Punishing the kids | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Punishing the kids

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2008 at 2:56 PM

I hear that University of Arkansas and University of Central Arkansas officials are scrambling in response to an AP story that notes, as we've reported before, that several campuses extend in-state tuition and campus scholarships to Arkansas high school graduates who might not be authorized immigrants.

The new wrinkle was Gov. Mike Beebe's spokesman citation of a 2005 attorney general's opinion by Beebe. It said it might be a federal constitutional violation (equal protection) to give in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrants while out-of-state citizens did not qualify.

Well, yes, maybe.

But, finally, no.

The law does not require colleges to determine citizenship status of entering students. It does not require colleges to determine citizenship status for certain college-provided scholarships. It does require Social Security numbers for students seeking FEDERAL financial aid and the universities provide that information when they apply. Colleges have broken no law by admitting students who are qualified for admission. And what better way to determine in-state residence for purposes of tuition than an Arkansas high school diploma and an Arkansas address, generally of long standing.

The question of legal status is not a matter of declaratory judgment. And you can't go around questioning a student's status simply because her name is Lopez and looks Hispanic. If a college does not know a student is unauthorized, that student is legal until demonstrated otherwise. Giving admission and equal status to Arkansas high school graduates seems like a sensible, compassionate and societally helpful idea in the meanwhile.

There's an alternative, but it's nonsensical. Do we really want to require a citizenship test for all of the tens of thousands of students who enroll in state colleges every year, particularly given what we know about the imperfection and delays inherent in that system? All  in the name of punishing a few demonstrably deserving Arkansans? That's what they are, whatever their status. Send them to school, I say.

The issue has arisen because of a proposed constitutional amendment that would require a background check for all government benefit programs. This would, as Gov. Frank White once said, open up a box full of Pandoras.



Sign up for the Daily Update email

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Where's the outrage?

    Am I the only person, apart from federal prosecutors, outraged about the criminal enterprise that inveigled itself into a privileged position as an Arkansas taxpayer-financed human services provider to the tune, today, of $43 million a year?
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Where's the outrage?

    • Jun 21, 2018
  • Rutledge opponent hits her socializing with corporate interests

    Mike Lee, the Democratic candidate for attorney general, has criticized Attorney General Leslie Rutledge over recent reports of her participation at private meetings where corporate interests make big contributions to a political group she heads for access to state legal officers.
    • Jun 21, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Former Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel applauds Trump's EPA choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt

    Dustin McDaniel gives the thumbs up to a man set to dismantle EPA regulations.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Women's March planned in Arkansas to mark Trump inauguration

    Speaking of Donald Trump and in answer to a reader's question: There will be a women's march in Arkansas on Jan. 21, the day after inauguration, as well as the national march planned in Washington.
    • Dec 30, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Recent Comments



© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation