Perry turning off Iowa voters with his in-state tuition for illegals policy

A tough article on Rick Perry at Politico. Voters can’t figure out his position on illegal aliens, and what they do understand, they don’t like. His statements that are quoted in this article suggest he’s not good at explaining things. And that’s not good, when you’re running for president.

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James N. writes:

Perry is not explaining his position well because it’s very difficult to explain or justify.

Real pro-illegals don’t NEED an explanation. But the vast tolerant middle are shocked by the semi-logical consequences of their tolerance.

There really is no rational, logical argument that could convince someone who hasn’t thought about this that in-state tuition for illegals makes sense. You either “get it” (or have a funny-sounding last name), or you don’t get it. And, if you don’t get it, when you finally hear about it, chances are you won’t like it.

The fact that Perry keeps making what is a huge error over and over suggests that, politically anyway, he’s not too bright.

Paul K. writes:

Perry’s problem is not that he can’t explain himself better, but that his policy is abhorrent to conservative voters and so he must obfuscate as best he can. [LA replies: I’m not sure that he’s obfuscating all that much; it seems to me that he’s honestly stating his support for in-state tuition for illegals. That’s what got him in trouble in the first place.]

I was surprised to learn recently that this policy of giving illegal aliens the benefit of in-state tuition is expressly forbidden in federal law, specifically the “Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act” of 1996, signed by President Clinton.

The law states: “Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident.”

The law, and the lawmakers who disregard it, is the subject of law professor Kris W. Kobach’s article “Immigration Nullification: In-State Tuition and Lawmakers Who Disregard the Law,” which appeared in the journal Legislation and Public Policy and is available in pdf form here.

California has similar legislation granting in-state tuition for illegals. In 2005, the law was challenged by a group of 42 out-of-state students, but the state supreme court upheld it and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision.

If the federal government were not committed to flooding this country with Mexicans, it would sue states like Texas and California that flout immigration law, rather than states like Arizona that attempt to enforce it.

Paul K. replies:

You’re right, I shouldn’t have said Perry is obfuscating. What he is struggling to do is find an artful way to sell his point of view to Republican voters, and it’s not going to happen.

I have a question about the policy of granting in state tuition to illegal aliens: on what basis does the state ascertain that someone is an illegal alien? Couldn’t anyone claim to be an illegal alien, or is there some documentation necessary? I understand they sell forged MatrĂ­cula Consular cards—would that suffice? Granted, my children don’t look Mexican, but couldn’t they claim to be illegal aliens from the Ukraine? Is this a “No Non-Latinos Need Apply” sort of deal?

LA replies:

I’ve wondered about that too. How does Texas or any school district or university in Texas know who is an illegal and who isn’t? Doesn’t their pro alien policy bar them from asking people about their immigration status?

Also, of the people getting in-state tuition, how many are illegal aliens themselves, and how many are children of illegals born here, and thus, according to the present wrongheaded official reading of the 14th Amendment, U.S. citizens?

Paul K. writes:

Upon reconsideration, I realized the flaw in my logic. You don’t have to prove you’re an illegal alien to get in-state tuition, as your legal status never even comes up. In-state tuition applies to state residents legal or not—you probably just have to show a utility bill or a high school diploma to prove residency. I assume Texas’s tuition break applies only to illegals residing in Texas and would not benefit illegals from out of state.

It’s still an outrage, of course. I hope Perry’s travails will send a message to other Republican pols that coddling illegals is a career-killer in national politics.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 09, 2011 09:50 AM | Send

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