The University of California (UC) system is known as one of the best education programs in the world. Along with that designation comes one massive undertaking: deciding who to admit vs. who to decline. Part of that decision process involves the acceptance of illegal immigrants.
Let me back up, though.
I was born and raised in Southern California, right on the front lines of America’s illegal immigration problem. I’m from the Inland Empire, which has made a name for itself for its dry heat, the hard hit recession and more recently, the San Bernardino terrorist attacks.
My whole life I saw the effects of illegal immigration: the drop in wages, poverty and an overall cultural difference from the rest of the country.
When it was time to apply for college, I made the conscious effort to apply out-of-state. I didn’t waste my time applying for any in-state schools. After all, it was cheaper for me to go out-of-state than attend a California university. Tuition was rising 30 to 35 percent every year, making California’s higher education impossible for me to afford.
It was astonishing to sit back and watch the number of my classmates receive full-ride scholarships to schools like Berkley and UCLA. The kicker? They were the same students who were here illegally. But I, an American citizen, didn’t qualify for those scholarships or even the level of financial assistance these illegal immigrants were given.
I was angry. I had worked just as hard as my classmates. We had similar GPAs and extra-curricular activities. What set us apart was our race and immigration status. In a lot of ways, I felt as though I was punished for being an American.
I can’t say I’m surprised that the University of California System has refused to assist federal officials in turning over students who are in the United States illegally.
“While we still do not know what policies and practices the incoming federal administration may adopt, given the many public pronouncements made during the presidential campaign and its aftermath, we felt it necessary to reaffirm that UC will act upon its deeply held conviction that all members of our community have the right to work, study, and live safely and without fear at all UC locations,” UC President Janet Napolitano said in a statement earlier this week.
Although the UC System is fearful of President-Elect Trump’s immigration policy, the following will remain in effect:
-Campus police will not assist any local, state or federal officials who are attempting to locate or apprehend a student for violating immigration laws.
-Campus police are not allowed to question a student based on their immigration status.
-A court order will be required to release confidential student information unless the student agrees to sign it over.
-The UC System will continue to admit eligible students, regardless of their immigration status.
In other words, this is a giant “screw you” to all of us who believe that Americans – and American taxpayers – should come before illegal immigrants. What a crazy concept. After all, if you break the law, you should totally be rewarded for it.
If UC doesn’t want to cooperate with federal laws and officials, then they need to fork over taxpayer dollars. Every. Single. Penny.
You can’t have it both ways, Ms. Napolitano. You can’t expect for the average American to pay for the UC System, but then fund people who don’t pay into our system.
The feds can and should put the strings on federal funding. If you want to admit illegal immigrants, they should not get in-state tuition. They should not receive federal student loans, which are subsidized by the taxpayers. And, they definitely should not receive any admission to a college without obtaining the proper visas, just like foreign exchange students do.