Higher ed costs for illegal immigrants shouldn’t fall on the taxpayer

Saturday, May 11, 2019

The Missouri Legislature wrapped up the 2019 session on Friday and though this column is being written before the closing bell, one piece of legislation caught our attention.

Until Thursday evening, the Missouri Legislature was poised to offer in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants living in Missouri.

The taxpayer-funded proposal was then rejected by the Republican majority and as of early Friday morning, the final legislation was still in limbo.

We can only hope the GOP resistance prevailed.

I fully recognize that those eligible for this in-state tuition were raised in Missouri having been brought here illegally by there parents many years ago.

But the illegal tag still remains and state taxpayers should not help finance in-state tuition for this population.

Let’s always keep in mind that there is a legal mechanism for these future college students to become legal and therefore eligible for in-state tuition.

Currently, Missouri is one of six states to reject in-state tuition for illegal residents.

Democrats in the Missouri House had proposed language that would offer in-state tuition for illegal residents but the GOP rejected the idea the following day.

So the Democratic sponsor then offered a plan that would still offer in-state tuition but prohibit those students from state scholarships.

That plan was also rejected by the GOP.

The Republican opposition said the proposal would “in effect be condoning illegal behavior if the students in question were given in-state tuition”.

And they are right.

The Democrats tried to tie the proposal to a prospective General Motors plant coming to the St. Louis region. They argued that many illegal immigrants would likely be employed by GM and that GM may not look favorably at the tuition prohibition.

That argument gained no traction.

The federal government estimates that there are 3,524 DACA recipients in Missouri who would potentially be eligible for in-state tuition under the Democrat plan.

It’s easy to argue that Missouri taxpayers are already overburdened. The last thing we need is to help finance higher education costs for illegal immigrants in Missouri.

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