As we wrote on Feb. 22, the nearly annual call for Utah’s undocumented college students to pay out-of-state tuition continues. Rep. Richard Greenwood of Roy, the usual leader of this ridiculous movement and its most frequent caller-to-arms, believes that “We’ve got legal citizens who can’t get in classes that undocumented students are sitting in.”
While every single attempt to repeal Utah’s 2002 law allowing undocumented students to be eligible to pay in-state tuition has failed, Greenwood plans to continue his at-best misguided crusade against those he doesn’t believe should be here. It may be a different situation if Greenwood was worried about the amount of money that the schools would lose by allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. To be fair, if UVU’s 181 undocumented students paid out-of-state tuition, the difference would provide the school with $709,520 more in its nearly-depleted coffers.
But that’s not Greenwood’s issue. His issue is with classes being swarmed with the children of undocumented immigrants. Based on the logic of his statements, if undocumented students paid out-of-state tuition, they’d be welcome to attend any of Utah’s fine higher education facilities.
However, Greenwood is not the only Utah legislator looking to keep out any student whose papers are not in order. Sen. Chris “Always Good For a Laugh” Buttars of West Jordan is gunning for their very income by sponsoring a bill that requires any workers in Utah to be electronically verified as a citizen, Though he has dropped the criminal penalties for businesses who do not comply.
Buttars is quoted in the Feb. 27 “Deseret News” as saying that “[The] bill will give a lot more jobs to our work force because, if a person is here from wherever on Earth…if they can’t get a job because of [the federal electronic screening system], they’re going to leave the state.” Buttars also joins Greenwood as the co-Grand Marhsall of the Let’s-Make-This-Someone-Else’s-Problem Parade. Buttars is not even interested in resolving Utah’s problem: simply having them “leave the state” is good enough for him.
Greenwood and Buttars have another thing in common: both of their respective pieces of legislation are unlikely to pass. Greenwood, as previously mentioned, continues to fight (and lose) an eight-year fight, while Buttars’ proposal was criticized by members of the Senate Business and Labor Standing Committee, as well as the ACLU of Utah, the SLC Chamber of Commerce, and other local organizations.
If, in the off chance that both pieces of legislation are passed in their current forms, as soon as we deal with the Hellmouth that will surely open beneath our feet, we will notice that the 590 undocumented students currently trying to earn degrees within the Utah higher education system are not only required to pay almost 300 percent more in tuition costs, but they also can’t get jobs.
These students aren’t being given free rides, nor do any of their supporters seem to be asking for one. These are people who have graduated from Utah high schools and have, as per the rules qualifying them for in-state tuition, notified their college or university that they are undocumented and are in the labyrinthine process of becoming legal citizens. Let’s stop treating them like worthless criminals.