fund that illegal immigrants do not pay into. We can’t keep doing this, people.

    Give them permits, give them guest worker passes, come down really hard on businesses that hire undocumented workers, and for god’s sake get them paying into the system.

    This is very quick & dirty, because I just had to say something even though I’m going to be leaving in a little while for the Battle of the Books. I may clean it up later. Please weigh in.

    *Thanks to KathyF, who noted that in paying rent, everyone pays into property taxes, and that by buying anything, everyone pays into state taxes. And a portion of both of these go to pay for k-12 education. However (this is me again), at least in Iowa we are also dependent on federal monies and grants to keep our school system going. And this federal money is collected via federal income tax, which anyone who gets paid “under the table” or “in cash” does not contribute to. I note again that the article that sparked all this does focus on the fact that the student in question cannot receive federal student aid.

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