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Posted at 6:59 PM ET, 01/ 3/2011

Taking away immigrant students' chance to 'Dream'

By Maia Werbos, College Park

I read with outrage the statements of Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert) on the Maryland “DREAM” act [“Md. to weigh own ‘DREAM’ tuition act,” Metro, Dec. 30]. He argued against giving in-state college tuition benefits to undocumented immigrants who have attended Maryland high schools.

As a recent graduate of a Prince George’s County high school, I know from personal experience what the state is missing by not encouraging talented immigrant students to attend college here.

I am a U.S. citizen and lifelong Maryland resident, now attending the University of Maryland. A close friend of mine came to the United States from China when he was 8 years old. In his time here, he learned to speak English and adopted American values. We took AP American Government together. When he returned to China for a visit, he was repulsed by the corruption, censorship and the absence of democracy he saw there.

Yet, because of his parents’ inability to navigate the immigration system in the United States, he was unable to get U.S. citizenship. After our senior year of high school, he left for Canada, where he became a citizen and is now attending the University of Toronto. He’s in the school’s prestigious engineering science program.

Our state and, indeed, our country, have lost an intelligent student who believed in the American system as much as any citizen and who could have contributed much to this country.

I’ve met other immigrant students, and I believe that students who have grown up in the United States and attended our schools become part of our culture. Their hearts and minds belong to America, as much as those of native-born Americans do. Why should we treat them any differently?

By Maia Werbos, College Park  | January 3, 2011; 6:59 PM ET
Categories:  HotTopic, Maryland, education, immigration  
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Comments

Immigrant students already have a path to college and a path to citizenship. They just do not like what they need to do to follow that path. They feel they are entitled to something that American citizens do not even have. States have residency rules for in-state tuition. If I am not there long enough before starting college, I will have to pay outstate rates. So does that mean I have no chance to dream? No, I can still make my dream come but I will have to work harder.

I am tired of hearing all the whinning about not being able to get into a college by illegal immigrants. US citizens are not entitled to a seat in a college or university, why do you think you are?

Posted by: skramsv | January 3, 2011 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Visit the NumbersUSA and the ALIPAC websites and help fight illegal immigration.

In 2012, vote against every politician that supports illegal aliens.

Posted by: magyart1 | January 3, 2011 11:13 PM | Report abuse

First of all, it is not undocumented, it is ILLEGAL.

Anyone who is bright enough to attend "school’s prestigious engineering science program" should have been able to navigate the immigration system in the United States once he was a senior in high school, even if his parents could not.

Spare us of the sob stories.
Why should the illegal get in-state tuition if a citizen from another state cannot ?

Posted by: observer31 | January 3, 2011 11:26 PM | Report abuse

No more needs to be said,the first & third posters nailed it.I got nothin'.

Posted by: 1andrew1 | January 4, 2011 12:04 AM | Report abuse

No more needs to be said,the first & third posters nailed it.I got nothin'.

Posted by: 1andrew1 | January 4, 2011 12:05 AM | Report abuse

I’ve met other immigrant students, and I believe that students who have grown up in the United States and attended our schools become part of our culture. Their hearts and minds belong to America, as much as those of native-born Americans do. Why should we treat them any differently
---------------------------------------------
Because the state legislature has provided for certain rules to receive in-state tuition, a subsidy of the people of the state.

Because the federal government has established certtain rules for students to study in the United States which are followed by thousands of immigrants, who somwhow have the ability to "navigate" the system that an AP and an engineersing student don't

That in-state tuition should at most be provided to those immigrants who follow the rules, despite their ocmplexity (perhaps caused by other immigrants trying to jmump in line and avoid the effort).

BTW, an immigrant who does not follow the rules, despite their complexity, is not a person who believes in the American system (unless belief is attempting to jump in line to obtain advantages that other immigrants, doing it the right way, do not do.

I was unaware that the Canadian system has a tenet that when things are just too hard to proceed following the rules, that the rules can be ignored, if to the person's own benefit. I am certain that the Candadian Ambassador did not learn this in any Canadian class that I am aware of.

Posted by: PALADIN7E | January 4, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

It seems your Chinese friend managed to fulfill his dream with out the US government paying for it. Obviously he did NOT need the Dream Act. (I wonder, did he apply to university in Canada as a foriegn student? You know, something he could have done in the US)

BTW - Are his parents still squating in the state? Occupying a job they're not entitled to? Have they stolen a SS Number or an identity? How many felonies have the parents committed?

Posted by: ThoughtCrimeFormerlyExpat1 | January 4, 2011 2:32 AM | Report abuse

They are not immigrants, nor are they undocumented. They are illegal aliens.

And if they are breaking laws to be here or stay here, they do not embrace American values.

Face it, the Dream Act is just a way for illegals to continue to be pampered, to continue to circumvent the process because rules and laws simply do not apply to them -- in their viewpoint.

American citizens and *legal immigrants* have had enough of listening to illegals and their apologists whining about "mean" America and their "entitlements." (Not to mention the snide remarks made about "lazy" and "old" Americans, typically white. And we know how illegals feel about blacks.)

We're tired of our citizenship being hijacked, economic and social services being abused, jobs being taken, identities stolen, neighborhoods trashed, escalating crime and gang activity, and the general chaos of a group of people within America who won't speak our language, who wave a foreign flag, leech on our systems -- and then have the nerve to make demands.

This will be the year Americans fight back against the invaders and squatters.

And as for those of you who are "outraged" like the author: if the illegals you know are "repulsed by corruption" and other problems in their countries of origin -- PUT YOUR ENERGY INTO HELPING THEM MAKE A DIFFERENCE THERE. Let them use what they have gained in America, *at taxpayer expense*, to make heroic changes in their countries of origin.

Illegals have worn out their welcome in a country that never asked for them, anyway.

Posted by: wmpowellfan | January 4, 2011 3:39 AM | Report abuse

Canada understands that immigrants create value: They generate economic output, they pay taxes, they create demand for goods and services, high-skilled immigrants contribute with know-how, many immigrants have entrepreneurial instincts and bring new ideas.

However, some Americans feel under siege from hard-working, highly self-motivated immigrants. What is lacking is leadership from Obama. His refusal to lead and make comprehensive immigration reform a priority is causing further deterioration and the states are stepping in to fill the vacuum that the federal government has left.

Posted by: mehuwss | January 4, 2011 7:11 AM | Report abuse

One traditional way of achieving citizenship is to serve in the American military. I do not believe Congress has acted to block that route. Why don't the "illegals" enlist? Why don't dream act supporters include other forms of public service, so that a term (perhaps four years) of public service could lead to American citizenship. We are talking of young people, so why not? Also, it might be pointed out that active duty in armed forces would help pay for college educations.

Posted by: sailhardy | January 4, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

If Ms. Werbos' friend was an illegal alien, then how is it that he managed to return to China for a "visit"? And if he was able to return to China for a visit, then just what is the obstacle to him applying for foreign student visa to come here, just as a record 691,000 foreign students studying in the US this year did?

Fact is, illegal alien "students" ARE able to apply for foreign student visas if they do so before the bar kicks in for them at age 18 1/2.
There's no reason at all to offer these "students" any better deal than the chance to follow the existing laws. It's certainly extremely unfair to legal foreign students and legal immigrants as well as to Americans to reward those who lie, cheat, and jump lines. While we don't hold children responsible for their parents' actions, at age 18, the decision to be here illegally becomes the child's responsibility. To give him what the parents' broke the laws of this country to get, legal residency, is to reward bad behavior and to encourage more of it.

Posted by: Ali4 | January 4, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Canada understands that immigrants create value: They generate economic output, they pay taxes, they create demand for goods and services, high-skilled immigrants contribute with know-how, many immigrants have entrepreneurial instincts and bring new ideas.
---------Illegal aliens are NOT "immigrants", but people who choose to avoid the selection processes that this country has in place, such as they are. (Note that most immigrants to the US are FAMILY members, NOT skilled workers.) Canada is also highly selective as to the immigrants it accepts, far more so than we are. In fact, Canada is now requiring Mexicans to have visas to enter Canada, because Mexicans were abusing Canada's asylum process and the generous benefits it offers while the aylum claim is being processed.

However, some Americans feel under siege from hard-working, highly self-motivated immigrants. What is lacking is leadership from Obama. His refusal to lead and make comprehensive immigration reform a priority is causing further deterioration and the states are stepping in to fill the vacuum that the federal government has left.
-----------Mehuwss, Americans feel "under siege" by illegal aliens who depress wages, displace Americans from jobs, and use social services that the taxes they "pay" come nowhere near covering. Illegal aliens not only displace Americans from jobs, but also from paying taxes and SS and from consumption of goods and services. Furthermore, in displacing Americans, illegal aliens also stick American taxpayers with the added costs of paying for unemployment and welfare for unemployed Americans. If these illegal aliens were as hard-working and entrepreneurial as you claim, then just how is it that their own countries haven't benefited from those abilities? And don't their own countries need them far more than we do?

Posted by: mehuwss

Posted by: Ali4 | January 4, 2011 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Their path to citizenship is to leave here and then apply properly from the place where they belong.

Posted by: jescpa7 | January 4, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

The parents were unable to navigate the immigration system in ten years? Then fix THAT problem. Don't carve out new ways for illegal aliens to be legal.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | January 4, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Road to citizenship for illegals, is to start at Go, which is back in Mexico. If we want you we'll call. If we dont call you, have a nice life. And dont forget to take your anchor babies with you, because we dont want them here. You snuck them here, not us.Clean up your act now and go home illegals. A better life just across the border is waiting...M-E-X-I-C-O!!!!!!!

Posted by: smartoneTX | January 4, 2011 8:31 AM | Report abuse

so its okay for citizens or legal immigrants to lose their university spot to an illegal?

Posted by: scoran | January 4, 2011 8:34 AM | Report abuse

This is the original poster, weighing in to clear up some confusion.

My friend was never here illegally; he was on a family visa, his father on a student visa.

In theory, once he turned 18, he could have gotten a student visa, stayed in the States alone, without his family, for four years, and then tried for citizenship.

I think it was a matter of risks vs. benefits for him. The Canadian system offered him and his family a clear path to citizenship, and peace of mind as a student. If the original DREAM act had passed, so that he could get his citizenship by getting a degree, which he was going to do regardless, then he probably would have stayed.

I'm personally in favor of any measure that says to immigrant students, legal or illegal, "You are welcome here," though giving them in-state tuition before citizenship seems to be putting the cart before the horse.

Regardless of their parents' crimes, once they have been in our schools for years, immigrant kids become very much like American kids.

I don't think it's fair to kick them out and say, "Sorry. You're done growing up here, time to go back to a country you haven't seen in ten years. Hope you like it!"

Posted by: mwerbos | January 4, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse


Oh, Cry me a river! Booo hooo hoo!
First of all it is not 'IMMIGRANT STUDENTS'and it sure as heck ain't "NEW AMERICANS" The term is "illegal alien invaders!" The parents are to blame for placing this "heartache" on their children.I owe them NOTHING.

If someone wants something bad enough they will find a way to obtain it.Go back to your country of birth and go to college. Then apply for US citizenship the proper way and wait in line. I am tired of the "entitlement mentality" that LA RAZA and CASA de MD preach. When you are 18 you are an adult. Life isn't easy. Deal with it. Go to plan "B"
Ladies and Gentlemen: are you tired of the illegal alien traitorous pandering politicians in Maryland? Please join "Help Save Maryland"and do something about it. If you are in another state START A GRASSROOTS movement of your own. Also please go to FAIR and ALIPAC and get involved.Please get off your butts and do something about this!
We are losing our country when "Citizenship" is thrown around in this disgraceful manner.

www.helpsavemaryland.com


Posted by: roxy1 | January 4, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

This writer ignores the key question in the immigration debate: Who should make the immigration policy of the United States? Should it be the United States or should anyone who wants to come here have the right to come here? If you believe in the first, you will have immigration laws, you will tell people they cannot come here, and so forth. If you believe in the second, you will have untold millions of people wanting to come here.
In the case in question, this family for whatever reason was denied the right to live here. If you believe in the right of this nation, this is the way things should be. If you do not believe this nation has a right to have immigration laws, you will say this student should be allowed to stay.
If anything, this story shows the failure of this nation to enforce immigration laws. The time has come to become serious about immigration enforcement. The first place to start is to have a national ID. The second place to do is require this ID for everything in this country. Finally, the time has come to do away with Plyler. Then and only then can we regain control of immigration.

Posted by: jeffreed | January 4, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

1) Their parents may be illegal alien invaders. But once kids hang around YOUR kids, in YOUR schools, for a few years, they start to become their friends and our students. It doesn't make sense to kick them out as "aliens." They're not anymore.

2) It's not the kids who lose the most. It's us. Call me biased; I did, after all, lose my best friend because he was unsure of his citizenship here. I know there are smart students like him out there. And we *don't* want them to leave. We want them to contribute their ingenuity and hard work to this country. They don't just take jobs; they pay taxes and create more demand to create more jobs. (God knows we need more and better American engineers.)

Sure, if they want it bad enough, they will get it. But why make it harder for them?

If you say a young immigrant who has been in American schools is an 'alien invader', I doubt you have met one. And if you kick them all out, it is your loss, not theirs.

Posted by: mwerbos | January 4, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

mwerbos, your friend wouldn't have qualified for the Dream Act in any event, under the conditions you stated. The Dream Act applied ONLY to illegal aliens who had entered the country illegally or became illegal before age 15. If your friend was here LEGALLY, albeit on a non immigrant visa, he wasn't eligible for it.
Of course, your friend might have been able to lie and get away with it, since the enforcement provisions of the bill were non existent.

Furthermore, while it's true that illegal aliens who have grown up here may become your friends, that still doesn't make them Americans. I've taught overseas in the Middle East and have friends and students THERE. Should they get preference in immigrating here solely because they're MY friends? And they're not even breaking the law.

Also, you summed it up very well: your friend had the opportunity to come here legally but he didn't want to take the risk. There are 691,000 foreign students who are now legally in the U.S. and taking the risk that they won't be able to stay. Not being willing to take the risk of rejection is a lousy reason for us to give amnesty to people who choose not to follow the law.

Posted by: Ali4 | January 4, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

mwerbos wrote:"2) It's not the kids who lose the most. It's us. Call me biased; I did, after all, lose my best friend because he was unsure of his citizenship here. I know there are smart students like him out there. And we *don't* want them to leave. We want them to contribute their ingenuity and hard work to this country. They don't just take jobs; they pay taxes and create more demand to create more jobs. (God knows we need more and better American engineers.)
----------You fail to mention that the Dream Act as written was NOT only or even primarily for "smart" students. Anyone who CLAIMED to be under age 30, to have entered before age 16, and to have a GED or high school diploma would have gotten a 10-year WORK VISA. Note that none of this would really be verifiable, even if the act required that the administrators look very closely. It didn't. In fact, there was every incentive for fraud, because information in the application couldn't be used to deport you. And even if the 2.1 million people estimated to be eligible for the bill never completed the 2 years of college (no degree required) or military service, do we really believe that this Administration would deport anyone? And what would have happened to the PARENTS of those who got work visas? Think anyone was going to deport THEM?

Sure, if they want it bad enough, they will get it. But why make it harder for them?
----------If they want it badly enough, then it SHOULD be hard for them. After all, their parents took the "easy" route of ignoring our laws and the kids have had the benefit of "free" K-12 educations, something that would-be LEGAL immigrants don't get. Again, if illegal alien children want to go to college here, then they can do it on the same terms as LEGAL foreign students. Or, they can hope for an EVENTUAL way to legalize, say, through U.S. citizen family members. To make it easy for them, which is what the Dream Act does, is to reward breaking the law and will result in even more illegal immigration, just as the 1986 amnesty did.

Posted by: Ali4 | January 4, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Ms Werbos:

Do you really think you elicit sympathy by omitting the word 'illegal' before immigrant? Do you really think bluring the two very different situations is not dishonest?

Finally, I have always held an affection for Ireland. Should I just go there and begin to demand benefits reserved for her own citizens? If not, why not?

Posted by: boog44 | January 4, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

As several posters have stated before,your use of the title "Immigrant" is inappropriate. This individual was not a legal immigrant in this country. He as well as his family members were without proper documentation,and went outside the normal immigration process because it suited them.There are many very bright American students,some don't have access to AP programs,some have limited spacing because it costs money for these courses. You personally take much for granted.Would you have been willing to give up your seat in the AP class,your seat at the college of your choice,give up access to financial aid dollars and finally the job you would hope to have at the end of this road?
We currently admit approximately 1 million new Legal immigrants every year. This is higher than all the countries around the world who have admit new citizens through an immigration process. Our system isn't broken,it has been corrupted by greed.In addition,this country has 18 special jobs/visa programs that are always maxed out.American citizens aren't eligible or even get to fairly compete for these jobs. There is no room for people to show up and expect to be given access to our tax dollar driven benefits.You have personalized this issue,in the mean time you completely disregard the other students and young people that are being hurt by your cavalier attitude. In closing,Maia,go to the Thursday Washington Post,read the story about the young man living in New Jersey who served in our military and was not able to find a full time job on his return home,he is working part time at $7.50 an hour.He's a veteran. Check into the Engineering professional groups look at their unemployment rates,and especially at the rate for African American Engineers.
Go visit your friend in Canada,keep in touch,but don't expect to skirt around doing the right thing because it's convenient.

Posted by: ceilimom | January 4, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

yes, Ms. Werbos, if I wish to live in Italy-i'd be willing to clean toilets 12 hours a day if need be. the Italian goct. is NOT going to let me stay because "I want a better life." I also highly doubt that the Italian govt. is going to educate my children for 12 plus years AND then let them stay to go to college thereby taking a spot from an Italian citizen's kid. Frankly, where else in the world besides the U.S. do people get catered to because they come from another country? Did your friend's family or your friend ever thank any citizen for being allowed to be educated here? Think about it-did their business or job impact anyone else's business or job? Did they own a house someone who has paid into the govt. for years could've been living in for that time? Yes, diversity is wonderful-unfortunately other countries do not have the same outlook ours had.

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 4, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Maia,
This story keeps evolving.The father was here on a student visa,your buddy on a family visa.This whole thing is getting stranger by the moment.
You say,"They don't just take jobs; they pay taxes and create more demand to create more jobs. (God knows we need more and better American engineers.)"First off,as I wrote earlier,we have numerous bright,highly educated Engineers,Architects,Physicists,Scientists and a host of other disciplines with degrees that are beyond the Doctorate level, they are Americans who Can't get work.We have students that would love to go to Medical/Dental school they aren't getting into schools here in the USA. They have the qualifications yet they admit foreign students,not American students irregardless of their ethnic make up.
The visa system is corrupted,especially the student visa program.The dad was in graduate school for ten years,how many degree's did he get and from where?
Your buddy wouldn't have qualified for the Dream act with his family visa.
Shumer,Guteirrez et.al,the crafters of the Dream Act created a flawed piece of legislation,as flawed as the 1986 Amnesty with Ronald Regan at the helm promising,"Never again". The age qualification was up to 30 years at one point, this goes beyond even people that came before the 1986 Amnesty.The background checks proposed were a joke, especially with individuals who had already been guests of our criminal justice system,they would still qualify for the Dream Act.There was no mechanism to stop further waves of illegal aliens,whether brought here by adults or if they arrived via human traffickers.This country can't keep deportee's out and the government and business groups don't want the loss of cheap labor and or prospective voters,especially the Hispanic voters(they are very special,very important to both political party's).
Maia,if you are real,I suggest you take a look at the millions of Americans that have lost their jobs,their homes and any sense of direction or hope that tomorrow will end their nightmare.Think of those high school students that are homeless,won't have a chance to graduate with their classmates.How many American children had to leave college because they don't have the money to continue and there certainly aren't the jobs available for them to work and go to school.
Shame on the Washington Post for supporting the Dream Act and the continual pity party for the poor undocumented aliens. Try having some perspective on the plight of American citizens who can't find their American Dream!

Posted by: ceilimom | January 4, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

After they pay for the stolen high school education they can pay double for college

Posted by: bulldogss | January 4, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

ceilimom wrote:"Maia,if you are real,I suggest you take a look at the millions of Americans that have lost their jobs,their homes and any sense of direction or hope that tomorrow will end their nightmare.Think of those high school students that are homeless,won't have a chance to graduate with their classmates.How many American children had to leave college because they don't have the money to continue and there certainly aren't the jobs available for them to work and go to school.
--------------
Good point. I just returned from a visit to Michigan and one of the news stories there was about the massive number of homeless K-12 students, estimated at more than 22,000 statewide.

Posted by: Ali4 | January 4, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Attention illegal aliens: just because you managed to cross our borders unlawfully does not give you a right to stay. America has the most generous system of LEGAL immigration on earth, but there will never be room enough for the 5 billion who live in nations poorer than Mexico.

Stay home and fix your own countries. And stop ruining ours with your anarchy and unreasonable demands.

Posted by: BerkeleyBW | January 4, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The dream act is the first step to amnesty. During the immigration reform debate a couple of years ago it was argued provisions should be enacted for extended family member of illegals to immigrate here. The reasoning is it was inhumane to keep separated family. Will that same argument be used for the parents of those illegal children? YES It is unpatriotic to vote for the dream act, it places illegals above the interests of citizens.

Posted by: kimdkendall | January 4, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The dream act is the first step to amnesty. During the immigration reform debate a couple of years ago it was argued provisions should be enacted for extended family member of illegals to immigrate here. The reasoning is it was inhumane to keep separated family. Will that same argument be used for the parents of those illegal children? YES It is unpatriotic to vote for the dream act, it places illegals above the interests of citizens.

Posted by: kimdkendall | January 4, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The dream act is the first step to amnesty. During the immigration reform debate a couple of years ago it was argued provisions should be enacted for extended family member of illegals to immigrate here. The reasoning is it was inhumane to keep separated family. Will that same argument be used for the parents of those illegal children? YES It is unpatriotic to vote for the dream act, it places illegals above the interests of citizens.

Posted by: kimdkendall | January 4, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I was given the opportunity to get educated. I paid for my classes without any financial aid. After I was done with my advanced classes in philosophy, American lit and political science, I had to work as a mechanic because I was not legal.

I took this unpaid internship at an immigration law firm in Washington DC. I also mentored kids in my spare time. I got my first paid legal job back in middle of 2007. I worked only 15 hours per week. But, the practice grew so fast that I became a full time employee by the year 2008.

Things even got better during the past two years, to the point I was able to assist homeowners in the desperate attempts to save their homes. Whites, Blacks, Asians, you name it, I help them all.

I still dreaming about becoming an attorney. I keep on working hard everyday to provide for my legal resident mother, age 62. I do it because I hold the almost extinct American ideals of Benjamin Franklin.

I wish I had a shot at the American citizenship. I think I have done enough to deserve it. I am going to fight to the end to stay. I am not done yet.

Thanks.

Posted by: Carrick319 | January 4, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Weighing in again to address some themes I see appearing in these comments.

"Would you give up your spot in college, in order for your friend to have the opportunity to go to college?" In a word: Yes. But that's personal.

Thanks, everyone, for the clarifications about specific provisions of the DREAM Act. I understand that my friend is perhaps not the best example of someone who would be specifically helped by this Act... BUT he stands for a far more important general principle.

And that is that immigrant students, legal or illegal, grow up here. They listen to American music, dress in American clothing, talk like Americans, act like Americans, think like Americans.

And, legal or illegal, they are subject to their parents' decisions. Good and bad.

There is nothing fundamentally different about them because they were born in another country. Many Americans were born elsewhere and come here.

Their friendships and their affinity for America is fundamentally different from other friendships and other affinities ('I like Ireland, why can't I just go live there?'). It's NOT the same. Think back on your own childhood friendships and ideas. Youth is when we form the most important parts of our identity.

For those two reasons - the strong bond they form with America in our schools, and the fact that they are not culpable for their parents' decisions - I think students who have already attended American schools should be given more chances for citizenship than other immigrants.

This is not to say that I think their parents should have come here illegally in the first place, nor that it is fair that they got places in our schools. But our economy grows; enrollments expand. It's not as though once we run out of spots in elite colleges, there will be nothing for other students to do. And personally, I think spots in college should go to the most deserving, regardless of heritage.

To illustrate my point about acclimatization, I had some Mexican friends in high school who were so Americanized that they would make fun of border-hopping the same way some immature native-born kids do. Sad, isn't it?

Posted by: mwerbos | January 5, 2011 12:06 AM | Report abuse

'There is nothing fundamentally different about them because they were born in another country.'

Well, actually there is.

First, about 85% of those likely "DREAMers" will be eligible for affirmative action preferences based upon their ethnicity as soon as they are legal.

Second, they will be allowed in time to sponsor extended family into the US.

Name me another country where immigrants are instantly upon legalization granted preferential treatment over most citizens and where immigrants who have been in the country for a short amount of time and who may also hold citizenship in their country of origin are allowed more say over whom we let into the US than those whose ancestors - as well as they themselves - have fought our wars, paid our taxes, & built the US into the country that draws immigrants from all over the world.

Why would anybody support this?

Posted by: dflinchum | January 5, 2011 8:29 AM | Report abuse

'There is nothing fundamentally different about them because they were born in another country.'

Well, actually there is.

First, about 85% of those likely "DREAMers" will be eligible for affirmative action preferences based upon their ethnicity as soon as they are legal.

Second, they will be allowed in time to sponsor extended family into the US.

Name me another country where immigrants are instantly upon legalization granted preferential treatment over most citizens and where immigrants who have been in the country for a short amount of time and who may also hold citizenship in their country of origin are allowed more say over whom we let into the US than those whose ancestors - as well as they themselves - have fought our wars, paid our taxes, & built the US into the country that draws immigrants from all over the world.

Why would anybody support this?

Posted by: dflinchum | January 5, 2011 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Werbos.
You may selflessly elect to give up YOUR spot in college so that an illegal alien can go to college. I would like to know if you would elect to have YOUR child give up their spot in college for the sake of your friend's child. Yes, you may not mind a portion of your income going to "help" others who are less fortunate. That is commendable. The reality is that there are only enough "spots" in college. So, are you going to admit to your child that "Sorry, I know the competition is tough-maybe my friend's kid will give you a job WHILE you work and wait to go to college."?

Posted by: stopthemadness | January 5, 2011 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Foreigners illegally invade our country by the thousands daily because they can get free health care in our emergency rooms, free educations, welfare payments for having babies, work for cash and take our jobs. Still they beg for more! What? No free college, too? Let's get rid of the politicians that encourage this nonsense in 2012!

Posted by: TaxpayerCitizenMom | January 5, 2011 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Regardless if he is illegal here of not how is it his fault. He is in the US because his parents brought him. Why should a child pay for a crime that they did not commit? FYI the DREAM act does not give students Grants, it will allow them to apply for loans to pursue their degree. Really 3xs the tuition cost is ridiculous. Most of these students came into the US at a age they were not able to give consent. So a 18yr old that has been in the the US since they were 4 is going to be deported for being an illegal immigrant? To what country? Where they came from? How is that possible if they are just as American than any US born? They are just as American as me. Applying for a student Visa is easier said than done. People commenting here do not know any immigration laws. By now the only way for people to become legal at that age in through marriage. If you leave the country you are not granted the right to be able to return. It's like us going to live in Peru or something. They feel just as lost as we would. I mean if you arei n a country becasue of your parents actions, illegal or not, have been here for over 5yrs befroe the age of 16 and fully functioning child that has graduated high school and good morals. Let them go to college and earn their legal ststus. If you don't, it doesn't mean they are leaving. trust me they aren't in the end they are still better off here illegal than they are back where they came from. But the likelihood that they would be able to provide for the US born children they will be having in the US will be slim. That in the end is going to be where your tax dollars will be ending up going. To support US citizens born of illegal immigrants because they were never allowed the chance to the American Dream. Then lets see who will be crying.

Posted by: jessrodriguez717 | January 5, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for this and there is more. I've been writing my Congressman about making it easier for graduating international students (master's & PhD level) to move from student visa to full citizen. Any support would be appreciated. I'm in engineering research and I see a scary trend.

50 years ago, the U.S. led the world in technology. Since then, that has changed. International students who complete their studies here are forced out of the U.S. (by the U.S.). Those are the people that we should try to keep here; they offer immediate economic stimulation and a future stronghold on technology. We would win.

Most graduates want to stay here and contribute to the country they have grown to love. When they are forced out, they take with them the technology that they learned here. They take it back to China, India, Taiwan, etc. They learn to make our devices cheaper, faster, better. We are losing. Note that research-level science and engineering university attendance in the U.S is 85% non-U.S. citizen. Astonishing.

All that talk from Washington about education and working to base our economy on SOMETHING (because right now, it's not based on anything), but we are pushing out a great resource: our highest educated minds. Why try to stop them as they enter college? Let's try to keep them when they have completed.

Posted by: ebeth11 | January 7, 2011 12:53 AM | Report abuse

This is to those who worry about a "foreigner taking our kids' college seats".

Think about our youth. Maybe I'm just exposed to a bad brood, but among the U.S. citizen youth I know, the majority of them are defeating themselves. They just want to play video games, smoke pot, and be cool in front of their friends by showing off their addiction to expensive electronics and name-brand clothing (which they will not likely have the capacity to sustain in their adult life). The few that are smart and ambitious from the start have absolutely no problem getting into college.

Allowing in-state tuition status to anyone who has lived in that state for over a year (as the regulations usually state) is not a handout. It is common sense.

Because guess what: they are going to stay in the country either way, either as a taxpayer or a non-taxpayer. We are fortunate enough to be given this choice.

Posted by: ebeth11 | January 7, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse

To those who are using the word "ILLEGAL" to bully our immigrants.

Yes, if they are not citizens yet, they need to go through the proper channels to gain citizenship. How many of you know how immigrants who try to gain citizenship through the proper channels are treated? Let me tell you, it's horrible. They are treated with complete disrespect. It is slow (a potential college student would be near retirement age by the time the "paperwork went through"). The process is set up with numerous paper-chase circles and catch-22s, which make it a near-impossible feat. I would not wish that treatment on anyone. It is thoroughly embarrassing.

Thank your lucky stars if you are lucky enough to sit high on your pulpit and judge others, when you never had to go through the process yourself.

Posted by: ebeth11 | January 7, 2011 1:45 AM | Report abuse

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