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Thursday, December 7, 2023

In-State Tuition & Identity Theft



In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: Getting the Facts Straight


The debate over in-state tuition for illegal immigrants is long on emotion and short on facts.   Just how emotional this issue is can be seen from an editorial in the Deseret Morning News. That editorial, in the opinion of many, crossed the bounds of propriety when it compared Representative Glenn Donnleson to George Wallace and then labeled the 55 to 71% of registered voters who, according to polls, oppose in-state tuition as racists. 


The editorial also unwittingly attacked Massachusetts Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney who, while Governor of Massachusetts, vetoed an in-state tuition bill for illegal aliens passed by the Democrat controlled state legislature and then played a key role in defeating it a second time several years later.  

Commenting on his 2004 veto, Governor Romney told the Heritage Foundation that “I didn’t want to create any incentives to have people move to our country illegally.” Two years later, following the resounding defeat of another attempt to pass an in-state tuition bill, Governor Romney’s spokeswoman said that "Governor Romney commends the members of the House who recognize, as we all do, that it is wrong to reward illegal immigration.”  

Unfortunately, the coverage of in-state tuition seldom includes the serious downsides of the program.  For example, news reports fail to point out that once illegal aliens graduate, they are still not able to legally work in the United States and if they do, they will have to commit multiple felonies including document fraud and possibly even identity theft in order to land a job with a reputable employer.


Nor does the media explain that if the new graduates leave the United States and then try to obtain legal work visas, they will not be able to return for a minimum of ten years due to their violations of immigration law. 


Likewise, the media fails to explain what happens when illegal aliens have to get a job in order to pay their college expenses.  Since they are illegally in the United States, if they get a job to earn tuition money or simply to pay their living expenses, they are violating immigration law.  If they work for a reputable employer who requires the completion of an I-9 form, they will have to present a Social Security card and some other form of identification.  Since they cannot legally obtain a Social Security number, they will have to commit document fraud, a felony, in order to get one.  If the Social Security number belongs to an American citizen or legal resident, as is so often the case according to Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, they will also have committed identity theft, another felony.  Finally, they will have falsified an I-9 which is still another felony.


So, Representative Donnelson, the up to 71% of registered voters, and Mitt Romney, all who oppose in-state tuition on sound public policy grounds, should not be discouraged by the Deseret Morning News’ mean spirited, personal attacks because, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, “I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left. 


Ronald W. Mortensen, Ph.D. is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served three tours in Africa.  He was the Director of HR and International Entry for SLOC and has recently completed humanitarian assignments for the U.S. government in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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