"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance

 and a people who mean to be their own governors

 must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Tangle Of Immigration Laws

Yesterday, Fausta at the Bad Hair Blog wrote about The New York Times article - For Illegal Immigrants, a Harsh Lesson. She does not support in-state college tuition status for illegal immigrants as proposed by Democrats in New Jersey’s assembly and neither do we.

The New York Times reporter clearly sides with the state assembly Democrats and attempts to drum up support for the legislature with a human interest story. The Times article revolves around Esteban Navarro, whose “dream of becoming a mathematician [was] dashed in a tangle of immigration laws.”

The “tangle” the Times refers to is the illegal immigration status of Navarro, his parents and at least one brother, Julio. The situation seems to pretty straight forward to us, Esteban Navarro and his family have been living illegally in the United States for at least the past 15 years and should have been deported long ago. Well, let’s not let a little thing like the law get in the way of a good yarn.

As a matter of fact, the “tangle of immigration laws” didn’t stop the Navarro boys from going to taxpayer financed public schools in New Jersey. Unfortunately, several hundred thousand taxpayer dollars later, we have let one of the two Navarro brother’s down. According to the Times, Esteban Navarro was denied the financial assistance necessary for him to attend Princeton or other leading American universities.

What does Navarro’s story have to do with in-state tuition status at New Jersey state colleges? Nothing, but he is an illegal alien who attended New Jersey public schools and wanted the taxpayers to subsidize his college education at Princeton. Apparently, the Times thought this was close enough to make their point.

Afraid to risk flouting federal law, Princeton and other leading universities could not process Mr. Navarro's applications, according to several people with knowledge of his situation.
Would these knowledgeable people familiar with Navarro's situation happen to be at Princeton or other leading universities or is the Time’s reporter just repeating rumor and speculation? Why is the reporter protecting sources familiar with the circumstances? Would they lack credibility to the reader? Does the reporter know for a fact that Navarro actually applied to any colleges? Has the reporter been shown Navarro’s returned or rejected college applications? Okay, pesky facts might get in the way of the point the reporter was trying to make.

The Times explains why Navarro had his sights set on Princeton and other unnamed leading universities:

Two years ago, Mr. Navarro, a quiet and gifted student, was headed for top honors. His teachers said he was a star soccer player who received a perfect score on the advanced-placement calculus exam and was named class valedictorian.
Here’s where the Time’s story gets confusing:

By spring 2003, when he was a senior, Mr. Navarro's plans to attend college unraveled. And at graduation, as the principal called on him to deliver the valedictory speech, Mr. Navarro had already dropped out.
Had Esteban Navarro dropped out of high school before graduation? Doesn’t a student actually have to graduate to be named class valedictorian? Does anyone believe the principal actually called on Navarro at the graduation ceremony, only to discover he had dropped out of school? We can only assume he dropped out of school before graduating based upon the facts presented and the article’s first line:

Esteban Navarro disappearance broke a lot of hearts at Trenton Central High School; where the dropout rate among Hispanic students is triple the state average.
So what happened to Navarro? Did the immigration “tangle” catch up with him and deport him? No.
"He just gave up," his 19-year-old brother, Julio, recalled. "He didn't even put up a fight."

Mr. Navarro refused to talk about his situation for this article. Now 21, Mr. Navarro, who had attended school in the United States since the first grade, works in a pizza shop outside Philadelphia.
Does this story hang together for you? Navarro dropped out of high school because he wasn’t eligible for financial assistance to attend Princeton University and he now works in a pizza joint instead of studying to become a mathematician. Would in-state tuition for illegal aliens have made any difference in the outcome of this story, assuming any of this tale is true? Apparently not, it was Princeton or nothing and community college was not an option.

Now that you’ve been softened up with Navarro’s story, on to the purpose of the Time's article:

Opponents believe that the bill, if approved, would strain classrooms and budgets at public universities and provoke tension between legal immigrants who might not qualify for lower tuition and illegal immigrants who would.
Of course state budgets and immigrant tensions are merely excuses for the real reason citizens aren’t clamoring for college benefits for illegal aliens:

In New Jersey, many advocates of the measure blame racial politics for stalling its passage.
Yes, if the 100,000 or so illegal immigrant students in New Jersey were Irish we’d be begging for more state spending, higher taxes and subsidized college tuition for illegal aliens.

Immigration laws? Who needs immigration laws and after all the Irish even speak a funny kind of English. Okay, you caught us, it’s a race thing. Riiight!.

The article goes on with more anecdotal stories and cheerleading for changes to state and federal laws, but the conclusion can’t be missed:

Immigration papers arrived in April for the Navarro family. But they were too late for Esteban, who gave up his dream to go to college two years ago and cut off all contact with high school friends and teachers.

"It hurts me a lot," said his brother, Julio, who recently graduated from high school and plans to attend Middlebury College, where he was awarded a scholarship. "When you are growing up, you hear of family members, really smart, who ultimately end up in roofing or as janitors. I see a lot of kids get the door shut in their face. You don't hear many success stories. It keeps me up a lot of nights, wondering why."
It’s called the law, Julio. And by the way, you’re welcome.


At 7:05 AM, Blogger Fausta said...

Excellent fisking.
The Navarro story was pure nonsense, right out of the world's smallest violin case.

My aunt (maternal uncle's wife), married for 25 years had not finished highschool. After my cousins grew up, she not only finished high school but also a PhD in education and became a professor at a local college. If the Navarros were interested in learning, there'd be no dropping out.

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it Princeton could have awarded this boy a privately sponsored scholarship...

Personally I don't mind loaning these kids the money to go to college; might as well encourage them to become educated and become full citizens -- of course I would make the penalty for defaulting deportation back to their home of origin and they could be eligible for citizenship as soon as they pay off their student loans.

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Glass House said...

We have enough U.S. citizen kids that could use money to go to school so let's take care of our own before we go educating the world. We are not the world's 911 service for every problem they have. It is NOT our responsibility to educate ANY illegal alien. I say, be here legally, become a citizen if you want or go home. I'm not paying for your education, health care or anything else. I wouldn't get or expect to get that if I went to another country illegally.

At 10:51 PM, Anonymous Lily said...

Thanks for your article, quite effective info.


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