View From Lodi, CA: Illegal Immigrants Will Take Americans` College Places – At Taxpayer Expense


President George Bush`s dream of an amnesty for 4
million Mexicans illegally living in the U.S. reminds me
of a cork.

Push it down over here and it pops back up over
there.

Once again, amnesty is back on Bush`s front burner.

Two weeks ago, Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge

Castaneda
had a cozy chat with Secretary of State
Colin Powell. After their meeting, Powell announced that
he is “determined” to press ahead with this “very
important” issue.

The 9/11 attacks, which abruptly derailed last
summer`s amnesty freight train were, according to
Powell, a mere “detour…a diversion.”

Powell doesn`t identify the parties that see amnesty
as vital. Why should he embarrass himself?

And calling 9/11 a detour and a diversion is odd
language. I doubt if Powell would chose those words when
addressing the victim`s families.

I give the devil his due. I stand in awe of Vicente
Fox`s relentless, full-court pressure. And I remain
slack-jawed at Bush`s willingness to risk political
capital by resurrecting amnesty time and again despite
the disapproval of the American people.

Look at the high and the mighty that have paraded to
Mexico for the Fox seal of approval. Among them are
Bush, Powell, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Senate
Majority Leader

Daschle
, Senators Helms, Gramm, Domenici, Bunning,
Miller, Craig, Ensign, Biden, Chafee and Hagel.

Others include House Democratic Leader Gephardt,
California Governor

Gray Davis,
Georgia Governor

Roy Barnes
and Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn.

Now, according to a White House

press release
, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge
will head a delegation traveling to Mexico in March to
discuss a

“safe and secure border”.
No matter what the
announced agenda is, you can be sure it translates into
more migration from Mexico to the U.S.

But while Bush is having trouble mustering up
Congressional support for amnesty, the process is
underway nevertheless.

What you can`t get by hook, you can get by crook.

If an illegal alien has a Mexican

consular identification card
, a

driver`s license
and if his child qualifies for
in-state tuition rates, he`s got a good chunk of what
amnesty would provide.

Dozens of states are considering some or all of the
above. In our own besieged California, consular
identification cards are on the verge of statewide
acceptance, driver`s licenses for illegal aliens remain
high on

Governor Davis`s
wish list, and the Board of Regents
approved in-state tuition at the prestigious University
of California system

last week
in a 17-5 vote.

As with all immigration related issues in California,
the dilemma of tuition breaks for

bright, motivated but illegal
students has plagued
legislators for more than two decades.

And, as usual in these debates, the ultimate outcome
favored those here illegally.

Compassion has limits. California, already stretched
to the maximum, should—but unceasingly refuses to—face
reality.

An $11,000 discount in annual tuition to illegal
aliens attending UC schools does more than add to the
state`s looming $12 billion budget deficit. The message
to illegal aliens sent by the Regents is clear: Come to
California. College is on us!

In-state tuition for illegal immigrants is unfair
across the board. Sometime soon, a legal California
resident will lose his place at UC to an illegal alien.
And that student`s taxpaying parents will foot the bill.

On January 22, CNN invited UC Regent Ward Connerly
and Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante to debate tuition
breaks for illegal immigrants. Anchor Jack Cafferty
asked Bustamante (send
him mail
) why taxpayers should have to subsidize
college tuition for illegal aliens.

Said Bustamante elusively, “These young people are
all in the process of being legalized.”

“In that case,” pressed Cafferty, “why not wait until
they`re legal.” Bustamante had no reply.

Last week, I spoke with two of the five Regents who
voted against reduced tuition.

According to both, the Board of Regents caved into
heavy pressure from the Latino lobby. But neither “Nay”
vote was cast because of strong-arming.

Both Regents felt that the decision to grant in-state
tuition to illegal residents violated a federal law and
would not hold up in court. A class action lawsuit filed
by an out of state, legal U.S. resident who would not
qualify for the same tuition break as an illegal alien
is anticipated.

If you`re wondering what could possibly be next in
the continuing deference to illegal aliens, more bad
news is right around the corner.

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT),
Bush`s “point man” (translation: bag man), has
introduced H. B. 1918, the Student Adjustment Act.

See if you can guess which way Cannon (send
him mail
) wants to

adjust
things.

H.B. 1918 would

permit
any high-school student illegally in the U.S.
but with five years of good moral conduct to qualify for
college financial aid including Pell Grants.
Furthermore, those students would be exempt from
deportation and could immediately apply for permanent
residency.

Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the entire
bundle of bogus give aways–consular visas, driver`s
licenses, in-state tuition and abundant welfare benefits
now under consideration for legal immigrants but
non-citizens.

Once, the ballot box was the court of last appeal.
But in California, our gubernatorial candidates may be
Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee.

In a recent public statement, Richard Riordan, a
likely Davis opponent, expressed support for unlimited
welfare and education benefits to illegal aliens.

Craven pandering has replaced common sense and fair
play.

Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English
at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly
column since 1988. It currently appears in the


Lodi News-Sentinel
.