When a crowd of Republicans running to become Tennessee’s next governor gathered last week, they all said the right things. It’s still real early in the game and the biggest thing a politician needs to worry right now about is tripping over some door jamb. Oddly, the only split of opinion was whether to give illegal kids who are living in Tennessee in-state tuition rates.
From where I sit, this is the dumbest question on the table. Granted, not one child asked to come live in Tennessee. They were brought here by their illegal families. I’ve got enough Samaritan in me to believe we ought to teach these kids in public schools, and make sure they eat, but, brother, college is a luxury and that’s just the start of it.
If an illegal child’s parents cannot be employed – by law – who is going to pay the in-state tuition, the books, the meals, and the football tickets? Oh, sure, they can get a student loan – those are guaranteed by the government, you know -- but an illegal child doesn’t belong to our government. So you are telling me the government is going to give a student loan to an illegal foreigner? This exercise defies common sense.
But, hark! Deep into the night, where a lot of my ideas originate in the Land of Free Thought, not only is there a simple solution but there is a “game changer” for every one of our illegal children. We start by teaching them what they should know, instead of pretending we know a whole lot better what they should know. We do not, else we would already be preparing these children for life. Real life. The big picture.
How this for common sense -- We take every “English is a Second Language” student in every elementary, middle, and high school in Tennessee and immerse each one in mandatory “citizenship” classes. Instead of casting these children aside, we begin to permanently heal the hapless victims in the best setting possible -- our schools. And we make them legal.
We teach them civics, American history, and other classes so that when they graduate they’ll have the one thing that each will need above all else in the United States: “a green card.” No diploma in any denomination can hold a candle to an alien’s green card. And with a legal residence -- hello? -- each will qualify for in-state tuition rates.
If you’ll read up on Green Cards, it is an arduous process, which is why so many illegals don’t have legit ones. If we made this green card project part of our primary and secondary requirements, we would be doing the best service imaginable. Suddenly these kids can get jobs, buy cars, and live like other normal people. They can even “sponsor” other members of their families. And each of them will pay taxes.
About ten years ago a study showed Tennessee taxpayers paid roughly $250 million a year to educate alien children. Another $30 million was spent teaching them English. We know the vast majority of these children will never leave the United States and if we keep graduating these illegals …. You want a crayon to connect the dots?
We talk about the homeless and the mentally ill who cycle though our jails and hospitals. We’ve got to break those cycles. I portend the illegal alien children in our schools are actually worse. It is safe to say that without a green card, any illegal is doomed to a life of poverty and the United States has yet another on the public dole. Then they have illegal babies and the predictable outcome is maddening.
In-state tuition for illegals is rank stupidity. The outcome is also quite predictable. But if we could pave the way for every illegal child to obtain “a green card,” that would equip that child far more than a reduction in college tuition that the majority will never use. “A green card,” officially known as a United States Permanent Resident Card, turns an illegal into a legal. It allows the holder to get a job.
Don’t be confused. A green card gives residency status only. After five years a holder may apply for American citizenship and the card must be renewed every ten years. It can be revoked and the holder deported.
We have our Volkswagen learning labs but my understanding is that an illegal can never work there. You can teach our illegals all you want but until we equip these children with what they really need, any hope of success is nullified.
They say it takes a couple of years to obtain a green card, to go through tests and interviews. We apply everyone in the fifth grade. By the time they finish junior high the hope is they will possess a green card and, duly equipped, find an after-school job. The day that happens, we’ll have broken the cycle.
One more: What they aren’t telling you is the colleges are pushing the legislature hard for the tuition discount … they are desperate for students. This just in: Valdosta State University, which is about 20 miles from the Florida state line, has just announced it will offer in-state tuition rates to eligible Tennessee students. What’s more, they’ve offered in-state rates to Florida and South Carolina for a number of years.
If I were running for governor, I would get some votes because of my Green Card belief. I would get a lot more by making pre-K education mandatory. When 50 percent of our tots are not ready for kindergarten, they fall behind in the first two months and play catch-up forever.
I believe the legislature should take a strong stand on what our children need rather than what some bona fide bozos dare think in-state tuition fees might appeal to illegals who have no visible incomes.