Thursday, June 05, 2008

Department of Higher Ed Says He Will Obey 1 Law But Disobey Another

Note the inconsistency in obeying the law in the statement made by the Director of Arkansas Department of Higher Education Jim Purcell, as reported by the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

"Purcell said it’s not his intent for colleges and universities to verify students’ legal status and to remove them from campus if they’re not in the country legally. It’s just to ensure they’re not afforded the privilege of paying the state-subsidized tuition rates, he said."

Note how Purcell is finally obeying one law (no more in-state tuition for undocumented students) because of pressure from the governor and disobeying another one (the one that bars undocumented students from college.) He says he is not going to remove students from campus if they're not in the country legally - not even in the country legally means they are here illegally and violating federal law.

If that is not enough, federal law, 8-USC-Section 1621, says you can't provide postsecondary education to illegal aliens unless the state passes a law to do so (see excerpts from law below with link). Arkansas has not passed such a law, so it is just as illegal to allow undocumented students to go to college at all as it would be illegal to allow them to pay only in-state tuition. And it is just as illegal as it would be to deny education for children of illegal aliens K-12.

Act 1621 is a federal law passed by Congress. Provision for education for K-12 education for undocumented students was just a court decision. Can you imagine how quickly a school would be prosecuted if they denied education to K-12 students?

Children of illegal aliens become illegal themselves and subject to deportation at 18 1/2 (unless they were born on US soil). Therefore, college undocumented students are unlawfully present here and cannot lawfully operate and hold jobs, so it makes no sense to use taxpayers' money to subsidize their education or to tempt them to steal a citizen's identity in order to get a job.

At legislative hearings on HB1525, in 2005, a bill to give scholarships and in-state tuition by Joyce Elliott, several presidents of colleges spoke in favor of the bill. However when asked one by one by a legislator if they would hire these students when they graduated, these university presidents all admitted they would not. They knew they had to answer this way; otherwise they would be confessing they would be willing to be involved in criminal activity by hiring them. They knew the law on hiring illegal aliens, but they either did not know the law on postsecondary education or chose to ignore it just as Arkansas Department of Higher Education Jim Purcell is doing now.

Even U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency Pat Reilly said, "The only way foreign nationals can attend college in the United States legally is through the agency's International Student Exchange and Visitors Program. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. cannot qualify for that program, Reilly said."

Spokeswoman Riley went on to say: "ICE is more worried about enforcing immigration law in the workplace, because it's the prospect of jobs that lures immigrants to the country illegally in the first place." In other words it is like the drug problem. The police can't go after the small fish; they have to concentrate on the big drug dealers. But that doesn't mean that other institutions should not do everything possible to follow laws on drug use; and so should state departments be following & implementing the laws on illegal aliens whenever possible.

I agree with Reilly that the college attendance is not the major issue in the battle; but it is major when laws are deliberately disobeyed and when there is ambiguity as to whether departments are obeying laws or not. And it is an important issue when the college educated undocumented students are tempted to steal an identity in order to "provide themselves and their families a better life" – at the expense of a citizen in Arkansas.

I wholeheartedly agree with and appreciate Governor Beebe's statement: "The law is the law. If you don't like the law, you try to change it in the way this country was set up and designed to change the law." (Quote from AP story by DeMillo) So when is Governor Beebe going to enforce the sections of the law that forbid postsecondary education for students since there is no Arkansas law that allows it?

Governor Beebe also said, "All of the major provisions it [the initiative] proposes are already covered by federal or state laws," We believe the problem with the in-state college tuition demand the very clarification the Secure Arkansas initiative will provide on this law and other laws and issues that will arise in the future.

I must say also that I think Beebe has done far more to obey the law on this issue than Governor Huckabee ever did. He has begun with a major step with the in-state tuition issue. We just wish he would get on board with Secure Arkansas so there would be clarification for everyone on these various issues and laws.

Also note the injustice in the situation described in the following quote of the same newspaper article in the Democrat Gazette referred to above. The exchange students that came here legally are the only ones scrutinized; the undocumented students who are here illegally are home free. “The Department of Homeland Security does not require any school to determine a student’s status.... DHS also does not require any school to request immigration status information prior to enrolling students or to report to the government if they know a student is out of status, the Homeland Security department stated, adding that the exception applies if the students came into the country on visas [legally] for exchange purposes."

This is the kind of problems our leaders and society encounter when they start picking and choosing which laws to obey – situations where a Director of a state Department emphatically states he will obey one law (deny in-state tuition) and disobey the other one (illegal aliens attending college). This reminds me of the situation where mass numbers of illegal aliens can protest in our street; yet one lady has three police cars dispatched on her when she is standing on a sidewalk by a post office collecting signatures.

There is no equality or justice when one person can disobey the law without intervention, and another one pays the consequences. Everything in our Constitution, and numerous courts decisions, is set up to provide equality and prevent discrimination. Enforcement of law for one person and non-enforcement for another is the worst type of discrimination.

The law:
8-USC-Section 1621. Aliens who are not qualified aliens or nonimmigrants ineligible for State and local public benefits
(a) In general
Notwithstanding any other provision of law and except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this section, an alien…..is not eligible for any State or local public benefit (as defined in subsection (c) of this section).

(c) “State or local public benefit” defined: [Law lists several but the following is one section of them.]
(B) any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government. See this link for the full law. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode08/usc_sec_08_00001621----000-.html
8-USC-Section 1621 (d) "A State may provide that an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States is eligible for any State or local public benefit for which such alien would otherwise be ineligible under subsection (a) of this section only through the enactment of a State law after August 22, 1996, which affirmatively provides for such eligibility.” [State & Local benefit is described in section B above which includes postsecondary education – but Arkansas has not passed such a law.]

Se this link for the law quoted above:: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode08/usc_sec_08_00001621----000-.html

Plyler vs. Doe - In 1982, this Supreme Court ruling determined that a K-12 education is a fundamental and protected right and will be provided to all children in the United States, regardless of citizenship or residency status

Read this story online at this link: http://www.wpaag.org/Immigration%20-%20Beebe%20obeys%201%20law%20-%20disobeys%20another.htm

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