Heckuva job, guv 

The most cautious man ever to be elected Arkansas's governor last week ordered a college education to be put out of reach of thousands of poverty-stricken but academically qualified children.

I won't even speak his name because he has forgotten where he comes from.

With an 82 percent approval rating, he is still so frightened about his re-election prospects that he won't risk a single point to help an “illegal” child get an education. Back in his day, a boy like him, child of a Delta-poor single mother, wasn't valued too much more than the child of an immigrant brick layer is today. That now seems lost on the besuited lawyer-turned-governor. I'm sure someone helped his family back then, or gave him a break. I hope he hasn't forgotten their name as well.

The governor last week raised the threat of a cut in state funding to the University of Central Arkansas and the University of Arkansas if they continued to allow in-state tuition for academically qualified Arkansas high school graduates who are undocumented immigrants. Now the colleges will have to gather Social Security numbers of every single Arkansas college student receiving in-state tuition.

And to what benefit to Arkansas?

Hundreds of students may be put out of college and certainly thousands more will be denied the chance. Arkansas is currently 50th in the percent of college graduates it turns out. With the governor's new leadership, there's no way Mississippi will ever be able to dislodge us.

The governor speaks of a federal law that says any benefit a state gives to an illegal immigrant must also be made available to citizens. So if we give in-state tuition to an Arkansas high school graduate whose parents are not here legally, then we have to give New Yorkers in-state tuition.

But that is not what's happening here.

Arkansas colleges check when awarding in-state tuition to see if a student has lived in the state the required number of years and whether they have graduated from an Arkansas high school. That's state law. They don't research their immigration status because there is no federal requirement to do so and our money is better spent educating the children.

A May 9 letter to the colleges from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says, “DHS does not require any school to determine a student's [immigration] status. DHS also does not require any school to request immigration status information prior to enrolling students or to report to the government if they know a student is out of status …”

Arkansas colleges don't know the immigration status of their students and they are not required to know. Therefore they cannot be violating a federal law that is only actionable if they have knowledge of that immigration status. If the governor would treat these children as well as the military treats homosexuals, not asking as long as no one tells, then maybe they could get an education and better themselves and the state.

A few days before this debacle the governor announced his opposition to Secure Arkansas's effort to deny benefits to undocumented immigrants, saying most of their proposals were already law. Now, without the haters signing a single petition, the governor has handed them a tragic victory. All he had to do was nothing and let the educators run the schools. Instead he has destroyed the dreams of thousands of vulnerable and promising kids, hungry for an education and a chance.


Alan Leveritt is publisher of the Arkansas Times.


From the ArkTimes store


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Alan Leveritt

  • A sweetness worth the stings

    My uncle Elzie kept his bee hives in amongst the wrecked cars and other metal debris behind his house on the High­way 160 out­side of Smack­over.
    • Sep 23, 2015
  • Leveritt: Life on the farm

    In late afternoon, looking over the pasture from my mother's hillside grave, our farm may be the most beautiful place on earth.
    • Oct 3, 2013
  • The Arkansas Times introduces digital membership

    We can’t continue to produce aggressive, trenchant, independent reporting and analysis without increased reader support. A new model for funding, in which readers bear a share of our costs, is vital to the future of the Times.
    • Jul 25, 2013
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now?

    Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.
    • Apr 21, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated its 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • War reporter

    Ray Moseley: Native Texan. Naturalized Arkansan. Reporter, world traveler, confidant of Queen Elizabeth II.
    • Jun 22, 2017
  • Vote no on school tax

    I have never voted against a school tax in my life, but I will be voting against the debt service millage extension for the Little Rock School District.
    • May 4, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Turn to baseball

    • leave the rules the way they are. teach players how to hit, don't legislate no…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Pay attention

    • The beautiful new 12th St. Precinct is full of empty rooms: Why not create a…

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Religious charlatans have been around for centuries. They prey on the weak, sick, poorly educated…

    • on July 20, 2017

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation