Education

Jerry Brown Braces California for a $1.6 Billion Deficit as the State Considers Legal Defense Fund for Illegal Aliens

Map of California StateCalifornia is a fiscal hole again. A deep fiscal hole, like $1.6 billion deep, warns Gov. Jerry Brown as introduced the state budget. That means more cuts in services, benefits, infrastructure repairs, education budgets, and general bad news for Californians.

But one group of California residents seems likely to be spared the pain of the state’s fiscal crisis: The ones who earned their special place in the hearts of California lawmakers by violating U.S. immigration laws. Even with a $1.6 billion deficit looming (and politicians often lowball bad budget numbers), two of the first bills likely to be taken up by the Legislature are Senate Bill 6 and Assembly Bill 3.

Both of those measures would commit state dollars to establish a legal defense fund for illegal aliens who might face deportation under the Trump administration – anywhere from about $10 million and $80 million according to the bills’ sponsors. That would be on top of the $10 million already allocated by the perpetually cash-strapped City and County of Los Angeles and similar funds likely to be set up by San Francisco, San Jose and other localities that pride themselves on placing the interests of illegal aliens ahead of the security and well-being of everyone else in their jurisdictions.

The $10 million to $80 the state is considering using to help illegal aliens flout the law is a pittance compared with the deficit Brown is forecasting but it says a lot about where the priorities of the state’s political leadership lie. Based on their response to Californians who have faced tragedy as a result of the state’s sanctuary policies it was hardly a mystery.

NY Educators Alarmed by Growing Population of Limited-English Proficient Students

Many lecture chairs arranged neatly in empty classroom.Education officials from New York State are alarmed by the strain of the growing number of students who lack basic English language skills to the state’s school systems. Most non- or limited-English proficient students in the state are foreign born or children of legal immigrants or illegal aliens. The drain on schools by English language learners has been exacerbated by the surge of unaccompanied minors and family units from Central America, which began in 2012. The surge is largely a result of the Obama Administration’s lax enforcement policies, most notably including President Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) program. DACA provides illegal aliens with a temporary deferment of deportation and work authorization if they show that they entered the United States before the age of sixteen, as well as other requirements.

Education officials from New York report that the population of students with limited English skills has grown by at least 39,000 since 2008. This increase is larger than the total number of students enrolled in Buffalo schools, the state’s second-largest school district. Educators also emphasize the complexity of teaching English as a second language to New York’s diverse population, and estimate that students in New York schools speak over 200 different languages, including indigenous dialects from Central America that do not have written components. In Buffalo alone, schools that received refugees provide services to students that speak approximately 85 languages.

Illegal immigration, mass legal immigration, and increasing numbers of refugees resettled into the United States have created tremendous pressure on public school’s budgets and abilities to provide its students with standard educations. The New York State United Teachers union estimates that the language services alone will require an additional $200 million dollars in the upcoming budget.

New York is just one of many states forced to undertake this massive burden imposed by the federal government. In September, FAIR released a report analyzing the impact of mass immigration on public schools. The report estimates that limited English-Proficient students cost taxpayers approximately $59.2 billion annually. Almost the entirety of this cost, 98.9 percent, is borne by taxpayers at the state and local level.

You Can’t Say Illegal Alien!

rutgers-rotator-720x480The Washington Times recently reported that the Rutgers University student paper  fired one of its reporters for attempting to use the i-word. Student journalist Aviv Khavich committed the unpardonable sin of referring to aliens illegally present in the United States as “illegal aliens.”  Apparently, the term has become a highly politicized and inflammatory. Khavich’s editors eventually replaced all instances of the offending verbiage with “undocumented immigrant,” prior to publishing his last column.

What’s the problem with the substitution? It is a deliberate attempt by open-borders advocates to nullify the impact of immigration laws they don’t like by controlling speech.

Improper Entry by an Alien is a crime punishable by up to six months in federal prison. Black’s law dictionary, the standard reference for legal terms, defines “alien” as “a foreign-born person who has not qualified as a citizen of the country.” Therefore, “illegal alien” is a factually and legally accurate description of a foreign national who has violated the law in order to enter the United States.

By contrast, the term “undocumented immigrant” is wildly inaccurate. “Immigrant” is a legal term of art that refers to aliens who have been granted authorization to reside permanently in the United States. It’s impossible to be an “undocumented immigrant” because it’s the documents that make you an immigrant.

This construction shifts attention away from the crime committed by border jumpers and visa overstayers. It suggests that, but for their failure to deal with some pesky bureaucratic paperwork, they would be just as legal as a native born American. And it implies that even if they have committed a crime, it is a minor infraction roughly akin to a speeding violation.

George Orwell, in his book 1984, referred to this type of ambiguous, euphemistic use of words as “newspeak.” He also noted that language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish.” Our government’s thoughts about immigration have been utterly foolhardy for nearly half a century. The replacement of “illegal alien” with “undocumented immigrant” is a perfect example of the ugly and inaccurate language that results from those thoughts. Kudos to Mr. Khavich for protesting the use of newspeak and standing up for the truth.

College Education: The Newest Incentive for Immigration Violators?

Desk and chairs in classroomWhen most people think of incentives that induce foreign migrants to violate U.S. immigration law, they think of jobs. There is no doubt that employment is the biggest factor drawing illegal aliens into the United States. But as the recent waves of unaccompanied alien minors flooding the border have shown, a free public education is also a key attractor. And as more and more states begin providing in-state college tuition to illegal aliens, a relatively affordable post-secondary education will also become a significant draw.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 20 states now offer in-state tuition to some or all illegal alien students. Leading the way, California not only provides illegals with in-state tuition, it also has a special student loan program that is only open to illegal aliens.

Why would anyone want to endure the down-sides of being an illegal alien for discount college tuition? It’s a simple process of balancing risk against reward.

In terms of risk, there are increasingly fewer negatives to being an immigration violator. At least twelve states and the District of Columbia give drivers licenses to out-of-status aliens. Hundreds of sanctuary cities have sprung up across the nation.  And, as USA Today reported in 2012, there are growing numbers of educated illegal aliens earning significant wages by working as independent contractors. (This doesn’t render them legal, but employers aren’t obligated to verify that independent contractors have work authorization.)

In terms of reward: 18 of the world’s top 25 universities are American.  And people holding a U.S. college degree have an edge in an increasingly global job market. University Language Services, a company that assists international students with college applications states, “In the international marketplace, an American college degree is literally a valuable commodity.”

No lines, no waiting, a degree and a job; all at the expense of the American taxpayer. The U.S. is using its public university systems to make an offer that much of the world can’t refuse.

ACLU Suit: Schools Can’t Ask Illegal Alien Parents for ID

Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Ballot Title for Referendum on Illegal Alien Driver’s LicensesIn 1983 the U.S. Department of Education published a report entitled A Nation at Risk, detailing what it described as an epidemic of mediocre performance by American public schools. The report stated, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

The authors of A Nation at Risk could not have known it but the combined effect of Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe and the 1986 amnesty would result in a large influx of foreign students in America’s public schools. Plyler v. Doe held that illegal alien children have a constitutional right to a free public education. The amnesty, and the lax enforcement accompanying it, attracted millions of illegal aliens to the United States. And those aliens promptly asserted that right, placing their children into public schools.

While the ongoing crisis in American public education can’t be blamed entirely on illegal alien children they are a significant exacerbating factor.  In a 2012 Salon article, Michael Lind of the New America think tank noted that American schools are overwhelmed by a “disproportionately unskilled and illiterate foreign-born population.” FAIR estimates that it currently costs public schools $59.8 billion to educate this burgeoning demographic.

Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey is suing five public school systems because they require parents enrolling their children to present a picture ID. New Jersey does not issue state ID cards or drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens. The ACLU considers this a discriminatory barrier to registering illegal alien children for school. And it may very well win those law suits, based on Plyler v. Doe.

Meanwhile, U.S. employers insist that they need to recruit foreign science, technology, engineering and math professionals because U.S. schools aren’t turning out suitable candidates. The business community clamors on behalf of foreign workers. The ACLU champions illegal alien school children. But who is defending the rights of American kids? In this situation, it seems like the real victims of discrimination are native-born American school children.