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Is Enlightened Better Than Legal?

ALPERN AT LARGE - Questions more than answers abound in addressing the wisdom of our state and local leaders who are opening the door to scholarships for illegal immigrants brought here as children (link), or of removing the penalties for illegal immigrants driving without a driver’s license. (Link) 

After all, we are the state of the enlightened, so if the logic of these actions doesn’t make sense to those questioning these actions … it’s clearly the problem of those questioning the rulemakers, right?  

In other words, if some of us don’t see merit, logic or decency behind making laws count, then it’s clearly WE are the ones with the problem, right?

So please forgive us these questions to those amongst us smart enough to figure out this new “legality-is-optional” approach, not the very least of which is:  what do we tell those who immigrated here legally, since clearly their years of waiting, education and other efforts were optional?

Here’s another:  do we tell those parents who broke the law to live here that their children (who really are innocent, particularly if they were brought here as babies) can stay, but that they must now go as a requirement to have their children receive college scholarships?

Can we reverse the logic and sequence of events to allow these children and their families to pay for the out-of-state college tuition to THEN be allowed legal immigrant status, considering that the education and social services for a child to receive infant-to-adult services is at least $100,000 a person?

Will Governor Brown’s decision to open this door enhance, or hinder, his credibility as he criticizes the hiring of overpriced administrators while student fees go up (link)?  

Will California’s college education be seen as one big winner-take-all, or will it be seen as the noble and cost-effective endeavor it once was, and to be funded by greater taxpayer largesse?

Will this paradigm of removing the “illegality” of illegal immigrants help, or hurt, the average worker who increasingly faces lower wages for the few jobs that are still out there in this state? (Link) 

Does this limit, or enable, those employers who would exploit their employees in this world economic downturn?

Is this argument really a pro- or anti-Latino issue, or a worker’s rights issue, considering that Cesar Chavez, who was clearly an advocate for Latino workers, aggressively opposed employers and their illegal immigrant workers who sought to thwart the wages and bargaining power of those here in this country legally? (Link)

And for those making this a Latino issue (on either side of the argument), can we conclude that THEY are the bigots?

Perhaps the biggest question—one that won’t be answered for years to come—will be answered by those illegal immigrants who are increasingly allowed to become legal by fiat (a phenomenon that isn’t normally seen anywhere throughout the globe).

As the people now being asked to shoulder the tax burden for our schools, roads, police and other vital services are increasingly either first- or second-generation illegal immigrants (link), will this new demographic of taxpayers be as generous as those in the mid-twentieth century that made this state of California such a great place to live?

(Ken Alpern is a former Boardmember of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently co-chairs its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee.  He is co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.)  -cw

Tags: illegal immigrants, Governor Brown, education, California, college tuition, Latino, Latino issue, scholarships, college scholarships





CityWatch
Vol 9 Issue 61
Pub: Aug 2, 2011

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