Oregon may soon join California, Illinois, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington by passing legislation that allows undocumented immigrants to receive in-state tuition status as long as they have been residents of the state for three years, graduated from an Oregon high school and are making an attempt to become citizens. The state of Michigan should pass similar legislation because it would remove a barrier for those seeking a higher education. Without this legislation, many talented and qualified individuals would simply not be able to afford a college education.
Critics of the bill complain that it promotes illegal immigration and takes resources from legal residents. This bill will do neither because it does not affect a student’s eligibility to attend college, but only makes it affordable for him to do so. These students might still attend college, but they would just face an unfair struggle to pay for it. By allowing illegal immigrants to receive in-state tuition, they can afford to attend college and look forward to a brighter future. These educated Americans will earn more money, pay more taxes and become more productive members of society.
During the early part of the 20th century, many immigrants came to this country with nothing, but the one thing upon which they could rely was that they would be able to receive a public education. It is a betrayal to these traditions that the United States, the land of opportunity, would place barriers in front of those seeking to improve their lives and the lives of their family members. Many of the adversities faced by immigrants such as crime and poverty can be ameliorated by obtaining an education and should be encouraged rather than discouraged. This country was founded and built by immigrants, and every opportunity should be available to those who are willing to work hard.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said that migrant workers are key to U.S. economic growth because of the huge economic impact that they have. This country depends on migrant workers, and we should offer them the same opportunities to advance themselves in society. These workers often take jobs that most Americans will not, so instead of showing disdain we should show gratitude. The economic difficulties facing Europe are an example of what can happen as a result of extremely restrictive immigration practices and negative population growth.
Legislation such as Oregon’s is needed in large part because of terrible immigration laws. The immigration process in the United States is inefficient and illogical. Quotas placed on certain nations make it almost impossible for citizens of those countries to migrate to the United States. Because the United States has a better way of life to offer to immigrants, such a large number of people are willing to risk their lives to cross its borders. Instead of having laws that make sense, we have labeled honest workers and honest employers as lawbreakers.
The inscription on the Statue of Liberty does not say give me your strong, your wealthy and your educated. Instead, we have asked for the most downtrodden because it is the mission of this country to take those at the bottom and help them rise to the top.