Dreamers — like it or not — are indeed out of state.
Strictly editorializing here, my position — translated leniency — regarding immigration reform is fairly well documented.
Broadly speaking, a digital fence designed to be able to project force into Mexico to combat drug cartels and narco-terrorism while permitting a Gingrich-style “red card” system for existing undocumented workers, plus providing a path for citizenship for the 700,000 “Dreamers” is the broad solution that was pilloried as “ayyymnasty!” by alt-right nationalists and their coterie of blogs in 2014… and is now on the verge of becoming actual policy with think tank backing under the Trump administration in 2018.
C’est la vie.
So it does strike me as somewhat beyond the Pale that Dreamers would push the envelope beyond merely gaining legal status, and demand in-state tuition to Virginia’s colleges and universities. From Justin Mattingly over at the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
“Tuition equity should not be prevented from any student in Virginia,” said Yanet Amado, a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Including folks from New Jersey?
“All people, regardless of immigration status, should be given an equal opportunity to attend the public schools in the state in which they reside,” Rawda Fawaz, a junior at the University of Virginia, said Tuesday.
Including folks from Massachusetts?
Twenty states currently offer in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrant students, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Virginia is not one of them.
Then go to one of those 20 states.
“We are not asking for free tuition. We are not asking for any handouts,” said Jessica Moreno-Caycho, a VCU senior. “All we are asking is to have the same privilege as our peers to attend colleges at the same rate that they are.”
As in, more privileges than someone from Pennsylvania?
Look — I consider myself to be a fair man. Generous, even, when it comes to second chances and extending the right for individuals whose only fault in wanting to raise a family, begin a career, start a small business, and mow their own patch of grass in front of a single-family home is that they came to America to do it.
I’m sympathetic to out of control post-secondary education costs as well. It’s a bubble that has no ceiling because you need that four-year credential to get a job. One empathizes sincerely with that cost.
…but pay out-of-state tuition like the rest of us.
Here’s the real rub — I’m a federalist at heart, neither a globalist nor nationalist but a patriot in the tradition of Virginia’s forebearers. America is a link of 50 different states, all federalized into one union. Strong links bind us (thank you, Mr. Lincoln), but Virginia has its own traditions, own institutions, own values, own history, own culture, own sense of place and time — and we choose to invest in such things as our 400-year “democracy of the dead” dictates.
At least, that is, until 49% of Virginia consists of “come heres” from New England and New Jersey… or elsewhere in America. Or India, Korea, Vietnam, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, South Africa, Luxembourg, Ireland, England, Texas or California.
One gets my point, and it’s a double-layered thing. Virginia is its people; Virginia traditions are inherited from those who knew Virginia as something seven generations of their family farmed and labored in. Precisely half of these Virginians don’t have those links to time and place, but they got here as fast as they could.
As for the Dreamers, one sincerely hopes that DACA ends and a pathway to citizenship commences in earnest, if for no other reason than Americans (and Virginians) are stronger with them than without them.
Yet once the process is fixed, adhering to that process is critical. Dreamers — like it or not — are indeed out of state.
The danger here is one of veneers. If this handful of individuals seeks to strip clean the veneer that this is about something more than “doing the right thing” and more about getting what we want beyond process — not victims of the “rule of law” but rather assailants — then by all means continue to grab more than what is being offered in the name of want and need.
…but one would like to think that, when conservatives such as myself wince at the idea of in-state tuition for those who legally do not reside in Virginia? It’s a stretch… and it’s not a visceral opinion at all — just a very serious and principled disagreement regarding what Dreamers should expect from a gracious host.