Illegals Issue Won’t Go Away

Some commentators suggested that Jerry Kilgore’s harping on the illegal-immigrant issue was no more than an election-year ploy. Now comes the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. According to Gary Robertson with the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

The council authorized its executive director to voice support in the legislature for admitting illegal immigrants to Virginia’s public institutions of higher education. …

Vice Chairman Bittle W. Porterfield III of Roanoke said illegal immigrants are living openly in Virginia and not much of an effort is being made to remove them. That being the case, Porterfield said, “we have the obligation to educate them.”

Council Chairman Alan Wurtzel of Delaplane said that if illegal immigrants have access to higher education, they can contribute to the economy rather than being a burden to it.

Looks to me like the what-do-we-do-with-illegal-aliens question is an ongoing one, not a campaign stunt. Next question: Do illegals residing in Virginia qualify for in-state tuitions?

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


11 responses to “Illegals Issue Won’t Go Away”

  1. Ray Hyde Avatar

    I don’t think we owe them anything. They are here illegally, let them deal with it.

    The question is, what do we owe ourselves? Do we owe ourselves a rule of law that is two faced or inadequately enforced?.

    Do we owe ourselves a white economy, black economy, brown economy, and gray economy? It is not just illegals that are underpaid, paid off the books, or taken advantage of.

    Do we owe ourselves the intellectual honesty to look at the situation without rancor and figure out how to make the best of it?

    Should we complain about them not paying taxes, or find a way to collect the taxes?

    We don’t owe them anything because they are illegal and they don’t owe us anything because they are illegal.

    It seems to me that if we think about it, we can both do better.

  2. NOVA Scout Avatar
    NOVA Scout

    Bravo, Mr. Hyde!

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Now comes the news that even the Massachusetts legislature has rejected a bill that would have allowed illegal immigrant students to pay the same in-state tuition at state colleges as Massachusetts residents.

    Supporters of the bill had argued that the children of illegal immigrants who have graduated from Massachusetts high schools should pay the same tuition as their classmates.

    Gov. Mitt Romney opposed the bill, and it went down to defeat Wednesday 96 to 57.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Two points here:
    1) I think that if a state allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, then they also have to allow students from any other state to pay in-state tuition. I believe this is federal law so if Virginia moves in this direction, its universities and colleges may be losing a chunk of money from out-of-state students, money it can ill afford to lose.

    2) It is illegal for any business or individual to knowingly employ a person who is in the US illegally. Why would VA – or any other state – be willing to subsidize the education of anyone who can’t be legally employed anywhere in the US? If any of our state colleges and universities have a pile of money lying around that they don’t know what to do with, please check down in SW Virginia. There are a lot of students down here who would be thrilled to get help with higher education costs.

  5. NoVA Scout Avatar
    NoVA Scout

    It’s a difficult issue given the 14th Amendment’s citizenship definitions. I suppose the states have considerable latitude in establishing criteria for “in-state” status or to grant other educational access, but are probably under constitutional obligations to apply those criteria in an equal manner to all similarly situated. A child of an illegal alien born (the child, that is) in the United States is, as I understand it, a U.S. citizen at least until they get around to amending the Constitution (I acknowledge that some feel this can be done by federal statute, but I don’t see how). The U.S. citizen child of an illegal alien living in Virginia probably has all the rights to state-sponsored education as any other U.S. citizen children living in Virginia. I haven’t studied up on this. so would be pleased to be put straight if I’ve missed something. But I posit that if indeed this is an issue, it’s probably not one the state legislature can solve on its own.

  6. If they can afford to send $14 to $18 billion dollars back home a year, they can afford to pay out-of-state tuition. Let’s put it this way, if they get in-state tuition, then regular and honest taxpayers would be subsidizing the continued illegal activity AND outflow of capital.

  7. NoVA Scout Avatar
    NoVA Scout

    wOOt: The first sentence implies that there should be some sort of means-testing for in-state tuition. I personally would not like to see that, but that may reflect my own financial position. Suffice it to say, the figures you cite are aggregates and say little about the financial capacity of any given household.

    Your next point is more complicated. The relationship between illegal immigration and tax policy is fairly gnarly. Illegal workers do contribute tax revenues, but the extent of the capture is defies accurate measurement. Not every dollar earned by every illegal alien is “untaxed.” However, having a handle on this income stream is one of the reasons the Adminsitration is trying to regularize the guest-worker concept.

    Capital outflows are neutral events economically (leaving aside the tax-tracking issues mentioned above). Money earned here (or in any other country) and expatriated (to here or any other country) generally does us no harm, and may do us considerable indirect good. That’s not an argument for illegal immigration. It’s simply a reason that can be taken off the board for being concerned about illegal immigration.

  8. Ray Hyde Avatar

    How much of the revenue that results from untaxed labor results in unreported and untaxed earnings to the businesses that hire illegals?


    Here is part of a post that connects illegals with housing afordability. It is from

    “Using Wikipedia to track down which cities where in which counties if they were not listed in the locality data, I put together the data and ran a correlation of housing (un)affordability (the higher the index the less affordable) against % of residents who were foreign born.

    The correlation was 0.74. For 72 US cities, a sizeable sample.

    If one excluded the five Texan cities (because Texas really does have a very anti-land regulation political culture), the correlation for the remaining 67 cities shot up to 0.82.

    You just don’t normally get correlations in social analysis that high. (A perfect correlation is 1.0).

    Basically, if a city has lots of foreigners (and is outside Texas), it has lots of restrictions on land use. (The issue is not simply population growth, a lot of the highly affordable cities have high population growth.) “

  9. Anonymous Avatar

    Right now, any child born to illegal immigrants in the US is recognized as a citizen and is entitled to in-state tuition just like any other citizen. This issue applies only to people who were brought to the US as young children but were born elsewhere and are therefore citizens of the country in which they were born. These children are not citizens any more than their illegal immigrant parents are.

    It should not be necessary to amend the Constitution to deny citizenship to children born to illegal immigrants. A simple federal law should do. The 14th amendment was passed to assure that slaves and their descendants were recognized as citizens, not to evade immigration laws. The one Supreme Court challenge that resulted in the recognition of a child born to non-citizens as a citizen (US vs Wong Kim Ark in 1898) involved a man born to legal Chinese residents who were ineligible to become citizens because they were Chinese and who had returned to China. There has never been a decision regarding the children of people in the US illegally.

    BTW the Center for Immigration Studies published a report in October 2005 that notes that an estimated 380,000 children were born to illegal immigrants in the US in 2002, about 1 in 10 births that year.

  10. NOVA Scout Avatar
    NOVA Scout

    Ray Hyde: I would think very little. The cost of that labor would affect the ultimate net income figure of a company, but it isn’t segregated in any visible way (e.g., “Payments to Illegal Immigrants”). Businesses have every reason to report all expense items. So my un-reseached surmise is that there is no direct tax impact on earnings for a company using undocumented workers.

    Anon: The wording of the XIV amendment is pretty clear. Your point is well-taken on the origins, but my sense is that it would require an amendment to overturn past practice. I know several Europeans who carry US passports simply because they were born here. Of course, this occurred when their parents were here legally.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    nova scout, I think the word “legally” is key here. There has never been a test of whether a child born to someone in the US illegally is a citizen. Years ago, there were so few that this wasn’t a problem. Now it is.

    BTW it isn’t exactly unusual for a SCOTUS decision to “overturn” a previous one, as in Brown vs Board of Education. I say let’s do the law first and let SCOTUS decide. Then if necessary do an amendment.

Leave a Reply