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Massachusetts to grant in-state tuition to DREAMers

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I know a popular Massachusetts governor who might be president someday. And, no, I’m not talking about Mitt Romney.

From the Boston Globe:

“Governor Deval Patrick will direct state colleges and universities Monday to allow young illegal immigrants to pay the lower resident rate for tuition and fees as soon as they obtain work permits through a new federal program, a senior administration official said Sunday. …

Patrick’s announcement dramatically slashes the cost of a college education for immigrants who until now had to pay out-of-state rates.

For example, the flagship University of Massachusetts Amherst costs $26,645 this year for nonresidents, compared with $13,230 for residents, while Bunker Hill Community College costs $5,640 this year for residents, compared with $13,880 for nonresidents. And Framingham State costs $8,080 for residents this year, compared with $14,160 for nonresidents.

Patrick’s decision comes less than two weeks after a contentious election season, and it is likely to rankle critics in a state where immigration has been a hot political issue. In 2004, the state Legislature passed a bill allowing illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition, but then-Governor Mitt Romney, this year’s Republican presidential nominee who just lost to Obama, vetoed the measure, and subsequent efforts failed.”

Critics of progressive immigration reform say the governor’s announcement is a bad move for the state of Massachusetts and the country as a whole.

Steve Kropper of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform argued that President Obama and Governor Patrick should focus on making school more affordable for American citizens, instead of making life easier for undocumented immigrants. “The Democratic Party’s position is not thoughtful about our own poor,” Kropper said on Sunday.

Patrick, however, is one of many officials who believe providing in-state tuition to youngsters who are undocumented through no fault of their own is the right thing to do, calling it a “matter of fairness” during a radio interview in October. “They didn’t sneak in,” he said, according to the State House News Service. “They were brought here by their parents. They only know one country and that is the United States.”

Of course, issues concerning the treatment of undocumented immigrants is highly contentious. Generally speaking, progressives argue that a distinction should be made between the adults who either come here illegally or overstay their visits and the children brought here by their parents. Conservatives, on the other hand, say that showing leniency to undocumented children only provides an incentive to parents to bring their children to the United States where they’ll be treated fairly and given the opportunity to legalize their statuses.

Both sides make strong points. But if we’re forced to choose between two wrongs, let’s choose the wrong that doesn’t allow innocent people to suffer through life needlessly.

That’s what Governor Patrick is doing in his state, and that’s what President Obama wants to do on the national level through the DREAM Act.

About Hector Luis Alamo, Jr.

Hector Luis Alamo, Jr., is the associate editor at Being Latino and a native son of Chicago's Humboldt Park neighborhood. He received a B.A. in history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where his concentration was on ethnic relations in the United States. While at UIC, he worked first as a staff writer for the Chicago Flame and later became the newspaper's Opinions editor. He contributes to various Chicago-area publications, most notably, the RedEye and Gozamos. He's also a cultural critic for 'LLERO magazine. He has maintained a personal blog since 2007, YoungObservers.blogspot.com, where he discusses topics ranging from political history and philosophy to culture and music.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. Horrible, it happened in my state…

  2. Grand!

  3. If you live in a state for years you should get in-state tuition. This is not a complicated issue.

  4. Uh ! This ought to be interesting… Wait for it… wait for it…

  5. Well they better educate themselves and get a high paying job because someone is going to have to pay for all the freebies in this country.

  6. ^ You mean, the Americans? lol

  7. Allowing in state tuition and actually being able to pay it are two separate issues altogether… However with the current state of our country I’m sure hard working tax paying wouldn’t mind picking up the tab…:-)

  8. I don’t see how some one could possibly think this is a bad thing.

  9. @gina do u even know how are tax system works?

  10. On paper it’s a very good thing, however, in real life, fraud and getting over on the system will be rampant as it always is.

  11. After awhile our system is not going to support ininiatives like this. Everything costs money and in the end the American tax payer will have to she’ll out the cash somehow. Obama supporters love to work with other folks money!

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