posted by Debbie Pelley at Sunday, April 10, 2005
Editors Note: A Doug Thompson article documents the procedural measures used by Senator Wilkins of Pine Bluff to give HB 1525 (education benefits for illegal aliens) one more possible chance.****************************** I hope we can all hold up one more week! If you can at all take the last e-mail I sent and copy and paste and send it on to all legislators or parts of it or your own thoughts. (E-mail addresses below) They have expunged the vote on SB1525 which gives scholarhips and in state tution to illegal aliens. (See the tricky way they did it below) They have amended, I think, the bill to take out the scholarships. Everything in the last e-mail "Reasons to Oppose HB1525 Summary" would still apply except for the place where scholarships are mentioned. Reasons To Oppose HB1525 SummaryThere are only one or two points that amending the bill to take out scholarships would affect (editors note: we later discovered evidence indicating that scholarships had actually been left in- the issue is still up in the air and that is reflected later in this report). 1. Even though these non citizen students do get scholarships or instate tuition and finish college, they cannot get a job. This point was made at the Senate Ed. Committee, and no one disputed it. The sponsor of the bill conceded this was fact. We have just witnessed Wal-Mart having to pay 11 million dollar fine for hiring illegal aliens. Senator Bisbee proved this point over and over at the Senate Ed Committee when he asked several people who testified for the bill, including college presidents, if they would hire an illegal alien after they finished their college. In each instance they had to say no. HB1525 does not solve any problems for the illegal aliens. These students would have to go back to their country and follow regulations to become citizens which would take years, or they would have to break our laws and get some employer to hire them, possible using identify theft of American citizens to do so. In each case Arkansas taxpayers would be footing the bill college education for citizens of another country. Non citizen students become detainable and dedportable at age 18 1/2 - about the time they would start their college career. 2. HB1525 still is illegal according to federal law based on TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 14 > Sec. 1623. The law still allows a citizen of another country to pay instate tuition while a citizen (resident) of another state is not allowed that same provision. [These particular students would be citizens of Mexico since this bill only deals with illegal aliens and not anchor babies. Anchor babies would qualify already] The sponsor said this bill was okay with the attorney general, but she was addressing the equality protection part and not this section of the law. This is the part of the bill that was the main question. Another attorney general in Kansas has also given the opinion that a similar law there violates federal law. TITLE 8 > CHAPTER 14 > Sec. 1623. "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident." The fact that students have to be residents of Arkansas to attend and graduate from schools in Arkansas [which Ken James concedes) is a basis of residency in the bill. Bisbee said on March 21 at Senate Com. Hearing - I will concede residency is in the bill. 3. This HB 1525 is deceptive in its requirement for the non citizen student to file an affidavit stating the student has an intent to legalize his immigration status. A constitutional lawyer has stated, "This appears to require the student to do the impossible." Under federal law illegal aliens are detainable and deportable and may be barred for 10 years or more from reapplying for legal admission to the United States." That fact was confirmed in the Senate Ed hearing on this bill HB1525 bill over and over. When they go to apply for citizenship, they may very will be deported. Senator Bisbee on the Senate floor made this point when he said this bill could hurt the illegal aliens more than help them if they followed through on the affidavit. To do so, they would be reporting themselves and their parents as illegal aliens and saying this is where we live. This requirement was evidently put there to deceptively make the process look simple and clean when it is everything but that. Representative Eliott, said more than once in eliciting compassion for them, that there was no mechanism in place for these adult students . 4. The amount of money this bill will cost is in all likelihood incorrect. I believe 249 students is supposedly the number of students the sponsor says this bill can affect. There seems to be no valid documentation on this. In Committee Hearing, Senator Bisbee said, " I guarantee there are 247 foreign nationals of one kind or another at the Rogers Senior Class in one school." Bisbee said this after asking the president of a college who was representing the Southern Arkansas Universities this question: "How in the world do we ascertain this is about 249 kids. We don't ask them when they enter public school this question." The answer from the President (think his name is Monroe) was "That is the number someone from the Department of Higher Ed gave us." 5. This bill is going further than Federal government goes or 44 other states in the union Six other states have enacted similar laws. That leaves 44 that haven't. It has been introduced but rejected for good reason in 17 other states. A law similar to this is being challenged in court in Kansas. Illegal aliens are not eligible for federal grants and scholarships like Pell grants. This fact was also brought out in committee [by Gene Jeffress] Why should Arkansas, which is the poorest state in the nation, think it can pick up the tab for educating illegal aliens and the possible litigation fee before richer states have tested it and before the federal government does so. Federal government does not allow these scholarships simply because it is against federal law to do so. 6. These scholarships given to citizens of other countries would deny citizens of Arkansas needed scholarships. (If the bill is amendment to take out the scholarships, the taxpayer would still be subsidizing the instate tuition the non citizens would ordinarily pay.) Any scholarship given to a illegal alien, a citizen of another country, could be one more scholarship that a citizen of Arkansas needs. Contrary to statements made by proponents that giving these scholarships to illegal aliens will deny scholarships to citizens of Arkansas. However, just two years ago we dropped the cap from 70,000 scholarships to 50,000 because we didn't have enough money. We took these scholarships back from these children because we didn't have enough money. Now we say we have a surplus to give to non citizens. [Jim they would be citizens of another country because this only deals with illegal aliens not anchor babies who are citizens.] I know at first reading of the amendment Jim you thought scholarships had been taken out but evidently this is not so.] 7. These non citizen students could not be drafted if our nation had to go back to the draft. Our citizens could have to drop out of college in such case of emergency and could lose their lives in war while these non citizens could continue to be educated at taxpayers' expense. This bill would, therefore, give advantages to illegal aliens over citizens. 8. Compassion is a wonderful thing. This issue is not one of prejudice but of priority. According to a veteran organization (not a conservative organization because it endorsed Barbara Boxer) reported that the government is spending four thousand times the amount of money on non citizens than for veterans. If there is a surplus in the funds for scholarship as proponents of this bill has indicated, why not give scholarships to children of veterans or to members of National Guard, to citizens who are willing to give their lives for the country. There are so many ways to use state dollars for Arkansas citizens. The opportunity to receive a college education is a gift. This is money that should go to citizens. Expunged means they can take another vote. They will still have to get 18 votes to pass it. There has been some dirty little tricks played on it already so we need to hang in there. Anyone who can come back to the Capitol and keep a watch should do so. As far as we can find out, we still have the votes, but all the lobbyists say, and from our experience we say, you can never tell until a clincher vote is put on it or the session is over. But often they amend it and make false claims about the amendment, and legislators are so busy they can be fooled. Better to be safe than sorry and to keep it on their minds. Make a point that the amendment still won't make it acceptable.
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