Tuesday, January 29, 2008

To the Utah State Legislature: What would Jesus do?

Again with the instate tuition

We were struck by the remarks on illegal immigrants recently delivered by Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City. He said, "Jesus himself was a refugee who fled the terror of Herod in the family's flight to Egypt." He spoke of half the earth's population living in poverty and pointed out that undocumented workers in the United States are not freeloaders but pay about $3 billion in income tax each year. He said America posts a "no trespassing" sign at the border, but a "help wanted" sign at the work place.

His remarks dove-tail nicely with recent pleas for "compassion" from the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which owns this newspaper).

But if we were struck by Bishop Wester's remarks, we were struck dumb by the unfortunate and wrong-headed attempt — once again — of some members of the Utah Legislature to hike tuition costs for the hapless and cash-strapped students who have ended up in the United States through no choice of their own. These students are simply trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Rep. Glenn Donnelson of Ogden is trying — once again — to repeal the law allowing undocumented students to pay instate tuition for college. They don't get a hand-out. It's not even a scholarship. They pay what others pay, but only if they completed at least three years of high school in Utah first. And the special status affects a mere handful of students — probably not enough young people to fill the day shift at just one mom-and-pop business.
Give us a break.

Then give these young people a break.

Rep. Donnelson, what part of the word "compassion" don't you understand?

It's time for legislators to climb off the high horse and get back on the work horse. Real issues and problems exist. Killing instate tuition for a handful of unfortunate children is not one of them.

Utah legislators need to display large hearts, not small minds. They need to think big, not narrow. Creative and visionary thinking are badly needed.


Barbara said...

I loved the last paragraph of this editorial. Its says to much in just a few words and expresses exactly why citizens are so fed up with politicians. Enough with the small minds and narrow thinking. Could we please have a visionary and creative statesmanship?

WP said...

Jesus was a Democrat. I have a book under that title, an entertaining read.

Thanks for the post Rob!

bekkieann said...

I heard a news report saying just over 200 students are currently taking advantage of this tuition. To me that's 200 people who will be able to support themselves and their families and be contributors to a strong economy. It makes more sense than keeping them in poverty.

With around two percent unemployment, Utah needs educated people to fill the new jobs we are creating. I know at my place of employment, even if we hire every single graduate in the entire state in our particular field, it will not fill our needs over the next several years. We are already having to recruit out of state.

Some of our legislators seem to check both their hearts and their brains at the state house door.

Anonymous said...

How do you respond to the concern that, at least in theory, university graduates won't be able to get a job as a professional (teacher, engineer, accountant, scientist, lawyer) if they are not legal residents?