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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

VIRGINIA OFFICIALLY MAKES CHILDREN OF IMMIGRANTS SECOND CLASS CITIZENS

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So much for the Equal Protection Clause in the US Constitution. And basic decency. American-born, US citizen children who have spent ever day of their lives in Virginia are not going to be eligible for resident tuition at state universities if they cannot prove their parents are in the US legally. Not kidding.



When I was a young lawyer, I had a case involving a young Kuwaiti-born student who was in the US when the first Gulf War started. He was born in Kuwait. His parents were born in Kuwait. His grandparents moved to Kuwait in the late 1940s from their native Palestine. But they never were able to become Kuwaiti citizens because they were Palestinian and during the Gulf War, the young student, like all other ethnic-Palestinian Kuwaitis, was barred from returning to Kuwait. He became an exile and while we succeeded in getting him asylum status in the US, he ended up having a nervous breakdown due to the stress of having to deal with never being able to go home. That's what we DON'T ever want to happen in this country. Punishing the children for the sins of the parents is un-American (and probably illegal).

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Comments

  1. b's Avatar
    Nuts! They should dig deeper and find out if the grandparents were legal. Should check if everyone's ancestors came legally with a visa.
  2. hmm's Avatar
    There is simple solution. In the mind of the law unauthorized parents do not exist until they are caught. So the prospective student could claim that their parent left the country and he lost contact with them.

    To be fair there is some logic behind the new policy. In-state tution is essentially a form of financial aid, and it is no secret that Colleges carefully look at parents' incomes and tax returns before giving out financial aid.

    But then again one could pretend the parents are not here anymore.
  3. b's Avatar
    This is a slippery slope. Next thing, only US born children of permanent residents, and then only US born children of citizens can be citizens.
  4. AD       's Avatar
    Since these kids are citizens they are entitled to their constitutional rights. Would't Virginia have to secede from the union to have these rules stand as is?
  5. JustAThought's Avatar
    So how about a compromise where we do not punish the children for the crime parents have committed?

    Give the kids of illegal immigrants in-state tuition (since that's what the issue is about) on the condition that the illegal parents will be deported in exchange. How's that?

    All the talk about "punishing the children for the parents' wrongdoings" is humbug. What next? Do not convict robbers, murderers, etc. if they have kids because the kids will suffer when parents are sent to jail?!

    Good luck America!
  6. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    That's still not equal protection and would be unconstitutional.
  7. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Oh, I am sure that ICE is already looking into who this student parents are. You know, why should they allow an American citizen speak up against an unfair policy?
  8. Child of Immigrants's Avatar
    I am the child of immigrants. The first one arrived as a 15 year old child in about 1635 and I'm pretty sure he was undocumented. Since it was Massachusetts, however, he probably got the instate tuition Virginia would deny him.
  9. hmm's Avatar
    "That's still not equal protection and would be unconstitutional.
    Posted by: Greg Siskind"

    Could someone explain to me how equal protection is applicable in this case? Why cannot the state make any rules for awarding in-state tution? Following the same logic, why is it constitutional to deny one kid financial aid (say the aid coming from the state) just because his parents happen to make a bit more money? I mean, why look at parents' incomes at all? They have no legal obligation to fund their children education so forget about parents. College students are adults and are entitled to equal protection. What am I missing here?
  10. JustAThought's Avatar
    hmm:

    I agree with you. Just because I earn a lot, my daughter is denied financial aid. Because of my fault that I studied harder and worked my way up the corporate ladder, my daughter now has to suffer.

    It is infuriating to know that what could have been my daughter's financial aid is going to a kid whose parents decided to break the law. I have nothing against this kid (I have everything against his parents but that's a topic to debate some other day), but financial aid should be on merit so my daughter as well as my kid are on equal footing.

    Child of Immigrants:

    Stop these inane comparisons. When Europeans landed in the US and drove the native Americans out, there was no federal law that prevented immigration. I am not justifying this but that's the reality. Now that we have laws in place, they should be followed. Your stupid comparison is analogous to saying you should be allowed to pee from a tree (without the law intervening) because your ancestors (apes, that is) would pee from a tree freely.
  11. hmm's Avatar
    I have to say that JustAThought is not the company I enjoy, and I have nothing against unauthorized immigrants, but just the same I do not see why the case in question obviously falls under equal protection.

    I think the state can make any rules in regard to financial aid, for example they could only award in-state tuition to those whose parents were born in the state and I suspect this would be quite legal. If not, please tell me why.
  12. hmm's Avatar
    Found a thoughtful discussion of matters around in-state tution rates for unauthorized immigrants. See for yourself: http://www.finaid.org/otheraid/undocumented.phtml
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