Elliott's Defense on Instate Tuition Bill  - Fact, Fiction, or Deception

Senator Joyce Elliott sent out a document with eleven bullet points promoting/defending her bill SB799 to allow illegal aliens to attend college in Arkansas at instate tuition price. She titled this document: SB 799:  THE FACTS. I numbered those bullet points (which are in gray font) and made a rebuttal to each one of them below in blue font.  I have followed all aspects of her bill since attending and testifying at the hearing of her similar bill in 2005.

1. Elliott:  SB799  has  NO effect on Arkansas citizens to attend college.   None.


Just for thought, consider this.  If a law were filed to allow illegal aliens to become legislators, would legislators agree that it  "has no effect on Arkansas legislators to pass laws. None?" Is that the fact they would consider, or would other factors be more important?


But SB799 does have an effect on taxpayers.  Taxpayers pay for higher education. That is why every state charges a higher fee for students who attend state colleges from out of state.  It is not fair for Arkansas taxpayers to foot the bill for residents of other states; and it is even more unfair for Arkansans to educate students from other countries. 


And SB799  could have some effect on Arkansas citizens attending college when citizens and parents keep having to pay these taxes. If passed, it would cost Arkansans for a court case as well.  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 because it "conflicts with federal law, and violates both the equal protection clause and privileges and immunity clause of the constitution."  http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS238307+16-Sep-2008+PRN20080916 

2.  Elliott: It is not illegal for undocumented students to attend college in Arkansas.  It is just prohibitively expensive because they must pay 2-3 times the tuition of other students. 


Who says it is not illegal for undocumented students to attend college in Arkansas. Federal law, 8-USC-Section 1621, specifically says you can't provide postsecondary education to illegal aliens.  U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency Pat Reilly said, "The 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."  I know that our inexperienced Attorney General ruled differently, but how does he have the right to give a legal opinion that conflicts with federal law and ICE?  See this link for my rebuttal to AG Dustin McDaniel's Opinion on this issue  http://www.wpaag.org/Illegals%20-AR%20%20AG%20Rebuttal%20on%20illegals%20&%20college.htm


Plyler vs. Doe, the Supreme Court ruling in 1982  that mandated education for K-12  did not include postsecondary education (for some very good reasons included below).


Even if it were legal for undocumented students to attend college, it would  still be illegal according to federal law and according to Governor Beebe to give instate tuition to undocumented (illegal alien) students unless students from any other state could also go to college in Arkansas without paying out-of state-tuition. The federal law is very clear on that point.   


8 USC Section 1623 (pasted below) prohibits giving any "postsecondary education benefit"  to an "alien unlawfully present in the US"  unless any other citizen of the US  in any state is given that same benefit.  http://law.onecle.com/uscode/8/1623.html


This is the way the AP article May 23, 08 by Andrew Demillo reported it:  The bill failed [Elliot's bill in 2005] after Beebe, then the state's attorney general, released a legal opinion that said offering illegal immigrants in-state tuition rates likely would violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment....Beebe's 2005 opinion also said the measure might run afoul of a 1996 federal law that said no higher education benefit shall be available to illegal immigrants' children unless it's also available to every U.S. citizen.


Governor Beebe was also quoted in a newspaper article in January 25, 09  as saying, We can’t afford to give scholarships and in-state tuition to every child of every American citizen in the other 49 states. Since you can’t do that, you can’t do that with illegal aliens either. It’s real simple.”  http://arkansasnews.com/?p=22740  January 25, 09

3. Elliott:  SB799 does only two things:  (1) Allows undocumented students to use their own money to pay tuition at the in-state rate and (2) requires them to sign an affidavit declaring their intention to legalize their immigration status.  There are NO scholarships involved.


Signing an affidavit of intention is just a deceitful smoke screen. Children of illegal aliens become illegal themselves and subject to deportation at 18 1/2 (unless they were born on US soil).  Therefore, college undocumented students are unlawfully present here and cannot lawfully operate and hold jobs, so it makes no sense to use taxpayers' money to subsidize their education or to tempt them to steal a citizen's identity in order to get a job.  To become naturalized these students would have to go back to Mexico or other country and be put on a waiting list. If these students apply for citizenship before going back to Mexico or other country, legally they could and should be deported at that time. As Senator Bisbee  said in 2005, if his children were in that situation, they would have more sense than to do that, and he felt sure these college-age illegal aliens would have more sense too.  It would be easy for them to SAY they intend to legalize their immigration status, but they won't under the circumstances.


At legislative hearings on HB1525, in 2005, a bill to give scholarships and in-state tuition by Joyce Elliott, several presidents of colleges  spoke in favor of the bill.  However when asked one by one by  Senator Bisbee  if they would hire these students when they graduated, these university presidents ALL admitted they would not.  They knew they had to answer this way; otherwise they would be confessing they would be willing to be involved in criminal activity by hiring them. They knew the law on hiring illegal aliens, but they did not know the law on allowing postsecondary education or chose to ignore it. 

·      4. Elliott: These students are in Arkansas because of decisions made by their parents/guardians and have been here all or most of their lives.  Like us when we were children, these children could not control their parents’ actions.  “Staying behind” is not an option for children.



All children in all generations have enjoyed or endured the consequences of their parents' actions.  Children with poor parents have faced negative consequences in numerous ways, and children of influential parents have always reaped benefits from their parents in numerous ways. This is nothing new.  But we have always acknowledged "first come, first served" in our country and learned from early age that you stand in line at restaurants, movies, grocery stores, etc. and wait your turn regardless of social or financial status.


We have also incorporated "first come first served" in seniority systems in numerous institutions. The Arkansas legislature, for example, uses that seniority principle. Numerous deserving people all over the world have waited their turn to come to the US legally.  It is not fair to give illegal aliens' children the opportunity to stay in the US and be educated here while the children of those deserving people who are waiting to come here legally get no such privilege.  Can you imagine the uprising among the legislators if we elected an illegal alien to the legislature?


5.  ElliottMany of them are undocumented American citizens because they were born in the United States/Arkansas. Undocumented is NOT the same thing as illegal.



This is a bogus issue. Those children of illegal aliens born here in the United States are citizens and have no problem whatsoever enrolling in college.  Most illegal alien parents document this citizenship of their children born here  as soon  as the child is born in order to receive numerous welfare and medical benefits for them.  They are more aware of their rights than US citizens are. 

·     6. Elliott: These students are Americanized.  Arkansas is what they know as home.  For them, the reality is there is no place to go back to.  They will remain in Arkansas (educated or not), so doesn’t good policy dictate equipping them to be contributors to rather a drag on our state resources? 



In other words our laws mean nothing.  So just encourage them to break the law and stay here and get an education and steal some citizen's  identity so they can take a job from another US citizen.



7. Elliott:   The Supreme Court case Plyler vs. Texas made public school education mandatory for undocumented students.  To deny them reasonable access to higher education amounts to turning our backs on years of financial  and  social investment.



Elliott leaves a false impression here. Pyler vs. Texas did not include postsecondary education.  In fact, Federal law specifically forbids  postsecondary education in  8-USC-Section 1621.  



8.  Elliott:  Eleven states, including Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas, have passed laws allowing undocumented students to access to higher education at their in-state tuition rates.



Therefore,  39 states have not passed any kind of laws allowing instate tuition for illegal aliens. Somehow, Elliot also forgot to mention California, the most liberal state in the nation where a unanimous decision by three judges ruled laws like Elliott's are unconstitutional. Immigration Reform Law Institute  said this precedent setting ruling may be used to challenge many state benefits for illegal aliens.  "The California Appeals Court ruling is the first to decide a challenge to in-state tuition policies on the merits. A challenge in federal court to a similar policy in Kansas, also brought by IRLI, was dismissed when the judge denied standing to the plaintiffs. "


9. Elliott:   Arkansas cannot realize its economic goals while deliberately creating a whole class of under educated people by denying them access to a college education.



Arkansas citizens cannot realize their economic goals if  Arkansas continues to be the number one or number two state in the nation in the percentage of growth of illegal aliens.  Law like Elliott's only help make Arkansas a magnet for the increase in that growth.


10.  Elliott: By failing to enact comprehensive immigration reform, Congress has handed this problem to the states.  In the interest of Arkansas’s future prosperity, we cannot afford to block reasonable access to higher education for any Arkansas high school graduates. 



And numerous states are dealing with the problem they have been handed.  Most of our surrounding states have passed laws to discourage illegal aliens from coming to their states.  Tennessee, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Arizona have all recently passed some tough laws which are causing illegal aliens to leave those states.  Many of those leaving these states are heading for Arkansas; and the longer we wait to pass some good laws, the worse it will get.  We don't need more laws like Elliot's to encourage them to come here.


11. Elliott: SB799 is certainly not perfect.  It is our opportunity as policy makers to take charge of the kind of future our children and we will have. 



Senator Elliot's  law presents an opportunity for policy makers to restore confidence to Arkansans that our legislators will support and uphold the law of the land and protect its citizens' jobs (especially during this time of extreme economic conditions,  rather than protecting those who are here illegally.)  I have great compassion for children in other nations that are not as fortunate as ours. However, I know of no legislator who would not  look after his own children's welfare first - that is his/her duty.   And this is an opportunity for legislators to look after the citizens of Arkansas and their families whom they represent.


 Text of laws referred to above

Sec. 1623. Limitation on eligibility for preferential treatment of
aliens not lawfully present on basis of residence for higher
education benefits  http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode08/usc_sec_08_00001623----000-.html

    (a) In general
      Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an alien who is not
    lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the
    basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for
    any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of
    the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an
    amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen
    or national is such a resident.
    (b) Effective date
      This section shall apply to benefits provided on or after July 1,

8-USC-Section 1621. Aliens who are not qualified aliens or nonimmigrants ineligible for State and local public benefits  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode08/usc_sec_08_00001621----000-.html


(a) In general

Notwithstanding any other provision of law and except as provided in subsections (b) and (d) of this section, an alien…..is not eligible for any State or local public benefit (as defined in subsection (c) of this section).

(c) “State or local public benefit” defined: [Law lists several but the following is one section of them.]

(B) any retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, postsecondary education, food assistance, unemployment benefit, or any other similar benefit for which payments or assistance are provided to an individual, household, or family eligibility unit by an agency of a State or local government or by appropriated funds of a State or local government.  See this link for the full law.  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode08/usc_sec_08_00001621----000-.html


8-USC-Section 1621 (d) "A State may provide that an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States is eligible for any State or local public benefit for which such alien would otherwise be ineligible under subsection (a) of this section only through the enactment of a State law after August 22, 1996, which affirmatively provides for such eligibility.”  [State & Local benefit is described in section B above which includes postsecondary education – but Arkansas has not passed such a law.]

Se this link for the law quoted above::