An Important Distinction on the American Dream

Semantic distinctions can be frivolous or they can be significant. Sometimes, as with Mart Martinez’s letter supporting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, they point to an underlying difference in how people interpret something, like the American dream:

I support H-5353 because I believe in the American dream. The American dream is about rewarding those who work hard.

No. That wording implies that there’s a pool of rewards and that Americans acknowledge the legitimacy of having an authority to dole them out. The American dream is about allowing people to keep the rewards that they earn and minimizing the obstructions to opportunity.

Education should not be a privilege, it should be the expectation of everyone who dreams of having a bright future.

An education requires an individual’s work and commitment. It therefore cannot be an expectation, but an objective, and when one wishes it to be subsidized, those putting forward the money have a right to impose some limitations, such as legal residency in their society.
They may seem like minor differences on the surface, but often discussions run on endlessly around such pivot points.

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Joseph P
Joseph P
15 years ago

I would just like to say that Martinez is wrong in her belief that undocumented student ought get in-state tuition at our Colleges. Why should non-citizens receive cheaper educational cost when American citizens living in the next state over would have to pay higher than them? Has she fought for American students from neighboring states that are being forced to endure these prices? Another thing. The undocumented children true did not do anything but their parents did. That is not our fault it is their own. Why don’t they take responsibility for their breaking the law? Again why should others outside this country wait patiently for citizenship and these people who had no scruples, broke the law and expect us to make up for it? I guess we have no rights as a sovereign nation to protect our borders. I am against amnesty and for enforcing the laws as they exist. Sorry thats just the way it has to be. Fairness to all, is following the rules and getting in line.

15 years ago

“Why should non-citizens receive cheaper educational cost when American citizens living in the next state over would have to pay higher than them?”
And that’s precisely why it shouldn’t happen, unless you’re going to charge the same rate to everyone, regardless of residency in this or any state. However, if they did that, it would cause significant tuition increases for those currently receiving discounted “in state” tuition. Tuition is a “zero sum” game. Out of state payers subsidize in state payers. Anyone who claims differently is lying. There is a certain amount of revenue, and it can only come from a few sources.
The proponents of that also seem to miss the idea of unintended consequences, caused by providing a special benefit to illegals to come and stay here. If you’re an illegal alien, and you’ve already milked the system to get a free public K-12 education, regardless of whether it’s your “fault,” that doesn’t entitle you to more on our dime. It’s the classic “if you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll ask for a glass of milk” thing. If you want free in state tuition, move to a state that offers it.

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