Amnesty: The Bad Dream
This week the Governor of Maryland signed into law his state's equivalent of the "Dream Act." Similar acts, which grant in-state tuition privileges to illegal immigrants, exist in several other states including Illinois and Texas. The national version of the "Dream Act" has been thwarted in congress a number of times, due largely to the opposition of the American electorate.
State universities have long employed diversity policies which determine who will be admitted according to racial percentage quotas. These policies are known as "affirmative action," and were originally implemented to give once "oppressed" minorities an equalizing edge over other "privileged" non-minority students. Doubts about the effectiveness of affirmative action in helping minority students obtain college degrees have been bubbling up for a number of years. Many non-minority students have sued institutions for reverse discrimination and won, effectively neutralizing some affirmative action programs. The "dream act" debate further complicates affirmative action, as do the moral implications of handing educational favors to individuals who are in the country illegally.
State Colleges and Universities generally have a fixed number of in-state tuition slots, which are reserved for qualifying resident students. One injustice of "dream act" legislation is that students who are illegal will fill many of those slots, thereby limiting the number of citizen and legal immigrant students to whom in-state tuition is available. Deserving students with legal status will be put in a position to compete with illegal aliens for college admission.
Affirmative Action's effectiveness, whether for minorities, or illegal alien students, is also questionable. Despite diversity policies and the advantages they give to minorities, most colleges and universities suffer from graduation rate disparities among different races. Hispanics generally have the lowest graduation rates. Most undocumented aliens in the United States are of Hispanic origin. Would "dream act" programs be an effective use of resources, and a fair dispensation of educational opportunities? Judging from the failings of affirmative action, the answer is likely "no."Continued on the next page