For the children UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 26, 2009

For the children UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 6:16 AM

Good timing.

A Senate committee yesterday demonstrated wisdom and approved Sen. Joyce Elliott's bill to be sure that some Arkansas residents who are graduates of Arkansas high schools are not denied in-state tuition college on account of bigotry.

Today, John Brummett gives Gov. Mike Beebe criticism he deserves for cowardly resistance to simple good sense. Mike Huckabee, a champion of this cause, we hardly knew ye.

Beebe pleads legal arguments, with little to back him up.

As Elliott explained Monday to the Senate Education Committee, nine states have this in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants and yet no one has struck down any of those state practices or legally imposed a broader condition of the type Beebe concocts.

Texas — even Texas, I say — has had this very tuition policy since 2001.

Shame on the governor, Brummett writes. Amen to that.

UPDATE: My state senator, David Johnson, a thoughtful lawyer, calls with a cautionary note re the hot opinions here. He voted for Elliott's bill two years ago and still favors it as a matter of public policy. But as a lawyer, he says, he can't ignore a California intermediate appeals court ruling, now on appeal, concerning an identical law in California. There, a state court has ruled that the benefit to residents, since it covers undocumented students, runs contrary to federal law that forbids benefits for undocumened students not available to students from another state.

I like this analysis of that ruling by an organization that works for immigrants. I also think it's worth remembering that similar laws have stood undisturbed in a number of other states and that the Arkansas legislature typically doesn't set its compass on intermediate state court rulings in California.

UPDATE II: Brummett responds, in short, "to heck with California."

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