YOU’RE A sensible, principled conservative. You want America to be a land of boundless opportunity and freedom, where people are treated as individuals and judged on their merits. You reject the divisive identity politics of the left - what matters most about any of us, you would insist, is not race or class or ethnic origins: it is personal character and achievement. There are few things about contemporary politics you deplore more than the demonizing or scapegoating of entire groups (“white males,’’ “the rich,’’ “the Christian right,’’ “gun owners’’), as though every member of the group is interchangeable and indistinguishable, wholly defined by a single disparaging label.What Jeff Jacoby (like so many in Washington) has forgotten is that America is $12 trillion dollars in the hole. Half of every dollar we spend is borrowed money. Money that must be paid back by a generation that is too young to vote their objections or accept the responsibility.
But let someone mention “illegal immigrants,’’ and your principles fly out the window.
So when Governor Deval Patrick recommends allowing young illegal immigrants - residents of Massachusetts who have graduated from high school - to attend a public college and pay in-state tuition, you flip out. This is outrageous, you protest. It rewards people who broke the rules. It’s unfair to the taxpayers who subsidize public higher education. Why should an illegal immigrant get a valuable tuition break that Massachusetts wouldn’t give to a kid from Maine or New Hampshire?
You vigorously agree with Charlie Baker, a Republican candidate for governor. “If you’re illegally here, you’re illegally here,’’ Baker said last week. “The notion that we should treat illegal immigrants with the same benefits and opportunities that legal immigrants and legal citizens have doesn’t make any sense to me.’’
Sure it would be nice not to punish the children of illegal immigrants for the parents’ lawbreaking. However the stark reality is that for us to be generous the way Jacoby suggests, requires us to be cruel to our very own children by robbing their futures to pay for our current mistakes.
So rather than consider ourselves cruel for forcing the children of illegal immigrants to pay higher out of state tuition, we should accept the hard cold reality that we have created a situation where we desperately need their money.
Via: The Boston Globe