Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Pawlenty Playing Politics Pwith Pimmigration

More playing politics from Mr. Pawlenty this week - this time conflating public education and immigration! Oh joy:
Gov. Tim Pawlenty personally got involved in a House bill Tuesday because he opposes a move to let illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition rates at public universities and colleges.

The GOP governor asked Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, who heads the House Ways and Means Committee, to remove the tuition provision from a larger higher education bill. The panel was scheduled to consider the bill Tuesday.

"It is unfair to provide reduced in-state tuition rates to people who are not citizens or legally here," Pawlenty said in a letter to Knoblach and the rest of the committee.

The bill would give in-state tuition rates to Minnesota high school graduates who lived in the state for at least three years. If they were living in the country illegally, they would have to file an affidavit with the institution saying they plan to apply for legal status.

Democrats including Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, deplored the governor's move.

"He makes it sound as if these folks are trying to get away with something, when in fact they're good students, working hard," Mariani said.
This is a governor who has allowed tuition rates at state colleges and universities to skyrocket, fought tooth and nail against restoring inflation-indexed maintenance of public education funding (in turn forcing property taxes up at the local level in many areas), and he's talking about this issue being unfair?

Let me get this straight - a kid comes to Minneapolis from Mexico with his parents. He goes to high school, graduates, and applies to the U. With in-state tuition, he might be able to graduate in four years, becoming the highest-educated member of his family. Ever.

What do you think he's going to do, go back to Mexico and make a bunch of pesos? Nonsense! Much more often than not, that kid will eventually become a citizen and contribute to the social and economic fabric of Minnesota. Apparently Mr. Pawlenty thinks this is a bad thing. I can understand that he has his marching orders from DC on the immigration issue, but look at it this way - illegal immigrants about whom Mr. Pawlenty and his Beltway friends are wringing their legislative hands in earnest don't usually attempt to attend college. If they go through the public education system and want to attend a public university, I think it's safe to assume they're willing to contribute to their community and their adopted state and country.

More likely this is another stage of a political strategy designed to villify immigrants of all legal stata in an attempt to rally the conservative base to the polls in 2006. News flash, boys: if you think thinly-veiled racism is a winning political issue, you have more problems than even W's extraordinarily poor approval ratings can solve.

Blogger BJHokanson said:
nice... nalitteration.
Blogger lloydletta said:
The argument against the bill needs to be why the bill is a wrong or a bad idea - rather than it's divisive, or it's immigrant bashing - otherwise those opposing the bill will lose the argument in the battle for public opinion.
Blogger reslez said:
Heh, we don't even let Iowans pay in-state tuition. And don't forget foreign students are a big revenue source for our state universities.

Personally, I'd rather let these bright young kids jump the queue as soon as they graduate. Once they have a 4 year degree, why shouldn't they automatically become citizens if they want to? They've obviously proved themselves to be dedicated and hard working by that point. Then forgive the tuition difference. Retroactive instate tuition! For citizens.

Yeah, I know, it would never fly.
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