Immigration has been a hot topic for years in this country, but it has now reached new heights with Arizona's controversial new law that makes it a state crime to be in this country illegally. But the Grand Canyon State's stance on immigration may just be the leading edge of a coming storm.
A select group of students at Texas A&M University are certainly intent keeping the issue alive.
Three student senators at A&M have introduced a bill in the Student Senate to "oppose measures to give in-state tuition to persons residing in the United States illegally." At last report, the bill had 34 student sponsors.
First, a Student Senate measure at a Texas university actually carries no weight. Whatever the eventual outcome of the bill is, nothing will change. Tuition for public colleges and universities in Texas is set by the state legislature, which means even A&M regents have little control over the residency status of illegal aliens.
But the ramifications of this student bill could be huge — and will certainly keep the debate pot stirring on illegal immigration.
Already a Facebook group entitled "Aggies Against In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens" has popped up. It currently has over 1,100 members.
The concern itself is valid. Texas residents paid around $171 per semester credit hour at A&M in 2009-2010. Non-Texas residents paid $648 per semester credit hour. This doesn't include books, room and board costs and other miscellaneous expenses. It is estimated that a Texas resident will spend around $20,000 a year attending Texas A&M (and that is probably on the low side). So the benefits of being a Texas resident are obvious.
While it is certainly easy to agree with the sentiment of the Aggies' bill, is it actually the best route for Texas? It is hard to imagine a time in our future when our borders will be truly closed. So the question begs: Do we really want to make harder for illegal immigrants to get as much education as they desire?
Don't expect this debate to simply fade away.
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