Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fair to whom?

Members of the Legislature are trying to push through a bill that would give in-state college tuition to people who entered the country without bothering the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

It's all about fairness, says the Eugene Register-Guard, and it characterizes opponents as "anti-immigrant activists."

"Fairness" in that a composite kid came from Mexico at age 3, went to public schools, earned a 3.6 GPA and now has to go to work instead of going to college paying in-state tuition.

Two things, there. First, you don't have to opposed to immigration -- or immigrants -- to say that the states and the United States may need to exercise some control over how many people move into the country all at one time.

Second, "fairness" is an interesting word to bring up in reference to someone whose parents jumped to the head of the line, got their kid in public school, as well as very likely public health care and other government services, and then want her to attend the university at the same price as people who came here legally, when, in the meantime, hamstrung by taxes, another kid, who came here legally or was born here, is starting out in community college, working while going to school, taking progressively better jobs, sometimes with companies that pay for education.

The Register Guard says the cost would be relatively small, based on advocates' estimates of how many illegal immigrant high-school seniors they know about (never mind that when word gets out, more illegal immigrants will move their families to Oregon). Well, let those people take up a collection if they wish -- a voluntary collection. The legislature is trying to find money to flush through the schools, money for cradle-to-grave public health care, money to pay for the housing for old folks, money to pay for the housing for low-income folks, money to improve the highways, money to . . . .

I suppose now I have to say I'm not anti-immigrant. That so many people are willing to come thousands of miles to do stoop labor in Oregon fields is a testimony to their endurance, fortitude, sacrifice for their families' future -- and what a crappy life is offered them south of the border.

I'm also not anti-immigration. I'm in favor of mongrelization in all its forms -- genetic, social, cultural. But -- the Leftists think we're a bottomless money well.

The Register-Guard has illustrated Jonah Goldberg's recent observation:
Listen to Democratic politicians when they wax righteous about social policy. Invariably it goes something like this: “I simply reject the notion that in a good society X should have to come at the expense of Y.” X can be security and Y can be civil liberties. Or X can be food safety and Y can be the cost to the pocketbook of poor people. Whatever X and Y are, the underlying premise is that in a healthy society we do not have tradeoffs between good things. In healthy societies all good things join hands and walk up the hillside singing I’d like to buy the world a coke.

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