Five Questions for Rick Perry on In-State Tuition

By Ronald W. Mortensen on October 4, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says he supports in-state college tuition for the children of illegal aliens because that is what people who "have a heart" do. However, in reality he is pulling a cynical, heartless trick on these kids and their parents in an effort to garner the support of Hispanic voters while at the same time doing great harm to American men, women and children.

Rather than focusing on the cost of in-state tuition and the magnet that it provides for additional illegal immigration, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachman along with those in the media need to ask Gov. Perry the following five questions. (Background information follows the questions.)

  1. Why do you entice children who are not guilty of any violation of immigration law until six months after their 18th birthdays to remain illegally in the U.S. by offering them in-state college tuition and then after getting them to stay, why do you oppose the federal DREAM Act which would provide a means for them to legalize their status and to work legally?

  3. How do students illegally in the United States get the money to pay their in-state college tuition and living expenses since neither they nor their parents who are illegally in the United States can legally work in the U.S.?

  5. How do illegal aliens who eventually graduate from Texas universities contribute to the U.S. economy since they cannot legally get jobs?

  7. Aren't you deliberately turning a blind eye to the felonies illegal aliens commit in order to get jobs with reputable employers who require the completion of an I-9 form (Social Security and document fraud, perjury and even identity theft)?

  9. Why don't you "have a heart" for the American citizens who have their lives seriously disrupted when illegal aliens use their Social Security numbers and other identifying information to get jobs?


Background Information

1. A child under age 18 who is brought to the United States has not committed a violation of federal immigration law. However, if the child does not leave the United States within six months of his/her 18th birthday, then the child is in violation of U.S. immigration law.

Unless the federal DREAM Act passes, students who benefit from in-state college tuition have virtually no means of obtaining legal status and, therefore, they cannot legally work in the United States either while attending college or after they graduate.

Sen. Orrin Hatch told his Senate colleagues, "But the fact of the matter is that cheaper tuition at state schools, no matter how beneficial for these young people, will not solve the larger problem: their illegal immigration status."

Sen. Dick Durbin added, "Despite long-term residency in the U.S. and a demonstrated commitment to obtaining an education; these students have no avenue for adjusting their immigration status and it is very difficult for them to attend college or to work ... Additionally, they cannot legally work ... The bill [DREAM Act] would also provide an earned adjustment mechanism by which young people who are long-term residents may become lawful permanent residents." Source: Congressional Record, July 31, 2003, pp. 20608-9.

2. As clearly stated by Senators Hatch and Durbin, illegal alien students cannot legally work in the United States to earn money for their in-state tuition and living expenses unless the federal DREAM Act is passed.

3. Again, according to Senators Hatch and Durbin, illegal aliens who graduate from Texas institutions of higher learning cannot legally work in the United States unless the federal DREAM Act is passed. Illegal alien students who graduate from Texas universities are unable to use their degrees to get professional or other well-paid jobs with reputable employers unless they commit multiple felonies, including Social Security and document fraud, perjury on I-9 forms, and/or identity theft. According to the Dallas Morning News: "Now some of the students are graduating but unable to work legally as professionals. Julie, 29, who moved from Mexico to Austin at age 12, earned a degree in nursing from the University of Texas. She is unable to work, so instead she volunteers in Dallas."

4. As explained in the CIS Backgrounder titled, "Illegal, but Not Undocumented: Identity Theft, Document Fraud, and Illegal Employment", illegal aliens commit multiple felonies in order to get jobs with employers who require the completion of I-9 forms as required by federal law. These felonies include Social Security and document fraud, perjury on I-9 forms, and identity theft.

States with the highest number of illegal aliens, such as Texas, also have the highest rates of identity theft. While Governor Perry ignores this fact, Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona routinely arrests illegal aliens for employment-related identity theft and in the city of St. George, Utah, police aggressively pursue this crime.

5. Children are prime victims of illegal alien job-related identity theft. Based on an investigation by the Utah Attorney General's office, the Social Security Administration, and Utah Workforce Services, it is estimated that 50,000 Utah children under the age of 13 are the victims of illegal alien-driven identity theft. Over one million Arizona children are estimated to have their identities being used for employment purposes.

These children suffer real harm, including destroyed credit, arrest records attached to their names, tax liabilities for income earned on their Social Security numbers, difficulty in getting jobs, denied Medicaid and corrupted medical records with life threatening consequences.