I read the piece you submitted today for the Daily Bruin, expressing your opposition to the California Dream Act. First, I would like to applaud your self-initiated act of practical citizenship. I used to write for the Daily Bruin myself, and I know it's always good to feel students engaged in political arguments, even if we disagree. Secondly, I want to offer a response to some of the questions you posed the authors, which are some buddies of mine who I believe would not mind me taking this role. Here I go.
Have the reporters at all considered California’s concern with illegal (“undocumented,” to be politically correct) immigrants and the impact not only on the state’s economy, but also on the countless legal residents of California?
In fact they have, and found that the impact is good overall. You could categorize these three as rampant young radicals, but even prominent conservatives like the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley, who authored Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders, have explicitly abandoned GOP dogma and endorsed an open-immigration system into the United States. That’s because the state’s economy needs their contributions in order to ensure continuous growth. Benefits like in-state tuition and institutional aid then become minimal steps that are necessary for integration, that is why the California Dream Act is key.
Are the reporters aware of the process to apply for a visa (worker or student) or a green card?
No, they think that it is nonexistent. In fact, they have never in their lives filed a single form for anything. They go to 24-hour fitness by rushing past the front desk and get in the club by storming past securities.
I kid. But I think the question itself deserves a bit of teasing. Of course they know there are legal ways, but this is so far beyond the case of the typical AB540 student, who often find him or herself in a situation over which they had no control. (You can learn more about them in our publication, Underground Undergrads: UCLA Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak Out).
How is it at all logical to offer financial aid to those who are undocumented and illegally in the state, utilizing California’s resources without paying taxes, while there is hardly enough for those that earned it and qualify?
You are right on this one. Following purely logical arguments, our next step as defenders of state-minded denizens would be to boycott the part of the economy that benefits from these illegals. How can we do this?
First of all, don’t take your car to a car wash; opt instead for your local softball team or boy scouts fund raising. Also, let’s say, do not eat out anymore. Restaurants tend to hire too many busboys, cooks, and dishwashers at a price that is supported by the cheap salaries of those job-stealers. Do not, by any means, eat any fruits or vegetables as they may have been picked by illegals. Do not eat chicken. Do not eat beef. You know what, do not eat! And don’t watch Geraldo at Large, that mustache is just too suspicious. Just don’t really do anything, basically. Do not read this blog. That should drive them out.
As if it’s not enough that my measly paychecks are taxed, my money is going to the state to pay for the education of those who are not rightfully here. Where is the logic in that reasoning?
There is no logic in that reasoning. Deride taxes all you want, but do not discount the work of all the aforementioned tax-contributing, asset-holding, resource-creating, tuition-paying out-of-status immigrant workers, and their college-aged kids. Think about that one sentence for a second. In your previous questions, you highlight them as abusers of the system and circumventers
of the law. Riley, on the other hand, would call them the necessary foundation for our future prosperity. And allowing them access to the funds that they pay into (through their tuition monies) is a good step.
I understand that it’s crucial to offer opportunities to all, but aren’t our priorities the students who have earned their right to study here? It’s not our fault where we are born (I’m from Bulgaria, a former communist country with an indisputably poor public education system, and I’m here for a reason.), but there is something in our power to change that.
I like that you mention power. Is it individual power? Collective power? Flower power? When my grandparents were chased out of Ukraine by communism in the 1930s, they used their individual power. Same goes for my parents when they made the trek up to the States from Latin America in the 1990s. (I don’t write my country of birth for philosophical reasons). But when we talk about 'the power to change that' I invite you to think about the second-class citizenry we have created with our policies, and our collective power to change their status, and grant them full access that matches their contributions to our culture and our society. You don’t like that they are illegal? Join them in fighting for a path to citizenship like the one you had.
Is it true that undocumented students are really charming and sweet?
I don’t know either. But there is only one way you could find out. Let me show you L.A. as I know it. We could have a picnic in MacArthur Park and meet some of the local undocumented folks. Buy some street pupusas from the adamant free-marketeers that work out of the underground economy and the sidewalk kitchen. At the end of the night, we can have some California wine, cheer for those who produced it grape by grape, regardless of their immigration status. We will deride communism and praise Hristo Stoichkov!
OK, you didn’t really ask that last question, but still, what do you think of this response? There are more statistics here. I hope you appreciate this candid response and feel free to hit me back.