Plan bans illegals from public universities
Virginia could join list of states creating off-limits locations for aliens
The "DREAM Act" plan, defeated in Congress today, would have given benefits and rights to illegal aliens who want to go to school in the U.S., but the state of Virginia isn't prepared to depend on what Washington decides - it has its own plan to address the situation: a ban on those students in public colleges and universities.
A leading GOP legislator in the Virginia House of Delegates is poised to introduce a bill which would prohibit illegal aliens from attending public colleges and universities in the commonwealth, and a constitutional scholar tells WND that U.S. Supreme Court case law may well ensure that the proposed law can be enforced.
Delegate Chris Peace, a Republican from the state's 97th House district in suburban Richmond, in an interview with WND said he was "amazed" to learn when researching the bill that some of Virginia's public universities, like Virginia Tech, did not have any policy regarding the admission of illegal aliens.
Others, like the prestigious University of Virginia, founded by Thomas Jefferson, told Peace they did not "knowingly" admit or enroll individuals who were illegally present in the U.S.
The result was Peace's bill, House Bill 1465, which he says provides not just cost savings for the state, but also creates a uniform policy for state-supported institutions of higher education. Further, it ensures that bright youngsters from Virginia who have received perfect grades are not shut out of the admissions process because of issues of "space" at the public colleges, he said.
"Should this legislation pass, it is difficult to determine how much savings would accrue to the Commonwealth, since there is no current policy screening applicants," Peace told WND. "But the public policy goal does not center on savings, per se; rather, it is one of principle. If all colleges and universities created policies sua sponte [Law Latin – for on their own initiative] then there would be no need for this legislation. To date, several have been unwilling to do so." Peace noted that higher education is a "privilege," not a "right," and that illegal aliens would still be able to attend private colleges in Virginia.
Straight 'A's' required
Schools like the College of William & Mary, University of Virginia – like University of Maryland and UCLA, considered "public Ivies" – report that the average grade point average of incoming freshman is 4.0 on 4.0 scale – straight A's.
"The bottom line is that there's wide-spread sentiment that public benefit should not be going to those who are here illegally," said Peace. "The opponents of this legislation say it is targeting one group of people, or establishing preferences. But we're not trying to be mean-spirited here. Instead, those who support this legislation are simply trying to open the doors to Virginians."
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina already ban illegal immigrants from some or all public colleges. But the report said 10 other states, including Florida, New York and Texas, give them permission to pay only in-state tuition under many circumstances.
The Chronicle report documented the decision from the California Supreme Court just a few weeks ago that affirmed a law allowing some illegals to pay in-state tuition. Justice Ming Chin concluded that providing that special benefit does not violate federal immigration law. The case might be advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Peace noted that his plan is timely "in light of the proposed amnesty-lite, DREAM Act."
A leading constitutional law expert, Professor Ronald D. Rotunda, at Chapman University School of Law, Orange, Calif., told WND that the U.S. Supreme Court said it was illegal for states to discriminate against legal aliens in "Toll v. Moreno" (1982). The court, what is more, has not allowed states to discriminate against minor illegal aliens attending grades K-12 in "Plyler v. Doe" (1982).
"But Plyler emphasized that these children are minors, not 18 or over, and have little control over what their parents do," Rotunda tells WND. "The court has suggested that states can deny free public education to illegal aliens who want to attend state universities because these aliens are not children and university education is not like K-12."
Immigration attorney Michael Wildes said he does not think the legislation will pass because "a blanket policy of verifying every student's immigration status would be onerous and time-consuming." Further, he said, it would be "wildly discriminatory" to verify the immigration status of individuals based on "presumptions about students' ethnic identities, or the sound of someone's last name."
But Peace waved off those concerns. "Many will try to use emotional arguments for those children brought here without consent by their parents, who access the K-12 system, but then would be ineligible for the public college experience," Peace said.
Peace noted that there is widespread support for the legislation in the House of Delegates, where a different, earlier version of the measure passed overwhelmingly with bi-partisan support, 73-26, in 2008, but failed to get out of committee in the Democrat-dominated Senate. Now the GOP has increased its strength in the Virginia Senate, and elected a Republican governor in 2009.
Peace pre-filed the bill on December 6, and it will be formally offered to the legislature on Jan. 12, 2011. The bill allows the board of visitors or board of governors of every public college in Virginia to establish rules and regulations, and prohibit "an alien who is unlawfully present in the U.S." from being admitted to "any public institution of higher education in Virginia."
Wilde says he'd rather have Washington making rules for the states. "It's important to keep in mind that immigration law is within federal jurisdiction and it is not the state's place to enforce federal law," Wildes says. "The proper forum is Washington, D.C."
Beware gurus selling high migration
Article below by Australian economist Ross Gittins, who is normally Left-leaning
The economic case for rapid population growth though immigration is surprisingly weak, but a lot of economists are keen to give you the opposite impression. Fortunately, the Productivity Commission can't bring itself to join in the happy sales job.
I suspect that, since almost all economists are great believers in economic growth as the path to ever higher material living standards, they have a tendency to throw in population growth for good measure. There's no doubt a bigger population leads to a bigger economy; the question is whether it leads to higher real income per person, thereby raising average living standards.
Of course, business people can gain from selling to a bigger market, regardless of whether the punters are better off. So I'd be wary of advice coming from economists employed by business or providing consulting services to business.
In 2006 the Productivity Commission conducted a modelling exercise to assess the effect of a 50 per cent increase in our skilled immigrant intake. It found that, after 20 years, real gross domestic product was only about 4 per cent higher than otherwise.
And the increase in real income per person was minor. What's more, most of the gains accrued to the migrants themselves, with the existing population suffering a tiny net decline in income. Why this lack of benefit? You'd expect the extra skilled labour to raise the proportion of the population participating in the labour force, thus boosting production per person.
But most of the productiveness of workers are achieved by the physical capital they're given to work with. So unless your extra workers are given extra capital equipment - a process known as "capital widening" - their productivity is likely to decline, thus offsetting the gain from having more workers.
Note, too, that we have to increase the housing stock to accommodate the migrant workers and their families, as well as providing the extra public infrastructure for a bigger population. So the migrants are paid to supply their labour, but the rest of us have to provide the extra economic and social capital they need if standards aren't to fall.
Last week Tony Burke, the federal minister responsible for developing a "sustainable population strategy" next year, released an issues paper to encourage discussion. It was accompanied by the reports of three advisory panels, including one on the economic aspects, led by Heather Ridout of the Australian Industry Group.
Ridout's report sets out to talk up the economic case for high migration by dispelling "myths" and pointing to hard-to-quantify benefits "often ignored by low-growth advocates when they skim the literature" (that's what they call a professorial put-down).
The main hard-to-quantify benefits left out of the Productivity Commission's modelling are the economies of scale arising from a bigger market. But why after all these years have economists been unable to produce good empirical evidence of something as straightforward as scale economies?
And why wax lyrical about unmeasurable benefits without mentioning unmeasurable costs? In its recent booklet on population and immigration, the commission acknowledges that as well as economies of scale there could be diseconomies.
The Ridout report objects that the commission's modelling measured the benefit of increased immigration only over 20 years. Sorry, but if you have to wait more than 20 years for the payoff you're not talking about a powerful effect.
A relatively new argument in favour of high immigration is that it could foster economic growth by countering to some extent the decline in labour-force participation caused by the ageing of the population. But, since immigrants age too, all this can do is put off the evil hour (not a course of action usually promoted by economists). To continue postponing the crunch you have to keep upping the dose of immigration.
The Productivity Commission is blunt: "changes in migration flows are unlikely to have a significant and lasting effect on the ageing of Australia's population".
The Ridout report argues that a faster-growing, immigration-fuelled economy would require greater levels of investment by businesses and in public infrastructure. This greater capital spending would generally involve investment in more productive capital equipment, as recent technological improvements will be embedded in the newer stock. In this way, faster growth of the size of the economy would drive the productivity gains that are central to advances in material living standards, we're told.
Huh? The proposition is that by taking on a need for considerable investment in capital widening (to provide the extra workers with the equipment and infrastructure they need to be as productive as the existing workers) we're increasing the scope for capital deepening (giving each worker more and better capital equipment).
Am I missing something? This is a twist on a common economists' argument I've never managed to fathom: we need to grow more and do more damage to the natural environment because when we're richer we'll be able to afford to fix the damage we've done to the environment.
The Ridout report asserts that provided population growth is "balanced and managed well", living standards will rise. It needs to be "matched by greater commitments to education and skills development, more and better investments in infrastructure, greater attention to the development of our cities and regions and to our natural environment".
In other words, to give business the extra population it wants but prevent this from worsening all those things, governments at all levels will really need to lift their game as well as spend a lot more. Turn in a perfect performance and high immigration won't be a problem.
I prefer the commission's way of putting it: "population growth and immigration can magnify existing policy problems and amplify pressures on 'unpriced' entities, such as the environment, and urban and social amenity".