REBUTTAL TO DUSTIN MCDANIEL ATTORNEY GENERAL OPINION

SAYING ILLEGAL ALIENS MAY ENROLL IN ARKANSAS COLLEGES

 

In Dustin McDaniel's Attorney General's Opinion he states:  "It is my opinion in response to your specific questions that undocumented individuals may enroll in Arkansas's public colleges and universities and that such schools are not obliged to verify citizenship as a condition of enrollment. 1.

 

Compare that to these quotes by Pat Reilly, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, reported May, 08. 2

 

[T]he only way foreign nationals can attend college in the United States legally is through the agency's International Student Exchange and Visitors Program. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. cannot qualify for that program, Reilly said.

 

However, Reilly is also quoted as saying,  

 

[T]he federal government does not require schools or colleges to check the immigration status of students, as North Carolina plans to do. Likewise, the agency does not pursue additional disciplinary action against illegal immigrants for attending public colleges.

 

"ICE does not target schools, colleges or universities, mainly because of the increased likelihood that children could get caught up in the raids, Reilly said. (She stressed, however, that ICE officers may go after illegal immigrants at any time.)"

 

Reilly cited several practical reasons for the agency's stance.

ICE is more worried about enforcing immigration law in the workplace,
because it's the prospect of jobs that lures immigrants to the country illegally in the first place.


Plus, it's less likely that a separate crime occurs when an undocumented student signs up for classes than when an illegal immigrant applies for a job. At the workplace, either the employer is knowingly hiring illegal immigrants or the job applicants are using fraudulent documents to get work, both of which are crimes beyond immigration offenses, Reilly said.  (Taken from article, "North Carolina Pushes Ban on Illegal Immigrant Students" May 21, 2008

 

I think those quotes by Pat Reilly are clear enough for anyone educated above the elementary level. It is illegal for illegal aliens to attend college.

 

However, Reilly admits they are not going to enforce the law; therefore I guess Dustin McDaniel can get away with saying, "it is my opinion in response to your specific questions that undocumented individuals may enroll in Arkansas's public colleges and universities and that such schools are not obliged to verify citizenship as a condition of enrollment" until someone takes it to a court that actually rules on law.  But his opinion does not make it LEGAL, and I thought the attorney general's opinion was supposed to be declaring a LEGAL opinion based on law.

 

In the legislative session of 2005 when Joyce Elliott was presenting her bill to allow in-state tuition and scholarships, Senator Beebe made the point several times that undocumented students become detainable and deportable at age 18 1/2.  He then asked every college president one by one that testified for the bill if they would hire these students when they graduated, and each one wisely answered no.  They knew it would be a crime to hire them. So are we educating these students so they can commit a crime in order to use the education that the citizens of Arkansas are paying for through their taxes?

 

Mike Beebe was quoted by The Associated Press as saying," If you don't like the law, you try to change it in the way this country was set up and designed to change the law."   Our country's design to change the law is not through an attorney general opinion.  Governor Beebe rightfully interpreted the law and brought colleges into accordance with the law that colleges can't give in-state tuition to illegal aliens.  He should do the same in this situation.

 

I am sure that the judges in the case that mandated K-12 education for children of illegal aliens had this criminal aspect in mind in that ruling when they cut off mandatory education at 12th grade. 3 They knew their ruling would be unconstitutional if it included postsecondary education since postsecondary education deals with these undocumented illegal aliens who are by law committing a crime by staying in the United States after they are 18 1/2. 

 

I noted today that a three judge panel of the California Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Monday that a California law intended to permit illegal aliens to attend public colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates is unconstitutional. Perhaps when this controversy over attendance of college by illegal aliens is settled, there will be a final decision based on law.

 

See my next email on Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's premise that no law specifically addresses this issue of whether illegal aliens can attend college or not. 

 

This article can be read online at this link:  http://www.wpaag.org/Illegals%20-AR%20%20AG%20Rebuttal%20on%20illegals%20&%20college.htm

It can be commented on at this blog: http://arkansaswatch.blogspot.com/2008/09/rebuttal-to-ag-opinion-allowing-illegal.html

 

Another related article can be found at this link:  Beebe Obeying One Law, Disobeying Another  http://www.wpaag.org/Immigration%20-%20Beebe%20obeys%201%20law%20-%20disobeys%20another.htm

 

Debbie Pelley

dpelley@suddenlink.net

 

Documentation:

1. http://ag.arkansas.gov/opinions/docs/2008-109.html  Opinion No. 2008-109
September 10, 2008

 

2.  http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/28494/ 

North Carolina Pushes Ban on Illegal Immigrant Students

 Wednesday, May 21, 2008

 

3. Pyler v Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982)

 

4. California's In-State Tuition Policy for Illegal Aliens Is Unconstitutional, Rules State Appeals Court http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20080916/pl_usnw/california_s_in_state_tuition_policy_for_illegal_aliens_is_unconstitutional__rules_state_appeals_court