California’s courts rejected a claim that the California law AB 540 violates Federal immigration laws. AB 540 gave illegal immigrant students the right to pay in state tuition if they completed at least three years of high school in the state. A federal immigration law prohibits special treatment to undocumented people, stating that they cannot have privileges that U.S. citizens do not have. The Court ruled that United States citizens do have the same opportunity.
There has been a wave of states banning undocumented students from public colleges. Recently in Georgia, the board of regents banned illegal resident students from attending their public colleges and universities.
The L.A. Times reports that in California it is estimated that 25,000 students benefit from AB 540 every year, although they are not elligable for state financial aid.
A group fighting illegal immigration brought this particular lawsuit. In California, we have recently seen the illegal immigration debate rise almost to a boiling point with our recent gubernatorial election between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. Whitman promised to repeal the law, among other laws benefiting undocumented people. In consequence, the Hispanic population came out in full force to override her rise to governor.
What I don’t understand is why the Hispanic Community is the only voice being heard in the debate against undocumented workers? I know that Mexicans are not the only group who will be affected by laws like AB 540. Many of us who have taken classes know that there are much more of a variety of students who come under this category, such as Europeans, Asians, Indians, and peoples from the Philippines.
Why aren’t they standing up in protest along with the Latino faces of these anti immigration dissenters? In the area where I live, there are many Asians, Indians and Filipinos, but when I watch the news I only see the Latinos in the fight. I believe that the Latinos should point out that they are not the only illegal immigrants living in the US. Many argue that this nation was founded on immigrants, but that is not really the issue.
Where I live, there are public schools for Chinese speakers, the city’s funded events are Asian oriented, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival and the city’s senior center lettering is in an Asian language. I am not writing these points to complain, but to simply say that obviously there is more to the story.
Even the pro Immigration side subscribes to the same, “it’s only the Latino” theme. They say that the immigrants are doing jobs that Americans do not want to do, while showing a picture of some poor person baked by the sun, picking fruit. However, in reality we know that there are more jobs that are held by these people and again, they are not all Latinos. Many illegal immigrants with forged documents work at our hi-tech firms, in our hospitals, state agencies and more, yet they are not all Latino. We can often go to a state agency and become extremely frustrated because the employee cannot understand anything that we are saying.
When we have these debates and discussions, we need to be more honest with ourselves. We must include all people who are here illegally. Are we just saying that only the Mexican immigrants are the problem? If we are then we need to call it what it is. It is the “We only don’t want Mexican Immigration” debate.