It seems that in the U.S. today we are not simply facing a deficiency in capital, but also a scarcity of original thought. It is no wonder with the myriad of pseudo-authorities, that people don’t take the time to do their research and form an opinion for themselves. “Starve the Beast” is by no means an original policy and it is especially not a policy that would look to promote the social and economic welfare of U.S. citizens. Presenting an argument to discredit the gains of hard working out-of-status students under the guise of showing compassion for U.S. citizens is a spurious attempt at rationalizing an ignorant agenda.
Immigrants have always been a positive force in U.S. society and this is still the case. According to Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, authors of The Politics of Immigration, “immigrants and their children more than make up for what they may get.” The current state of the economy is not the result of the actions of out-of-status immigrants, but the fiscally irresponsible leadership of Washington D.C. You don’t believe me? Google TEFRA, circa 1982. Or take a look at the piece by Bruce Bartlett, that goes by the same title as your own, where he states in his conclusion that “the ultimate result of relying on starving the beast to support tax cuts may be to make future tax increases inevitable.” How would that help fellow citizens? “Starving the Beast” has nothing to do with immigration policy, it is used to refer to an attitude that has been adopted by some so-called conservatives to cut taxes in the hope that this will lead to less government expenditures.
After reviewing the report cited in the article I noticed something interesting that was not illustrated in your critique. You have a pie chart borrowed from the Pew Hispanic Center showing that 8% of the children being born in the U.S. are children of immigrant parents. My question is if these children are all born in the U.S. then they are U.S. citizens, so how does chart fit in to the arguments against out-of-status students?
As far as your argument that “There’s zero motivation for them to obtain proper citizenship as long as we offer them a U.S. citizen’s lifestyle,” to me signals a couple things. First, that you may not be aware that all AB-540 students have to sign an affidavit that, according to MALDEF, “contains a provision requiring the students to swear or affirm that they will start the process to adjust their status as soon as they are eligible to do so.” It is not that fact that they are lazy, it is just that we haven’t yet provided that process to adjust. Second, I would like to illustrate that simply because out-of-status students are able to purchase fast food with prodigious amounts of saturated fats or watch over-hyped Monday Night Football games that are usually one sided, does not mean they have access to health care or can even seek regular legally sanctioned employment to pay for your suggested inflated fees.
The bottom line is that they are not “them,” but they are we. These are students brought here by their parents at a young age. Are we to make the children of immigrants pay for their parent’s mistakes? If so then for the sake of truly adhering to the ideal of justice we should apply this to all U.S. students and make it retro active. Equating out-of-status students with criminals that are incarcerated for heinous crimes is a way to try and dehumanize these young academics the same way we do hardened criminals.
I have an idea that may work better then picking on hard working students when it comes to the lack of funding for education. If you really want a small group of people to pick on and scapegoat to make it easier to vent frustration try the Senate. I understand that may be a bit of a logistical problem, so if you want a group more localized, the Board of Trustees might be a better fit. They are meeting on November 10th in Long Beach to vote on fee increases. Before you start point the reticle at a person, you may want to make sure that person is truly responsible for the issue at hand. Attacking innocent people is not a way to show strength of character or societal backbone. All it does is further support that xenophobia is alive and well, except that now it comes coated in sugar.
José M. Beltrán
Senior, Chicano/a studies major