A Times Free Press article about a bill in Georgia that would stop illegal aliens from gaining spots in public colleges in the Peach State offered some eye-opening facts about various states' policies on illegal immigrants enrolling in taxpayer-supported colleges and universities.
What's perhaps most remarkable, and troubling, is that so far only two states -- Alabama and South Carolina -- bar illegal aliens from enrolling. Georgia would make three if its bill passes.
That means 47 other states, including Tennessee, let people who are in the United States illegally take up spots in colleges and universities -- almost certainly denying some seats to law-abiding U.S. citizens.
It gets even worse than that, though.
n In 12 states, illegal aliens can officially receive in-state tuition rates to attend public colleges and universities if they happen to reside in those states. That benefit -- which can easily come to many thousands of dollars per year -- is denied to U.S. citizens or legal immigrants who happen to live in a different state from the one where the college they want to attend is located.
The states that offer this improper and unjust benefit are California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington.
n Only four states -- Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and Indiana -- specifically forbid illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition rates.
n Perhaps worst of all, three states actually grant financial aid for unlawful immigrants to attend college. Those states are California, New Mexico and Texas.
Supporters of letting illegal aliens attend U.S. colleges and universities say it would destroy their academic dreams to deny them enrollment. And of course there is sympathy for anyone who wants to improve himself through education. But when it comes to sometimes-scarce spots in college classrooms and limited funding for education, there is simply no justification for putting illegal aliens ahead of U.S. citizens and immigrants who have come to the United States through legal processes.
There should be no real controversy over Georgia's legislative attempt to reserve college and university spots for citizens and legal immigrants. Or if there is any debate, it should be over the fact that Tennessee and 46 other states have not yet moved to restrict enrollment in public institutions of higher learning to Americans and lawful immigrants.
It is often said that the federal government cannot find and deport every illegal alien. That is true. But if we cut off the availability of jobs as well as benefits such as higher education, many illegal aliens will deport themselves.