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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2006

Immigrant tuition law on trial

Appeals court to decide legality of Kansas statute

September 28, 2006

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A controversial Kansas law that grants in-state college tuition to some illegal immigrants had another day in court Wednesday.

"What is at stake is whether Kansas is going to get away with violating federal immigration law," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation of American Immigration Reform.

The Washington, D.C., group appealed its case to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The organization is challenging the 2004 Kansas law on behalf of students from outside Kansas who pay higher out-of-state tuition. The plaintiffs claim the state is violating federal law by offering some illegal immigrants a benefit some U.S. citizens cannot get.

Last year, a federal judge in Topeka dismissed the suit, saying the students who filed couldn't sue because they didn't face "concrete and imminent" injury.

The case on Wednesday was presented to a three-judge panel.

Attorney Mike Delaney, who represents the state, told the appeals court the trial judge was correct in ruling the students had no right to sue.

Kris Kobach, an attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that the simple fact the students cannot qualify for in-state tuition under the law even though they are U.S. citizens is injury enough to give them that right.

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"The discrimination is imposed by the barrier itself, and removing that barrier removes discrimination, and that is adequate remedy," he said.

The hot-button issue has become a major part of Republican Jim Barnett's campaign against Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat seeking re-election.

On Tuesday, Barnett said he would "encourage repeal of the current law."

Barnett often has criticized Sebelius for signing the 2004 legislation into law.

"What I am primarily concerned with is treating illegal aliens better than American citizens - that is something I cannot and will not support," he said.

Sebelius has said the tuition law will help longtime Kansas residents who are seeking citizenship. The Sebelius campaign also has noted that Barnett's lieutenant governor running mate, state Sen. Susan Wagle of Wichita, voted for the measure.

The law allows illegal immigrants to qualify for lower in-state tuition if they attend a Kansas high school for at least three years and graduate or earn a general education development certificate in Kansas. They also must actively be seeking legal immigration status or plan to do so when they are eligible.

Last fall, 221 students attended Kansas public institutions under the law, the majority attending community colleges.

The Kansas Board of Regents has supported the law and the trial judge's 2005 decision.

"We need to keep our bright students in Kansas," Regent Dan Lykins said. "I don't see why we should punish these innocent children that will have a direct economic impact on our state just because their parents did something wrong."

Leo Prieto came to the U.S. from Mexico at age 3. He became a U.S. citizen at age 18. Last spring, he graduated from KU's law school and is now studying for the bar.

He said the tuition law isn't about immigration.

"It's kind of getting blown out of proportion," he said. "The issue is about children and education."

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments

Marion Lynn 7 years, 6 months ago

pinche_guera1:

Well, eveidently no one at "Staff" speaks Spanish!

"pinche_guera1"= "F+++ing White Woman1"

Besises, you need a hsitory lesson.

Ever hear of Ellis Island?

This country was NOT built on "ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION"!

Nice try at spin!

Get a new name, a life and a few history lessons!

Thanks.

Marion.

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pinche_guera1 7 years, 6 months ago

i have a comment i am so sick of hearing how these people are breaking the law when us americans are the ones breaking the law. this country was built on migrants and they were not legal so get off your high arses and recognize this country would go to hell if it wasnt for any immagrants. they built this country my name is shae and i love all people who created this country

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davisnin 7 years, 6 months ago

Antigone. Punished for the sins of her father. Thats precedent.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 6 months ago

Choose, are you gonna support a poor citizen or an illegal alien?

Are you suggesting that we "punish the poor children of our poor citizens simply because they are poor...and citizens? Simply because their parents made a bad choice and chose to be poor, and in Kansas? Throw away these poor children of poor citizen parents in Kansas whose only crime was not being an illegal alien?"

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Godot 7 years, 6 months ago

"I am always stunned at how many racist are happy to throw away the life of a child because of the crimes of a parent if the parent is an illegal immigrant."

I fail to see how asking someone to pay an extra $2 or $3 thousand per year is "throwing away the life of a child."

The people who put their children in a position of being "illegal" are the ones who are putting their children at risk of haveing their lives "trown away."

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 6 months ago

OK Americorps:

"I am always stunned at how many racist are happy to throw away the life of a child because of the crimes of a parent if the parent is an illegal immigrant."

Choose, are you gonna support a poor citizen or an illegal alien?

Are you suggesting that we "punish the poor children of our poor citizens simply because they are poor...and citizens? Simply because their parents made a bad choice and chose to be poor, and in Kansas? Throw away these poor children of poor citizen parents in Kansas whose only crime was not being an illegal alien?"

How is that racist or bigoted?

What you are is the epitome of stupidity and ignorance. And you run for the only cover you can by playing the racist or bigot card.

Yeah, I guess you do have a pretty good bead on the problem....not.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Realize this OH mentally challanged one, there is only so much money available currently for citizens in these programs, and it ain't enough to give all the citizens the support then need. We cannot afford to help those that aren't deserving. Thsoe that aren't deserving are those that do not respect our laws and customs at the same time demand that we respect theirs.

Additionally understand this, every dollar you are giving to an illegal alien, you are stealing it from a deserving American and Kansas Citizen.

You need to just shut the hell up or grow a brain.

Illegal means illegal. Send them home and jail the employers.

Support America's poor, deport an illegal alien.

Send Kansas poor kids to college, deport the parents of illegal aliens.

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americorps 7 years, 6 months ago

I am always stunned at how many racist are happy to throw away the life of a child because of the crimes of a parent if the parent is an illegal immigrant.

You are the very worst people in America and it is you who should be criticized, not the children of the illegal immigrants.

They can not be responsible for their parents actions but you racist idiots are shamefully responsible for your hate and biggotry and meaness to children.

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KsTwister 7 years, 6 months ago

The only frivolous lawsuits seem to come from the American Civil Liberty Union who are supposed to protect America's workers. So what carries more weight legal Americans or illegal American workers? Would love to see what companies contribute to their balance sheet.

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ASBESTOS 7 years, 7 months ago

I agree this is not punishment. Sending an illegal alien home is not punishment either. It is just righting the wrong they did, entering our country illegally ie not incompliance with immigration laws.

Punishment would be incarcerating them for 3-5 years in a very bad prison, then deporting them. Sending them home is the mildest of corrections. We should NOT be giving a lawbreaker a break on tuition, when we have financially challenged citizens whom are not lawbreakers and are much better people in my opinion.

Theose that support "rights" and "paths to citizenship" for illegal aliens are really promoting a war on America's poor and lower financial class. It has already shifted Arizonas political DNC party to tone it down.

Some of the Kansans that support illegal alliens, are folks that have not seen the havoc and financial burden this places on Cities, Counties, and State programs for the poor.

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KS 7 years, 7 months ago

What part of "illegal" do you all not understand?

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ljreader 7 years, 7 months ago

Are my decisions not "well informed" since they don't agree with yours? Show me where Congress is working on laws preventing your punishment for stealing another American's Social Security number. Try commiting a little document fraud or identity theft and see what happens when you get caught..

Calling other posters "idiots" is hardly a solid argument. Not all posters agree with each other. At least most can come up with something to support their stance and explain their veiws- Something quite a bit less pathetic than name calling. Guess that's all you've got.

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everyone_needs_to_calm_down 7 years, 7 months ago

lj reader...you're an idiot! obviously, you're too narrow-minded to step back and take an objective view of the situation, assess it, and make a well informed decision.
and I doubt that "ONLY AMERICANS" get punished. boo hoo.

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ljreader 7 years, 7 months ago

assistant1234- I'm waiting for that to be the next discrimination suit.

I'm so sick of hearing that violating immigration laws is "only a civil offense", "like a traffic ticket" So what? How many Americans get their traffic tickets, or any other civil offense automatically ignored? After I commit a civil defense do I go on to have my children educated for free and my medical bills paid?

How many Americans are doing time for identity theft, forging documents, fraud, or for tax evasion? It is discrimination that ONLY AMERICANS are punished for commiting crimes, while non citizens are given amnesty for them. They can rape kids and (maybe) be punished with deportation, only to come back to murder a cop- It just happened this last week. If I were sitting in the slammer, I'd be filing a discrimination suit- Maybe call the ACLU, or does the "A" stand for "Alien" now, not "American"?

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davisnin 7 years, 7 months ago

Why would they stay after they graduated? As an illegal they wouldn't(shouldn't) be able to get any job other than an under the table cash enterprise. I don't see a lot of people standing on the corner waiting to get a day labor job as a scientist. 'Does anybody do drywall? How about some Laplace Transforms and some force-balance equations'

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assistant1234 7 years, 7 months ago

Hey, we already let illegals who steal social security numbers keep everything they contributed to social security if they manage to become citizens, so why not in-state tuition?

I'm going to go bang my head against a wall now.

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Rationalanimal 7 years, 7 months ago

Next up is free benefits provided by states that provide an incentive for illegal immigrants to break the laws of the United States of America.

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my_black_lab_told_me_so 7 years, 7 months ago

ljreader,

You're right!

The article makes me laugh....especally the quote about: "why should these kids be PUNISHED?"

Who said they are being punished?

A rather interesting way of phrasing their argument.

Also, some of you here have said: "Hey, let's give these kids---who are likely to stay here--a break."

Uh-huh.

Well, I ask you..........how do you know that they are "likely to stay here" when they are done with their schooling?

Do you know many of these young people in question personally?

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

"The illegal immigrants who are receiving in-state tuition may not be US citizens, but they are long term Kansas residents who are likely to remain in the state after graduation -- "

That is funny. Most Kansas natives leave Kansas after graduation from college. Why would illegal immigrants have more loyalty to Kansas than the natives do?

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Godot 7 years, 7 months ago

I wonder why the universities allow admission of illegal immigrants at all. Isn't proof of citizenship, or a valid visa, a requirement for admission? If not, how do we know whether any foreign student at KU is "legal?"

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Shardwurm 7 years, 7 months ago

Very good posts here.

'It was my parents not me!' is a great argument but it doesn't hold water I'm afraid.

Every single one of us lives every day with the ramifications of what our parents did.

Example:

"It wasn't my fault my dad was an alcoholic. It wasn't my fault my mother did drugs. It wasn't my fault my parents went bankrupt 3 times. It wasn't my fault that they decided to not help me through college. It wasn't my fault that they divorced and I had to live in a trailer. It wasn't my fault they beat me."

You get the picture. We all have things we deal with daily because of decisions made by our parents. To simply say: "It's not their fault" isn't enough in this case. Their parents were here illegaly and thus they should not qualify for preferencial treatment.

Don't deny them entrance to universities...but don't give them a break because "it wasn't their fault".

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Todd 7 years, 7 months ago

http://www.registrar.ku.edu/residency/residency.shtml

Look, you can nickel and dime it but if you attend high school in Kansas you'll get resident status for tution to the regent schools.

Giving in-state rates to qualified students that will mostly likely remain in KS is an investment in the future. It's doubtful that giving out-of-state residents the same breaks would as much return on investment for the taxpayers of KS.

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ljreader 7 years, 7 months ago

If our laws were enforced, these kids wouldn't be here to begiin with. They are NOT being "punished for the sins of their parents". They have reaped great rewards for the actions of their parents, as it is. They have more than likely already received a free K- 12 education, free medical, and all the other perks that come with breaking our immigration laws. At least free to them. Not free to the taxpayers. I will agree with Leo Pietro that "the tuition law isn't about immigration". It's about ILLEGAL immigration, and rewarding it in a way that discriminates against LEGAL AMERICAN citizens. In-state tuition for illegal aliens sends a mixed message to people who choose to break our laws and fleece taxpayers. If I rob a bank to give my family a "better life", do my children get to keep the money because it was not their fault? Of course not!

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compmd 7 years, 7 months ago

Nice "think of the children" line from Mr. Prieto.

You have to consider it this way. KU gets, what, 33% of its money from the state, right? That means that part of its money is from tax dollars. For an illegal immigrant to be employed, there are a couple of situations. First, their employer knows or thinks they are illegal and pays them in cash as a contractor. To be employed as just about anything other than a contractor, you need to provide a social security number for tax purposes. Illegals don't have this. This makes identity theft seem like a good idea, so it happens. From this point forward the family is essentially a criminal enterprise. Why any politician, democrat or republican, would risk continuing such an enterprise I don't understand.

And Todd, the attendance of a KS high school is not the basis for in-state tuition. Residents of the state of Kansas paid taxes that funded the Regents schools, so the residents pay less than non-residents who did NOT pay taxes that funded those schools.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 7 months ago

"Kris Kobach, an attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that the simple fact the students cannot qualify for in-state tuition under the law even though they are U.S. citizens is injury enough to give them that right."

Of course students can qualify - they just need to move to Kansas, just as the Kansas residents he's attacking did.

The Federation of American Immigration Reform is a perfect example of the type of 'more money than sense' groups that clog our judicial system with frivolous lawsuits. The State of Kansas has NO DUTY to the citizens of Missouri or any other state to treat their residents on an equal footing with Kansas residents (whether those Kansas residents are U.S. citizens or not).

Query for Kobach: can Kansas grant in-state status to non-U.S. citizens who ARE fully documented by the government of the United States? If so, what is the constitutional distinction with those who are not? How exactly would the loser plaintiffs in this lawsuit come off any differently than if the non-U.S. but living-in-Kansas residents were given the full blessings of the Immigration Service? (Please cite specific constitutional clauses - we don't need another campaign speech.)

What's next? Kansas assists a 'sister state' like Taiwan, say, to build a livestock tracking system, and someone in New Jersey sues to force Kansas to help them too?

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Marion Lynn 7 years, 7 months ago

Oh, CRAP!

The law is a prima fiacie example of REVERSE DISCRIMINATION and motivated by the political feel-goods.

Get rid of it and run Sibelius out of Topeka on a rail along with any legislator who voted for it!

Thanks.

Marioni.

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MyDogHoudini 7 years, 7 months ago

One of the main reasons public univerisities offer their residents reduced tuition is because it helps to generate a more educated workforce in the state, which directly benefits the state's economy. The illegal immigrants who are receiving in-state tuition may not be US citizens, but they are long term Kansas residents who are likely to remain in the state after graduation -- therefore, they are likely to be a great resource for our economy. The out of state residents who want to sue do not have the same likely benefit to our state, as it is much more likely that out of state residents will leave Kansas, once their degree is completed.
The bottom line - as I see it - is it's good for our state to do whatever it can to educate people who are likely to stay in the state. If that means giving in-state tuition to long-term resident aliens, then that's what we should be doing.

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Todd 7 years, 7 months ago

We need people in Kansas, bottom line. These kids went to KS high school and deserve in-state tuition like everyone else that graduates from KS high schools.

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JerkStore 7 years, 7 months ago

To me, the way to combat this problem is enforce the immigration laws, not to keep the children of the law-breakers uneducated.

The kids did not choose to come here, so why not let them try to make the best of their lives?

Fight this elsewhere.

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SteelHorseRider 7 years, 7 months ago

(Prieto) He said the tuition law isn't about immigration.

"It's kind of getting blown out of proportion," he said. "The issue is about children and education."

What a CROCK. The fact is we spent tax payer money to lower tuition for 221 illegal aliens.

I can sum up this argument in one word - ILLEGAL.

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KS 7 years, 7 months ago

Get rid of it. It is not fair.

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